Table of contents:

20 major films of the great Steven Spielberg
20 major films of the great Steven Spielberg

"Jaws", "Alien", "Schindler's List" and other works of the director who invented modern blockbusters.

20 major films of the great Steven Spielberg
20 major films of the great Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg dreamed of cinema since childhood. Having received an 8mm camera as a gift, he learned how to shoot and edit short videos. For example, the crash of toy trains: the father forbade them to be pushed together for real, and the boy created the effect of an accident by gluing.

At the age of 13, Stephen had already won a youth amateur film competition, creating a 40-minute film about the war, Escape to Nowhere.

And in 1969, representatives of Universal Pictures liked his short film Amblin so much that they signed a contract with an aspiring director (later this film gave the name to Spielberg's own studio). Then he created the low-budget Duel and the Sugarland Express.

But the most interesting thing began in the mid-seventies, when the director literally turned the cinema upside down.

1. Jaws

  • USA, 1975.
  • Horror, thriller.
  • Duration: 124 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 0.

The local police sheriff discovers the remains of a girl on the shore, torn apart by a huge white shark. The number of victims is growing every day, but the city administration does not dare to notify residents of the danger. Then the sheriff teams up with a shark hunter and oceanographer. Together they want to catch the monster.

You could say that Spielberg's Jaws changed the concept of blockbuster. Now it is an independent genre of films, which, by their very idea, should cause a stir and collect a huge box office.

With a budget of only 7 million, the film earned more than 200 at the US box office. After that, the director was literally showered with offers of cooperation.

2. Close Encounters of the Third Degree

  • USA, 1977.
  • Science fiction, adventure.
  • Duration: 138 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 7.

Anomalous phenomena occur in different parts of the earth at different times: empty planes appear, which disappeared back in the forties, and ships are transferred to the desert. Scientists suspect aliens are to blame. Many ordinary people come into contact with UFOs, including the electrician Roy Nari, who then begins to have visions. At all costs, he seeks to get to the place indicated by the aliens.

At the age of 16, Steven Spielberg directed the short film Firelight, which became the prototype for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". And with big budgets and equipment in his hands, he was able to turn the plot into one of the best science fiction films about UFOs.

Moreover, the director emphasized more than once that this picture is actually about a person's admiration for something unknown and about an all-consuming enthusiasm. And the main character in many ways resembles Spielberg himself, who once forgot about everything else for the sake of filming.

3. Indiana Jones: In Search of the Lost Ark

  • USA, 1981.
  • Adventure thriller.
  • Duration: 115 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 5.

Renowned archaeologist and occult scholar Indiana Jones sets out in search of the sacred Ark of the Covenant. But since Adolf Hitler wants to take possession of the relic, Dr. Jones will have to resist both ancient traps and evil fascists.

Spielberg really wanted to be called in to make some James Bond movie. But then, together with his friend George Lucas, he decided to create his own hero. They took as a basis comics about the archaeologist Doc Savage, the book "The Mines of King Solomon" and Lucas's dog named Indiana. So the image of an intelligent and fearless hero with a hat and a whip was born.

Indiana Jones received 9 Oscar nominations, which was a breakthrough for an eighties adventure film. Then the story grew into a trilogy, and even later they shot both the prequel series and the sequels, but the audience appreciated them much worse.

Indiana Jones spawned a wave of adventure films, some of which the director even supported. For example, Robert Zemeckis, who worked for Spielberg as a screenwriter in 1941, directed the film Romance with a Stone, one of the finest copies of Indiana Jones. Then they decided to work together and created Back to the Future.

4. Alien

  • USA, 1982.
  • Science fiction, drama, adventure, family.
  • Duration: 115 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 9.

When aliens secretly arrived on Earth collect samples, they are attacked by special agents of the government. The aliens run away, but in a hurry they forget to take one of their own. He has to be saved by ordinary earthly children.

Alien was originally conceived as a sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Degree. But the sequel to "Jaws" disappointed Spielberg, and the director decided to shoot a separate story. First, the script was transformed into a horror comedy. And then the director rewrote everything again and made a very personal and kind film about the friendship of an autistic boy and a cute alien. And again, the result exceeded all expectations. The picture became the main hit of the box office.

This film marked the beginning of several other projects to which Spielberg is directly related. For example, the script for the movie "Poltergeist" is based on the scary part of the original plot of "Alien", only the aliens were replaced there by ghosts.

And funny, but sometimes brutal jokes have spawned such horror comedies as "Gremlins" and "Goonies", in which Spielberg acted as a producer. And it was these films that glorified screenwriter Chris Columbus, who later shot "Home Alone" and the first films about Harry Potter.

And Gremlins also helped make director Joe Dante, with whom Spielberg befriended during the days of Jaws, to make a career. Dante made a semi-parody copy of Piranha, but Spielberg refused to sue him, he liked the film too much.

5. Empire of the Sun

  • USA, 1987.
  • Drama.
  • Duration: 153 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 8.

