The Top Ten Ridley Scott Films.

In all honesty, I never wanted to do “Top Ten” lists here.

I’ve never read one that didn’t piss me off somehow, and frankly, who am I to authoritatively rank anything? AFI, I am not.

But I have to acknowledge that they’re an extremely popular post format, and going through them can actually be an interesting exercise. For example, as familiar as I am with Sir Ridley’s filmography, I found myself rewatching 3 different films in order to compile this list.

So here we go, our first top ten list here. The top ten films of Sir Ridley Scott.

I’m well on the record here as being a big fan of the man, he’s a great director with a handful of true classics under his belt and a filmography full of solid movies. You can always count on his movies to be visually appealing, and more often than not they’re lavish productions that can transport the viewer to a different place, or time, or even world.

That’s what the magic of movies is all about.

Click through to check out what I feel are his ten best!


10) Black Rain (1989)

Black Rain stars Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia as two New York City cops who arrest a prominent member of the Yakuza. Charged with transporting him back to Japan, he escapes their custody… and they wind up assisting the Japanese authorities in tracking him down. Visually impressive, well paced, and featuring a good central performance from Michael Douglas, this isn’t exactly one of Scott’s classics, but still a very decent flick.  


9) American Gangster (2007)

Perhaps the victim of unreasonable expectations more than anything, I think the book on this one is that it was a little disappointing. The promise of Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington working together in a Ridley Scott film, revolving around one of the most notorious drug kingpins ever known? It may have been a little too much to live up to, as the movie plays its cards very closely to its vest. Still, “American Gangster” remains a solid movie.


8) Legend (1985)

Legend is an unadulterated Fantasy film. No dipping its toes in to the water, this movie dives in to the deep end of the Fantasy genre. Its world is populated by Unicorns and Pixies and Goblins and Demons. The plot is light, and the characters a little underdeveloped… but the costumes and sets are elaborate, and the film is flat-out stunning to look at. It has the power to charm the viewer with its fantastic, whimsical nature. Lots of fun!


7) Thelma and Louise (1991)

Lauded at the time of its release for giving the girls an opportunity to play “bad”, just like the boys. It’s a fun road movie and Sarandon and Davis obviously relish their characters. Scott puts them in a sympathetic light and has you rooting for them even as they engage in what amounts to a crime spree. Original and mildly groundbreaking at the time, this movie also comes with an ending that no one can forget.


6) “Matchstick Men” (2003)

Matchstick Men is that rare gem of a movie. A con movie that can actually con you. Nic Cage shines as a con artist with psychological problems, and Alison Lohman is his estranged daughter. Sam Rockwell flies co-pilot as they work a big con while Cage works through his issues. It’s going to tug on your heartstrings as it lifts your wallet. Very underrated. I like it a lot!


5) “Kingdom of Heaven – The Director’s Cut” (2005)

Restoring 45 minutes of film that was cut due to studio demands apparently made all the difference in the world. Mis-martketed during its initial release as some sort of spiritual successor to Gladiator, “Kingdom of Heaven” is actually a historical epic which examines religious conflict. Boasting unmatched production values and an intricate, complex, involving story, this is an example of historical epic filmmaking at its best!


4) “Black Hawk Down” (2001)

If one word were used to describe this film, it wold easily be “intense”.  Based on the book of the same name, “Black Hawk Down” recounts the Battle of Mogadishu. American Special forces attempt to apprehend a lieutenant of a Somali Warlord, and things quickly go south. It’s a gritty, realistic movie with excellent directing, a solid cast and taut pacing. It’s guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire run-time! 


3) “Gladiator” (2000)

From here out, the all-time classics begin. When you reach that level, it’s really only a matter of personal preference separating them. “Gladiator” won 5 Academy Awards (though NOT for Best Director – Steven Soderburgh, “Traffic”) including Best Picture. Possibly his most entertaining movie, and undoubtedly his most popular, “Gladiator” is a spectacular film. Rousing. Riveting. Thought provoking. Epic. Masterfully directed and acted, undoubtedly one of his finest.


2) “Alien” (1979)

In space, no one can hear you scream. But in the movie theatre they absolutely can. Alien successfully crossed science fiction and horror to deliver a uniquely blended, unforgettable film. Atmospheric and intense, “Alien” ratchets up the pressure until its practically unbearable. It features a tremendous cast, a groundbreaking heroine, and a legendary creature. This film has spawned a franchise that is still going strong 30+ years later. Incredible.


