Gary Collinson selects his Five Essential Films of Ridley Scott…
In a journey that's taken him from South Shields to Hollywood, Ridley Scott has earned a reputation as one of the most accomplished visual filmmakers working today. The founder of advertising agency Ridley Scott Associates (responsible for the classic 1974 Hovis advert) and production company Scott Free with younger brother Tony, Scott is a three time Academy Award nominee with global box office receipts in excess of $2 billion.
With his latest film Robin Hood opening in May [trailer here] and Scott Free Productions’ The A-Team arriving this summer [trailer here], we present our Five Essential Films of Ridley Scott...
5. Black Hawk Down (2001)
A dramatic retelling of the Battle of Mogadishu, with a squad of American Soldiers squaring off against thousands of Somali militia when Black Hawk helicopters are shot down during operations to capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Borrowing heavily from the visual style of Saving Private Ryan, the film gave Scott his third Academy Award nomination and features a host of familiar faces including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Tom Sizemore and Orlando Bloom.
4. American Gangster (2007)
Another take on true events, American Gangster sees Scott enter the genre of the crime epic with Denzel Washington starring as drug lord Frank Lucas. Coming up with the ingenious plan of importing a new strain of Heroin direct from Vietnam and undercutting the competition, Lucas soon rises to the top of the food chain as Detective Richie Roberts leads a task force to bring his empire down. American Gangster stands as the director’s third highest-grossing film to date, although it also received its share of criticism with regards to the sympathetic portrayal of Lucas.
3. Gladiator (2000)
After mixed results with previous historical efforts The Duellists (his debut, which was well received) and 1492: Conquest of Paradise (not so well received), Scott enjoyed his biggest success with the 2000 sword-and-sandals epic Gladiator. Russell Crowe shines as Maximus, former Protector of Rome, who sets out to gain revenge for the death of his family at the hands of double-crossing Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). It was a return to form for the director after a difficult run in the 90s and banked over $450m globally, along with five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
2. Alien (1979)
Originally entitled Star Beast, screenwriter Dan O'Bannon's tale of a hostile alien creature that picks off the crew of the towing ship Nostromo one-by-one made a star of its lead Sigourney Weaver and propelled Scott into the Hollywood A-list. Aided considerably by H. R. Giger's unique designs and the successful (and shocking) blend of horror and sci-fi, Alien proved a hit both critically and commercially and launched a lucrative franchise that continues to this day. Coincidently, Scott is currently attached to direct a proposed prequel from 20th Century Fox.
1. Blade Runner (1982)
Scott's third feature (and second consecutive sci-fi) is a visual masterpiece that presents a highly stylised and wonderfully realised vision of a future Los Angeles. Harrison Ford is Rick Deckard, a 'blade runner' responsible for tracking down genetically engineered 'replicants' who have escaped from their off-world colony and returned to Earth in search of their creator. Based on the Philip K. Dick short Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the film tested poorly and a number of changes were enforced, opening to poor reviews and box office failure. A 1992 Director's Cut and 25th anniversary Final Cut did much to rectify the situation, with Blade Runner now rightly regarded as a classic of its genre.
The Duellists (1977)
Black Rain (1989)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Body of Lies (2008)
Five Essential Films of Tony Scott
Hard to Replicate: A Ridley Scott Profile
Short Film Showcase - Boy and Bicycle (1965)
Agree? Disagree? We'd love to hear your comments on the list...