Oliver Stone and the Decade of Trauma

Trevor B. McCrisken and Andrew Pepper

in American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780748614899
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670666 | DOI:
Oliver Stone and the Decade of Trauma

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More than any other American film director in recent years, Oliver Stone has looked to American history for his inspiration and subject matter. With his trilogy of Vietnam War films (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven and Earth) and his two political dramas (JFK and Nixon), Stone has produced a body of work that reconfigures the history of what might be called the traumatic decade from the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. The events of this decade — multiple political assassinations; widespread civil upheaval and unrest; an increasingly bloody and unpopular foreign war that ended in the defeat of American objectives; and the revelations of corruption and abuse of power at the highest levels — shook the very fabric of American society and threatened to finally destroy the belief in American exceptionalism. As a scriptwriter and director, Stone is not afraid to focus the audience's gaze upon the darker, questionable aspects of the United States' recent political and social past.

Keywords: Oliver Stone; history; films; Vietnam War; United States; political assassinations; corruption; John F. Kennedy; Richard Nixon; Platoon

Chapter.  11920 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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