Guy Ritchie

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Guy Ritchie
Ritchie in 2017
BornGuy Stuart Ritchie
(1968-09-10) 10 September 1968 (age 50)
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England
  • Filmmaker
  • businessman
  • actor
Years active1995–present

Guy Stuart Ritchie (born 10 September 1968)[1][2] is an English filmmaker, businessman and occasional actor, known for his crime films. He left secondary school and got entry-level jobs in the film industry in the mid-1990s. Ritchie eventually went on to direct commercials. In 1995, he directed his first film, The Hard Case, a 20-minute short that impressed investors who backed his first feature film, the crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). He then directed another crime comedy, Snatch (2000). Ritchie's other films include Revolver (2005), RocknRolla (2008), Sherlock Holmes (2009), and its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011).

Early life[edit]

Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire,[2] the second of two children of Amber (née Parkinson) and Captain John Vivian Ritchie (b. 1928), former Seaforth Highlanders serviceman and advertising executive. John's father was Major Stewart Ritchie, who died in France, in 1940, during World War II.[3] John's mother was Doris Margaretta McLaughlin (b. 1896), daughter of Vivian Guy McLaughlin (b. 1865) and Edith Martineau (b. 1866), the latter by whom she shares close common ancestors with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.[4] The McLaughlins have a pedigree going back to King Edward I of England.[5][6] Both Richie's parents remarried to prominent individuals. His father's second marriage was to Shireen Ritchie, Baroness Ritchie of Brompton, a former model and later Conservative politician and life peer.[7] From 1973 until 1980, when they divorced, Ritchie's mother was married to Sir Michael Leighton, 11th Baronet of Loton Park.[8] As a divorcée, she is correctly styled as Amber, Lady Leighton.[9]

Ritchie, who is dyslexic, was expelled from Stanbridge Earls School at the age of 15.[2] He has claimed that drug use was the reason for the expulsion; his father has said that it was because his son was caught "cutting class and entertaining a girl in his room."[10]

In addition to his elder sister Tabitha, a dance instructor, Ritchie has a half-brother, Kevin Baynton, who was born to Amber Parkinson when she was a teenager and given up for adoption.[11]

Directing career[edit]

In 1998, Ritchie and his father contacted their friend Peter Morton, of the Hard Rock Cafe chain, wondering if he had any potential investors for a debut film. Morton's nephew, Matthew Vaughn, had been studying film production in Los Angeles. Peter informed Vaughn of Ritchie's new film idea, and Vaughn agreed to produce. Matthew, John, Guy and Peter asked their mutual acquaintance, Trudie Styler, to invest in the production of Ritchie's second film production following his 1995 short The Hard Case, which Styler had seen and decided that co-funding the project would be a worthwhile opportunity. The production of the film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, was completed in about eight months. Released in Great Britain in 1998 to positive reviews, it became an international success. It starred Nick Moran and also introduced actors Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher to worldwide audiences, while launching a new acting career for former footballer Vinnie Jones. Ritchie was introduced to Madonna, whom he would later wed, when the soundtrack for the film was issued on her Maverick Records label. In 2000 Ritchie won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. Ritchie created and produced a spin-off television series called Lock, Stock....[12]

Ritchie's second feature film, Snatch, was released in 2000. Originally known as Diamonds, it was another caper comedy, this time backed by a major studio with a cast featuring such major Hollywood names as Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro and Dennis Farina, along with the returning Statham and Vinnie Jones. Similar to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in featuring a complex and inventive storyline in which the characters weave in and out of each other's lives, the film also plays with time as Ritchie had employed to humorous effect in his first feature by depicting particular events from different characters' perspectives: a device which became something of a trademark through many of the director's subsequent films. It currently[when?] has a rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.[13]

Following his marriage to Madonna, Ritchie began focusing his filmmaking on his wife, directing her in both a music video (for the song "What It Feels Like for a Girl", a controversial video that showed Madonna engaging in violent behaviour, directed at men, including T-boning a car with three men in it, tasering and robbing a man at an ATM, scratching a police car and shooting two officers with a water gun, driving her car through a group of men playing street hockey and incinerating a man by throwing a lighter into a pool of gasoline) and a short film, Star, for the BMW films series. Ritchie's next film, also featuring Madonna, was a remake of the 1974 Lina Wertmüller hit Swept Away (also entitled Swept Away). Ritchie cast Madonna as a rich, rude socialite who, after a shipwreck, is trapped on a deserted island with a slovenly Communist sailor who humiliates her. Ritchie renamed the woman Amber Leighton after his mother. This film was both a critical and commercial disappointment.[14]

