Video Production Sydney: Stone could have avoided the Vietnam War by staying in college, but he joined the service and insisted on combat duty in an attempt to prove to his father that he was a man. He soon discovered that real combat was much different than he expected. “Vietnam completely deadened me and sickened me,” he told the Washington Post. Stone was involved in several deadly battles. He was shot once and wounded by shrapnel (bomb fragments) another time, and he often witnessed the brutal treatment of Vietnamese citizens by U.S. soldiers.
Video Production Sydney: Discharge and return to the USA
After Stone was discharged and returned to the United States, he enrolled at New York University, where he began to study filmmaking with director Martin Scorsese (1942–). Stone decided he wanted to write screenplays and make movies. Stone graduated from the university in 1971 and within two years had sold his first project to a small Canadian film company. His first writing and directing effort was Seizure (1974), a horror story about a writer whose creations come to life.
Seizure did not make money or receive great reviews, and Stone entered a period marked by heavy drug and alcohol use. He finally pulled himself together in 1976 and decided to write a screenplay about his Vietnam experiences. Between 1976 and 1978 Stone wrote two stories on the war: Platoon, which was based on himself and other soldiers he had known in Vietnam; and Born on the Fourth of July, which was based on the autobiography (the written story of one’s own life) of crippled war veteran Ron Kovic. No studio would touch either property; the scripts were considered too violent and too depressing. Stone’s writing talents were recognized, however, and he was invited to work on other projects.
Video Production Sydney: Oscars and controversy
In 1977 Stone was hired to write the screenplay for Midnight Express, a drama based on the true-life imprisonment of Bill Hayes in a Turkish jail. Many reviewers criticized the film’s violence and accused it of racism (unequal treatment based on race) against the Turks. The controversy (open to dispute) helped the movie turn a profit, and it was also nominated (put forward for consideration) for five Academy Awards. Stone himself won an Oscar for his screenplay.
Stone then wrote and directed the horror movie The Hand (1981), and he wrote scripts for other movies, including Scarface. The film Scarface, which told the story of a ruthless cocaine dealer, offended some with its violence. For Stone, who had rid himself of a cocaine habit while writing the screenplay, it was a very important project. In an effort to exercise more control over his work, Stone then began making films independently. With the backing of Hemdale, a small British production company, he filmed Salvador (1986), based on the violence of the United States-supported Salvadoran army. Hemdale then gave Stone the money to make Platoon (1986). Stone used the script he had written in 1976 and the film won a number of Oscars, including best picture and best director.