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 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 00:48 GMT
Sir Ridley Scott: Hollywood visionary
Sir Ridley Scott and Sir Anthony Hopkins
Sir Ridley Scott directed Sir Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal
Director Ridley Scott has been named a Knights Bachelor for his services to British film. BBC News Online looks back at his impressive career.

A director and producer, Sir Ridley Scott has made his name through some of the most memorable films of all time, including Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down.

Sir Ridley is a director noted for films with impressive visionary sweep, and strong visual style, taking cinema-goers on journeys into space, the future and the past.

The 63-year-old director was born in Northumberland and started his career as a set designer with the BBC, before becoming a director on the long-running police series Z Cars.

Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe won a best actor Oscar for Gladiator

He said: "As a boy growing up in South Shields, I could never have imagined that I would receive such a special recognition.

"I am extremely honoured to be awarded a knighthood."

He added: "I am truly humbled to receive this treasured award and believe it also further recognises the excellence of the British film industry."


From the outset he combined his creative talents with entrepreneurial skills.

In the 1970s he set up Ridley Scott Associates, working with his brother Tony, who is also a director, on a series of high-profile advertising campaigns.

He made his feature film debut with The Duellists in 1977, which won the Jury Prize for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival.

But it was Alien, released in 1979, that marked out Sir Ridley as an important director who could also achieve commercial success.

Alien helped launch the career of Sigourney Weaver and spawned three sequels, although they were not as critically lauded as the first, and were not directed by Sir Ridley.

In 1982, the director found himself at the centre of a storm around his production of Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford.

Cult classic

He clashed repeatedly with studio executives over the film's complex content and downbeat ending.

He eventually conceded, adding a voiceover and a more positive ending to appease the studio.

Sir Ridley Scott and Giannina Facio
Sir Ridley Scott is married to producer Giannina Facio
The film fared poorly at the box office and with film critics but in the last 10 years the film has become a cult classic, helped by the release of the director's original vision of the film.

In 1991, Sir Ridley took the helm of Thelma and Louse, a re-working of the traditional road movie with a feminist twist.

Starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, the paean to freedom and honesty was nominated for six Academy Awards, eventually winning best screenplay.

Sir Ridley the businessman has also enjoyed a productive time - he runs Scott Free Productions, a Los Angeles-based film and TV development and production group.

He is also a major shareholder and co-chairman of Pinewood-Shepperton Holdings Limited which owns Pinewood Studios and Shepperton Studios,

The 1990s marked Sir Ridley's poorest period with the critics and the cinema-going public.


The epic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, high seas-drama White Squall and Demi Moore-vehicle GI Jane all bombed at the box office.

But the Roman epic Gladiator marked a triumphant return to success, as it picked up 12 Oscar nominations at the 2001 ceremony.

It won four, including best film, but Sir Ridley was beaten to the best director gong by Steven Soderbergh.

A homage to classic Hollywood fare, such as Ben Hur and Spartacus, Sir Ridley's vision was praised by critics and audiences alike.

It earned more than $400m (275m) at the box office world-wide and already earned Scott a Golden Globe as best director.

Sir Ridley Scott and Julianne Moore
Sir Ridley with Julianne Moore on the set of Hannibal
Following his success with Gladiator, he took the reins on the much-anticipated sequel to Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal.

Black Hawk Down was Sir Ridley's dramatic retelling of the US Army's doomed rescue mission in Mogadishu.

The film was criticised by some for showing a biased view of the battle that left 18 US soldiers and about 500 Somalis dead. But others praised its realism.

It gave Sir Ridley another outing at the Oscars as it was nominated for four awards.

Once again he was left disappointed after failing to collect the best director award, which instead went to Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind.

But the war movie did pick up awards for best editing and best sound.

Along with brother Tony, he recently produced the acclaimed Winston Churchill biopic The Gathering Storm, starring Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave.

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