Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie

Ritchie at the Paris premiere of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in 2012
Born Guy Stuart Ritchie
(1968-09-10) 10 September 1968
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England
Occupation Filmmaker, pub landlord, businessman
Years active 1995–present
Spouse(s) Madonna (m. 2000–08)
Jacqui Ainsley (m. 2015)
Children 5

Guy Stuart Ritchie (born 10 September 1968)[1] is an English filmmaker known for his crime films. He left secondary school and got entry-level jobs in the film industry in the mid-1990s. He eventually graduated to directing commercials. He directed his first film in 1995, a 20-minute short which 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). His next two films, the romantic comedy Swept Away (2002) and the crime drama Revolver (2005) were not commercial or critical successes. The next crime drama, RocknRolla (2008), received mixed reviews and a modest box office return. In 2009, he directed his first films in the action mystery genre, with Sherlock Holmes (2009) and its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). Both films were major box office successes, and the two films received positive, and moderately positive reviews, respectively.

Early life

Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire,[1] 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.[2] John's mother was Doris Margaretta McLaughlin (b. 1896), daughter of Vivian Guy McLaughlin (b. 1865) and Edith Martineau (b. 1866), this last by whom she shares close common ancestors with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.[3] The McLaughlins have a pedigree going back to King Edward I of England.[4][5] Ritchie's mother, Amber, later married a baronet.[6] His father's second marriage was to Shireen Ritchie, Baroness Ritchie of Brompton, a former model and later Conservative politician and life peer.[7]

Ritchie, who is dyslexic, was expelled from Stanbridge Earls School at the age of 15.[1] He has stated 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."[8]

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.[9] From 1973 until 1980, when they divorced,[8][10] Ritchie's mother was married to Sir Michael Leighton, 11th baronet. As a divorcée, she is correctly styled as Amber, Lady Leighton.[11]

Directing career

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. Styler had seen The Hard Case, 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. It was released in Great Britain in 1998, and after positive reviews, became an international success. Richie was introduced to Madonna, whom he would later wed, when the soundtrack for the film was issued on her Maverick Records label. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which starred Nick Moran, also introduced actors Jason Statham (The Transporter), Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher to worldwide audiences, as well as introducing former footballer Vinnie Jones to a new acting career. 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]

His second feature film was Snatch, released in the year 2000. Originally known as Diamonds, it was another caper comedy, this time backed by a major studio. The cast featured such Hollywood big names as Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro and Dennis Farina, along with the returning Vinnie Jones and Statham. 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, depicting events from various perspectives. It currently 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, ostensibly 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]

Ritchie's next project was a Vegas-themed heist film entitled Revolver, which was critically panned in the US and UK.[15][16] Ritchie was involved with a hidden camera show called Swag,[17] for Channel Five in the UK, which turned the table on criminals and opportunists by using stunts to trap them in the act. Ritchie has also written and directed RocknRolla starring Gerard Butler. It scores 60% on Rotten Tomatoes and was generally received well.[18]

In 2008, Ritchie directed 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 movie Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, received its theatrical release on 25 December 2009. The film was given 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.[23] In June 2012 it was announced that Ritchie would direct an adaptation of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.[24] On 29 October 2012, Ritchie 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] which was filmed in 2013 in London and Italy,[27][28] and was released in August 2015.[29] In January 2014, Warner Bros set Ritchie to direct a new multi-film version of the King Arthur legend titled King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which is scheduled for a 24 March 2017 release with Lionel Wigram as producer and Joby Harold as screenwriter.[30] Idris Elba is in talks to play a Merlin-esque figure who trains and mentors Arthur.[31] Charlie Hunnam will play King Arthur by Ritchie's choice.[32]

Personal life

Ritchie and his then wife Madonna in 2005

On 18 May 2000, Ritchie was arrested by the police after he assaulted a 20-year-old man outside the Kensington home he shared with Madonna, causing actual bodily harm.[33] Ritchie started training in Shotokan karate at the age of seven at the Budokwai in London, where he later achieved a black belt in judo.[34] He also has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.[35]

In February 2011 a £6m house he owns in London's Fitzrovia was occupied briefly by members of The Really Free School, a squatter organization.[36][37]

On 22 December 2000, Guy married American singer 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). On 15 October 2008, British media reported that a split was "imminent" between Ritchie and Madonna.[39] The split was confirmed by their spokesperson[40] and Ritchie and Madonna went public with the split because they "can’t bear to live with the pretence any longer".[41]

On 15 December 2008, it was announced by Madonna's spokeswoman that the singer had agreed to a divorce settlement with Ritchie, the terms of which grant him between £50 million and £60 million, a figure that includes the value of the couple's London pub and residence and Wiltshire estate in England.[42] Madonna and Guy Ritchie's 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 compromise agreement for Rocco and David, then ages eight and three respectively, and divided the children's time between Ritchie's London home and Madonna's in New York, where the two will be joined by her daughter, Lourdes, from a previous relationship.[43][44]

