Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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History and the Movies; Conversation with Oliver Stone, 4/17/97 by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas. Archival photos in this interview are courtesy of Oliver Stone.

Archival photos are courtesy of Mr. Stone.

Welcome to a "Conversation with History." I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest is Oliver Stone, who makes movies as a producer, screenwriter, and director. His movies, Platoon, Born of the Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon, Between Heaven and Earth, and Salvador, to name a few, are in a sense, conversations with history. Intense, provocative, thoughtful, they are cinema which jolts our senses and stretches our imagination, forcing us to confront our delusions about who we are. Mr. Stone has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards and has won 3 Oscars for writing Midnight Express and directing Born of the Fourth of July and Platoon. Mr. Stone served in Vietnam, was wounded twice, and received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

  1. Movie Magic ... influences ... elements of a great movie
  2. A Distinctive Art Form ... compression of time ... individual interpretation ... the collective unconscious ... chemistry
  3. Experience, Sensation, and Catharsis ... history in the movies ... beyond conventional opinion ... film and authentic feelings
  4. Forgotten Chapters in History ... Capra and the Depression era ... telling the story of Roosevelt's last term
  5. Dramatizing History (1) ... telling the Vietnam story ... historical context ... dramatic narrative vs. historical narrative ... the movie as a "first draft" of history ... movies as illusions
  6. Dramatizing History (2) ... research ... selecting the facts ... Stone and the establishment ... political philosophy .... the great man in history and the strength of the people ... "the beast" ... conspiracy ... Kennedy
  7. Characterization and Structure ... character vs. plot development ... tearing down the veil of television's "reality" ... the Zapruder film ... Nixon as Richard II
  8. Artistic Purpose and Tradition ... warring interpretations and the vanity of historians
  9. Conclusion ... role of the filmmaker ... role of movies

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