British Filmmaker, Sir Ridley Scott has achieved a truly illustrious career. From directing sci-fi epics, to recreating authentic feeling time-period films, Ridley Scott is a masterful director. With him releasing two films this year alone, The Last Duel and The House of Gucci, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the five best films of this director’s career. For this list, we will be looking at five films that define Ridley Scott as a director and his grip on the many genres that have made him a household name. These films are the ones that everyone should see as they are not only great films but capture the director at his sheer best. To this day, he has yet to receive a single Oscar, which he has been nominated at least four times but has never won. So, let’s relive his greatest hits!
Thelma and Louise
Two women are bored with life and want to have an adventure together and this feminist film is the perfect tale of two ladies who would become legends. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis star as the titular characters in this 1991 road movie that explores what women want in life and by what means they will go to achieve happiness. Ridley Scott make this movie not only an exciting action road picture but focuses on the two women who are thrusted into a situation that quickly spirals out of control. Fast-paced, funny and heartfelt, Thelma and Louise is an inspiring film for women who want to take control of their lives and hit the road with an unknown destination while an adventure awaits them. To date, this is the most recent film whose two main cast leads have been nominated for either Best Actor/Best Actress. We always admire a movie about women and Thelma and Louise is amongst our favorites.
Based on the life of notable career criminal Frank Lucas, who smuggled heroin into the United States directly from his suppliers in Southeast Asia, he may be the gangster that we hardly talk about. Denzel Washington steps into the role of Lucas and is absolute perfection. Meanwhile, Russell Crowe portrays Detective Ritchie Roberts who leads the investigation into the drug kingpin of Harlem. With a solid and engaging script, pitch perfect casting and recreating the look and feel of the 1970s, American Gangster belongs on the growing list as one of the best gangster films ever made. While the movie itself does take creative liberties with the story, even still, this is one heck of a thrill ride.
We’ve all heard of the infamous Colosseum in Rome and what transpired inside those walls. Legends, horror and to put it mildly, institutionalized violence that enticed the blood-thirsty crowd are all brought to life by the ambitious Gladiator. Russell Crowe plays Maximus, a respected Roman General who is betrayed by Commodus, son of Marcus Aurelius, after he murders his own father and assumes the throne to Rome. Maximus eventually becomes a slave after the death of his family and is forced to fight in the gladiator games. With stunning visuals, breathtaking battle sequences and an incredible sense of ambition all combined with Ridley Scott’s direction, gave this movie five Oscar wins at the 73rd Academy Awards including Best Picture. Even if the film is largely fictional, no one can deny the style, and the sheer sense of recreating Rome in all its glory. Ancient Rome has never looked better.
Black Hawk Down
Based on the real-life military debacle that occurred in 1993, Black Hawk Down focuses on the failed military raid in Mogadishu, Somalia. Following the Civil War that has affected the population of this African country, the United Nations responds to assist those in need. After Mohamad Farrah Aidid, assumes power, he declares war on the peaceful U.N. personnel. When the United States military gets involved, it become clear that Aidid needs to be removed. A raid is ordered and this film shows us from beginning to end the result of underestimating your enemy. Two Black Hawk Helicopters are shot down leaving military personnel on the ground and deep in enemy territory. Ridley Scott brings the close-quarters fighting to life in this gritty and explosive war film. One key note to remember is the lack of any major character development, but that isn’t an issue with this film. The main point is to see what the U.S. Army was faced with when engaging with armed militia. The movie is intense, violent, and feels so real that more often than not, it seems as if we are in the streets with the soldiers themselves. It’s one the best war films of the 21st century and a conflict that is rarely mentioned in schools or studied for reference. Ridley Scott does an incredible job of bringing this failed military operation to life. Hold on to your seats because prepare for one heck of an immersive experience.
The very first sighting of the deadly xenomorph is shocking, scary and unforgettable. The rest is history. Ridley Scott’s second feature film brings us to the far reaches of space where a group of people encounter an alien after investigating a distress call. Forget the silliness of Star Wars or Star Trek, this alien is mean, sneaky and something that will haunt your nightmares after you lay your eyes on it for the first time. With a poetic script, memorable characters including the iconic Ripley and the set designs that are inspired by Star Wars and many other science fictions films that came much later, Alien is the best in the Alien franchise. Sure, we all love Aliens and while Ridley Scott did return to direct Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, nothing will ever match the uniqueness, creative flair and the awe-inspiring nature of Alien.
What are your favorite films directed by Ridley Scott?