Ridley Scott is back in the director's chair this week with his new science fiction film The Martian - a film that is already being tipped as a possible Oscar contender.
Scott is one of the best director's around and The Martian sees him bring the Andy Weir book of the same name to the big screen and team up with Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
To celebrate the release of The Martian today, we take a look back at Scott's glittering film career and pick out some of our favourite and his best movies.
- Alien (1979)
You cannot talk about Ridley Scott movies without giving Alien a tiny mention. Hard to believe that Alien is nearly forty years old and yet it remains one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.
Alien is the movie that all other films in this genre are measured against and it remains a classic and one of Scott's greatest filmmaking achievements. Not only that, but this movie gave us one of the greatest female characters of all time... of course I am talking about Ripley.
No matter how many times you watch this film, it is still a nerve shredding experience that will engross you and have you on the edge of your seat. Scott ratchets up the tension and the danger with every frame and it really will send more than a shiver down your spine.
It is a movie that is atmospheric as well as terribly claustrophobic and this only adds to the horror and the fear. This is a movie that has also aged incredibly well as Scott created a movie that really is visually stunning and looks just as great today as it did back in 1979.
Alien is the movie that turned Sigourney Weaver into a star as she took on the central role of Ripley. At the time, it was unusual to see a female lead character in the sci-fi genre and together, Weaver and Scott created a character and a performance that truly is unforgettable and goes down as one of the genre's best.
Alien remains the benchmark for the space horror film and no movie film in this genre has ever surpassed it. This was only the second feature film of Scott's career - coming two years after The Duellists - and it was the film that sent his star rocketing.
- Black Hawk Down (2002)
Scott turned his hand to the war genre in 2002 as he was behind Black Hawk Down, which was based on the book of the same name by Mark Bowden, which chronicled events of the U.S. raid in Mogadishu to capture Mohamed Farrah Aidid in 1993.
The movie brought together a terrific cast, including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, and Jason Isaacs. The movie followed this military mission that went wrong and paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflict.
I am a big war film fan and Black Hawk Down is one of the best movies in this genre to hit the big screen in the last decade or so. For me, Black Hawk Down is a gripping and incredible visceral movie that puts the audience right in the heart of the action.
Black Hawk Down is a movie about the experience and cost of war, this is not a propaganda film that makes the U.S. military out to be these huge heroes. Instead, Scott delivers a film that is precise in the story and showing those on both sides of the fight.
Sadly, the movie is lacking a little when it comes to character development but the camaraderie between the U.S. soldiers gives the audience characters to latch on to and care about. What it lacks in character development it more than makes up for in realistic and action packed battle sequences. Scott has always been the master of creating wonderful moments of action and he really does not disappoint with Black Hawk Down and the realism is the key to his success.
Black Hawk Down went on to be nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director for Scott and won Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
- Gladiator (2000)
Hard to believe but Gladiator is fifteen years old this year as it doesn't seem five minutes since Russell Crowe uttered the words "My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
Gladiator marked the first time that Crowe had teamed up with Scott - the pair have gone on to work together again on American Gangster and A Good Year - and it remains one of cinema's greatest actor/director collaborations. Crowe was joined on the cast list by Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, and Derek Jacobi.
Gladiator was one of the most talked about movies of 2000 and saw Crowe deliver a performance that turned him into a global superstar - it remains one of his best known and greatest film performances.
I love the scale of Gladiator as Scott was about to capture the battlefield, the grandeur of the Roman empire as well as the brutality of gladiatorial combat. This is a movie that is a rich character and story driven piece that is as exciting and it is brutal. However, under the surface, Scott has delivered a movie that has interesting political and historic themes that elevate it further.
You cannot see any actor other than Crowe taking on the central role of Maximus as he creates a character that has both power and incredible presence. Crowe's performance quickly gains the audience's sympathy and they are taken on this incredibly personal journey through despair and slavery.
Gladiator was a box office success and went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe. However, Scott was to miss out on Best Director, which went to Steven Soderbergh for his work on Traffic.
- Thelma & Louise (1991)
Going back to 1991 and Scott was in the director's chair for Thelma & Louise, which saw him team up with Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Sarandon and Davis are two friends who embark on a road trip that ends up having disastrous consequences for the pair, who are pursued by Detective Hal Slocumb, played by Harvey Keitel.
Thelma & Louise is like no other movie that Scott has done during his career and remains one of the greatest - as well as one of the very few - female buddy movies.
It's hard to believe that it was back in 1991 when Thelma & Louise hit the big screen and yet it remains a classic and was the film that really did redefine women in movies.
From start to finish, Thelma & Louise is a witty, intelligent, entertaining movie that has two terrific performances at its core. It is the relationship between Sarandon and Davis that not only makes this film relatable, but also makes the ending even more heartbreaking.
As well as two wonderful performances from Sarandon and Davis, the script by Callie Khouri explores the deep layers of friendship between these two women while the film's cinematography make it visually stunning.
Sadly, we don't get too many female buddy movies and no movie has ever come close to surpassing what Scott, Sarandon, and Davis achieved with Thelma & Louise.
The movie went on to pick up five Oscar nominations, including Best Director for Scott, and won Best Original Screenplay for Khouri.
- Blade Runner (1982)
Scott returned to the science fiction genre in 1982 when he directed Blade Runner, which was based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick - starring Harrison Ford.
Ford, who was teaming up with Scott for the first time, took on the central role of Rick Deckard, a blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
Blade Runner was not a huge success when it was released back in 1982, but over the years the film has gone on to become a major cult hit and is widely regarded as one of the best sci-fi films of all time.
I love the dystopian world that Scott created in Blade Runner - not only does this world make the film and incredibly immersive experience, but it also looks fantastic.
Ford has been part of some wonderful franchises and created some great characters during his career and Deckard is another iconic role that has truly stood the test of time.
The movie may not have been a huge critical or commercial hit when it was released, but, over the years, Blade Runner truly has come to be appreciated as the sci-fi classic that it really is.
Other Ridley Scott movies that are not to be missed include Legend, American Gangster, and Prometheus.