Quotes by Oliver Stone

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Forget the grand plan. Forget the master scheme. Forget control. That is the bleak but true basis of independent cinema. Inch by motherfuking inch we must, because we have no other choice. more...

Coming Home had been made before and Apocalypse Now and Deer Hunter, different kinds of movies. more...

The secret to writing a screenplay is keeping your ass in the chair. more...

Independence is a state of mind. Independence is spirit without category. more...

Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, and why we died. All that matters is that today, two stood against many. Valour pleases you, so grant me this one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, the HELL with you! more...

Football is mesmerizing, because it's a figurative war. You go in one direction till you get there, but you get there as a team, not as an individual. Players bond whether they're black or white, much as soldiers do. more...

I went to Vietnam, and I was there for a long time. [Using marijuana] made the difference between staying human or, as Michael Douglas said, becoming a beast. more...

[Nixon] reduced the meaning of his life to nothing but power. In the film, we gave this sad figure consciousness of what he was. We weren't right to do that - I don't think he did have that consciousness. But we did it for movie reasons - to create empathy. more...

The truth is not being aired in the West. It's a surreal perversion of history that's going on once again, as in Bush pre-Iraq 'WMD' campaign. more...

I've liked different women at different times in my life. I've been attracted to white women. I've been attracted to black women. I've been attracted to Asian women. I've been attracted to various subspecies of women. I can say with gratitude that I've been able to experiment. more...

The worst nightmare I ever had about Vietnam was that I had to go back. I woke up in a sweat, in total terror. more...

I like automatic weapons. I fought for my right to use them in Vietnam. more...

Greed-for lack of a better word-is good. Greed is right. Greed works. more...

Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another. This painting here. I bought it 10 years ago for 60 thousand dollars. I could sell it today for 600. The illusion has become real and the more real it becomes, the more desperately they want it. more...

Hell is the impossibility of reason. more...

I don't think most people in the US realize how important WikiLeaks is and why Julian's case needs support. more...

Films might get to you and your subconscious and make a little difference, but when the vigilante drum beats, the mob screams and the conformists go along with it. There have to be people who are non-conformists. more...

Nationalism and patriotism are the two most evil forces that I know of in this century or in any century and cause more wars and more death and more destruction to the soul and to human life than anything else. more...

Venezuela is a democratically elected government. These people who keep protesting are sore losers, more...

In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry. The fact that the Holocaust is still a very important, vivid and current matter today is, in fact, a great credit to the very hard work of a broad coalition of people committed to the remembrance of this atrocity - and it was an atrocity. more...

Each year, the The U.S. Army & its contractors SHOOT, STAB, MUTILATE, & KILL more than TEN THOUSAND live animals in cruel training exercises. more...

But I suppose film is distinctive because of its nature, of its being able to cut through time with editing. more...

In any film there's always a historical implication. more...

I think that many people in history who had power were bumped off because they had power. more...

I'd love to do historical pictures more, but I don't know if I can. more...

One of the joys of going to the movies was that it was trashy, and we should never lose that. more...

I would vote for the man who's lived life, who's done different occupations, who's been out in the real world and struggled to make a living, struggled to raise a family, struggled with life as it exists. So I'd vote for experience, honest experience. more...

One of my fantasies in my life has been that I was granted access with a camera to go back in time, and to film the actual campaign of Alexander crossing into India through Iran and Persia. more...

Well first of all you have to make the character strong so that people can follow that. And then hopefully that character can integrate with the background of the social situation that people can recognize. more...

I love films. I love fiction films, too. I do. I love making them, but it has to be the right one. Hopefully, I'll never become a director for hire. It's horrible to make a film that you're not really interested in. more...

I'm a dramatist. Dramatists have a right to look at history and interpret it the way they see it. more...

I suppose in our culture - in our lifetime - we've always enjoyed people who tell it straight. We like our presidents, our comedians, and our actors to do that . . . It's funny. You say that people prefer a tasteful formalism - as opposed to an oppressive formalism - but I do feel very strongly that form follows function. more...

