This is a sad day for the Movieraiders, because we have always enjoyed Tony Scott’s work.  While many of his recent offerings have fallen short,  he was a brilliant film maker and cemented his status – one of the “GREAT” entertainers.  Lutz and I authored our tributes independently of each other – so that we can pay full tribute to the great Tony Scott.  Below are my 3 favorite scenes / sequences from Tony’s body of work.  I chose these not only because they are great movie moments (some of the all-time greatest) but they also put on display the unique talent that Tony had as a director, the way he worked with actors, the way he used the camera, staged action and the way he setup scenes

  •  “You’re a Sicilian huh?”  that scene between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken (with James Ganolfini standing behind) in True Romance.   I love the way Tony Scott shot that scene…they are all coop’ed up in side of this mobile home, and Dennis Hopper’s character is crammed by these 3 gangsters.  As Hopper really starts to put his hooks into Walken, there are these shots of the facial reactions of Gandolfini –he is just waiting to pounce, but at the same time he is amazed at the gusto of Hopper’s character.  The scene is intense, but at the same time witty – just a great piece of storytelling by Scott as part of a great movie.

  • Hollywood, your lookin good – I’m going after Viper.” – Top Gun is part of our culture, the idea of “wingman” – the “need for speed,” “playing beach volleyball,” “being a Naval Aviator” – all of these things were created and became cool because of Tony Scott’s masterpiece.  It is hard to pick one scene, because how can you ignore the scene where Mav sings, “You’ve lost that lovin feelin.”  But my favorite scene in Top Gun is the flight scene where Maverick decides to take on Viper.  The way that Scott combined live flight footage, with scenes shot on a sound stage, with camera moves and music made for one of the most exciting sequences in movies (even in to this day).  James Cameron spent hundreds of millions of dollars to give us the action of Avatar – but for my $13 give me this scene in Top Gun any day.

  • “I’m droppin the hammer!” – Scott unapologetically channels all of that Tom Cruise has to offer in this scene.  From the way Cruise shows up on the track, in a leather coat and on a motor cycle – to the way that all the other characters regard his grand entrance, to the way that Cruise drops the hammer.  Again we see Tony giving us something that is so visually exciting that you can’t turn away.  This movie put NASCAR on the map and Tony Scott captured on film some great action and memorable moments.  People are quick to dismiss this movie, but I proudly stand by it – whenever I ask someone if they have seen “Days of Thunder” they ALWAYS say yes and can remember the scenes – how can that be “bad” film?


  •  “Captain, I relieve you of your command of this ship” – Crimson Tide is a great movie with masterful direction of two incredible actors: Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington (in his first of 5 collaborations with Tony Scott).  My favorite scene from the movie (and my favorite Tony Scott scene of all time) is when Denzel and Hackman are face-to-face arguing about the launch of nuclear weapons that will cause World War III.  Tony Scott builds the scene gradually until Hackman finally snaps “I’m commander of this boat, now shut the fuck up!”.  The look on Denzel’s face just says it all: “Did he just seriously tell me to shut the fuck up?!?!  Okay – this guys is going down”.  Scott brought out the best in these powerhouse actors creating a film with palpable tension from start to finish.

  • “You have no manners.  It is to you and you that my name means nothing.” – Revenge is an under-appreciated film.  While the premise is simple enough: a betrayal amongst friends causing violence and more violence, Tony Scott elevates the story by delivering drama and electricity.  My favorite scene from Revenge features Anthony Quinn, who steals the movie (shown in the first minute of the youtube clip unfortunately cut-off).  But in one speech and violent turn, Quinn demonstrates why is the Patron, striking fear into the hearts of his workers.  In this clip and throughout the movie, Scott makes you feel transported to Mexico with beauty at the surface and danger lurking underneath, so like Costner you feel out of your element.  Just brilliant work.

  • White Boy Day” – Note that I wanted to include another scene from True Romance featuring Gary Oldman as Drexl, but figured one clip from True Romance was enough for this post.  So let me just post this classic clip and move on to my back-up scene.

  • “Operation Dinner Out – Spy Game is directing at its best.  Despite cutting back and forth from present to past, across decades and various locations, the movie comes together seamlessly.  Every minute counts, so you are on the edge of your seat throughout.  But not in a pure adrenaline fashion (like other Tony Scott work), but instead through smart storytelling demonstrating how Tony Scott’s directing chops got even better over time.  One of my favorite scenes is the finale, where all the complexity and cleverness of Robert Redford’s work (from the confines of his office) comes together.  And a simple phrase “Operation Dinner Out accomplished” says everything it needs to about who Robert Redford’s character is all about.


4 Responses to A Movieraiders Tribute to the great Tony Scott

  1. Kenzo says:

    Those are classics, John. Thanks for sharing.

    I was blessed and honored to have known and worked for Tony. My tribute will be more from a personal perspective….and John has already posted great examples of Tony’s work above. I’ll keep it short.

    As Lutz knows, my first “gig” in Hollywood was working at Scott Free Productions (Tony and Ridley’s production company).

    I was eventually hired as an assistant and after a couple of years, became Story Editor and Creative Executive. But in the first months….really, from the moment I first met Tony…as the lowly intern in the copy room, he treated me like a peer, took effort to learn my name, and always, always thanked me for what I was doing.

    That was Tony. As the Aussies call it, he was a true “mate”. One of my fellow Scott Free co-workers recently described him as being macho yet modest at the same time.

    A lovely lovely man who also knew how the direct the hell out of a film.

    As John notes in his tribute, Hollywood is a changed place without Tony and his films. We could count on a Tony Scott film every two years or so. That won’t be happening anymore. Many have copied his pioneering, whip pan, staccato cut, flashy style (even his own brother!)…unfortunately, some waay too overboard. No one will compare to the master.

    Just like the man, his films were macho and modest at the same time. Fist pumping action, but with a deft hand at showing the humanity of his characters.

    Rest in peace, Tony. We already all miss you.

    • John says:

      Kenzo – thank you for sharing that personal story. I was not aware that you had worked with him- and that personal perspective is really appreciated. Oh to be a fly on the wall at Scott Free Productions, that must have been a great experience.

  2. Lutz says:

    In reading many of the Tony tributes from Hollywood filmmakers, there definitely was a consistent theme of his humanity. As a non-Hollywood person, it’s hard to know how authentic these comments are (do I really care about Dane Cook tribute tweets to Tony Scott???).

    But knowing your personal connection to Tony Scott definitely brings him to life beyond his legacy of amazing films.

  3. Eric says:

    Tragic. Here is a video of Tony in his youth:

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