1) “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” (1982/2007)

“Blade Runner” is a film that rocketed up my personal favorites list once I began writing about films. It’s incredibly rich. Noir and Sci-Fi meet in a futuristic detective story, anchored by fantastic turns from Harrison Ford and Sean Young. Stunning to watch and full of thought-provoking concepts, “Blade Runner” is easily one of my favorite films. “The Final Cut” takes a great film and tweaks it into a masterpiece. Scott’s finest hour.


So there you have it folks. MY list of the Top Ten Ridley Scott films.

What do you think? Any of them too high? Too Low? Are there ones you havent seen yet? Maybe you’re crazy like Ian and you think Blade Runner is boring (if so, word to the wise, play it cool). Should I do more top tens going forward, or is was I right in holding off on them in the first place?

Talk to me folks!! 😀

77 thoughts on “The Top Ten Ridley Scott Films.

  1. Another one here who thinks that Blade Runner is a bit boring. As I stated in my own review, it’s a visual masterpiece, but plot-wise it failed to grab me, and Harrison Ford just seemed bored most of the time. Much preferred the novel it was (loosely) based on.

  2. I’m loving it that Black Rain made the cut. I’m in a very small minority that completely loves Hannibal. Ridley just went balls out and took that franchise in a completely dark direction. Looking back, I wouldn’t want any other guy but Scott attempting to adapt that crazy book which I happen to dig as much as the movie.

    • Oh. No. Dude. For real, buddy? Hannibal?

      Please tell me you’re just making a “Funniest Lamb” attempt. That movie is so so bad.

      Maybe I need to rewatch, but all I could think when I watched it the first time was “Get me out of here” LOL

  3. Great list! I do prefer Alien to Blade Runner, but those two are definetly Scott’s greatest achievements. From his recent films my favorite is definetly Matchistick Men, which is unusal movie for him but it’s so great, memorable and consistantly entertaining.

    • Yeah right? Its really a very very entertaining movie. I had a lot of fun watching that one… kind of feel like it doesnt get its due from pop culture.

      Meanwhile, I cant really take any issues if anyone wanted to flip flop Alien and Blade Runner, I love ’em both and I think both of them are great!

  4. Blade Runner and Alien are “foam at the mouth” levels of excellence. Back when you, Ian and I did our director talk, they were my top two as well. And my number three was Matchstick Men, which is a seriously awesome flick and I was thrilled to see it crack your list. And I’m with you on American Gangster. It is a really good film, people were just expecting more.

    So….yeah, good list.

    • In all honesty, I think if this were just PURELY favorites for me PG? MM is like, 4. I like it better than Black Hawk and KoH, I just think its hard to argue its a better film.

      First crack at this top ten thing, you know?

  5. Like the TOP 10 categories. Hope you’ll keep them going! Liked Ridley before I started noticing (thanks to you) that he even did certain movies, esp Black Rain,Thelma and Louise, and Kingdom of Heaven. Couldn’t get through Blade Runner though, but I know you liked it, so I won’t down it.

    • You wont be ABLE to down it.


      Yeah, this post was well received, so be on the lookout for more top tens in the future going forward. I’ll be open to suggestions for topics, so if you have any let me know!

  6. After seeing it last night, I think Prometheus may find it difficult to find a reasonably placed spot in a Ridley Scott top ten Fogs. Not the classic it was expected to be. 😦

    • %#&@!!


      You’re probably like the ONE person I didn’t want to hear that from.

      Well, I’ll see for myself in just a few days now, so…

      Thanks for the heads up man.

      • Lol. Why am I the one person you didn’t want to hear that from? Because I love Blade Runner so much? Sorry man. Believe me, I wanted to love this film but it just doesn’t cut it. I posted a quick review on my site if you fancy it? There’s no spoilers involved. (Not that there’s much to spoil though)

      • Later. If you hit my review when its up, remind me if I havent been over yet.

        My policy is no reading reviews til my own is posted. Its a thing I have. (shrugs)

        But yeah. You know, you and I see eye to eye on a lot of films, especially BR – so I figure if you’re disappointed, that probably doesnt bode well for me, but…

      • I understand completely man. I avoided trailers and reviews as long as I could. I wanted No outside influences. Let’s face it though, Blade Runner is a very hard act to beat. I doubt Scott will ever make a better film than that. I really hope you do get some enjoyment from Prometheus though. You never know. I’ll keep my eye for your review Fogs. Good day sir!

