True Romance is 30 years old, and remains the most acclaimed film of Tony Scott's career

True Romance is 30 years old, and remains the most acclaimed film of Tony Scott’s career

Even more so than USS Alabama or Unstoppable, well rated by the press and the public upon their release.

On his birthday, Clarence Worley meets the splendid Alabama in a dingy cinema. Immediate love at first sight. After a night of love, Alabama confesses to Clarence that she was actually hired by Clarence’s boss as a birthday present. From there, a crazy adventure will begin.

True Romance celebrated its 30th anniversary this week. This film, released in the United States on September 10, 1993, then on October 20 of the same year in France, a mix of love story and lots of action, was shot by Tony Scott a few years after the crazy success of Top Gun, even if it was not initially intended for the director. Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater play two “Bonnie and Clyde” of modern times, surrounded by a range of supporting roles, all notable, from Dennis Hopper to Gary Oldman via Michael Rapaport and Brad Pitt. And if the film was a box office flop upon its release, in particular because of its violence “chart” which imposed an R-Rated ban on it in the United States and – 16 years in France, it is still today the most acclaimed of its director’s career.

Quentin Tarantino/Tony Scott: a relationship between friendship and admiration

The press has not always been kind to Tony Scott, director who died prematurely in 2012, at the age of 68, but for True Romance, reviews were generally laudatory. Originally, the story is signed Quentin Tarantinowho also wrote the screenplays for Born killers and of Reservoir Dogs in the early 1990s. To ensure he could direct the latter himself, this film enthusiast, then unknown, decided to sell his two other scripts. The first catches Scott’s eye, which will require very few changes, except for its final sequence. The second will be directed by Oliver Stone, and will cause a scandal, again for its violence.

“I love the way he films, it’s not my way of doing things at all, will tell QT about Tony Scott, with whom he will collaborate shortly after on USS Alabama. He uses a lot of smoke and I don’t want smoke in my films. I have a lot of long shots whereas, for Tony, a long shot lasts twenty seconds.”

“You’re so cool”

Three decades later, True Romance has an excellent average of 93% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the site referencing reviews of Hollywood films. It is more than for Crimson Tide released two later, in fact, which follows it at 89% (and 83 counting only the public average). Unstoppablereleased much later, in 2010, was also judged “fresh” by the American site, with 87% positive opinions, just like State enemy (71% since its release in 1998) and Spy Game (64% in 2001). Then all of Scott’s other achievements are in the redTop Gun, Déjà vu And The Attack on Train 123 hover around 50%, while films such as Beverly Hills Cop, The Last Samaritan or Man on Fire are still below.

With sometimes big gaps between the opinions of critics and those of the public, that said: a film like Domino (2004) has an average of 39% when we take into account the press, but rises to 56% when only counting the opinions of ordinary spectators. Ditto for the action comedy with Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans (46% vs. 68%). And it’s even more obvious with the 2005 thriller featuring Denzel Washington wanting to protect Dakota Fanning, whose gap is 39% vs. 89%!

The trailer for True Romance :

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