There is already a lot of speculation about the death of director Tony Scott yesterday. Rather than join the speculation I would rather remember the joy he gave me and millions of others who grew up with his movies. While his brother Ridley Scott has made some classic films, Tony makes movies, feet up with beer, pizza and a big smile on your face movies. The mid to late 80’s saw a reinvention and renaissance of action movies where they became credible mainstream entertainment, a small number of directors where at the forefront of this, they include: John McTiernan, Richard Donner, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow and Toney Scott. With an often imitated visual style and string of hit movies, he has been a hugely influential director. He was also a prolific producer of both movies and TV shows including interestingly Stoker, Chan-wook Park’s first English language movie (set for release in 2013).
He has worked with some of the biggest stars of the last quarter century: Tom Cruise: Top Gun (1986) and Days of Thunder (1990). Eddie Murphy: Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). Kevin Costner: Revenge (1990). Bruce Willis: The Last Boy Scout (1991). Denzel Washington: Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009), Unstoppable (2010). Will Smith: Enemy of the State (1998). Robert De Niro: The Fan (1996). Brad Pitt: Spy Game (2001).
I have seen all Tony Scott movies (except The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) and enjoyed them all even the less well received ones like Domino (2005). But here are my favourites:
The Hunger (1983) wasn’t successful on its release but has gained a cult following amongst fans of vampire movies including me.
Revenge (1990) is possibly Scott’s most under appreciated movie. A tough revenge thriller starring, Kevin Costner, Anthony Quinn and Madeleine Stowe. Having received mixed reviews on release it was finally appreciated in the mid 90’s when Quentin Tarantino declared it one of his favourite movies.
True Romance (1993): Largely faithful to the Quentin Tarantino screenplay it is Based on a, it received the ultimate praise when Tarantino declared he was happy with the outcome. Perfectly cast and full of memorable moments, it is probably my favourite Tony Scott movie.
Spy Game (2001): received positive reviews but was only a moderate success. Robert Redford and Brad Pitt are fantastic together, the films pace and structure are perfect. Its lack of action disappointed many viewers but they kind of miss the point. A great spy movie that deserves another look.
Man on Fire (2004): That most unusual of movies, a remake better than the original (it and the 1987 movie of the same name directed by Élie Chouraqui, starring Scott Glenn were both adapted from a novel by A.J. Quinnell). The kidnap, revenge thriller is elevated by a monumental performance by Denzel Washington fresh from his Oscar winning Training Day.