On 30 July 2015, Ritchie married model Jacqui Ainsley, whom he has been dating since 2010.[45] They have three children: son Rafael (born 5 September 2011),[46] daughter Rivka, (born 29 November 2012)[1] and son Levi (born 8 June 2014).[45]


Year Film Director Writer Producer Notes
1998 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Yes Yes No Also casting director
2000 Snatch Yes Yes No
2001 Mean Machine No No Yes Executive producer
2002 Swept Away Yes Yes No
2005 Revolver Yes Yes No
2008 RocknRolla Yes Yes Yes
2009 Sherlock Holmes Yes No No
2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Yes No No
2015 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Yes Yes Yes
2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Yes Yes Yes In post-production
TBA Aladdin Yes No No In development

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes IMDb
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 76%[47] 8.2/10 [48]
Snatch 73%[49] 8.3/10 [50]
Swept Away 5%[51] 3.6/10 [52]
Revolver 17%[53] 6.5/10 [54]
RocknRolla 59%[55] 7.3/10 [56]
Sherlock Holmes 70%[57] 7.6/10 [58]
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 60%[59] 7.5/10 [60]
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 67%[61] 7.3/10 [62]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Guy Ritchie Biography: Director (1968–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  2. "Hero in two world wars". Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  3. Kate Middleton is related to Madonna's ex-husband by Jim Boulden, CNN, 30 March 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2015
  4. "Background" (PDF). Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  5. "Background Information". Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  6. "Guy Ritchie Biography (1968–)". 22 December 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  7. "Baroness Ritchie of Brompton". The Daily Telegraph. 26 April 2012.
  8. 1 2 Morton, Andrew, "Madonna", London: Macmillan, 2002; page 304.
  9. "'My brother is Guy Ritchie'". 5 January 2001. Archived from the original on 20 April 2001.
  10. "Person Page 9471". Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  11. Taraborrelli, Madonna: An Intimate Biography, 2007, p. 189
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  13. Snatch (2001). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 6 December 2015.
  14. Swept Away (2002). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 6 December 2015.
  15. Simon Guerrier. "Revolver Review". Retrieved 12 December 2007. Tedious, humourless, pretentious and nasty
  16. Adrian Hennigan. "BBC – Movies – review – Revolver". Retrieved 12 December 2007. plodding pretentiousness in a film that's illuminated by great action set-pieces and some powerful performances, but not redeemed
  17. UGO Team (13 March 2008). "Top 11 Guy Ritchie Moments". Ugo. UGO Entertainment. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  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 Metro, 28 April 2008
  20. "Sherlock Holmes (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  21. "Sherlock Holmes". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  22. "Guy Ritchie Movie Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  23. "Untitled Sherlock Holmes (2011". IMDB. IMDB. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  24. Nick Newman (1 June 2012). "Guy Ritchie Sails to Warners' 'Treasure Island". The Film Stage. Banquet Media. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  25. "Watch: Guy Ritchie's Live-Action Trailer for CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II Starring Robert Downey Jr". Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  26. "Tom Cruise Eyeing 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' With Guy Ritchie At Warner Bros". 18 March 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  27. "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Finally Starts Filming in September". 31 July 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  28. "'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' aims to start filming in September". 2 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  29. "Warner Bros Dates 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' For 2015 MLK Weekend; Will Smith's 'Focus' Set For February 2015". 20 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  31. "Idris Elba Eyes Guy Ritchie's 'King Arthur' at Warner Bros.". 21 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  32. "'Sons Of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam Is Guy Ritchie's Choice For King Arthur".
  33. Craig Rosen. "Madonna's Man Guy Ritchie Arrested". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  34. "I am used to getting a good rumping from the critics. So what?" by Charlotte Edwardes, Daily Telegraph, UK. 26 September 2005.
  35. Brown belt – Madonna's Guy Madden has a good belt – in Brazilian martial arts
  36. Guy Ritchie's home taken over by squatters, Independent, 15 February 2011 accessed 20 February 2011
  37. In defence of squatting, By Laurie Penny, News Statesman, 20 February 2011, accessed 20 February 2011
  38. Davies, Hugh; Aldrick, Philip (8 December 2000). "Madonna's wedding will be the Highlands' biggest fling". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  39. "Madonna and Ritchie confirm split". BBC News. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  40. "Madonna Divorce Is Confirmed". Sky News. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  41. "Madonna and Guy to divorce – they can't bear to pretend to love each other anymore". The Sun Online. London. 15 October 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008.
  42. "Madonna gives Guy £50m in divorce". BBC News. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  43. Jo Adetunji. "Madonna and Ritchie granted quickie divorce". the Guardian.
  44. "Madonna, Ritchie granted quick divorce". CNN. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  45. 1 2 Boucher, Philip (30 July 2015). "Guy Ritchie and Jacqui Ainsley Are Married as David Beckham Wishes the Couple an 'Amazing Day'". People. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  46. "Guy Ritchie and Jacqui Ainsley enjoying family life after she gives birth to third child". Hello. 8 July 2014.
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