The 10 Best Oliver Stone Films - Rolling Stone
Home Movies Movie Lists

The 10 Best Oliver Stone Films

From ‘Scarface’ to ‘W.,’ the writer-director’s most essential big-screen works

Oliver Stone

© 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy Everett Collection; © Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection; Mary Evans/MCA-UNIVERSAL/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

There is no one typical Oliver Stone movie, but he does have a few signature moves – all-star casts, big themes and a feeling of ambition that can make for wildly entertaining films. His newest, Savages, is a return to such kinetic crime epics as U Turn and Natural Born Killers, but his movies have gone all over the world. Here are 10 of the best, in chronological order.

any given sunday

© Warner Brothers/Courtesy Everett Collection


Any Given Sunday (1999)

Pro football seems a step down in ambition for Stone, but this is an oddly enjoyable picture, notable for a couple of things: Al Pacino chewing his way, post-Heat-style, through his role as coach Tony D'Amato, the metal vs. hip-hop divide between the black and white players, James Woods as a corrupt team doctor, hits that sound like car crashes, Lawrence Taylor looking too old for his part and a really, really, too old Dennis Quaid as an aging quarterback. But it's best known as the dramatic film debut of Jamie Foxx, who does a hypnotic job as quarterback "Steamin'" Willie Beamen.


© Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection


W. (2008)

There's something weirdly a priori about Oliver Stone making a movie about George W. Bush. The whole enterprise had a "well, sure" quality about it, especially when Stone zigged instead of zagged and W. turned out to be not an all-out assualt, but a low-key, reasonably sympathetic snapshot of a man who looked to be on a path for anything but the job he ended up in. The third of Stone's presidential trilogy, check it out for Josh Brolin as the Chief Executive – the man does know his way around mutant Texas accents (see also Men in Black III and No Country for Old Men). Ironic/stunt casting alert: Hollywood lefto Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney!

oliver stone SAVAGES

François Duhamel/© Universal Pictures



Three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone returns to the screen with the ferocious thriller Savages, featuring the all-star ensemble cast of Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and Demian Bichir. The film is based on Don Winslow's best-selling crime novel that was named one of The New York Times' Top 10 Books of 2010.

Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable marijuana producer, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry — raising some of the best weed ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town … until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them.

When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon — with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta) — wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills.

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.