Ridley Scott: One of the World's
Most Accomplished Filmmakers
by Brian Foden
Ridley Scott is famous for a lot more than just making great science fiction movies.
Starting with his first major hit, Alien, Ridley Scott displayed a distinctive visual style that appealed to audiences. He says he realized the potential of movies with amazing special effects after watching Star Wars in 1977. Whereas Star Wars had a fast-paced, comic-book style, Alien was given an entirely different treatment under Scott's direction. It was moody and suspenseful and used music and sound to magnify the film's atmosphere. In Alien, Blade Runner, and later in Prometheus, Scott used highly detailed designs and backdrops along with effective lighting to convey a feeling of eeriness. Blade Runner in particular is notable for its stylized, futuristic urban landscape, which has influenced many movies since. He has been credited with having a great influence on filmmakers, but some criticize his elaborate attention to detail.
Scott tends to use slow pacing at first to build suspense and then creates thrilling scenes by editing the action at critical points to make it fast paced. Sometimes he uses a gritty realness, like in Black Hawk Down, which was based on the real-life conflict between American soldiers and heavily armed Somalis in Mogadishu. With his enormously successful Gladiator, Scott brought the glory and brutality of ancient Rome to life in a stunning way. He was rewarded for his epic work with an Oscar for Best Picture as well as one for his leading actor, Russell Crowe. Fortunately for moviegoers, Ridley Scott is still motivated to push films forward by directing and producing well into his 70s.