American film director, producer, and screenwriter Steven Spielberg is considered one of the most commercially successful and influential directors in history. As the undisputed King of Hollywood, Spielberg has proven his film making prowess time and time again. His 1975 summer blockbuster, Jaws, kick started the American film culture that we know today.
Of course, Spielberg was not immune to career setbacks and while some were a massive hit and have earned him tons of nominations and awards, he also directed films which many critics considered a disaster. Regardless, nobody can refute the fact that the man is a creative genius and a master of film making. Let’s look back at some of the best Steven Spielberg movies.
Inspired by the events of the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics, this film is a retelling of the Israeli’s ploy for vengeance after the Palestinian terrorist group, Black September killed members of the Israeli Olympic team. It touches the issue on morality and sense of purpose on the avenging group’s end as characters argue over the potential killing of innocent bystanders. Commendably, Munich strived more for historical authenticity and delved deeper into reality which proves Spielberg’s evolution from being a classic fictional film director to a true-to-life storyteller. The fictional drama received 5 Oscar nominations and made $130 million worldwide.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)
This 1977 film is a classic science fiction that tells the story of Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) whose encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO) changed his life forever. The movie explores the idea that other life forms more intelligent than human beings exist and this can be the time for mankind to discover them. The visual experience from this movie is truly remarkable that it won an Oscar for Best Cinematography.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002)
Starred by Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, and Nathalie Baye, this biographical crime film is the story of a real-life con artist Frank Abagnale. The film has a light and comedic mood about it whilst telling the most unbelievable events in the story. With this film, Christopher Walken and John Williams were nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Score, respectively at the 75th Academy Awards.
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
Who would forget one of the best friendship stories of all time? E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is another Spielberg masterpiece that tells the story of an unusual friendship between the human Elliot and the extraterrestrial E.T. It is a touching story whose concept was based on the director’s life itself — an imaginary friend he created after his parents’ divorce. The film touches the themes of young innocence, family, and how friendship transcends even across species. In its release in 1982, the blockbuster movie surpassed Star Wars as the highest-grossing film of all time and won four Oscars at the 55th Academy Awards namely, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound and Best Sound Editing. It was later deemed by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
JURASSIC PARK (1993)
CGI is one of the most important and significant improvements in filmmaking, and Jurassic Park had put it in perfect use. As the first instalment in the Jurassic Park franchise, this film reached the audience’ expectations, bringing a mixture of fear, thrill, and exciting experience on the big screen. The movie is set in a fictional island of Nublar where a wildlife park created by genetic scientists shut down; letting the de-extinct dinosaurs loose and messing everything up. It became the highest-grossing film of 1993 and the highest ever until Titanic’s release in 1997.
The iconic shark-attack, thriller film was among Spielberg’s earliest Hollywood successes being the first motion picture to be shot on the ocean and becoming the highest-grossing film of all time in its release in 1975. The story revolves in a man-eating great white shark attacking the beachgoers which a professional shark hunter later hunted down. Jaws opened possibilities in the American film industry; taking filmmakers in a whole new imagination and creativity level.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)
This epic account set in World War II is considered one of the most influential movies in the war film genre. The movie features strong emotional and graphic representations of war. Starring Tom Hanks, the actors’ dramatic performances and set details create a compelling story of the horrors of WWII and its effect on the individual characters. The film won five Academy Awards: Best Director (Spielberg’s second), Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing.
The epic historical drama Schindler’s List is arguably the most compelling and moving film Spielberg had created. The movie follows Oskar Schindler’s story, a German industrialist, who, together with his wife, protected thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. The film was mostly shot in black and white creating a documentary vibe. It has won 7 Academy Awards namely, Best Picture, Best Director Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing, and Best Music, Original Score.
RAIDERS OF THE ARK (1981)
Raiders of the Ark is the first film of the now Indiana Jones franchise and ultimately, the best. It offers an action-packed adventure of the archeologist Indiana Jones, in his quest to recover the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, a powerful relic and to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. The film became the highest-grossing film of 1981 for its non-stop action scenes and spectacular, often surprising twists and turns. It was followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and two others, but the sequel was highly criticized as ‘rushed’ and was considered a flop.