Ridley Scott is one of the most celebrated filmmakers in Hollywood right now. He is a three-time Academy Award-nominated director, with a film winning the Oscar for Best Picture (Gladiator). Scott made his debut with the 1977 film The Duellists, that went on to win the Best Debut Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He is the kind of film-maker who likes to dabble in all kinds of genres, and eke success out of them. Though his favourite genre seems to be science fiction. If his breakout film, Alien, was science fiction meets horror, Blade Runner was science fiction that deals with existential themes. His last big hit, The Martian, merged science fiction with a survival drama. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Team Up for a Project After Two Decades, Will Play Medieval Knights in Ridley Scott's Adaptation of The Last Duel.
Apart from these sci-fi films, Scott ventured into other genres with Thelma & Louise (drama/thriller), Legend (fantasy), Gladiator (historical action drama), Matchstick Men (heist) et al. On November 30, 2019, Ridley Scott is turning 82. And yet his passion for making films, that too good ones, is not slowing down.
On this special occasion, we list down ten of our favourite Ridley Scott movies that are a must-watch!
Many consider the sequel to be a superior film, but the first Alien movie is an awesomely terrifying platform to set a franchise that ruled for four decades.
The icky creature effects, the foreboding atmosphere, the flawed human characters and a badass lead in Sigourney Weaver's Ripley - Alien has it all. And years later, we can't still can't get over the shocking moment of seeing an alien bursting out Kane's (John Hurt) chest.
Perhaps, there is no other movie in the world that has so many edits and cuts. But if you have to watch Blade Runner, definitely go for Director's Cut, that is closer to Scott's vision for the film.
Set in a dystopian future, Blade Runner is about a policeman trying to get hold of rogue replicants that escaped from human confines and looking for ways to extend their shelf lives. Visually spectacular and possessing a narrative that deals with existential themes, Blade Runner may not be for all, but once you are invested in the proceedings, you will want to discuss a lot about what you just saw.
When we talk about Tom Cruise movies, Legend doesn't usually creep into the conversation much. Yet, this fantasy flick is a dark but delightful watch that has a young Cruise take on a witch lord from plunging the world into eternal darkness.
While Cruise is charming as usual accompanied by a pretty Mia Sara, the scene-stealer is Tim Curry as the main satanic antagonist. Like some of the films in this list, Legend didn't work at the box office, but was appreciated for its fantasy elements and visual effects.
Thelma & Louise
We would like to call Thelma & Louise the chick flick that is devoid of any candyfloss that usually keeps away the guys. Starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, the movie is about two women, with their share of personal issues, who leave on a road trip that comes with its share of repercussions.
With both the female leads in fantastic form, Thelma & Louise is a captivating tale of friendship overcoming some very dire circumstances. The movie is also noted for being Brad Pitt's first major role.
The movie that earned Scott an Oscar for Best Picture, and turned Russell Crowe into a global star, while also getting an Academy Award himself. Crowe stars as Maximus, a Roman general, whose family is murdered and who is forced into gladiatorial games by his cruel king.
Scott creates an epic canvas and tinges with disturbing themes (incest), pathos and a vendetta saga. The gladiator matches are well-shot, and the background score matches the splendour. Also, watch out for Joaquin Phoenix's breakout performance as the antagonist.
Black Hawk Down
Black Hawk Down is based on the ill-fated US military's 1993 raid in Mogadishu. The movie details the US army's operation to rescue the soldiers when their helicopter is brought down by the militants.
Black Hawk Down has an ensemble cast with starry names like Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, Sam Shepard, Tom Hardy, Ioan Gruffudd, Jason Isaacs, Orlando Bloom, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jeremy Piven, Ty Burrell et al. The action sequences are executed in a realistic manner, with Scott not flinching from showing the blood and gore. It may lack the humaneness of Saving Private Ryan, but the film captivates you with its engaging, racy and often breathless narrative.
Fans of Abhishek Bachchan's Bluffmaster could relate to some of the plotlines in Matchstick Men. A heist film, the movie has Nicholas Cage play a conman, whose past comes to trouble him in the form of a daughter he never knew.
Matchstick Men, also starring Sam Rockwell, is both a captivating drama mixed with some twisty thrills, with Cage delivering a performance that gets to you, even if some of his character's actions don't.
Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut)
How much can one style of edit change the way you see a movie? When Kingdom of Heaven was first released, it was critically panned for being a wafter-thin historical drama with a couple of battles. After the noise dies down, Scott got a Director's Cut released, which adds more scenes, and expanded character building, which in result, added more texture and nuance to the movie.
The result is that this version of Kingdom of Heaven is a much better film with some fantastic sequences, especially any scene involving a perpetually masked Edward Norton. Sure, the film is not without some major flaws - like a bland Orlando Bloom in the lead - but, overall, the director's cut makes Kingdom of Heaven what it should have been, an EPIC historical war drama.
Based on the life of crime lord Frank Lucas, American Gangster is a fictional take on his clash with detective Richie Roberts. Denzel Washington plays Lucas in the movie, with Russell Crowe taking on the role of Roberts. Also, watch out for a then-upcoming Chiwetel Ejiofor as one of Lucas' gang members.
American Gangster received a lot of acclaim during its release, especially for the performances of the two lead actors. It is still hailed by many as one of the best crime dramas made in this century.
Perhaps, the most 'friendly' movie that Ridley Scott has made. The Martian is a sci-fi drama/thriller about a NASA astronaut who is trapped in Mars after a mission goes wrong and his efforts to make the wild conditions of the red planet hospitable. Not to mention, the folk back on his home planet trying their best to get him back.
The Martian has praised for being nearly scientific accurate, and also for its technical brilliance and the usage of a fine ensemble cast. Special praise has to go for Matt Damon, delivering one of his best performances in the film, making his character Mark Watney, a hero worth rooting for. And who can forget the movie inspired the term 'poop potatoes'!