The Short Works Of… Ridley Scott

With Ridley Scott’s latest film Body of Lies hitting theatres this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to bring back The Short Works Of… feature to explore some of the stuff he has directed outside of film. As many people know, Scott started his career in graphic design and advertising, before eventually transitioning to TV and movies. Here’s a collection of some of his best short form material from over the years, hinting at the talent that would eventually produce Blade Runner, Alien and Gladiator.

1984 Mac Ad
Let’s start with the best. This landmark ad is widely considered one of the best commercials ever made. It aired during Super Bowl XVIII and is an early example of Apple’s brilliant marketing. The spot likens their competitors IBM to a dull, grey dystopian world, with Apple coming in to save the day and smash the system.

Hovis Bike Ride Ad (1973)
Another classic that was recently voted Favourite Advertisement of All-Time in the U.K., this commercial simply shows a boy delivering bread on a cobbled street. Not very flashy, but obviously quite effective.

Nissan 300ZX Super Bowl Commercial (1990)
Cool car commercial that really emphasizes speed. It supposedly aired during Super Bowl XXIV, and was never seen again because it was thought to promote street racing.

Short Film: Boy and Bicycle (1975)
A short black-and-white student film shot on 16mm, “Boy and Bicycle” stars Ridley Scott’s younger brother Tony as a kid who decides to skip school and ride around town on his bike instead.

Orange Telecom: Future Thoughts Commercial (1998)
Clever ad for Orange Telecom with plenty of cool imagery.

Pepsi Miami Vice Commercial (1985)
An 80’s commercial for Pepsi during their “Choice of a New Generation” campaign, starring Don Johnson and Glenn Fry from Miami Vice. The lighting is just classic Ridley Scott!

Barclays Bank Query Ad
This was part of a series of Blade Runner-esque spots that Scott did for Barclays and it could very well be the coolest commercial ever made for a bank.

Roxy Music – “Avalon” Video (1982)
Believe it or not, the only music video Ridley Scott has directed to date. And it has a falcon in it.

W.R. Grace Deficit Trials Commercial (1986)
Another commercial that uses a sci-fi angle to take a somewhat dull topic and make it memorable. According to Time, it cost about $300,000 to produce at the time.

There are plenty of other Ridley Scott commercials out there, but I’ll leave you with this one: a 1969 Luv Ice Cream Commercial starring a really young David Bowie!

  • Ian

    Yeah I really like Scott’s stuff. He would definitely be a good one to direct that Cowboy Bebop live action movie. I just want himn to get back into exciting fun movies though all the ones he’s done for the last few years have been decent they just don’t compare to Alien, Bladerunner, Legend, The Duelist, and a few others that he did in the 80’s.

  • Bob The Slob

    He is one of the great living directors…I just saw a screening of Blade Runner and I always forget how amazing that film is…I even love his brother’s movies too!!!

  • Sean–Awesome post! Getting me even more stoked for Body of Lies.

  • Never knew that classic Mac ad was Ridley’s…you know you made a classic commercial when its parodied on Family Guy!

    Also (as anyone who has watched Blade Runner: Final Cut would know) Ridley was actually considering a hat like the one in the bank ad for Deckard.

  • Ray Penttila

    I’m hoping someone out there can help me. I was in a commercial that Ridley directed back in 1977ish. It was an ad for “Super-Bazooka” bubble-gum. I was the “Bionic boy”. This was in the U.K. by the way. I remember that it hit the air right before “Star Wars” came out. I Used to go to the Dominion theater in London to see Star Wars every weekend for months. Then one time they showed the ad before the movie. (I think this pinpoints the time that they first started showing adverts in movie theaters)Anyway, ever since, I have been wondering how to get a copy. Consumer VCR’s didn’t exist till about two years later. Any ideas?

  • Sure, what you have to do is fly around the earth backwards really, really fast until the whole planet starts to slowly rotate in reverse.


  • Colin Russell

    I’m looking for a Ray Penttila that lived in the U.K. at that time.
    Are you him?

  • K

    Hi I’m looking for a few more of Ridley’s back catalogue of ads – specifically the Strongbow ones he did. (A friend’s mum was Maid Marion!)

    If anyone has any leads on where I might be able to view these, I’d be most grateful!