PARIS: Aliens, gladiators, women on the run, and now Napoleon – Ridley Scott is a master of the modern screen epic.
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror was led by the tough-as-nails Sigourney Weaver playing Ellen Ripley who battles a terrifying break-out of aliens aboard a spaceship.
One famed scene, in which an alien bursts from the chest of a crew member played by John Hurt, has since become movie legend.
The space epic won an Oscar for best sound effects and inspired a string of sequels by star directors including James Cameron and David Fincher.
‘Blade Runner’ (1982)
Scott’s visually arresting adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel drew mixed reviews at the time, the New York Times calling it “muddled yet mesmerising”, but over time it became a global cult classic.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” says an android, played by Rutger Hauer, the rain pelting down on his peroxide-blonde hair. “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
The speech concluded Scott’s two-hour classic set in a dystopian Los Angeles pitting man versus machine, with the human played by Harrison Ford.
‘Thelma & Louise’ (1991)
A washed-out Ford Thunderbird became a symbol of feminist rebellion in Scott’s saga about two women on the run through the United States after murdering a rapist.
With the authorities in hot pursuit, the increasingly desperate pair fall prey to a handsome drifter (Brad Pitt in his breakout role) who steals all their savings.
In the memorable final scene the police catch up with the Ford but the two heroines, in a last act of resistance, drive their car off a cliff.
Multi-Oscar nominated, including for its lead actresses, the screenplay won a statuette while Scott missed out on his first of three best director nominations.
After space and future dystopia, Scott went right back to the Romans for this battle epic about a vengeful slave rising up against his emperor.
The blockbuster stunned audiences with its recreations of combat in the Colosseum in Rome, and a few years after its release the New York Times noted a “Gladiator Effect” – an uptick in books about ancient Rome since the film.
It was a hit at box offices worldwide and scooped best picture at the Oscars, which also crowned Russell Crowe best actor.
‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001)
Scott next turned his camera to the reconstruction of the 1993 gunning down of two US Black Hawk helicopters in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu during an ill-fated operation to capture a violent warlord.
It sparked a chaotic rescue operation that resulted in hundreds of deaths, including 18 American servicemen and many Somali civilians.
Veteran British critic Philip French in The Observer called Scott’s military drama “one of the most convincing, realistic combat movies I’ve ever seen.”
The film won Oscars for best sound and editing and was also nominated for best picture and another best director nod, making it thrice unlucky for Scott.