Let’s retrace together the most significant moments, through a roundup of his best films, of the directorial career of Sir Ridley Scott, who still holds court on the international scene through ups and downs
There are not many directors who, thanks to their work, have earned the title of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2003 this honour was awarded to Ridley Scott, a director with a career now spanning more than half a century, who over the years has been able to read between the lines of cinematography with uncommon lucidity, and has earned a place in history by signing numerous successes both from critics and of public.
Ridley Scott was born in 1937 in South Shields, a coastal city in England, second of three children. He initially studied photography at the Royal College of Art, where he helped set up the film department in the mid-1960s. After graduating, he began his career as a set designer and director of telefilms for the BBC, and, in the late 1960s, moved into directing commercials. In 1977 he obtained the financing to direct his first film, The Duellists, starring Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine, earning him the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the David di Donatello, which made him noticed in the cinematic environment. He then obtained the consecration as director with the next two films: Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982), which over time became real cult films. After ups and downs at the end of the short century, he finds international success again with Gladiator (2000), which definitively consecrated him in the cinematographic Olympus. The rest is history, and we will try to summarize his best works in the following lines.
10. Thelma & Louise | Ridley Scott best movies
Let’s start our top with Thelma & Louise, for which Scott got his first Oscar nomination for director, while the film still took home the statuette for best original screenplay. We are in Arkansas, where Thelma and Louise are two friends dissatisfied with life and grappling with unsatisfying and violent relationships. To escape reality a little, they decide to spend a weekend together in a mountain house, but they don’t know that on that occasion that should have been impromptu, their lives will change forever.. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are excellent protagonists of a cult film that reinterprets the canons of the buddy movie. Deeply feminist, Thelma & Louise has really put a small big point in the filmography based on couples of friends.
9. Black Hawk Down | Ridley Scott best movies
Let’s move on to the war movie, which Ridley Scott manages to master without problems. Black Hawk Down chronicles the battle of Mogadishu, in Somaliawhere in 1993 the United States had sent the Special Forces. The country is plagued by civil war and famine, with warlord Mohammed Farah Adid starting to attack UN peacekeepers, starting the confrontation. He then begins a plan to capture Adid’s ministers, involving the use of Black Hawk helicopters in a thirty-minute raid, but things don’t go as hoped. Two Academy Awards won by the film, including Best Editing for Italian Pietro Scalia. An ensemble cast masterfully directed by Scott, who makes excellent use of his skills behind the camera. A film that really sinks into the dirt of the conflict, without making any concessions.
8. The Mastermind of the Scam | Ridley Scott best movies
Brilliant comedy full of rhythm and tight editing, a game of Chinese boxes that keeps the audience hooked to the screen and then shocks them with a jaw-dropping ending. A twist capable of astounding even after a series of visions because it was built with intelligence and perfectly contextualized, yet it manages to not be dependent on it, thanks to a structure full of feelings and psychological three-dimensionality. Nicolas Cage e Sam Rockwell they can only be a bonus.
7. The Crusades | Ridley Scott best movies
Everything an epic film should have: charismatic characters played by a great cast, deep themes and great battles. The siege of Jerusalem it should be studied in film schools on how to make an action sequence. The balance between storytelling and fighting is masterful, the duration flawless, but the most stimulating aspect is the author’s ability to stage a past reality managing to represent the contemporary, in the aftermath of 9/11. For this reason, The Crusades finds a well-deserved place in the list of Ridley Scott’s best films.
6. American Gangsters | Ridley Scott best movies
Now let’s move on to the gangster movie. The protagonist of this 2007 film is Frank Lucas, a real-life American criminal played by Denzel Washington. It all starts in 1968 in Harlem, with the rise to power of Lucas after the death of the previous boss. A power vacuum is created in the New York underworld, which Lucas wants to exploit to get as much money and respect as possible. However, the detective played by Russell Crowe sets out on his trail, for an almost two-man challenge to the last shot. Two Oscar nominations for the filmwhich depicts the New York underworld under the aegis of a boss beautifully played by Denzel Washington. A spectacular film directed by two great actors who elevate it even further, behind the skilful hand of Ridley Scott.
5. Survivor – The Martian | Ridley Scott best movies
Human ingenuity placed at the service of progress, the best minds on the planet are committed to building for good, and technology is developed to save lives, not destroy them. The expedient of the astronaut lost on Mars hides a message of great faith in the future. A staging that doesn’t miss a beat, technically worthy of an anthology and with a leading actor (Matt Damon) who gives the most convincing performance of his career: The Martian absolutely deserves a place in the ranking of the best films of all time.
4. The Last Duel | Ridley Scott best movies
Ridley Scott goes back to his origins, to duels, telling a medieval story. But at the same time he talks about feminism. The Last Duel is about a sexual assault that took place during the Hundred Years War in fourteenth-century France. The knight Jean de Carrouges challenges the squire Jacques Le Gris, for having raped Marguerite de Thibouville, his wife. This will be God’s last duel legitimized by French law. A dirty story, full of mud and blood, told through the points of view of the three protagonists. Three versions to make people understand how the female condition is, now as then, always harassed by the male-dominated society. But Scott leaves no doubts of interpretation, and closes with a crazy final duel to the last breath.
3. The Gladiator | Ridley Scott best movies
And now here we are at the great blockbuster that conquered the world and marked the rebirth of Ridley Scott. Russell Crowe brings to the screen the story of Massimo Decimo Meridio, set in imperial Rome, under the aegis of the cruel Commodus. Maximus is betrayed just when Commodus assassinates his father and takes possession of the imperial throne. From that moment on Massimo’s life will change forever, moving to the gladiatorial arena where he will have to regain his freedom to avenge his family. Ridley Scott masterfully directs one of the great modern blockbusters, working on the icon of Russell Crowe and transforming him into a real Roman gladiator. Five Oscars for the film, along with many other awards and thehaving renewed interest in the genre in cinema.
2. Alien | Ridley Scott best movies
And now here we are at one of the great masterpieces of world science fiction. Because as the second film of his career, Ridley Scott gives the world Alien. Many know the story, but in summary it tells of the crew of the Nostromo, which in 2122 is returning to Earth with a cargo of minerals. Forced to follow a distress signal, they will find themselves on the moon of an unknown planet, where they will encounter the corpse of a giant alien and many strange eggs. Alien really needs no introduction. The progenitor of a saga that still resonates today, a masterpiece of sci-fi horror. Scott managed to create a claustrophobic fear for something that devours you mercilessly from within, destroying everything. Her Alien is still unsurpassed in beauty and aesthetic sense, as well as the icon that shocked the history of cinema.
1. Blade Runner | Ridley Scott best movies
We finally reach the first place in the ranking of the best Ridley Scott films with Blade Runner. The clear proof that films are works of art that need study and discussion year after year, reaching the status it can boast today after having won the attention of professionals and not only. The more you look at it, the more you can find different interpretations. A film that concentrates on itself many themes, even very different from each other: dystopia, philosophy, spirituality. Every aspect has become iconic and is imprinted in everyone’s minds. A timeless masterpiece.
Here we have seen some of Ridley Scott’s best films, which of course are just some of the milestones in his career. There is great anticipation for today Napoleonbut also for the sequel to Gladiator, which confirm his passion for the genre colossal. Regardless of how they turned out, we can only be happy that his career didn’t stop before the new millennium.
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