Denzel Washington and Josh Brolin in American Gangster (2007)

With the impending release of Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated new film Prometheus, Film Society Of Lincoln Center is proud to announce that we will be showcasing his previous works in a new series, “Past and Prologue: The Films of Ridley Scott.” The retrospective will comprise twenty features and shorts that encompass the British director’s fascinatingly eclectic cinematic career.

The program kicks off with a screening of American Gangster (2007). The film sees Scott tackling the story of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), a prominent drug dealer and crime boss through the 1960s and 1970s. Spanning several decades and comprising an assorted array of characters and locations, American Gangster is confident and ambitious filmmaking, and Scott tackles it with the assured panache of a master.

The series will take you back to where it all began with the screening of Scott's first feature, The Duellists (1977). The film, which documents the obsessive rivalry that occurs between two French army officers during the Age of Napoleon, would prove to be a preview of the director’s flare for tackling historical subjects with action and excitement. The film will be accompanied by a screening of Scott’s first short film, Boy and Bicycle.

Sigourney Weaver in Alien (1979)

Scott’s more influential works will also be included. The terrifying tale of a deep-space refinery crew who pick up an extraterrestrial guest on their ship, Alien (1979) has since been hailed as a classic of both the horror and science fiction genres. Much has been made over the fact that Prometheus, though shrouded in secrecy, is set to be a return of sorts to the story that he made so iconic in Alien. Scott’s other addition to the pantheon of great science fiction films, Blade Runner (1982), will also be shown. The noir-tinged film follows police officer Richard Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been given the assignment to rid society of “replicants,” illegal robots indistinguishable from human beings that are running amok. His job to track them down leads through a dystopian 2019 Los Angeles filled with shadowy deviants, futuristic technology and neon lights. Both films confirmed Scott's inventive way of mixing genres, as well as his visual mastery.

Also on display will be his awards-lauded forays into Hollywood. Gladiator (2000), the ancient Rome-set story of an arena fighter (Russell Crowe) slicing and dicing his way to achieving vengeance for his family’s murder, garnered the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also marked the beginning of the collaboration between Scott and Crowe, whom he would later go on to feature in four more of his films. Another Oscar-garnered production, Thelma & Louise (1991), will also be screened. The story of two Arkansas women (Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis) whose fishing weekend turns into an intense journey of liberation and self-discovery, Thelma & Louise has been praised as a boldly feminist statement. Both films are perfect illustrations of Scott’s ability to craft works that are rousing and crowd-pleasing as well as thought-provoking.

“Past and Prologue: The Films of Ridley Scott” runs from May 25 – June 3 at the Walter Reade Theater. Save when you create your own double feature! For the full lineup, schedule, tickets and more info, head to the series page.