The Second World War. Young Jim Graham is lost during the Japanese invasion of China. The boy is left without parents, and soon ends up in a prison camp. There he will have to fight for survival and maintain his dignity with all his might.

This is not the first time the director has taken on serious historical dramas. Two years earlier, he had released the painting "Flowers of the Purple Fields", and she even received many Oscar nominations (but not a single prize). But "Empire of the Sun" was accepted much better by the audience.

This film, despite a completely different genre, seems to continue the story of "Alien". He talks about how the young hero creates his own world in order to keep calm and sanity in a difficult situation. By the way, 12-year-old Christian Bale played the main role.

6. Jurassic Park

  • USA, 1993.
  • Science fiction, adventure.
  • Duration: 127 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 1.

In the blood of fossil mosquitoes, dinosaur DNA was found, which allowed scientists to restore ancient dinosaurs. This is how the Jurassic Park was born, where visitors can admire the dinosaurs. Shortly before its opening, several scientists go on an excursion to the park. And at the same time, one of the specialists turns off all protection.

Steven Spielberg acquired the film rights to the novel by Michael Crichton (the author of the original Westworld) prior to the book's publication. Moreover, the author himself was hired to work on the script. Jurassic Park is considered a milestone in the development of special effects. The director decided to combine animatronics (that is, the creation of moving parts of dinosaurs and their miniature copies) with visual effects, achieving full realism. Moreover, a paleontologist was hired for the consultation, who suggested how dinosaurs should look like.

7. Schindler's List

Schindler's List

  • USA, 1993.
  • Historical drama.
  • Duration: 195 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 9.

The film is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler. During World War II, he was a member of the Nazi Party and a successful manufacturer who spent a lot of effort and money to rescue Jews from concentration camps. He managed to save the lives of more than a thousand people.

Despite successful historical dramas, Spielberg has long been regarded by many as primarily a director of entertainment films. But Schindler's List proved that he can create deep stories of all time.

Spielberg was persuaded to shoot this picture by the famous director Billy Wilder, who wrote the basis for the script. Especially for filming in Poland, they bought real war clothes, and the project consultant was the compiler of this "Schindler's list" Mieczyslaw Pemper.

Coming from a Jewish family, Steven Spielberg turned down the royalties for this painting by opening the Shoah Foundation, which preserves documents about the Holocaust, with the proceeds.

8. Amistad

  • USA, 1997.
  • Historical drama.
  • Duration: 155 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 3.

A mutiny broke out on a Spanish ship carrying slaves from Cuba. The rebels killed almost the entire team, but could not get home and ended up in America. Now they must be tried, either sent to Spain to their former owners, or made free. It seems that the latter is impossible. But attorney Roger Baldwin disagrees.

Unfortunately, the great social drama, although it received many film award nominations, went unnoticed by many. And the reason is simple - at the same time James Cameron's "Titanic" appeared on the screens.

He caught all the attention of critics and spectators. But that doesn't make Spielberg's picture worse. Moreover, one of the main roles in it was played by Matthew McConaughey.

9. Save Private Ryan

  • USA, 1998.
  • War drama.
  • Duration: 169 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 6.

Three brothers from the Ryan family died at once on the fields of World War II. Then the command decided to demobilize the only survivor, James Ryan. John Miller is sent to rescue the private with a team of eight soldiers. And this will be the most dangerous task in their life.

"Saving Private Ryan" is considered the next milestone both in the director's work and in the development of cinema in general. Spielberg managed to shoot a large-scale war drama, placing a chamber story about the rescue of just one person by a small team in the maelstrom of global events. In the filming, 250 soldiers of the Irish army participated as extras, and the German Tiger tanks were created on the basis of working Soviet T-34s.

And it was with this film that the director's long-term collaboration with Tom Hanks began.

10. Artificial intelligence

  • USA, 2001.
  • Science fiction, drama.
  • Duration: 146 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 1.

In the world of the future, due to global warming and flooding of territories, the US government severely restricts childbearing, and people have to live next to robots. But one day, a new prototype of a robot child was programmed for selfless love. People were not ready for this, and the robot David was left alone.

They wanted to film the adaptation of Brian Aldis's short story "Supertoys for the whole summer" back in the mid-eighties. Then director Stanley Kubrick invited Spielberg to work on the film. And then there was an idea to add echoes of the classic fairy tale "Pinocchio" to this story.

But the project could not be launched for a long time, the script was repeatedly changed, and in 1999 Kubrick died. Then Spielberg decided to shoot the picture himself, even abandoning the production of "Harry Potter".

11. Dissenting opinion

  • USA, 2002.
  • Science fiction, thriller.
  • Duration: 145 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 7.

By the middle of the XXI century, a special police department appeared, dealing with the prevention of crimes. Three seers predict the place and time, and the police detain the person before he becomes a criminal. Police Captain John Anderton is confident in the effectiveness of this method until he himself is accused of uncommitted murder.

Another film adaptation of a fantastic work. This time Spielberg brought Philip K. Dick's story to the screen. Especially for the full-length picture, the plot was greatly expanded and changed, which, by the way, caused discontent among some of the writer's fans.

