Not a member? Sign up now
Ranked: Ridley Scott Films From Worst to Best
Highs and lows from the visionary director of Alien, Thelma and Louise, and the new Prometheus.
by Adam Ryan
Tomorrow, Ridley Scott returns to his sci-fi roots for the first time in thirty years, with the release of the much-anticipated epic Prometheus. In tribute, we've ranked all of the meticulous auteur's films from worst to best.
19. A Good Year (2006)
Watching a rich Russell Crowe deal with inheriting a chateau in the French countryside while courting Marion Cotillard and managing his finance job back home is sort of like watching a movie about a corporate CEO winning the lottery. Who cares?
18. G.I. Jane (1997)
A drippy and dull take on a dramatic structure that's been through the wringer: scrappy outsider (Demi Moore as a tough but feminine Navy officer) battles the odds (training to be a Navy SEAL... even though she's a woman!) to earn the respect of her peers (Viggo Mortensen and, uh, America?). It's Rudy with machine guns, except that that sounds pretty entertaining.
17. Legend (1985)
The 1980s were the salad days for fairytale movies (The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal); Scott's foray was a swing and miss. Legend looks great, but the dialogue is terrible, the premise is hokey (Tom Cruise has to stop The Lord of Darkness from eliminating the world's unicorn population), and the film as a whole feels leaden.
16. Robin Hood (2010)
Scott explained his Robin Hood as a prequel to the Robin Hood legends, which explains (but doesn't justify) why it's so far from the playful, lively stories we remember. Audiences expected a movie about a rogueish hero who robs from the rich and gives to the poor. Instead, they were treated to a poor man's Gladiator, with plenty of blood and guts and self-seriousness, but no heart.
15. Hannibal (2001)
A lot of people who didn't normally like horror movies liked Silence of the Lambs, not because of its gore but because of its rich psychology. Scott must've missed this, because his Hannibal ignores the franchise's compelling storylines in favor of, yes, gore. And lots of it. Seeing Ray Liotta's brain doesn't make up for a weak story.
14. Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)
Tom Berenger is a hardened New York City detective assigned to protect a beautiful socialite who's witnessed a murder. It's not the world's most original story, but Scott squeezes enough interest from the 1980s New York City backdrop to make it worth a nostalgic look.
13. White Squall (1996)
Although there are flashes of a good movie sprinkled throughout White Squall — Jeff Bridges and company turn in solid performances, and the action sequences are nicely stylized and intense — in the end, the film is just too damn long to sustain interest. By the hundred-minute mark, you're just waiting for the storm to come along and take care of business.
12. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
Scott's controversial take on Columbus's "discovery" of the Americas was a flop with audiences and critics alike. But, from an aesthetic point of view, it's one of Scott's most beautifully shot films.
11. Body of Lies (2008)
This CIA spy thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe was Scott's first foray into the genre, and although it lacks depth, Scott got some nice performances out of his cast.
10. Black Rain (1989)
Set against the contemporary anxiety about Japanese corporate dominance, Black Rain follows bad-boy cop Michael Douglas as he infiltrates an Japanese crime syndicate. If you're looking for an underrated cop movie from the '80s, Black Rain should be at the very top of your list.