I have skipped from style to style from film to film, and I love doing that because it's given me the ability to free myself from the past. Perhaps one of the worst feelings that I can have is the feeling that I'm locked in, like a prisoner of myself, which is something we all feel at some point in our lives. So part of making those stylistic jumps is just to free myself up-to get away from the old or the old Oliver Stone. more...

When I make a new movie, I always get stuck with, "That's not an Oliver Stone film." But I don't know what to do about that except just move on. more...

I wish that George W. Bush had gone to Vietnam, because he would have seen history in a different light. He would've experienced it in a different light because I don't think he understood the nature of war. more...

Obama took a bad situation and, in certain ways, made it worse. ... I find Obama scary in a way that I had not done in 2008. more...

I might as well be myself. Everyone else is taken. more...

We should look to (Castro) as one of the Earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult. more...

My protest against digital has been me saying, "What's going to happen to film?" The result is that Kodak is out of business. That's a national tragedy. We've got to keep making film. more...

You don't always have to have an e-book. You can have a real book. I'd like to see the old way maintain. more...

I'm going to hold onto my Blu-ray collection because I really think it's hardware and it's important. I don't want to live in a cloud, all my life. more...

We all have idealism. We think we're healthy and then, all of a sudden, one day, you have cancer. The truth has a mind of its own. more...

Unfortunately, the truth is that people do go scot-free and it's unfair. A lot of the top drug people who have been arrested are also free. more...

By creating false environment of a war on drugs, and cruel and unusual punishment with these crimes, 50% of our U.S. population is in jail without having hurt anybody, mostly for drugs. more...

We are seeing entertainment become politics and we're seeing people acting out in ways that are extremely violent and destabilizing. No rules apply. We're in an era of no rules now, it seems. more...

I make my films like you're going to die if you miss the next minute. You better not go get popcorn. more...

Bin Laden was completely protected by the oil companies in this country who told [President] Bush not to go after him because it would piss off the Saudis. more...

What scares me most about the media is that so many of them don't realize that by presenting and highlighting certain issues, opinions, and perspectives over others, they can manipulate and control people's beliefs in subtle ways. more...

Everyone in the world is impacted by the United States' Big Brother attitude toward the world. We need countries to say no to the United States. The United States is the dominant power in the universe, with its eavesdropping abilities, cyber abilities. And the world is in danger with our tyranny. more...

Conspiracy nut, leftist, madman. These are terms of dismissal so you don't have to listen to the argument. It would be healthier and more fun to hear what someone has to say. more...

The truth is not being aired in the West. It's a surreal perversion of history that's going on once again, as in Bush pre-Iraq "WMD" campaign. more...

[When making movies I] set out to be authentic to [myself] and to put it down the way [I] feel it and know it and interpret it. And then others sometimes key into it and get it. more...

[Fidel Castro] has a very good [human rights] record. more...

What Chavez has done [in Venezuela] is that he has brought extreme poverty to an end. more...

I couldn't despise a man more than George W. Bush. more...

There is nothing inherently wrong with greed as a human motivator-greed motivating evolution. more...

Obama is now fighting for his life. He's fighting for a federal government. I believe in a federal government. I hope it sticks around. We had the American Revolution. There was this whole tension between the federalists and the anti-federalists. Then we had the Civil War. We had Lincoln fighting for it. And the secessionists were there. And we have the same issue today. more...

writing = ass + chair more...

The first casualty of war is innocence. more...

I may have disparaged the idea that people are looking at films on smaller and smaller screens... it's a shame that people have to watch DVDs with the lights on in a television-type situation where people are wandering in and out of the room. Movies are different from television, and you cannot watch movies like television. It distorts it. more...

Each actor requires a different language. more...

When I'm working with another writer, I tend to make a lot of effort. When I collaborate with a writer, I'm not interested in credit, but I'm feeding him stuff all the time that I feel is important to shaping the script. more...

I love the act of writing. I like the quiet, internal aspect of it. If I lost track of that, I couldn't direct the same way. I couldn't be a director for-hire; it's just not my nature. more...

The past assumes the nature of the present. more...

I'm a history person; I love history. But I am conditioned by the present. more...

I don't want to make a half-assed film. It's not my area of expertise. more...

