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David Poland

By David Poland

Tony Scott: Five Favorites

2011 Unstoppable

2009 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

2006 Deja Vu

2005 Domino

2004 Man on Fire

2001 Spy Game

1998 Enemy of the State

1996 The Fan

1995 Crimson Tide

1993 True Romance

1991 The Last Boy Scout

1990 Days of Thunder

1990/I Revenge

1987 Beverly Hills Cop II

1986 Top Gun

1983 The Hunger

29 Responses to “Tony Scott: Five Favorites”

  1. JVD says:

    Man, what a terrible loss. He was a pioneer in action cinema, and while some people might not have been happy with his style and how it pervaded Hollywood, he was a true original. This was a guy who made *movies,* the kind you stay up late for and skip school to watch as a kid. Here are my picks:

    1) Man on Fire
    2) Top Gun
    3) Crimson Tide
    4) True Romance
    5) Domino

  2. Vicki Hobb says:

    I am stunned and saddened. How awful for those he has left behind. I used to be so unforgiving about suicide, feeling that is so selfish, but with age I have learned that it is just not that simple. I really feel for his family.

    And these are my picks (based on how likely I am to stop and watch when they are on cable):

    1) Man on Fire (way, way up there, it gets me every time at the end when he sees Dakota Fanning, one of my favorite Denzel Washington movies ever)
    2) The Last Boy Scout (pretty high up there, although I know many hate it, I really like it)
    3) Enemy of the State (I love Gene Hackman in this)
    4) Top Gun (summer fun)
    5) Unstoppable

  3. The Real Vince says:

    Top Gun
    True Romance
    Enemy of the State
    Crimson Tide
    Man on Fire

  4. Tofu says:

    Perhaps he was given terminal news? Perhaps he was in psychical pain? What we do know is that we have lost a master of the VISUAL medium. The imagery that he and cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball put together from 1986 – 1993 is in my estimation still the height of of the medium.

    1) True Romance
    2) Top Gun
    3) Unstoppable

    And the rest congeal into an entertaining, alluring, and adult collection of work.

  5. berg says:

    billie jo mcallister

  6. Triple Option says:

    I have not seen Top Gun in years. Wonder how it’d hold up for me. I think I’d have Enemy of the State as #1.

  7. dinovelvet says:

    1. SCOUT

    Cannot go wrong with any part of this film. Put the DVD in and skip to any random chapter – you’ve got a great scene.

    2. FIRE

    The absolute beginning and end of Revenge Movies. A beautiful relationship between Denzel and Dakota gives way to brutal carnage and ownage.

    3. ROMANCE

    Brilliant cast, great kinetic energy throughout.

    4. REVENGE

    Under-rated and underseen. The ending is a tragic gutpunch every time.

    5. TIDE

    Denzel. Hackman. What else you need to know?

  8. Sloan says:

    Crimson Tide
    Last Boy Scout
    True Romance
    Spy Game
    Top Gun

    Not many have five that good.

  9. Joe Straatmann says:

    1. The Last Boy Scout

    Loved it since I was a kid when I was absolutely, positively not allowed to watch it (But did anyway). As a grown up, I see a movie with some of the best chemistry between the two leads, one liners that hit the exact right spot when they should, and lots of character in every scene. I’m ALWAYS entertained when I watch it.

    2. Man on Fire

    For all the criticism of super-editing, this is a movie that takes its time and earns its emotions. It actually bonds with the characters before getting to the action, and the movie is much more affecting because of it. The movie also feels alive and Scott hits the editing tricks, tickers, subtitles, etc. perfectly to have a film that feels truly alive.

    3. Crimson Tide

    A class act all the way. Incredibly well crafted and acted.

    4. Top Gun

    Maybe it is under/over written at times, but it is pretty damn iconic, the aircraft sequences are awesome, and the actors all make their characters even when there’s nothing there, whether be a gesture, a line delivery, or interaction with the other actors.

    5. Enemy of the State

    True Romance should probably be here or higher, but I haven’t seen it. It’s a gaping whole in my film experience, I know. But hey, Enemy of the State is still pretty damn good. I always watch it when it’s on, and I never find myself regretting it. It’s very solid work.

    And despite how people can dissect his work whether this or that was good, or if he succeeded or tried too hard on a project, if he was directing it, I was interested. Rest in Peace.

  10. The Pope says:

    I’m stunned and saddened. He wasn’t always my favorite filmmaker but in terms of cinema being an art, I would rank him alongside the likes of Roy Lichtenstein. A pop-artist and his suicide is very, very sad.

    Tony and Ridley Scott’s brother Frank died of cancer in 1979.

  11. anghus says:

    Incredibly sad and surprising. My first thought was “you don’t hear about many people in their golden years committing suicide, short of people suffering from a terminal illness”.

  12. movieman says:

    Why stop at 5?’

    My personal favorite (Tony) Scott films are “The Hunger,” “Top Gun,” “The Last Boy Scout” (better than all of the “Lethal Weapon” movies combined), “True Romance,” “Crimson Tide,” “Enemy of the State,” “Man on Fire,” “Domino” and “Unstoppable.”

    A remarkably kinetic visual stylist who will be sorely missed.