12. Catch Me If You Can

  • USA, 2002.
  • Tragicomedy, crime.
  • Duration: 141 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 1.

Even in his youth, Frank Abagnale became famous for forging checks and documents. He portrayed a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and at the same time wrote fake checks for himself and cashed them. FBI agent Karl Hanratty tries his best to catch the fraudster, but each time he is one step ahead.

After two fantastic films, Spielberg decided to make a striking crime film. According to rumors, the idea to film the biography of Abagnale was offered to him by Leonardo DiCaprio, who played the main role. And the image of a stubborn agent was embodied by Tom Hanks.

13. Terminal

  • USA, 2004.
  • Tragicomedy.
  • Duration: 128 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 3.

Victor Navorski flew from his home country of Krakozhia to New York. But while he was flying, there was a coup in the country and his visa was canceled. He also cannot return, since all flights to his homeland have been canceled. And now his only home is the airport, which he cannot leave.

Interestingly, the plot is based on the real story of an Iranian refugee who lived for 18 years in a Paris airport, since all his documents were stolen. A full-size copy of the airport terminal was built specifically for filming.

14. Munich

  • USA, Canada, France, 2005.
  • Drama, thriller.
  • Duration: 164 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.

In 1972, terrorists captured and killed Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. After that, the "Mossad" begins a special operation to destroy all those responsible. But gradually the agents realize that this only leads to new terrorist attacks and victims.

This picture could have come out several years earlier. But Spielberg wanted to work with Tom Cruise on "War of the Worlds" and fit the filming into the actor's busy schedule. The collection of the fantastic tape turned out to be much higher. Yet Munich is considered the director's more important work for its depth and ambiguity.

15. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

  • USA, 2011.
  • Adventure, detective.
  • Duration: 107 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 3.

Young reporter Tintin travels around the world, invariably getting involved in dangerous adventures. After purchasing the model of the ship "Unicorn", he finds himself in the center of events related to a mysterious treasure.

Even after the release of Indiana Jones, fans of the Tintin comics accused the director of plagiarism. But, as it turned out, Spielberg was not familiar with the hero. And when he met, he bought the rights to the film adaptation and many years later released not just a feature film, but a real comic book that came to life, combining the play of actors and digital technologies.

16. Warhorse

  • USA, 2011.
  • Adventure, drama.
  • Duration: 146 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 2.

Boy Albert watched and looked after Joey's thoroughbred horse for two years. But before the outbreak of the First World War, his father sold his horse, and he went to the front. Then Albert also went to war to rescue a friend.

In the mid-eighties, writer Michael Morpurgo decided to pay tribute to the huge number of horses killed during the First World War. He created the novel "War Horse" and since then dreamed of a film adaptation. First came theatrical production.

According to Steven Spielberg, he cried when he saw this performance. And then he decided to make a film himself based on this touching story.

17. Lincoln

  • USA, 2012.
  • Drama, biography.
  • Duration: 150 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 4.

In the middle of the 19th century, the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, faced a difficult choice: either to adopt an amendment prohibiting slavery in the country, or to make every effort to end the civil war. No one believed that he could solve both of these problems at the same time.

Years after Amistad, Spielberg returned to the important topic of the abolition of slavery in the United States. And this time he told the story on behalf of one of the most famous presidents of the country. Everyone praised the work of actor Daniel Day-Lewis, and the picture itself was nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture, but lost to Operation Argo.

18. Spy Bridge

  • USA, 2015.
  • Historical drama.
  • Duration: 142 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.

In the midst of the Cold War, Brooklyn lawyer James Donovan must trade Russian spy Rudolph Abel, whom he once defended, for American pilot Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down in the USSR.

The next collaboration between Spielberg and Hanks led to the emergence of a drama built not so much on spy games as on human communication and a tense atmosphere. Perhaps the origin of the director himself influenced the deep elaboration. After all, he comes from Russian Jews.

19. Secret Dossier

  • USA, 2017.
  • Thriller, drama, biography, history.
  • Duration: 116 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 2.

The Washington Post's first female publisher, Catherine Graham, and editor Ben Bradley, along with colleagues from The New York Times, are fighting for the right to publish secret correspondence about the Vietnam War. But the entire political elite is against them.

To the already established Spielberg-Hanks tandem, the wonderful actress Meryl Streep was added here. And the next historical film did not lose in the least to the previous works of the director. Tense drama again with amazing acting and filming.

20. Get ready for the first player

  • USA, 2018.
  • Science fiction, adventure.
  • Duration: 140 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 5.

In the world of the future, people spend most of their time playing the online game Oasis. Many users are looking for a mysterious Easter egg hidden by the developers. And the IOI corporation is trying to seize control of the game in order to turn it into an advertising platform. Then people decide to fight back IOI.

With this film, Steven Spielberg pays tribute to computer games, which are increasingly merging with the world of cinema, as well as the culture of the 80s and 90s. The simple plot, most of which takes place in virtual reality, is filled with references to films, games and music from the days when the director was just gaining popularity.