In 2002, Ritchie conceived a hidden camera show called Swag,[15] for Channel Five in the UK, which turned the table on criminals and opportunists by using stunts to trap them in the act. His next project in 2005, a Vegas-themed heist film entitled Revolver starring Jason Statham, was critically panned in the US and UK.[16][17]

In 2008, Ritchie wrote and directed RocknRolla, a more successful return to crime comedy form with an ensemble cast including Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, and Toby Kebbell. It was generally received well with a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[18] He also directed in 2008 a commercial for Nike called "Take It To The Next Level", about a young Dutch footballer who signs for Arsenal, showing the progression of his career from his viewpoint, until he makes his debut for the Netherlands. The commercial features cameo appearances from some football players with music by Eagles of Death Metal.[19]

Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes was released on 25 December 2009 with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law starring as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective and his indispensable friend Dr. Watson in a distinctly comic action-oriented updating. The film received generally positive reviews[20] and grossed more than $520 million worldwide,[21] becoming Ritchie's most successful film financially.[22] The sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, was released on 16 December 2011 and earned an even higher worldwide box office of over $545 million.[23]

In June 2012, it was announced that Ritchie would direct an adaptation of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.[24] On 29 October that year, he produced a game trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops II.[25]

Ritchie directed Warner Bros.' The Man From U.N.C.L.E.[26] as a fairly radical remake of the popular '60s spy TV series. Filmed in 2013 in London and Italy,[27][28] the film was not released until August 2015.[29] In January 2014, Warner Bros. set Ritchie to direct King Arthur: Legend of the Sword[30] with Charlie Hunnam playing King Arthur by Ritchie's choice.[31] Initially scheduled to be the first of several in a franchise, the film was released in May 2017 but was a box office bomb, so the sequels were cancelled.[32]

In October 2016, Disney announced that Ritchie had signed on to direct a live-action adaptation of Aladdin.[33]

The Raindance Film Festival announced in August 2017 that it would be honouring Ritchie with its 2nd annual Auteur Award, describing him as a "prominent figure" who breathed "new life into the British film industry" with his "cult crime comedies".[34]

Personal life[edit]

Ritchie and his then-wife Madonna in 2005

Ritchie started training in Shotokan karate at the age of seven at the Budokwai in London, where he later achieved a black belt in both Shotokan and Judo.[35] He also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie.[36]

On 18 May 2000, Ritchie was arrested by the police for an alleged assault on a 20-year-old man outside the Kensington home he shared with American singer Madonna, on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.[37] On 22 December 2000, Ritchie married Madonna at Skibo Castle in Scotland.[38] They have a son, Rocco John Ritchie (born 11 August 2000 in Los Angeles) and adopted a Malawian baby boy in 2006, David (born 24 September 2005). Madonna eventually filed for divorce from Ritchie in October 2008, citing irreconcilable differences.[39] On 15 December 2008, Madonna's spokeswoman announced that the singer had agreed to a divorce settlement with Ritchie, the terms of which grant him between £50–60 million ($64–77 million), a figure that includes the value of the couple's London pub and Wiltshire estate in England. This would be one of the largest divorce settlements in British history. [40] Madonna and Ritchie issued a joint statement calling the previous announcement "misleading and inaccurate." The financial details of the settlement remained private.[41] Their marriage was dissolved by District Judge Reid by decree nisi at the clinical Principal Registry of the Family Division in High Holborn, London. Madonna and Ritchie entered into a custody agreement for Rocco and David, then aged eight and three, respectively, and divided the children's time between Ritchie's London home and Madonna's in New York, where the two were joined by her daughter Lourdes, from a previous relationship.[42][43]

In February 2011, a £6m house he owns in London's Fitzrovia was occupied briefly by members of The Really Free School, a squatter organisation.[44][45]

On 30 July 2015, Ritchie married model Jacqui Ainsley, whom he had been dating since 2010.[46] They have three children: son Rafael (born 5 September 2011),[47] daughter Rivka, (born 29 November 2012)[2] and son Levi (born 8 June 2014).[46]


