The passing of director Tony Scott is a tragic one, and also marks one of the first deaths of a major Hollywood blockbuster filmmaker. Scott had been producing quality entertainment for years, with films like “Top Gun” putting his name on the map and later projects like “Enemy of the State” solidifying his place there.
Scott isn’t only known for his directing work, as he’s also one of the main producers behind TV shows like “Numb3rs,” “The Pillars of the Earth” and “The Good Wife,” as well as documentaries like “Gettysburg” and “Life in a Day” and films like “The Grey, “Cyrus” and “The A-Team.” As our list of celebrity responses to Scott’s suicide has shown, Scott influenced, supported and launched the careers of many current Hollywood talents, and his impact will certainly be felt for years to come.
But for now it’s time to reflect on the legacy Scott made for himself and honor the work he created. It’s hard to say what his best movies are, but it’s easy to pick out our favorites. Keep reading to see our five favorite Tony Scott movies.
The second movie of Scott’s career is also undeniably his biggest. “Top Gun” introduced us to Tom Cruise and, though it wasn’t loved by critics at the time, later went on to be one of the films of the 1980s. It proved that Scott was a director who could meld action with comedy and romance easily, and put one of the world’s biggest movie stars on the map. Plus, we will never get sick of watching it.
But it’s his Quentin Tarantino-scripted movie “True Romance” that we really adore him for. “True Romance” is sort of the odd man out of Scott’s filmography, but the 1993 crime thriller showcases what Scott and Tarantino are both best at. Tarantino was hot off the success of 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs,” and “True Romance” proved that he wasn’t a one-trick auteur. Scott similarly got to have fun with the project, bringing together a fantastic cast including Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Samuel L. Jackson and a very young, very hilarious Brad Pitt.
Scott’s first film collaboration with Denzel Washington might not have launched the actor’s career, but it certainly greatly influenced it. Washington had just come off a successful three years that included “Malcolm X,” “The Pelican Brief” and “Philadelphia,” and then Scott swept him up and turned him into a bonafide movie star. The duo went on to make five movies together, but “Crimson Tide” stands up as one of our favorites.
“Deja Vu” might not be the best movie of Scott’s career, but it arguably is his most interesting. As Scott’s professional relationship with Washington became stronger, the two experimented more and more with their projects. “Deja Vu” was one of the most experimental, and followed Washington as an FBI agent who travels back in time to save a woman from being murdered. The time travel element isn’t anything new, but the way it was presented certainly was, showing that Scott wasn’t afraid to take risks the older he got.
Scott’s most recent movie also ended up being one of the highest grossing and most critically beloved of his career. While some of Scott’s best films didn’t get the critical love they deserved (look at “Top Gun” and “Deja Vu” for prime examples), at least “Unstoppable” manages to stand as a great final work. The director again teamed up with Washington and also brought in up-and-coming action star Chris Pine. Like “Deja Vu,” “Unstoppable” took a major risk by having the entire movie set on a runaway train, with Pine and Washington trying to stop it from crashing. It makes us sad to think of what interesting projects he could have made next, and now never can. Hopefully the film he just completed, “Out of the Furnace,” will do his legacy justice.