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. He clearly has no idea what he’s talking about.

  2. I see his point. Straying too far from authenticity can cheapen certain themes, ideas, and actions. But he’s got to remember that film, tv, music, novels, ect are all story telling mediums. What is a story without a little embellishment?

    And Breaking Bad is damn good (even great) television. But the best? Come on now…

  3. Ah, the usual expected bit of cheesy dismissive “journalism’ here. Instead of piling on the snark and dismissing Stone’s credibility (a tactic taken directly from the Fox “News” playbook), this litttle fanboy would do better to study Stone’s comments in depth, rather than rushing to the defense of his paycheck’s promotion of all things Breaking Bad.

  4. I also thought the “magic machine gun” was not believable. It killed like 10 bad guys, but not any of the main characters who reserved for more important deaths a few minutes later. It did strain believability. I am glad some one said it.

    • You know that was a real machine gun, right? Yes, it was not very believable that the main characters were the ones that survived. But Oliver Stone is the LAST person to be complaining about this.

    • Wasn’t The Magic Machine Gun The Beatles follow-up album to mystery tour? I think it was a laced with suicide lyrics due to how sucky that film was…it also featured Paul in a bunny suit on the cover holding a banana in an explicit manner in Ringo’s mouth.
      John and George were absent because George had a potassium allergy and John had been beaten by his mom with the same rabbit everyday for a year as a child.

  5. Oliver Stone made an “authentic” football movie that featured a lineman throwing a LIVE ALLIGATOR into a locker room shower, an angry linebacker SAWING A HUMMER IN HALF, and a player LOSING AN EYEBALL at the bottom of a gang tackle…but hey, that violence worked on a thematic level, right? Right? What a f***ing clown…

    • He just wants to be relevant again. Aint gonna happen.

  6. Since the series presented a ‘real’ vision of the world, I think a fair analysis of the last episode would conclude that its ‘machine gun’ ending required too much suspension of belief.

    Maybe there was undue pressure, and expectation, on Mr. Gilligan for him to be able to see how to resolve the series adequately? Indeed, he opted for a conceptual solution that has more in common with a video game, than one would expect from a somber, adult entertainment, like Breaking Bad.

    • Or you’re just one of maybe five people in the world that (for whatever reason) thinks you can write a better finale for the show.

  7. This coming from the director of Natural Born Killers is beyond ridiculous. Oliver Stone is officially clown shoes.

  8. theres a reason you dont see directors like affleck and scorsese saying this kind of crap! because they dont nee to put other peoples work down just to make themselves feel better about their fading careers! they are making good movies and i would assume that they also appreciate another film makers incredible works of art!

    • Agreed!

  9. Oh Oliver Stone… and you were such a bad ass at one point. I think Oliver must think that everything that is on TV must be real… and movies can get away with more… Breaking Bad Final… AWESOME!!!

  10. Breaking Crazy starring Oliver Stone.

    Plot- A once great director looses his mind and desperately searches for a microphone.

  11. This motion in recent years of deeming “fantasy” stuff bad, and “realistic” as a big representative of overall quality is disturbing to me. Some of us don’t always want a high level of realism in everything we watch. If everything needed to be realistic, we wouldn’t need TV or movies, because we go through it in everyday life. People forget that a great method of escape from everyday life can be things like TV, movies, or games. Sometimes I want to see extraordinary things happen on screen, BECAUSE I know it wouldn’t be possible in real life, and that’s the only time I’d get to see something like that happen. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for realistic stories in the entertainment industry though. I’m just saying we need to get away from this modern idea that everything NEEDS to be realistic to be good.

  12. And all of his coming from the man who made Natural Born Killers??? Oh the hypocrisy!
    And judging a television series based on the last 15 minutes of the last episode is ridiculous. Maybe Mr. Stone should do some homework before he opens his mouth and sounds like some jackass.

  13. Apparently, Stone is entitled to both his own opinions and his own facts (see JFK).

    • Nice. Don’t forget the doors. Ray Manzareck, their organ player, said that the whole movie was total BS. The other living band members confirmed this.

  14. I guess Oliver Stone thinks there should be some government conspiracy thrown in there somewhere for it to be believable.