  13. Jkill says:

    5. The Last Boyscout: Maybe the best honed mix of violence and comedy amongst the 80s/90s buddy comedies. A kind of throw-back detective film but with Scott’s amped, smoky sensibility.

    4. Top Gun: One of those movies that’s instantly iconic, and deservedly so. Probably did more to promote the Cruise as action hero we get today more than any other movie; it’s also probably one of the most throughly entertaining films ever.

    3. Revenge: This is one I finally caught not that long ago, and I think it’s a classic. It’s such a sexy, sleazy, angry, heartbroken, and earthy piece of work. This movie has a wounded, battered beating heart at its pulpy center.

    2. Man on Fire: The best of his work with Denzel (for me), and one of the best revenge films ever. Scott’s boozy, breakneck style perfectly captures the psyche of Denzel’s protagonist in his quest for redemption and something to live for. The ending still haunts me.

    1. True Romance: One of the coolest movies of my lifetime, TR is one of those movies that, once I saw it, I knew it would never leave me. Right now, as I type, I can hear that music and see Slater and Arquette through Scott’s unmistakable lens. ‘You’re so cool’, indeed.

  14. leahnz says:

    wow what a shock, i can’t even imagine what his family and loved ones must be going through right now but my heart goes out to them, and to Tony, who must have been suffering greatly in some way.

    i guess i must be one of the few fans of ‘the hunger’ (along with movieman), that and ‘true romance’ will always be my quintessential tonys, with an honorable mention to ‘the angel of death smites mexico’ (man on fire). he had a certain style and rhythm and flair and energy, and while i may not have loved all his flicks his work was both distinctive and crowd-pleasing, an increasingly rare combination. he deserved to feel proud of his career, i hope he knew how much enjoyment he brought to so many. i hope he’s in a better place, RIP Tony Scott.

  15. martin s says:

    anghus says:

    Incredibly sad and surprising. My first thought was “you don’t hear about many people in their golden years committing suicide, short of people suffering from a terminal illness”.

    I started writing the same thing last night and erased it.

    Tony either just received some terrible health news, or meds he was in made him delusional. Clinical depression needs something to push the person into the valley. The guy had everything.

  16. Krillian says:

    1995 Crimson Tide
    1993 True Romance
    1998 Enemy of the State
    1990 Revenge
    1986 Top Gun

    2011 Unstoppable
    2004 Man on Fire
    2009 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
    2001 Spy Game
    2006 Deja Vu

    1990 Days of Thunder
    1987 Beverly Hills Cop II
    1996 The Fan
    1991 The Last Boy Scout

    Never Saw
    1983 The Hunger
    2005 Domino

  17. movieman says:

    JKill- “You’re so cool” indeed.
    Thanks for that Top 5.
    I may have to give “Revenge” another look.
    Glad somebody else appreciates the underloved “Boy Scout.” I’ve always preferred it to any of the Mel/Danny “LW” flicks
    P.S.= “The Hunger” rules, Leah! It’s my all-time favorite (lesbian) vampire movie.

  18. anghus says:

    Ebert had that great story about Last Boy Scout. He gave it a bad review and said something like “it has all the action and dumb humor that will probably make it an enormous hit.”

    And the next week they ran ads that said “an enormous hit” – Roger Ebert.

  19. Razzie Ray says:

    Never seen The Hunger, but certainly will now. Some of his later stuff is certainly derivative of his earlier stuff.

    My fave of his is True Romance.

    Man on Fire is great…unfortunately, I saw City of God a week before I saw it. So it had much less of an impact. Though Denzel is fantastic in it.

    Enemy of the State is well-done for what it is.

  20. SamLowry says:

    Well, his vampires could go out in daylight–as long as they kept their Ray-Bans on–but THEY DID NOT SPARKLE.

  21. hcat says:

    Man On Fire
    True Romance
    Last Boy Scout
    Crimson Tide

    I don’t think there is a dud among any of his titles, even Domino had some really interesting stuff going on that just seemed to get away from him.

    Such a crazy talent, when I saw in the news crawl this morning that he died jumping off a bridge my mind didn’t even immediatly go to suicide, but some crazy stunt went bad.

  22. Grady Stiles says:

    Minor note, David, but Unstoppable was 2010, not 2011.

  23. David Poland says:

    I just copy/pasted imdb, Grady.

    And God, how I remember the intensity around the screenplay of Last Boy Scout. You rarely have that kind of drama around a script these days.

  24. Grady Stiles says:

    Not sure what to tell you, David, as IMDB clearly shows 2010.

  25. The Real Vince says:


    Can you elaborate on the hubbub surrounding Last Boy Scout? Are you talking about when Shane Black was making record breaking sales?

  26. Peter says:

    Tony Scott’s death hit me harder than I anticipated. I grew up watching his films, I once owned The Hunger and Top Gun on VHS. Not all his films are good, but none of them are terrible.

    My top 5:

    1. True Romance
    2. Unstoppable
    3. Enemy of the State
    4. Top Gun
    5. Domino

    The second half of Man On Fire was as good as any films he has made. Need to re-watch Crimson Tide again, haven’t seen it since the late 90s.


  27. Philip Lovecraft says:

    For me it’s “True Romance” & “Man on Fire”. Mr. Scott’s sudden death has hit me, too, hard & right in the gut. So sad. Condolences to his family. R.I.P., sir.

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