Ridley Scott

Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

  • Born: 1937
  • Rank: 58
  • Score: 563.85
  • Nominations: 3 Oscars / 3 DGA / 2 BAFTA’s / 2 Golden Globes
  • Feature Films: 18
  • Best: Alien
  • Worst: Hannibal

Top 5 Feature Films:

  1. Alien – 1979
  2. Thelma and Louise – 1991
  3. Kingdom of Heaven – 2005
  4. Black Hawk Down – 2001
  5. Blade Runner – 1982

Top 10 Best Director Finishes (Nighthawk Awards):

  • 1979 – 1st – Alien
  • 1982 – 7th – Blade Runner
  • 1991 – 8th – Thelma and Louise
  • 2001 – 7th – Black Hawk Down
  • 2005 – 10th – Kingdom of Heaven

He began his career as a production designer and moved on tv and commercials before finally making his feature film debut with The Duellists in 1977 (he directed one of the most famous commercials of all-time – the 1984 commercial for Macintosh). He hit a commercial and critical home run with his second film, Alien and followed that up with Blade Runner. But he hit a bit of a decline for the rest of the decade. He followed that path again in the 90’s, scoring his first Oscar nomination for Thelma and Louise, but never again achieving commercial or critical success that decade. In both cases, his films have a worse reputation than they deserve. Such films as Legend, 1492: Conquest of Paradise and G.I. Jane are better films than people give them credit for and the only bad film he has ever made is Hannibal. Oddly enough, Hannibal was sandwiched between his Best Picture winning Gladiator and his Oscar nominated Black Hawk Down. Since then he has made two woefully under-rated films (Matchstick Men and Kingdom of Heaven) and a trio of Russell Crowe films (A Good Year, American Gangster, Body of Lies). Next up is his Robin Hood, again with Crowe.

Kingdom of Heaven – #17 film of 2005

Released two years into the Iraq War, yet looking back 800 years at the Christian-Muslim relations during the Crusades, this film took a beating for not taking a firmer side against either group. Yet, like Munich, released later that same year, that is exactly its strength. It gives an impartial view towards a destructive war and allows us to see it through one character’s eyes, a character who seems to get a better understanding of what is going on than most of the people watching and reviewing the film.

At the time it was risky to cast Orlando Bloom in this role. He had been great as part of the Lord of the Rings ensemble and had played well as the straight man to Johnny Depp’s Jack in Pirates, but his only real lead had been in the horrible Troy (ironically, his film brother in Troy, Eric Bana, would play this role in Munich). But Bloom played his part well and Scott smartly surrounded him with many of the best British character actors around (Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewliss).

This is a war film. It is unlike modern war films with explosions (though there are some) and gunfire. It has swords and terrible battles and the weight of history behind it. It is a war film of a war that has never really ended.

And yet, it is a thoughtful film. The people behind it gave great thought to what was being portrayed and the characters themselves understand that there are things larger than themselves. They understand how religion works. When it is suggested that bodies in the city must be burned to save those still alive, the people are disgusted and claim that it is against the law of god. And then Bastian (Bloom) says the words that seem to say so much more, to sum up exactly what this films needs to say.

“God will understand, my lord. If he does not, then he is not God and we need not worry.”