As a 16-year-old, Scott starred in his brother Ridley’s short Boy and Bicycle. Though he studied to be a painter, Scott was inspired by his brother’s success and turned to filmmaking himself, directing a number of commercials before making his theatrical debut with the vampire film The Hunger in 1983. His next film, Top Gun, was a huge commercial hit; the tale of a group of hotshot Navy pilots elevated Tom Cruise to superstardom, spawned a wildly popular soundtrack, and inspired a wave of armed forces enlistees.
Scott re-teamed with Cruise for the less successful Days of Thunder in 1990, and directed True Romance, a wild crime movie written by Quentin Tarantino, in 1993. In 1995, Scott directed Crimson Tide starring Denzel Washington, beginning a fruitful collaboration between director and star that would include Man on Fire (2004), Déjà vu (2006), and the critically-acclaimed Unstoppable (2010), his final feature. He also worked with Will Smith on the critical and commercial hit Enemy of the State in 1998.
In addition to his film work, Scott teamed with his brother to produce the series Numb3rs and The Good Wife for television. In addition to his brother, Scott is survived by his wife Donna and their twin sons.