Today marks the 50-year anniversary of one of the most fateful days in history -- the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963. Oliver Stone's name became synonymous with controversy when he took on the Warren Commission's findings and illuminated the wild conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination in J.F.K., released in 1991. Looking back, the Oscar-winning filmmaker tells ETonline that the film made such a combustible cultural impact that it would dramatically change his life "forever" -- to the point of frustration.
"The film raised a lot of hackles, as you know -- it changed my life," says Stone. "I went from being a Vietnam War director to being a controversial figure forever, and I never would be able to make another movie again, ever -- even a crime movie like Savages, or Any Given Sunday, about football -- without having something questioned about my makeup. It was frustrating."
Timed to the momentous anniversary, the 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector's Edition of J.F.K. is now out on Blu-ray, and in discussing his highly charged film, Stone surprisingly reveals that he was politically conservative as a young man in 1963 when, as a boarding school student and a republican, he heard about Kennedy's assassination.
"I disapproved of Kennedy's liberal policies," he says with a smile. "Since then, of course, I've come completely about-face." Recalling being "stunned" by Jim Garrison's tale of his involvement with the Warren Commission and alleged Kennedy conspiracy, Stone shares, "It opened my eyes; the illogicity of the Warren Commission was clear. The impossibility of having one gunman doing that kind of shooting cried out for outrage."
Stone also revisits the 35th president and his place in history in his audacious look at U.S. and world history, The Untold History of the United States
, out on Blu-ray now. Detailing the complex moments and patterns of history from the World War II era to present day, the 10-part documentary was written with his teen daughter in mind
, and changed his perspective on Kennedy yet again.
"We looked at Kennedy a second time and we come up with even more favorable remarks than we made in [J.F.K.] -- we find that Kennedy's one of the great presidents," says Stone. "The [assassination] was a significant setback for the forces of peace."
The J.F.K. 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector's Edition includes the Director's Cut of the film with 17 additional minutes not seen in theaters, and features three captivating documentaries: Oliver Stone’s JFK: To the Brink from The Untold History of the United States; the brand-new JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later; and John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, named one of the Ten Best Films of 1965 by the National Board of Review. The new box set also includes the feature film drama PT 109, a 44-page J.F.K. movie photo book, a 32-page book of famous quotations, and commemorative items from the Kennedy Presidential Library, including collectible reproductions of family and presidential photos, a campaign poster from the 1960 presidential campaign, and a copy of Kennedy's historic inaugural address.