Sir Ridley Scott, who turns 79 today, paid his dues for many years before emerging as a leading director. He worked in set and production design in British television in the 1960s, then spent some of the 1970s making commercials—he has kept his hand in the latter area through the years, most famously in the “1984” commercial for Apple, while his features have the kind of visual distinctiveness that befits someone with a design background.
His first feature as a director was a historical drama, The Duellists. He then moved into science fiction, making a pair of films that for many would still rank as his greatest accomplishments. Alien, the beginning of a franchise that may have gone on for too many films, was followed by an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel:
When Reality Bites was released in 1994, I was part of its target demographic of Gen Xers. So it’s probably not surprising that the movie really spoke to me in a way few movies ever have. At that point in my life, I could strongly relate to Ben Stiller’s slacker romantic comedy-drama. But almost 20 years later, I wondered if it would still hold the same appeal.