Oliver Stone Criticizes ‘Ridiculous’ ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale

Published 2 years ago by , Updated October 9th, 2013 at 5:19 am,

Oliver Stone Breaking Bad Oliver Stone Criticizes Ridiculous Breaking Bad Finale




Oliver Stone is no stranger to controversy. In fact, you could say the director’s more than three decade career thrives on it. But the three-time Academy Award winner may have pushed things too far when he recently criticized the finale of AMC’s beloved hit show, Breaking Bad.

During a press day to promote the release of his documentary The Untold History of the United States, Stone sounded off on the “fantasy violence” featured in the finale and why he believes similar depictions of violence have “infected the American culture.” You heard it right. Oliver Stone is criticizing someone else for violent content.

Now, it’s very easy to dismiss Stone’s comments as a simple case of the pot calling the kettle black. And the fact that Stone is making these controversial comments as he’s promoting his work (as if to say, “Hey everyone! Look at what I have to say! I’m important!”) doesn’t give them much credibility either. However, if you look at Stone’s full quote in context (via Forbes), he makes some defensible points.

Here are his comments below:

“There’s too much violence in our movies – and it’s all unreal to me. I don’t know if you saw the denouement [of 'Breaking Bad'], I happen to not watch the series very much, but I happened to tune in and I saw the most ridiculous 15 minutes of a movie – it would be laughed off the screen. Nobody could park his car right then and there and could have a machine gun that could go off perfectly and kill all of the bad guys! It would be a joke.

“It’s only in the movies that you find this kind of fantasy violence. And that’s infected the American culture; you young people believe all of this sh*t! Batman and Superman, you’ve lost your minds, and you don ‘t even know it! At least respect violence. I’m not saying don’t show violence, but show it with authenticity…

“If people think that bringing a machine gun to your last meeting is a solution to a television series that’s very popular, I think they’re insane. Something’s wrong. It’s not the world we know.”

The fact that Stone didn’t watch the series regularly and is only basing his opinion on the last 15 minutes of the final episode means his comments should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Was the machine gun a little bit of a Deus Ex Machina? Maybe. But whatever implausibility there may have been in the final sequence of the show, Vince Gilligan earned it by taking audiences on a compelling five-year journey that has led many to call Breaking Bad the greatest show in TV history.

So on the subject of Breaking Bad, Stone doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. That being said, his broader point is interesting. Is it credible when a filmmaker uses violence as a way to tie a nice bow on a story? Violence is messy and the decision to use it should come with consequences. The good guy shouldn’t always get to ride off into the sunset after shooting the bad guy.

breaking bad finale walt Oliver Stone Criticizes Ridiculous Breaking Bad Finale

Stone’s most recent film, Savages, was criticized by many for its excessive levels of violence. But Stone would likely argue that the violence in his film was appropriate and served more than just a basic narrative function, but worked on a thematic level. (Whether you agree with that assessment is up to you.)

At the end of the day, it’s just one man’s opinion and fans of Breaking Bad are going to (rightfully) tell Stone where he can stick it. If you can separate Stone’s bluster from his actual insights, however, you might actually have an interesting conversation.

What do you think? Is Stone’s assessment of violence in TV and movies accurate or do his comments stink of hypocrisy?


Breaking Bad: The Complete Series will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 26th, 2013.

Source: Forbes

Follow Rob Frappier on Twitter @robfrappier
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  1. Hey Oliver, your a tool mate, how bout writing the greatest show of all time ah, that’s right, you can’t do it!! You don’t even watch BB then you criticise the ending?? I mean seriously! Your a has been at best..

  2. Oh, it was all a dream anyways. A perfectly laid out fantasy of a man who was dying in his car…

    Or was it…?

    I need to spend more time with the colour scheme…

  3. Oliver Stone is/was never relevant anyway.

    He ranks right up there with Micheal Moore.

    He has no appreciable talent and can only get headlines with outragousness.

    Why people are even reporting what he said makes no sense either.

    • Couldn’t agree more – the guy used to be talented and used to provide some solid work, then drank way too much of his own kool aid, and has since gone off the deep end. Must resort to pontification to have his name heard anymore.

  4. Both men may have severe opions but stone at least has made great films

  5. What a dink. I am not a fan of Mr Stone. Violence is violence you toolbag. I watch TV and movies to be entertained. That is why I love fantasy. If I want realism I’ll flip over to the news or drive through the hood.

  6. Wrote Scarface.

    • And Conan the Barbarian…

  7. Was trying to see his point of view UNTIL “batman and superman”……He lost me

  8. They’re insane? He didnt watch Breaking Bad but he watched the ending. You just ruined the greatest tv show of all time for yourself you’re insane oliver stone

  9. He has a point about a “cop-out” kind of ending to a show that was for the most part brilliantly written.

    I’m not sure what point he is trying to make with Batman and Superman though. Those guys have been fantasy from the get-go, Mr. Stone. If you want authenticity, perhaps you shouldn’t be trying to find it in comic book movies.

  10. Stone lost all his artistic credibility when he sold out and made that atrocious film Savages. Which could ripped apart every 15 minutes for its terrible writing and execution. Then he has the nerve to make a lousy biased critical analysis based on watching 15 minutes of breaking bad? Yeah definitely a cheap sh

  11. Stone lost all his artistic credibility when he sold out and made that atrocious film Savages. Which could ripped apart every 15 minutes for its terrible writing and execution. Then he has the nerve to make a lousy biased critical analysis based on watching 15 minutes of breaking bad? Yeah definitely a cheap shot, an opportunity to promote his doc. Ill admit the man once had lots of talent and a some what strong filmography, still…no right to judge, especially coming from an ” artist “

  12. Although everyone has said it…Really Oliver Stone?!?!?!? You haven’t watched the show and suddenly your giving an opinion based on the ending??? This is also coming from the director that has giving us such “realistic violent movies” such as Natural Born Killers and Savages. Here is some advice for you Oliver Stone…stop whining and being all hurt because you haven’t had a great film since…drum roll please…over 15 years at best. Let the creators and writers of Breaking Bad have their moment for creating such an amazing show. Just stop being the has been want-a-be director that is jealous.