All the Greek mythic heroes had gone east, but they were myths. Achilles was a myth. Perseus, Theseus, Hercules... they probably existed in some form. But they all went east. That's where a Greek went to make his bones so to speak. And Alexander the Great was the first man who actually went east not to plunder, not to loot and come back to Greece - which is where the Macedonians wanted to go back with the money. He stayed. And he became half-Eastern. more...

Get the overall. Some of my films may have been crude at times, or tough, or missed the points, but I've tried to get the overall in. I think that's more important. You may miss a thing or two, but you move faster. If you can do it in three takes, do it in three takes. more...

I think you should do rehearsal and work at it, but when the camera rolls, you should be ready. Try to make it good the first time. more...

I knew that one day I would come to this point that I would make something so outrageous and so ambitious that... it'd be that Don Quixote feeling, that I'd have to tilt at a windmill. Sometimes you've got to do it. That's the only way you can do things. more...

I think you can maintain two tracks. I think you have to. That's what this kind of filmmaking is about. If you're not aware of the limitations of what you're up against... it's like a general: you have to know your artillery and you have to know your infantry. You have to know what you have. You have to marshal your forces and use them well. It comes down to the personal and the intimate, but at the same time you have to have the big picture. more...

Television has usurped everybody from film. And so have commercials, by the way. more...

For some reason, television still bores me. Even the best shows. more...

A lot of the good cameraman who we used are doing television work; they're doing commercials for a lot of money. And the commercials look incredible. But what's it about? I made three major commercial campaigns. I enjoyed it, I experimented with it, and at the end of the day I felt no satisfaction. It was like having a fast food lunch. more...

You always try to find the right style for the movie. That's the key. more...

Every movie requires its own style. Just be honest to the story. Tell the story in the best possible way that is different, exciting and original. more...

With television, the image has been degenerated, no question. With the internet, commercials... people are much too cynical about image. It's stale. And all over the world, not just America. more...

When I go to the movies, and I have to sit through ten previews of films that look [alike] and tell the whole story, you know that we've reached an age of consensus. And consensus is the worst thing for us. We all agree to agree. That's where we lose it as a culture. We have to move away from that. more...

You can never judge how the film will be taken; you can only make your best effort, and put out what you feel. How it's read, you never can tell. Or remembered for that matter. more...

Anyone can relate to suffering in this world. more...

Nixon identified himself as a crisis-laden man. He'd reach levels of victory and then he'd plunge into defeat. He was vice president, then he lost to Kennedy, then he lost the California governorship. Then came a great comeback and then he blew it again - and the next comeback, after he lost the presidency. He was a man who needed the feeling of walking the precipice. more...

Pat Nixon was called the Mona Lisa of American politics. She never wrote anything. Her interviews tell us nothing. more...

Gore Vidal said "Nixon is us, we are Nixon." I think we have to acknowledge that combination of idealism and sleaze; we want to be better than we are, and we sometimes don't face up to the real questions. more...

A life like Nixon's is filled with shame and filled with glory. He loved to quote Teddy Roosevelt: "He was a man; sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but he was a man." I love that line. more...

Horses are very difficult to shoot. more...

I am a storyteller, and I do love ideas. more...

I'm trying to understand my life. The one that I've experienced. more...

We all know what we know. We experience with our minds and breath. more...

What I've experienced, I'm trying to put in a narrative form, I suppose, to say that it does make sense in this way. more...

I look at Homer and The Odyssey and all the disparate adventures this guy goes through, and then he returns home and the question is, is he the same man who left? more...

I think our life is a series of adventures. more...

There is a narrative to every life, and I believe in the classic mode of storytelling that goes back to Homer and carries through to today. more...

The Greek playwrights, we're all beholden to them, every one of us. more...

Now, we live in an age where we have so much information that we do tend to overload. The Greeks did too, though. more...

Cynicism was a school in Greece - the Cynics. Diogenes is a famous Cynic. There was a strong belief in nihilism and narcissism. Those are old schools too. more...

We could learn a lot from the ancients, and we should go back there. more...

My ego is nothing - look what Alexander the Great achieved. And I felt he was a figure outside time, a figure we don't even understand, because he's frankly pre-Christian, and his concepts of honor go back to Homer. more...

