Essay about Vietnam and Oliver Stone

Essay about Vietnam and Oliver Stone

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Oliver Stone is best known from his portrayals of Vietnam in film. His movies “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July” have won him Academy Awards for best director. These movies not only depicted the violence of war, but also the cultural and psychological issues that the soldiers in these wars had to endure. The majority of his earliest and best known movies center around the Vietnam War. Oliver Stone’s experience in the military gave him a special insight that made his movies feel more authentic and convincing to audiences. These movies portray the struggles that soldiers and veterans of the Vietnam War had to face on and off the battlefield.
Platoon is Oliver Stone’s first film portrayal of Vietnam. The film starts off with main character Chris Taylor (portrayed by Charlie Sheen) arriving in Vietnam. A very important element about the character Chris Taylor is that he is a college student that dropped out by choice to join the war effort. This element helps contrast Taylor with supporting characters as most of them are people who were drafted and came to Vietnam against their will. “Mr. Stone, himself a Vietnam vet, observes the war through the short focus of a single infantry platoon, fighting somewhere near the Cambodian border in 1967.”(Vincent, “The Vietnam War in Stone’s ‘Platoon’”) Charlie Sheen’s character narrates the journey and struggles of the Platoon through notes to his Grandmother. “To all intents and purposes, Chris was Oliver Stone. ‘He was a stand-in. Alter-ego’ Stone would write similar letters to his grand-mother, telling her of ‘my wishes, my desires’.” (Salewicz 21) The choice in narration tells the audience that Taylor may have a closer relationship with his grandmother than his actual parents. There...

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...adaptation of Ron Kovic’s best-selling autobiography. Both of these movies depict real-life accounts of how war can change people both physically and emotionally. America is approaching the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Today’s students are much too young to remember this time in society. While textbooks have plenty of information regarding this time period, they do not have the emotional impact that these movies convey. In a case of life imitating art, Stone’s movies are the voice of a generation.

Works Cited

Canby, Vincent. "The Vietnam War in Stone's 'Platoon'." The New York Times 19 Oct. 1986: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.
Salewicz, Chris. Oliver Stone. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1998. Print.
"Oliver Stone." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 09 Dec. 2013

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