    On another note…Seriously Batman and Superman as an argument? Even the most die hard crazy fan boy can see that it is unrealistic. I think that Oliver Stone has lost his mind. Just keep making the terrible films that portray your vision of realistic violence, you will go down in history as a comedy and a clown to all; while Vince Gilligan will be remembered as a master of creating one of the best t.v. dramas in years.

  13. Batman and Superman aren’t real?…damn…I owe my wife a dollar…

    • Just a dollar? I have a whole life to rethink.

  14. Ok so he is basing his opinion off of the last 15 minutes. What a dink! Only if he decided to sit down and watch the show he would of realized it was a true Breaking Bad style ending. The series finale didn’t deviate from the show at all. Now lets look at Oliver Stone. When was the last time you actually saw a movie he has done and you were like yeah that’s pretty dam good. I’m going to go head and say not since the early 90′s when Platoon came out. This movie was over the top violence and silly at best but enjoyable. It is the pot calling the kettle black on this statement he gave but Vince had a great story behind his mayhem. Oliver Stone is like Michael Bay with a chip on his shoulder. At least Bay knows he is making ridiculous and often hilarous(not in a good way.) action movies and embraces it.

  15. I’m making my own living just spamming full time…Basically just sniffing paste…glazed here! passedout69com

    • +1 haha

  16. who cares what os has to say lol honestly if i was washe up id stir up controversy to get people talking about me too! this isnt even his real opinion its a sad excuse to get his name in a paper! go hang out with pauly shore buuuuu-dy!

    • Agreed!

    • Exactly Lol

  17. I do respect Stone profusely as the director of Natural Born Killers, a film not known for its realistic violence, yet one that makes each and every kill feel important and does as much to make violent actions demanding on a psychological level, not just some kind free gratification.

    I do agree with him on the violence of BB being for the most part shallow and constantly thought the writers room was tasked to wrap each season with something to satisfy the violence seeking audience.

    I do think however that BB managed to bring classy pulp with all of its drawbacks and its success was based on the showrunners understanding of this characteristic, so I don’t think for a second that all this meta conversation was lost on Vince and co. Kudos to them, no matter how ludicrous the action or violence were, there was always a deeper show to be had for us willing to take a trip around Walt’s physique.

  18. Who is he to criticize. Sure he has won 3 Oscars, but the only award attention he has received lately is from the Razzies. Like Sean said he is just trying to get attention.

  19. this is what happens when you get old..everything sucks..your grumpy at the world

  20. dude needs to know his place. Hyper-violent was shown in “Savages” and a lot more of his films, so he has NO room to talk..

    He also has no room to talk if he hasn’t seen the entire show, he’s only seen the finale and is trying to project his “opinion” on the show? GTFO.

  21. Breaking Bad is one of the best shows ever and in my opinion had one of the greatest endings of all time. Without it, it wouldn’t have ended so well at least in my opinion

  22. Walter White has obviously seen Saw 3D.

  23. Can’t really take his comments seriously if he hasn’t seen (most of) the show.
    Criticizing something that’s, in my opinion, a work of art but having little understanding of the larger context and hardly any clarity on the full “picture” doesn’t help to cement said criticisms.

    I wonder how he’d feel if someone watched one of his movies, gets up to do something else halfway through, comes back after 30 minutes to watch the last bit and then goes off to criticize the movie and say negative things about it… it ain’t exactly fair.

    Of course the man can say whatever he thinks, but this isn’t very classy of him. I’m guessing it’s mainly about free publicity for his documentary though :/

  24. Ever see Natural Born Killers? I seem to remember a little bit of fantasy violence in it, just a little…

  25. sounds like someone is jealous that they aren’t getting as much praise as they use to. Poor poor oliver. What as sad little man.

  26. i hate when peoples argument for why something isn’t good in a show or movie is because it “can’t” happen, or “would never happen” in real life. but even putting aside the fantasy element the inherently comes with story telling, to say that rigging that machine gun with a remote in the trunk and mowing down all the bad guys could never happen, is idiotic. sure its a long shot on walts part, everything had to come together perfectly for it to pay off, but theres no reason to say that if all the parts of his plan came together that it couldn’t theoretically work. maybe we need a mythbusters episode?

  27. Oliver Stone was a great writer and director in the 80′s and most of the 90′s, but it’s been almost 20 years since the man made a great movie. Savages was pure garbage. Not to mention if he’s talking about over doing it with violence to the point of not being realistic anymore then he should watch the end of Scarface, not saying it’s bad, but it’s defiantly violent and unrealistic.

  28. “It’s only in the movies that you find this kind of fantasy violence.”

    Well, duh.

  29. I loved the finale — sobbed out loud during the scene w/ Walt despairingly watching Flynn hobble into the house — and our of his life, forever. Simply emotionally devestating. (I’m a father of three sons, so that sequence really struck a nerve with me). But I have to admit, I wish the closing ten minutes had dialed it back just a bit — I thought the machine gun gimmick and perfeclty-timed phone call from Lydia were a bit too, uncharacteristically “Hollywood”, too dramatically tidy for a show that stayed relatively grounded for most of its existence. Maybe a bomb in the car or some kind of poison gas Walt had whipped up (a la the ricin in Lydia’s sweetener)? Small gripe, however. I loved it and have been mulling over it, and the show’s cautionary lessons, for a week and a half now.