I guess you could say Alexander the Great was a man who completely transported me and moved me and inspired me because of his idealism, and I'd go back to the Greeks, and I always liked Homer and all the philosophers and their way of thinking and their concept of honor. I think their concept of honor does apply to the modern age, and certain people that walk around are pre-Christian. more...

Just because we live in a Christian era doesn't mean we're all Christian, necessarily. more...

Christianity did take a lot of Greek concepts. more...

Concepts of integrity and heroism and honor are still important to the world today. Some people behave well, and some people behave badly. more...

I'm interested, I suppose, in tortured power. more...

I think a lot of people misunderstand what I'm doing, because my films are not easy sometimes. They do deserve a second viewing. I think they get misunderstood easily. more...

People are still living in the moment, and they feel the passion of now. more...

You get much more heat when you do something current. more...

As a dramatist, I don't have politics. more...

I do have a side as a citizen, and I've always expressed it, and that's where I've gotten into misunderstandings, because some people see me as a leftist nut or whatever. A conspiracy nut. All that stuff. These are definitions that don't really apply to a dramatist, because a dramatist is working from empathy. more...

Every time you go into a movie, you go into the point of view of who it is about. more...

I've seen my kids' work at school, and I think they're better than when I was young, 'cause I was brainwashed into anti-Communism. This is a much more interesting view of history than I've ever seen, and I hope to God it works. It's classic history, classically told. No talking heads. Just pure archival footage and a storyline. more...

I see films in theaters, and I enjoy films. I enjoy the art of storytelling, and the different ways to tell them. more...

I've changed my style constantly, so I'm not sure I have one defined style, except perhaps style of subject matter. But you learn as you go, I suppose. more...

I'm more comfortable with simplicity as I get older. more...

I feel like I am what I am. more...

I'd rather get past the tyranny of now, where you get judged for something based on what's happening at the moment. more...

There is this thing about time that you can't see at the time you're at. more...

People should really horde their Blu-rays like old comic books and baseball cards. Because they're really beautiful, and will be worth something if you like movies as I do. more...

If you make the movie from your heart and it stands over time, that's what matters to me. more...

I can see a movie and believe the story and characterization and stay proud of it. It doesn't change. Even if it's unappreciated, that doesn't mean it can't be appreciated in the future. more...

I think there's a whole older generation that will go to movies still. People like me; people over 45. more...

People will go to clean theaters; they don't like to go to dirty theaters. more...

In digital, you can maintain the quality. more...

I think any filmmaker will tell you when they wandered from theater to theater to watch their prints, it was disheartening to see the poor levels of light and the disrespect for films that existed in certain theater chains. It was always inconsistent. And in the lab, too, the photochemical process was very difficult to watch, because sometimes they were shipping prints that you didn't even know were two points off or three points off. We suffered greatly to make these films, and they'd be out-of-focus, with the sound too low. more...

Now with digital, we have much better projection, and if the theaters are charging higher prices but providing refreshments and a clean, well-lit theater, there's no reason why this cannot go on as a senior-citizen-driven business for years. Especially with movies for adults. more...

I think everyone has the same question on their mind: Is the glass half-full or half-empty? more...

We have enormous challenges in front of us. more...

Every day that you get up, it's some kind of victory if you're making a good product, or working on a project that can only help mankind. more...

We pray for no destruction, and for the forces of destruction not to take over. more...

We're all divided, but some of us have children, and we are invested in the future and would like to see good things happen. more...

The second [presidential] term changes, and I think that John F. Kennedy certainly ran on that and he knew that second term would give him oxygen, and he needed it. Unfortunately, he didn't get there. more...

This myth that America has this atomic bomb that makes us right, it makes us good, it makes us set the agenda for the world. Everywhere, we can go global, we determine. more...

When you look at the global situation, if America learned to be one of the many countries in the world and to find its way to cooperate with people and bring a global peace that could bring great prosperity to this globe, there is still a chance of that, and that's a big lesson from history. We are not paying attention to that. more...

If we [Americans] are a strong people, a united people, why do we always have to hear how great we are? What is this self-love? Where does this come from? It got worse, because after the war we thought we'd won it. That's the first myth. Frankly, Russia won it. The Soviet Union sacrificed far greater form than anyone else to win that war. Secondly, we had the atomic bomb. We should not have dropped it on Japan. We did as an example to the Soviets, not to defeat Japan and to save American lives. These are myths that we explode with a lot of research early on. more...

