The film world lost a great auteur last night, as Tony Scott - director of such classics like Top Gun and True Romance - tragically took his own life at age 68. Tony was one-half of the Scott- sibling directing duo with his brother Ridley (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator). The pair produced a number of films and TV shows together under the banner Scott Free Productions, which included Ridley's latest Prometheus and last year's The Grey, as well as CBS Network's Numb3rs and The Good Wife.
Whether it was his signature kinetic style--which he employed later in his career first in 2004's Man on Fire and followed suit with 2005's Domino and 2006' Deja Vu - or his ability to blend high tension action with heavy character drama - as seen perfectly crafted in 1986's Top Gun, 1995's Crimson Tide, and 1998's Enemy of the State amongst others--Tony Scott was in a class of directors all his own. His presence in cinema will be strongly missed.
It would be impossible to try to rank Mr. Scott's films, as his entire filmography warrants inclusion for one reason or another. He was a a true punk rock purveyor. His films bucked convention, and always challenged the nature of the "Big Budget Blockbuster."
To honor Tony Scott, let's take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from his most memorable films.
Top Gun (1986)
How does one pick a signature moment from a film fully comprised of them? Scott's quintessential high flying war games classic not only put Tom Cruise on the radar as an action star, but took audiences to new heights never before reached in Action cinema. The dogfights with Kenny Loggins' "Highway to the Dangerzone" lighting up the after burners! Watch the Birdie! Maverick & Goose's impromptu rendition of "Great Balls of Fire"! And, of course, a whole bar of uniformed dudes acapella-singing the shit out of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." Nothing says "You're dangerous!" better than a bunch of macho shirtless fighter pilots playing a friendly pick-up game of slo-mo volleyball.
Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Two words: "Fuck Rambo." If anyone could make Judge Reinhold look like an unlikely, dimwitted badass, it was Tony Scott.
Days of Thunder (1990)
Four years after Top Gun, Scott re-teamed with Cruise in the cockpit. This time it was on the asphalt instead of in the air but with the same high octane action. Like he did for Top Gun and dog-fighting, the director put us in the driver's seat for a never-before-seen-on-the-big-screen look at the world of stock car racing. Hell, he could even make NASCAR fun to watch! Grab a can of Mello Yello, kick back, and watch a beautiful example of Tony Scott's ability to direct a fast paced, action packed, and dramatic dance.
The Last Boy Scout (1991)
They say that every script needs to have something huge happen in the first ten pages. Together with screenwriter Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Scott gave us one of the best illustrations of how to start a film off with a bang in one of the most shocking opening sequences on celluloid.
True Romance (1993)
Aside from his groundbreaking films, Tony Scott was also known for being a mentor to both young directors and young screenwriters. Nineteen years ago, he took a chance on a script from a fairly unknown writer-director Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino's little crime film had come out the year before. Scott paired with the young filmmaker (who would go on to make dozens of films with Scott's hand heavily apparent) to bring us an iconic romantic comedy crime thriller. If a genre didn't exist for it, Tony Scott created one. Ladies and gentlemen, Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper.
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Crimson Tide (1995)
By air, by land, and now by sea. This is one of my favorite scenes in Tony Scott's filmographies, featuring long-time collaborator Denzel Washington as a rookie First Officer going head-to-head with Gene Hackman's trigger happy Captain. The director had a penchant for telling military and espionage-themed tales, but with a sense of off kilter humor and pop culture awareness. Comic book nerds and movie geeks alike (myself included in both categories) always appreciated Scott talking to us in our language.
Do you have another favorite moment from any of these films? Or maybe a favorite moment from Mr. Scott's other work, including The Hunger (1983), Revenge (1990), The Fan (1996), Enemy of the State (1998), Spy Game (2001), Man on Fire (2004) Domino (2005), Deja Vu (2006), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009), or his most recent Unstoppable (2010). Leave your own tribute below!