Year Film Director Writer Producer Actor Notes
1998 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Yes Yes No No Also casting director
2000 Snatch Yes Yes No Yes
2002 Swept Away Yes Yes No No
2005 Revolver Yes Yes No No
2008 RocknRolla Yes Yes Yes Yes
2009 Sherlock Holmes Yes No No No
2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Yes No No No
2015 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Yes Yes Yes No
2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Yes Yes Yes Yes Uncredited cameo
2019 Aladdin Yes Yes No No Post-production
2020 Sherlock Holmes 3 No No No


  1. ^ "Madonna gets her Guy in Scotland". BBC News. 7 December 2000. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Guy Ritchie Biography: Director (1968–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Hero in two world wars". Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  4. ^ Kate Middleton is related to Madonna's ex-husband Archived 9 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine. by Jim Boulden, CNN, 30 March 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2015
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  6. ^ "Background Information". Retrieved 13 November 2013.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Baroness Ritchie of Brompton". The Daily Telegraph. 26 April 2012. Archived from the original on 31 August 2017.
  8. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 2294. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  9. ^ Taraborrelli, Madonna: An Intimate Biography, 2007, p. 189
  10. ^ Morton, Andrew, "Madonna", London: Macmillan, 2002; page 304.
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  12. ^ Lock, Stock... (2000) on IMDb
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  14. ^ Swept Away (2002) Archived 6 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 6 December 2015.
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  16. ^ Guerrier, Simon. "Revolver Review". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007. Tedious, humourless, pretentious and nasty
  17. ^ Hennigan, Adrian. "Revolver". BBC. Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2007. ...plodding pretentiousness in a film that's illuminated by great action set-pieces and some powerful performances, but not redeemed
  18. ^ "Ludacris in new Guy Ritchie Film". Muchmusic. 26 June 2007. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007. Ludacris scored a role in the latest Guy Ritchie film RocknRolla.
  19. ^ Guy Ritchie's new Nike advert to hit screens Archived 2 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Metro, 28 April 2008
  20. ^ "Sherlock Holmes (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  21. ^ "Sherlock Holmes". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
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  29. ^ "Warner Bros Dates 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' For 2015 MLK Weekend; Will Smith's 'Focus' Set for February 2015". Deadline Hollywood. 20 February 2014. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  30. ^ McNary, Dave (22 January 2016). "Charlie Hunnam's King Arthur Movie Pushed Back to March 2017". Archived from the original on 21 October 2017.
  31. ^ "'Sons Of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam Is Guy Ritchie's Choice For King Arthur". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 6 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Plans for King Arthur franchise are 'dead'". Archived from the original on 23 December 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  33. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (10 October 2016). "Guy Ritchie To Direct Live Action 'Aladdin' For Disney". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
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  35. ^ "I am used to getting a good rumping from the critics. So what?" Archived 18 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine. by Charlotte Edwardes, Daily Telegraph, UK. 26 September 2005.
  36. ^ Filmmaker Guy Ritchie Promoted to BJJ Black Belt by Renzo Gracie Archived 20 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine., Bjj Eastern Europe, 11 August 2015, accessed 18 February 2017
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  40. ^ "Madonna gives Guy £50m in divorce". BBC News. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  41. ^ Singh, Anita (17 December 2008). "Madonna in climbdown over claim of £60m divorce payment to Guy Ritchie". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  42. ^ Adetunji, Jo (21 November 2008). "Madonna and Ritchie granted quickie divorce". The Guardian. UK. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017.
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  44. ^ Guy Ritchie's home taken over by squatters Archived 29 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine., Independent, 15 February 2011 accessed 20 February 2011
  45. ^ In defence of squatting Archived 29 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine., By Laurie Penny, News Statesman, 20 February 2011, accessed 20 February 2011
  46. ^ a b Boucher, Philip (30 July 2015). "Guy Ritchie and Jacqui Ainsley Are Married as David Beckham Wishes the Couple an 'Amazing Day'". People. Archived from the original on 1 August 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  47. ^ "Guy Ritchie and Jacqui Ainsley enjoying family life after she gives birth to third child". Hello. 8 July 2014. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014.

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