What needs to happen is more of a global understanding, and I believe the United States can work as a global partner and not be the hegemon. more...

Kennedy was significantly different than Eisenhower before him, and different from Johnson after him. So those three years were the beginning of a detente with the Soviet Union, a new feeling for peace, a seeking out of a new ally with the Soviet Union - the end of the Cold War, as Kennedy called it in his American University speech. more...

JFK was leading the world, leading the United States into a new position with the Soviet Union. He was calling for the end of the Cold War. He would have been reelected in 1964 because he was vastly popular. more...

Many films are forgotten and deserve to be, but others glom onto the DNA and they keep a share of the collective consciousness. It's a profound question: What are we here for? What is the purpose, the sum effect of our work? more...

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that. more...

I think experience will teach you a combination of liberalism and conservatism. We have to be progressive and at the same time we have to retain values. We have to hold onto the past as we explore the future. more...

Anybody who's been through a divorce will tell you that at one point. they've thought murder. The line between thinking murder and doing murder isn't that major. more...

I will come out with my interpretation. If I'm wrong, fine. It will become part of the debris of history, part of the give and take. more...

I do believe there are leaders who are like lightning and they come along and they lead. The Lincolns of the world, the Alexander the Greats, they do exist. They have existed. more...

I've been to war, and it's not easy to kill. It's bloody and messy and totally horrifying, and the consequences are serious. more...

There's an electrical thing about movies. more...

I study history in order to give an interpretation. more...

I'm terrible at horror movies, by the way. I get scared so easily. more...

It's interesting that when economic times were the hardest, that's when many people embraced liberalism. more...

Fear may very well be a caveman fear of the predator, of the giant lizard chasing them - maybe that's what Steven Spielberg connects with so well in Lost World. more...

I do believe that movies are subject to a million interpretations. more...

A woman can be very beautiful and an ideal model and she will photograph incredibly well, but she'll appear in film and it won't work. What works is some fusion of physical beauty with some mental field or whatever you call it. I don't know. more...

I am not trying to be a historian and a dramatist; I'm a dramatist, a dramatic historian, or one who does a dramatic interpretation of history. more...

I never put out a history, I put out a dramatic history. more...

Lunch is for wimps. more...

When you look at a movie, you look at a director's thought process. more...

I have the right to interpretation as a dramatist. I research. It's my responsibility to find the research. It's my responsibility to digest it and do the best that I can with it. But at a certain point that responsibility will become an interpretation. more...

But in answer to your question about the conspiracy angle, I think that any historian worth his salt, and this is where I fault Stephen Ambrose and a lot of these guys who attack me - not all of life is a result of conspiracy by any means! Accident occurs alongside conspiracy. more...

I've met people who will go to a movie that I can't stand and they say that they saw that movie ten times. There's something they like and identified in that movie, and I don't see it. more...

I'd like to do a story about the medieval ages where in every scene you'd sort of feel that you were in the 12th century. That would be great to get that feeling. more...

If anything, if you can get somebody interested in something and get them excited, that's great. You should be praised for having opened the debate and having asked the right questions. more...

When I was a child, I'd see a movie, I took it for what it was, I enjoyed it. And if I believed it I would tend to be more interested in knowing more about it. more...

You do the best job you can. You take it step by step. It's hard enough to make a movie. If it works, that's great. If it means something beyond the moment to somebody, they can take it and it lasts through the years, we'll see. more...

You're not a historian, but most historians will tell you that they make very discrete judgment as to what facts to omit in order to make their book into some shape, some length that can be managed. more...

I'd like to be honest to my time, and I lived from 1946, and I want to understand why our country, which I love so much, and was a great country when I was young, it seemed, became this monster vampire on the face of humanity- a vampire squid, to quote Matt Taibbi, sucking out the juices of all mankind. Why? It's a basic question. more...

I was lost, and that war [in Vietnam] was very alienating - not that I was against it or for it, but I was just lost after that war. As were many Americans. more...


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