In all honesty, I never wanted to do “Top Ten” lists here.
I’ve never read one that didn’t piss me off somehow, and frankly, who am I to authoritatively rank anything? AFI, I am not.
But I have to acknowledge that they’re an extremely popular post format, and going through them can actually be an interesting exercise. For example, as familiar as I am with Sir Ridley’s filmography, I found myself rewatching 3 different films in order to compile this list.
So here we go, our first top ten list here. The top ten films of Sir Ridley Scott.
I’m well on the record here as being a big fan of the man, he’s a great director with a handful of true classics under his belt and a filmography full of solid movies. You can always count on his movies to be visually appealing, and more often than not they’re lavish productions that can transport the viewer to a different place, or time, or even world.
That’s what the magic of movies is all about.
Click through to check out what I feel are his ten best!
Black Rain stars Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia as two New York City cops who arrest a prominent member of the Yakuza. Charged with transporting him back to Japan, he escapes their custody… and they wind up assisting the Japanese authorities in tracking him down. Visually impressive, well paced, and featuring a good central performance from Michael Douglas, this isn’t exactly one of Scott’s classics, but still a very decent flick.
9) American Gangster (2007)
Perhaps the victim of unreasonable expectations more than anything, I think the book on this one is that it was a little disappointing. The promise of Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington working together in a Ridley Scott film, revolving around one of the most notorious drug kingpins ever known? It may have been a little too much to live up to, as the movie plays its cards very closely to its vest. Still, “American Gangster” remains a solid movie.
Legend is an unadulterated Fantasy film. No dipping its toes in to the water, this movie dives in to the deep end of the Fantasy genre. Its world is populated by Unicorns and Pixies and Goblins and Demons. The plot is light, and the characters a little underdeveloped… but the costumes and sets are elaborate, and the film is flat-out stunning to look at. It has the power to charm the viewer with its fantastic, whimsical nature. Lots of fun!
Lauded at the time of its release for giving the girls an opportunity to play “bad”, just like the boys. It’s a fun road movie and Sarandon and Davis obviously relish their characters. Scott puts them in a sympathetic light and has you rooting for them even as they engage in what amounts to a crime spree. Original and mildly groundbreaking at the time, this movie also comes with an ending that no one can forget.
Matchstick Men is that rare gem of a movie. A con movie that can actually con you. Nic Cage shines as a con artist with psychological problems, and Alison Lohman is his estranged daughter. Sam Rockwell flies co-pilot as they work a big con while Cage works through his issues. It’s going to tug on your heartstrings as it lifts your wallet. Very underrated. I like it a lot!
Restoring 45 minutes of film that was cut due to studio demands apparently made all the difference in the world. Mis-martketed during its initial release as some sort of spiritual successor to Gladiator, “Kingdom of Heaven” is actually a historical epic which examines religious conflict. Boasting unmatched production values and an intricate, complex, involving story, this is an example of historical epic filmmaking at its best!
If one word were used to describe this film, it wold easily be “intense”. Based on the book of the same name, “Black Hawk Down” recounts the Battle of Mogadishu. American Special forces attempt to apprehend a lieutenant of a Somali Warlord, and things quickly go south. It’s a gritty, realistic movie with excellent directing, a solid cast and taut pacing. It’s guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire run-time!
From here out, the all-time classics begin. When you reach that level, it’s really only a matter of personal preference separating them. “Gladiator” won 5 Academy Awards (though NOT for Best Director – Steven Soderburgh, “Traffic”) including Best Picture. Possibly his most entertaining movie, and undoubtedly his most popular, “Gladiator” is a spectacular film. Rousing. Riveting. Thought provoking. Epic. Masterfully directed and acted, undoubtedly one of his finest.
In space, no one can hear you scream. But in the movie theatre they absolutely can. Alien successfully crossed science fiction and horror to deliver a uniquely blended, unforgettable film. Atmospheric and intense, “Alien” ratchets up the pressure until its practically unbearable. It features a tremendous cast, a groundbreaking heroine, and a legendary creature. This film has spawned a franchise that is still going strong 30+ years later. Incredible.
“Blade Runner” is a film that rocketed up my personal favorites list once I began writing about films. It’s incredibly rich. Noir and Sci-Fi meet in a futuristic detective story, anchored by fantastic turns from Harrison Ford and Sean Young. Stunning to watch and full of thought-provoking concepts, “Blade Runner” is easily one of my favorite films. “The Final Cut” takes a great film and tweaks it into a masterpiece. Scott’s finest hour.
So there you have it folks. MY list of the Top Ten Ridley Scott films.
What do you think? Any of them too high? Too Low? Are there ones you havent seen yet? Maybe you’re crazy like Ian and you think Blade Runner is boring (if so, word to the wise, play it cool). Should I do more top tens going forward, or is was I right in holding off on them in the first place?
Talk to me folks!!