Scott, Ridley


Scott, Ridley
born Nov. 30, 1937, South Shields, Durham, Eng.

British film director.

He studied art and worked as a set designer and director in British television, then formed his own production company in 1967 to make television commercials. His first feature film was The Duellists (1977). It was followed by the science-fiction thrillers Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982), a box-office hit that became a cult classic for its vividly dark images. His later films include Someone to Watch over Me (1987), Thelma & Louise (1991), and Gladiator (2000), which won the Academy Award for best picture.

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▪ British director
born November 30, 1937, South Shields, Durham [now Tyne and Wear], England
 
 British film director whose films were acclaimed at the turn of the 21st century for their visual style and rich details.

      Scott grew up in West Hartlepool, England, and attended the West Hartlepool College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. After working as a set designer and director in British television, he began in 1967 to direct commercials, eventually numbering over 2,000, for his own company. His attention to visual stylization in his commercials, including distinctive atmospheric lighting effects, continued into the feature films that he began directing in 1977. His first was The Duellists, set in Napoleonic France, which won the best first-feature award at the Cannes Film Festival. His next three films were fantasies: Alien (1979), a science-fiction–horror story; Blade Runner (1982; recut 1992), a science-fiction story notable for Scott's vision of a grim, dark, polluted future; and Legend (1985), an allegorical fairy tale.

      Scott's subsequent films were set in contemporary times, including the thrillers Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) and Black Rain (1989); again, these were admired for their visual styling. While Scott's settings in Thelma and Louise (1991) were no less notable, the film's lead characters and feminist theme were the focus of critical attention, and he received an Academy Award nomination for his work. After a string of critical and commercial failures, he directed Gladiator (2000), which won the Academy Award for best picture and earned Scott his second Oscar nomination for best director. His next film, Hannibal (2001), was a box-office hit despite poor reviews, and his military drama Black Hawk Down (2001) was nominated for four Academy Awards, including best director. Scott's later films—which were generally well received and often contained examples of his trademark visual flair—included Matchstick Men (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), and Body of Lies (2008).

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Universalium. 2010.

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