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With two films slated for release this year and an upcoming award at the 78th annual Venice Film Festival, Ridley Scott has a lot to celebrate. The 83-year-old English director’s next release, “The Last Duel,” will premiere at the Italian film festival in September before being released stateside on October 15.
And then there’s “House of Gucci” — the highly anticipated crime drama starring Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, and Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci. The film follows the tumultuous relationship and deadly divorce of the heads of the Gucci empire. Also worth mentioning: Jared Leto makes a stunning transformation for the role of Maurizio’s cousin, Paolo Gucci.
With so much well-deserved buzz around Scott’s new films, it’s only right to highlight some of the best movies of his career. Keep reading for our roundup of seven Scott films that are perfect for your Blu-ray collection. For more movie suggestions from incredible directors, check out our list of must-see films helmed by Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, and Christopher Nolan.
Just two years after making his feature film directorial debut — “The Duellists” — Scott landed a blockbuster with “Alien.” The film raked in over $100 million at the box office and became one of the top-grossing movies of 1979. “Aliens” also birthed a successful movie franchise whose success may be attributed to a major change that Scott made to the script in switching the protagonist from a man to a woman. Sigourney Weaver portrayed the role as the alien-fighting heroine, Ellen Ripley. Weaver went on to appear in four of the five films in the franchise.
“Are you not entertained?” Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, and Oliver Reed led Scott’s epic historical drama released in 2000. The movie is about a Roman general forced to become a common gladiator after being betrayed by an emperor who seizes the throne (spoiler alert: the usurper killed his father). “Gladiator” was another box office juggernaut for Scott, grossing nearly $500 million worldwide.
Denzel Washington transforms into a Harlem drug kingpin in the 2007 thriller. The semi-biographical crime film shares a fictionalized depiction of Frank Lucas, a heroine dealer who rose up the ranks in the drug game by allegedly smuggling the drug in the coffins of dead soldiers (a claim that has been debunked). Washington stars opposite Crowe in “American Gangster,” which was written by Steven Zaillian.
Another book to film adaptation, “Blade Runner” is a 1983 sci-fi neo-noir set in a dystopian Los Angeles in the year 2019. Harrison Ford plays a Blade Runner, whose job is to hunt down human Replicants. But he ends up falling in love with one of them. “Blade Runner” wasn’t a major box-office hit, namely because it came out around the same time as “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, “The Thing,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Conan the Barbarian.” The movie grossed just $11 million more than its $30 million production budget, but it landed three Oscar nominations and garnered a cult following.
Scott didn’t actually direct this one — Peter Landesman did — but the project originated with him, and he served as producer. In “Concussion,” Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who makes a groundbreaking discovery during an autopsy on a former NFL player. Omalu publishes his findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a medical journal and embarks on a heroic quest to raise public awareness about the degenerative brain disease amid pushback from the NFL. “Concussion” was based on the 2009 “GQ” story titled “Game Brain.” Sony reportedly cut scenes from the film so the NFL wouldn’t get upset.
Demi Moore famously chopped off her signature long hair to play Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil in “G.I. Jane.” The 1997 war drama paints a sobering portrait of being a woman in the military. In this fictionalized story, Moore plays the first woman to enter a special training unit (think Navy SEAL) where she undergoes an intense training process that pushes her to her mental and physical limits.
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis set off on an epic road trip in another cult hit in Scott’s catalog. Thelma (Davis) and Louise (Sarandon) are two friends desperate to escape their mundane lives in Arkansas for a weekend getaway.
The film apparently ruffled a few feathers when it first debuted. “I completely underestimated that we were backing into territory held by white heterosexual males, Sarandon recently said in an interview. “They got offended and accused us of glorifying murder and suicide and all kinds of things. It didn’t seem like a big deal, it seemed like it was unusual that there would be a woman that you could be friends within a film. Normally, if there were two women in a film, you automatically hated each other for some reason…Next thing we knew, all hell broke loose.”