Tony Scott, a director with a distinctive, action-oriented aesthetic, died on Sunday after jumping from a bridge in L.A.
Scott left a lasting mark on movies, and popular culture in general, with films like 1986’s Top Gun and 1993’s True Romance.
What his career lacked in critical acclaim it more than made up for in audience appeal, pop culture heft–and longevity. Scott, born in North Shields, Northumberland in 1944, started his filmmaking career at age 16, starring in brother Ridley Scott’s short film, Boy and Bicycle and after blazing a trail in the 80s, continued to direct and produce high profile projects (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Unstoppable) until his death–in fact he was set to direct the upcoming sequel to his most famous film, Top Gun.
While Scott had originally intended to become a painter, he ended up joining his brother in the commercials-making business, co-founding Ridley Scott Associates (RSA) in 1968.
And it was in the advertising world that Scott first earned attention and developed his kinetic style. Speaking of RSA and the commercials world, Scott told Creativity Magazine a few years back: “It’s been my home, my anchor, my beginnings. I think coming out of advertising is such a big factor in terms of how my movies look and feel today. I loved advertising, I loved telling a story in a 30-second theater, I love compression in terms of story and style. British directors of my age, 63–Ridley, Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson, Adrian Lyne and me, who came out of that era and who would go into movies–advertising had a huge influence on the look [of our films], the way the content was handled. Maybe not Alan, but we were always criticized for coming out of commercial style–style over content. Fuck them.”
Fuck them indeed. Here, a look at a small sliver of Scott’s most influential filmmaking moments.
Saab “Nothing On Earth Comes Close”
You can see the beginnings of Scott’s classic, Top Gun in this 1985 ad for Saab. Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson reportedly tapped the director for the film after seeing the spot.
The Hunger opening sequence
Scott’s first feature, The Hunger, anticipated one of pop culture’s monster trends by about 30 years. The gothic horror, starring Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie as dead-stylish vampires, wasn’t an immediate hit, but went on to achieve cult status. Envelop yourself in the 80s, and a classic Bauhaus track, with this, the film’s opening sequence.
BMW Films “Beat The Devil”
BMW’s groundbreaking web series, “The Hire,” changed the course of advertising and set a new standard for brand content. Scott directed Gary Oldman and James Brown in one of the more memorable installments of the franchise.
True Romance Christopher Walken/Dennis Hopper showdown
The combination of screenwriter Quentin Tarantino and director Tony Scott produced a film chunks of which many people can recite from heart. Here, the most famous scene in a film full of famous scenes.
Top Gun volleyball
A special edition of a classic sequence from the film that started Tony Scott’s blockbuster career.