Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Ridley Scott

With this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we decided to look at some of the best movies from the director of this weekend's "Prometheus", Ridley Scott. Scott has been active in cinema since his college days, and unlike many of the rise to fame stories we share in these posts, it never seemed a surprise that he would succeed in this business. His father was a respected British commercial director, and though Ridley was the first of the two to break in, his younger brother, Tony, is also an established film director. But even with such strong ties, his success is still unmatched and ever-increasing. To date, Sir Ridley Scott (Knighted by the Queen in 2003) is the highest grossing British director of all-time. And though 74-years old, it doesn't look like he's planning to let up anytime soon.


A huge part of Scott's success has to be attributed to his all-encompassing approach to directing. First off, he's known in "the biz" as an actor's director. He always strongly encourages his actors to explore their surroundings and work with what happens. Because of this, there's no shortage of talents interested in working in his films. But even so, maybe the defining aspect of Scott's approach is his incredible attention to detail. He focuses on every aspect of every scene and refuses to move on until it's perfect. While working on his first big film, "Alien", Sigourney Weaver complained that he cared more about his sets and props than he did his actors. He's clearly found a great balance since those days, but there's no doubting that his thoroughness always shows through, even down to the storyboards, which he still hand-draws for all of his films.

While there's so much more that could be detailed from this filmmaker's career, it's still his films that say the most. With such an esteemed, extensive library, there's no doubt that the films we have listed after the break are the best way that we can show off all that Scott has to offer. So do hit that jump and check out all of our favorite films from the "Father of the Director's Cut".


Alex Schopp -
Ridley Scott is definitely one of my favorite directors of all-time. While there are only a small handful of his films that I love, there are countless selections that I wish I could put on this list.

     1. Alien (1979)

Luckily the SyFy Channel has been running an Alien marathons over the past week or so and I was able to catch up with this one again. While I go back and forth on whether this film or "Aliens" is my favorite from the franchise, there's do doubt how technically strong and so powerful this one is. In a very bleak way, this film is incredibly beautiful.
     2. Gladiator (2000)
I feel like the word 'Epic' is really the only word necessary or possible to describe this movie. The cast, the premise, the scope. All epic. One of my favorite Best Picture winners.
     3. Blade Runner (1982)
Sci-Fi classic. I really appreciate this film and understand its importance to the genre; however, it' drops juuuust a bit on my Watchability scale compared to these other films, so I dropped it just a scosh. Still a film that's ahead of its time and definitely requires a watch or two.
     4. Matchstick Men (2003)
I really enjoy the heist genre, and I thought this was an interesting film for that subject. Nicolas Cage provides and interesting performance here, but really the whole cast of the movie is fantastic.
     5. Legend (1985)
A young Tom Cruise and Tim Curry as that Demon is fantastic. Plus, our own Ben Foutch got me the record for this film's soundtrack for one of our Slackers Selection Christmas exchanges!

Ben Foutch -

     1. Alien (1979)

A perfect sci-fi/horror film. Priority level watch.
     2. Blade Runner (1982)
Definitely watch the director's cut of this film (there are many versions to choose from). Easily one of the best science fiction films ever made. Priority level watch.
     3. Gladiator (2000)
Definition of the word "epic". Priority level watch.
     4. Matchstick Men (2003)
Excellent cast playing memorable characters, wrapped in a fun story.
     5. Legend (1985)
Classic. Gotta love that Tangerine Dream.

Derek Clem -

     1. Alien (1979)

A serious "Must Watch" film. Amazing Art Direction! Sci-Fi Horror at its best!
     2. Blade Runner (1982)
For years I thought this movie was so over-rated, but then say four years-ish ago I rewatched it as an adult and realized how much of an idiot I was. The movie is a pure Masterpiece.
     3. Gladiator (2000)
Not only does Ridley Scott's cinematic sensibilities really shine in this film, Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus stands out as one of the greatest villains of the decade.
     4. Legend (1985)
Fantastically creepy.
     5. Matchstick Men (2003)
I saw this a few years after its release not even knowing it was a Ridley Scott movie. When i found out he made it, I thought to myself, "Oh, obviously, that explains why it was so good".

Nathan Hinds -

     1. Gladiator (2000)

Like I said in a previious post I used this in, this movie is pretty much flawless.
     2. Blade Runner (1982)
I only saw this movie for the first time a couple of years ago, and then I watched it three more times in the same week. It was easy to see why this is such a legendary film.
     3. Alien (1979)
While I have always enjoyed "Aliens" more, this is definitely one of the greatest sci-fi thrillers of all time, and the scariest sci-fi monster ever.
     4. Robin Hood (2010)
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. I really would love to see more from this film's world; unfortunately, they did an origin story with a bunch of old actors that makes the possibility of more films unlikely.
     5. Black Hawk Down (2001)
Arguably one of the best, and definitely most realistic, post-Vietnam War movies there is.

Andy Schopp -

      1. Alien (1979)

This movie invented scary aliens. Every other kind of "scary alien" looks like a total goofball in comparison. All of the 50's aliens, while classic, seem to be humans with watermelons on their head or just cardboard box robots with a fishbowl on top...not creepy. I'd like any fishbowl box bot to go toe-to-toe with an acid-bleeding, rubber-skinned version and see who wins!
     2. Blade Runner (1982)
A movie that no matter how much time goes past will always be relevant. It was an early look at something like a Matrix scenario. At what point do they stop being machines that do what we want them to be and become a living thing with its own conscious mind and soul? Plus Harrison Ford...I mean come on.
     3. Gladiator (2000)
Great, great flick about revenge and love and what the cost of doing the right thing could ultimately become. Amazing performances all around and just an extremely well-crafted movie. "Sword and Sandal" wouldn't be what it is now if it wasn't for this movie, I believe.
     4. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
An often overlooked movie for many reasons, this is still such a great story of hope and heroics. What is it that causes us to believe in a cause and what is that cause worth to us? The protagonist is like a medieval Superman in a lot of ways.
     5. Legend (1985)
Tim Curry. Nailed it. (1985)

So there we have it, our favorite Ridley Scott films around! While Scott is such an amazing director with so many great films in his arsenal, it's still no surprise about the repetition of certain films above. Three films appeared on all five lists, and all three were actually in everyone's top three selections. Those films are "Alien", "Blade Runner", and "Gladiator". "Alien" is the overall "winner", as it had an average ranking of 1.4 and was the number one selection on four of the five lists. The next two films were very evenly displayed, but "Blade Runner" showed just better with an average ranking of 2.2., compared to 2.4 from "Gladiator". There's absolutely zero doubt that these three films are the defining moments of this director's career, and each are 100% must-sees for every film fan. If for some reason you're not familiar with each of these titles, rectify it immediately.

Otherwise, still quite a bit of repetition. Though it appeared low on each list, "Legend" showed up on four different lists. Depending on your obsession-levels for the medium, this film could be seen as more of a hidden gem to the casual fan. If you're unfamiliar with the title, this also would be a great one to check out. "Matchstick Men" was the only other film with multiple selections, appearing on three different lists.

As always, we hope that each of these film selections helps you to expand your knowledge of Ridley Scott's directorial filmography, and guide you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!