February 24, 2014 in Features

Oliver Stone rates top boomer films

Oliver Stone For AARP/McClatchy-Tribune

Director Oliver Stone picks the movies he thinks define the boomer generation:

“The Graduate” (1967): One of the first movies to address young people as an entity unto themselves – a new form of species, dislocated, alienated. The thought of working in the plastics business was smothering.

“Easy Rider” (1969): Freedom, motorcycles, long hair, and a general contempt for the Southern rednecks who were fighting in Vietnam.

“A Clockwork Orange” (1971): Anarchic and innovative. It respected youth, as divorced from the state. And because we were in an anti-authoritarian age, we embraced it. Many of us anyway. I think a lot of people didn’t know what the hell was going on.

“The Godfather” Parts 1 and 2 (1972 and 1974): Perhaps the most significant films of the boomer age. “The Godfather” broke open everything. In ’72, I had just gotten out of film school. I was a cabdriver. That movie was setting the standard. It made you want to do better.

“Jaws” (1975): That summer was incredible. We were young and in the prime of our 1970s mischief. And here was the ultimate enemy. Spielberg in his true glory.

“All the President’s Men” (1976): A naked appeal to liberals who wanted to be free of Richard Nixon. It created a myth, in a way, that the press was so free. That probably did long-term damage because then the press went to sleep. But it was wonderfully made. Here was a film about office work. A lot of desks.

“Annie Hall” (1977): For me, it was the first woman’s film, although many had been made at that time because feminism was popular in the late ’60s and early ’70s. But “Annie Hall” made this quirky heroine more available to everybody.

“Apocalypse Now” (1979): It made Vietnam into opera. Grand opera. Although, as I pointed out later, when I did my movie about Vietnam, it wasn’t really very compassionate toward the Vietnamese.

“Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979): You had two great actors, (Meryl) Streep and (Dustin) Hoffman. But it was a small film, a wonderfully rendered story of a divorce and how it impacted the child.

“Reds” (1981): One of my personal favorites. Beatty and Keaton as lovers. It was never a big commercial hit, but it was a liberating movie.

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