As with any prominent artist’s or entertainer’s passing, it gives us a chance to look back on their body of work in a way we’ve never looked at it before — as completed cannon. After the terrible news broke of director Tony Scott’s apparent suicide, we decided to do just that and compile a list of the Hollywood mainstay’s five greatest cinematic achievements.
#5. The Hunger (1983)
“The Hunger” is an assured, ambitious — if often ridiculous — debut feature (not counting the 57-minute, rarely seen “Loving Memory”) that wasn’t appreciated upon its release but has since become something of a cult classic. It also features an infamous lesbian scene between Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve, and one of David Bowie’s best dramatic performances.
#4. Top Gun (1986)
Don’t laugh. Yes, “Top Gun” represents everything Tony Scott has come to be mocked for in more snobbish cinematic circles: it’s over-indulgent, sappy, melodramatic and cheesier than a Velveeta factory. But it’s also slickly produced, well-paced, surprisingly engaging and a helluva lot of fun.
#3. Unstoppable (2010)
Loosely based on the real-life CSX 8888 incident, “Unstoppable” follows Chris Pine and Denzel Washington as they desperately try to halt a runaway freight train. His final completed film before his death, it is the ultimate Tony Scott film. Featuring all of his familiar cues, action set-pieces, and stylistic flourishes, “Unstoppable” is Tony Scott at the top of his game.
#2. Crimson Tide (1995)
Perhaps the best example of Scott’s knack for culling great performances from his actors, “Crimson Tide” features two of our finest, Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington, in the finest of form. “Crimson Tide” is that rare pop thriller capable of raising moral and intellectual questions without seeming (too) silly.
#1. True Romance (1993)
By far Scott’s most accomplished film, “True Romance” is more than just a fantastic script by a young Quentin Tarantino. It’s also technically impeccable, possessing an added dose of the usual Scott flair, and features an all-star cast with some of the best performances from the likes of Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Gary Oldman, James Gandolfini, Val Kilmer and a delightfully stoned Brad Pitt.