  15. I saw him in an interview on the Colbert Report promoting W. a few years back. The man will say just about anything to be “controversial.” If people hated the Breaking Bad finale, he would have loved it. He’d probably say The Godfather Part III is the best of the trilogy and that the new Star Wars movies are better than the old ones. It’s kinda pathetic. After over thirty years of very successful film-making, he still feels this compulsive need to wave his arms and scream to the whole world that he’s still important.

  16. Someone needs some attention! I guess not being relevant in years makes you have to attack something that people dig. Ironic isn’t it? He makes NBK then which puts him in the spot light, has a slump of crap then slams something that is a global phenomenon. Butt hurt he is.

  17. This garbage coming from the most overrated director in Hollywood… 90 percent of what he makes is drawn out trash (with the exception of Platoon and Natural Born Killers). He’s boring, predictable, exaggerated, and shamelessly topical. He’ll never be the Coen Brothers, Fincher, or Tarantino (he definitely wishes he was Tarantino, which was obvious when he made Savages), he doesn’t have the artistic talent or integrity. This guy needs to retire and apologize to everyone, especially Vince Gilligan.

  18. Didn’t Stone direct Natural born killers? He’s just mad he didn’t think of it first. I thought the ending od Breaking Bad was BAD ASS and so did everyone I know.

  19. jon t, you knocked it out with your observation of escapism. i’m with you on that. I loved the dark knight trilogy and man of steel. I realize as I look out my window that parts of my neighborhood are not being terraformed by general zod. but thanks oliver stone for keeping us honest. I failed to realize in my thirty years around that wonder woman and her amazons were hiding in plain sight. silly me.

    I’ve solely seen bits of savages and therefore I won’t criticize the film as I am uninformed of the greater whole of it ( see there mr. stone ), but a group of stoners and their good time girl nearly wiping out a drug cartel was a bit much for me. i’d have believe it if they have sent stone cold steve Austin or Michael dudikoff, maybe even wyatt earp, or why not Sigourney weaver. and it sure wasn’t demian bichir in that torture pit with his eyeball hanging ( this guy and eyeballs ).

    I loved the m60 scene in felina. sure it’s unbelievable, but I loved it. pure entertainment and escapism for me, nothing more. not a docudrama or an expose. just an hour plus of fiction for one sunday night.

  20. I should have said I won’t rate savages as a classic, or that it sucked entirely. but that like breaking bad there was some far out stuff going down in his film.

  21. The guy is totally right. Violence isn’t a real thing, it was invented for movie and TV and we should ban violence because then people might do it in real life.

    What planet is this guy from.

  22. Savages has more than a little in common with Breaking Bad, as does Scarface, a film referenced more than a few times in Breaking Bad and written by…Oliver Stone

  23. he’s just gutted he didn’t think of it, and he is another person who hasn’t seen the whole think from 1-5, these people drive me mad

  24. Wait a minute, Stone made provocative films about the atrocities in Vietnam, state sanctioned murder in El Salvador, the assassination of Kennedy and the sensationalist attention-seeking of the U.S. media, as well as giving a fawning interview with Castro, but he’s “pushed things too far” by complaining about a TV show currently enjoying its 15 minutes? Are you guys serious? That Stone tried to discredit the U.S. government, the banking system, third world dictators, cultural commentators, historians and the entire entertainment industry obviously doesn’t compare to a few vague comments made regarding a flash in the pan TV show that few people even watched? This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Then again, maybe it’s fair enough for the multi-Oscar winning writer of Scarface, Platoon, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July and Nixon to complain about the guy who wrote trash like Wilder Napalm, Home Fries and Hancock. I mean, it’s not like he’s attacking Strindberg.

  25. What Oliver Stone fails to realize is that in order to enjoy TV and Movies…one MUST temporarily suspend the notion of reality. If you don’t, then you will spend your time criticizing every unrealistic detail involved…which isn’t a good recipe for enjoyment. It’s entertainment…treat it as such. Oliver Stone above all should realize that. That being said…shut the hell up Stone! You’ve filled our culture with more than enough violence over the years and “fantasy” reality movies. Shut up and enjoy what someone else created.

  26. We are all guilty of skewing some movies that have plot holes or are unrealistic, and yet there are other movies or shows that we accept it without issue. I think what can make a huge difference is exceptional acting, writing and/or direction. Breaking Bad has all three. I think Oliver Stone is jealous and he has every right to be! Personally, I think more people care what Anthony Hopkins has to say over Oliver Stone (see link)