Ridley Scott Biography

Ridley Scott photo

Born: November 30, 1937


Date of Birth: November 30, 1937

Born in South Shields, Northumberland, England, Ridley Scott was raised in London, Cumbria, Wales and Germany. He attended the West Hartpool College of Art and London's Royal College of Art. While studying at the latter, he made his first short film.

After graduating with honors, Scott was awarded a traveling scholarship to the States. There, he worked with award-winning documentary filmmakers. Upon his return to the UK, he joined the BBC as a production designer and after a year, was promoted to the BBC directing team, where he directed the BBC series Z Cars.

Three years later, Scott went on to form his own company, which became one of the most successful commercial production houses in Europe. Over the course of 10 years, Scott directed over 2000 commercials, many of which have won awards.

The Duellists (1978) marked his transition to the big screen. The visually striking Napoleonic war film won the Jury Prize for Best First Feature at Cannes. But it was the breakthrough hit Alien (1979) that established Scott as both an important director and a favorite among horror and sci-fi fans. The film also won an Oscar for its special effects. In addition, the film is credited for having a strong female lead character in the form of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver.

In 1982, Scott had trouble with his third effort, Blade Runner. After several conflicts with studio executives over the content and finale, a voice over narration and more positive ending was added. The end result incited criticism from film purists and the film in turn received negative reviews. Finally, in the early '90s, the director's cut was released and the film was considered a landmark science-fiction film.

In the meantime, three more films followed, Legend (1986), Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) and Black Rain (1989) but in 1991, Scott earned his greatest commercial and critical success with Thelma & Louise. Starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as the film's two heroines, it garnered six Oscar nominations, including Best director for Scott and also became a feminist movie standard.

He followed it up with three complete flops: 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), White Squall (1996) and G.I.Jane (1997). The latter was also criticized by the military for using incorrect terminology and by American Arab leaders for a scene in which Arabs were killed.

He then took a break from directing to produce the TV series, The Hunger and the 1998 black comedy Clay Pigeons, before returning to directing with the highly-anticipated sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Gladiator, the latter of which became the summer hit of 2000, and earned him his second Academy Award for Best Director. The following year he returned to the Oscars, once again as a nominee, this time for his directorial work on Black Hawk Down. In 2004 he received the George Pal Memorial Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.

He re-teamed with his Gladiator star, Russell Crowe, for a move that was a change of pace for both of them—the romantic comedy A Good Year (2006) and then again for the drama Body of Lies (2008), also starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Crowe also starred in his next feature, Robin Hood (2010). His latest project is the sci-fi thriller Prometheus (2012) starring Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Guy Pearce. The film is about a group of explorers who travel to space to investigate the origins of mankind and wind up encountering deadly extraterrestials.


Robin Hood(2010)
Body of Lies(2008)
American Gangster(2007)
A Good Year(2006)
All the Invisible Children (2005) (segment "Jonathan")
Kingdom of Heaven(2005)
Matchstick Men(2003)
Black Hawk Down(2001)
G.I. Jane (1997)
White Squall (1996)
1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Black Rain(1989)
Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)
Blade Runner(1982)
The Duellists(1977)

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