  7. Didn’t even need to click thru to guess your #1. Also surprised that Prometheus didn’t come in at #10 as much as you’ve hyped it. 😀

    I found Black Rain on Netflix just the other day and put it in the queue…never seen it. Don’t remember much about Legend, might have to check that one out too. I’m a fan of Matchstick Men too, think its not been given its due.

    Idea for future posts, add an honorable mention list for those of us not as versed in film history or too lazy to look up other films that could’ve made the list on IMDB 😀

  8. Has to be Alien 1st for me, closely followed by Bladerunner, purely for the fact that he set a new benchmark in gritty realism in sci-fi, which he hammered home with Bladerunner soon after. Surprisingly, Kingdom of Heaven (directors cut) in 3rd for me, because I think Orlando Bloom is perfect for the roll as someone who is not the immediate, definition of a hero character, he has to grow into it as he discovers himself, it’s a sumptuous, and a full blown classic epic to curl up on the sofa with on a quite weekend, I’ve not seen Thelma and Louise for some time, may have to catch it next time it’s on. 1492, saw it coming down after being up all night raving an acid at the cinema, mind blown again! in fact I saw Bladerunner (directors cut in 92/3?) the same way, after a weekend of recreational psychedelics, it was de rigueur for us to go to the cinema and catch the best on offer! (just don’t watch Jacob’s Ladder on acid unless you’re mentally hardcore!!!!)

    As for Prometheus ( I’m UK based so I’ve seen it a couple of times now) it’s a flawed epic, I loved it for what it was, a glimpse at something I thought I’d never ever see with the space jockey, and I have a soft spot for flawed epics! It too could do with the Kingdom of Heaven treatment, but I hear Ridley’s not keen, even though there were cuts made to achieve the 15 Uk cert, and there’s more character development that could smooth out a few issues, but apart from that, I was left gagging for more and can’t wait for a sequel to the prequel!

    • Oh my god dude, Jacob’s Ladder on Acid? I almost had a bad trip just imagining that. LOL

      GLAD to get some support on Kingdom of Heaven! Crazy, surprising good, right? I loved it, thought it was great.

      I have no issues with anyone flip flopping Alien and Blade Runner, whatsoever. They’re both great films. I think they both belong in the ranks of the greatest movies ever… once you get there, how do you argue? Personal preference really…

      You know? A bit ashamed to say I’ve never seen 1492… I should (and this is once I say that and I probably will) because I am a big fan of R Scott, definitely.

      I’m… anxious now about Prometheus. I’m still clinging to hope that I can love it as much as I had hoped to before it opened… but that’s kind of slipping. 😦 Sad to say.

      • Re: Prometheus.. just don’t go in expecting Alien, suspend disbelief, and enjoy the ride, but pay attention, you won’t be spoonfed answers, and believe me, there are many questions!
        Prometheus has suffered because the trailer was just far too good! the trailer is a sustained climax, cut in the style of Alien.
        I do think it needs a longer cut, but for now, Ridley Scott has made a new sci-fi movie, I for one am not complaining….

      • I have some issues… 😀 Gonna get my Madagascar 3 review written up and then post ’em both. I tough on the “expectations” thing though.

        My disappointments with the film come from within.

        Keep in mind, with hopes as high as mine were, you can still be disappointed and land in a pretty good spot. I’m sure we’ll all have a big ol discussion about it once its up…

  9. Excellent list, Fogs. That would be pretty close to mine, too. Glad to see ‘Kingdom of Heaven (DC)’ represented. That one gets a lot of grief, but it’s an annual viewing in my house (usually in March). Well done.

    • Thanks.

      As good as it is to see Kingdom of Heaven make the list, its even better to see it represent in the comments. That’s an under the radar masterpiece. If they had cast someone other than Bloom in the lead I think we might be talking an all time great.

  10. I will have to throw in another to the hat of loving Hannibal. I take it as this grand guignol style film. It is completely over the top (subtlety is not it’s strength) but also what I love about it. It’s this weird opera which has beautiful shots and it’s just this little satiric ghoul flick. I don’t know why, and I understand the hate for it, but I think it’s just a creepy like ballet of a film

    • Perhaps I should revisit, but I have to be honest… my memory of it right now is that it was terrible. I just remember Hopkins eating Liota’s brains while he was still alive… and I my brain just crashed at that point. Discarded everything.

      I’m in no hurry to go back to it, let’s put it that way 😦

      • I think the fact that it is so absurd that is why I like it so much. I think you have to divorce yourself from Silence to enjoy it

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