10 best Tony Scott movies
Tony Scott, whose brother Ridley remains one of the most prominent voices in big-budget science fiction filmmaking today, successfully managed to make a name for himself throughout the late 20th and early 21st century. His brother’s films tend to be more serious, while Tony’s films often took a turn for the darkly comedic. His brother’s films became examples of how to do science fiction right, while Tony’s films became examples of how to make action films more fun.
Sadly, many of his films were unappreciated at the time of their release. Even sadder, Tony Scott passed away in August of 2012. In the six years since, his absence has definitely been felt. He’d often work with Denzel Washington, giving the actor plenty of great roles, and created some of the best action films of his time. With a Top Gun sequel on the way, it’s worth it to look back on some of Scott’s best films.
Written by Quentin Tarantino, it took some time for Scott’s True Romance to earn the respect it deserved upon release in the early 90s. It has an all-star cast, made up of Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, and more. Scott does a great job keeping them all in line while working off of Tarantino’s excellent script.
Submarine films are a strange and underrated genre, probably because they’re often claustrophobic and outright boring if done incorrectly. Luckily, Crimson Tide is neither of these things. Starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, Scott delivers a suspenseful and dramatic film that takes place during a time that could be described just the same.
His final film, Scott’s Unstoppable feels like a throwback to his early work. It’s a gripping whirlwind of a film, thanks in part to Chris Pine and Denzel Washington in the leading roles, with Scott doing some skilled work behind the camera. It totally delivers.
No stranger to cult classics himself, David Bowie stars in another 80s classic from Tony Scott. Of course, it helps to have Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon as part of your cast as well, but Tony Scott is one of the only people who could make a love triangle between a vampire, a cellist, and a gerontologist seem this good.
The Last Boy Scout
Like with True Romance, Tony Scott is helped tremendously by a script from another great filmmaker—it comes from Shane Black at his best, his first script after Lethal Weapon and its sequel. They’re both at the top of their game, managing to create a movie that’s genuinely exciting and quite funny. Bruce Willis is giving it his all, and Damon Wayans manages to be pretty enjoyable too.
Enemy of the State
So many great actors are lucky to have worked with Tony Scott while he was here on earth. With Enemy of the State, Scott directs Will Smith and Gene Hackman with precision and humor—two things that were pretty rare for a blockbuster in the late 90s. It remains one of Scott’s (and Smith’s) best.
It really doesn’t get any more iconic than Tom Cruise in Top Gun. It’s the epitome of the 80s movie blockbuster genre, and it’s still praised to this day. It’s a pop culture staple, and it’s all thanks to Tony Scott.
Who could go wrong with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt at the center of their film? Tony Scott can’t help but deliver an exciting and captivating espionage thriller. It’s rooted in nostalgia, something that isn’t so uncommon these days, but Scott keeps it under control for the most part. At the end of the day, it’s another great blockbuster from Tony Scott.
A common theme among many of Scott’s films is time—it never stops, it never slows down, it’s always moving forward. In Deja Vu, Scott examines what would happen if you could stop it, and what would happen if you could go back. Denzel Washington nails the lead performance, and Scott’s camerawork is as good as ever.
Man on Fire
It’s a classic story: some bad guys commit an unspeakable act, so an ex-assassin comes out of retirement to get revenge. Still, that doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining movie. It’s a big-budget blast only Denzel Washington and Tony Scott could deliver.