Director: Steven Spielberg

Information about the director.

Works

Film:Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg

When Steven Spielberg was an adolescent, his first home movie was a backyard war film. When he toured Europe with Duel in his 20s, he saw old men crumble in front of headstones at Omaha Beach. That image became the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, his film of a mission following the D-day invasion that many have called the most realistic—and maybe the best—war film ever. With 1998 production standards, Spielberg has been able to create a stunning, unparalleled view of war as hell. We are at Omaha Beach as troops are slaughtered by Germans yet…

Film:Schindler's List

Schindler's List

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg had a banner year in 1993. He scored one of his biggest commercial hits that summer with the mega-hit Jurassic Park, but it was the artistic and critical triumph of Schindler’s List that Spielberg called “the most satisfying experience of my career.” Adapted from the best-selling book by Thomas Keneally and filmed in Poland with an emphasis on absolute authenticity, Spielberg’s masterpiece ranks among the greatest films ever made about the Holocaust during World War II. It’s a film about heroism with an unlikely hero at its…

Film:E.T.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s 1982 hit about a stranded alien and his loving relationship with a fatherless boy (Henry Thomas) struck a chord with audiences everywhere, and it furthered Spielberg’s reputation as a director of equally strong commercial sensibilities and classical leanings. Henry Thomas gives a strong, emotional performance as E.T.’s young friend, Robert MacNaughton and Drew Barrymore make a solid impression as his siblings, and Dee Wallace is lively as the kids’ mother. The special effects almost look a bit quaint now with all the computer advancements that…

Film:Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s 1993 mega-hit rivals Jaws as the most intense and frightening film he’d ever made prior to Schindler’s List, but it was also among his weakest stories. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel about an island amusement park populated by cloned dinosaurs, the film works best as a thrill ride with none of the interesting human dynamics of Spielberg’s Jaws. That lapse proves unfortunate, but there’s no shortage of raw terror as a rampaging T-rex and nasty raptors try to make fast food out of the cast. The effects are still…

Film:The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

The Adventures of Tintin

Steven Spielberg

From Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg and Oscar winning producer Peter Jackson comes a 3D motion picture event: an epic, globe-hopping quest that spans hidden mysteries, menacing criminals and ancient secrets - and brings to dazzling, life the classic escapades that have enthralled generation after generation with their one-of-a-kind mix of action, humor and scintillating tale-spinning in The Adventures of Tintin.

Film:Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark: 1st in Indiana Jones series

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s 1981 resurrection of the Saturday-matinee adventure genre was deservedly popular, and kicked off a successful trilogy. Set in 1936, this first feature introduces Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, an archaeologist and adventurer whose quests for rare antiquities frequently find him running from one menace or another. Raiders finds Dr. Jones in the middle of a Nazi plot to use the mysterious powers of the Ark of the Covenant to win the war. Karen Allen plays the love interest with an old-fashioned “man’s woman” appeal (she…

Film:Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office.

In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

Film:War Horse (2011)

War Horse

Steven Spielberg

Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, War Horse begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets—British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter—before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land.

The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse—an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. War Horse is one of the great stories of friendship and war— a successful book, it was turned into a hugely successful international theatrical hit that is arriving on Broadway next year. It now comes to screen in an epic adaptation…[more]

Film:Minority Report

Minority Report

Steven Spielberg

Set in the chillingly possible future of 2054, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report is arguably the most intelligently provocative sci-fi thriller since Blade Runner. Like Ridley Scott’s “future noir” classic, Spielberg’s gritty vision was freely adapted from a story by Philip K. Dick, with its central premise of “Precrime” law enforcement, totally reliant on three isolated human “precogs” capable (due to drug-related mutation) of envisioning murders before they’re committed. As Precrime’s confident captain, Tom Cruise preempts these killings like a…

Film:Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: 3rd in Indiana Jones series

Steven Spielberg

The third episode in Steven Spielberg’s rousing Indiana Jones saga, this film recaptures the best elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark while exploring new territory with wonderfully satisfying results. Indy is back battling the Nazis, who have launched an expedition to uncover the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. And it’s not just Indy this time—his father (played with great acerbic wit by Sean Connery, the perfect choice) is also involved in the hunt. Spielberg excels at the kind of extended action sequences that top themselves with virtually every frame;…

Film:The Color Purple

The Color Purple

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg, proving he’s one of the few modern filmmakers who has the visual fluency to be capable of making a great silent film, took a melodramatic, D.W. Griffith-inspired approach to filming Alice Walker’s novel. His tactics made the film controversial, but also a popular hit. You can argue with the appropriateness of Spielberg’s decision, but his astonishing facility with images is undeniable—from the exhilarating and eye-popping opening shots of children playing in paradisiacal purple fields to the way he conveys the brutality of a rape by showing…

Film:AI: Artificial Intelligence

AI: Artificial Intelligence

Steven Spielberg

History will place an asterisk next to A.I. as the film Stanley Kubrick might have directed. But let the record also show that Kubrick—after developing this project for some 15 years—wanted Steven Spielberg to helm this astonishing sci-fi rendition of Pinocchio, claiming (with good reason) that it veered closer to Spielberg’s kinder, gentler sensibilities. Spielberg inherited the project (based on the Brian Aldiss short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long”) after Kubrick’s death in 1999, and the result is an astounding directorial hybrid. A…

Film:Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 4th in Indiana Jones series

Steven Spielberg

This latest adventure begins in the Southwest desert in 1957—the height of the Cold War. Indy (Harrison Ford) and his sidekick Mac (Ray Winstone) have barely escaped a close scrape with nefarious Soviet agents on a remote airfield.

Now, Professor Jones has returned home to Marshall College, only to find things have gone from bad to worse. His close friend and dean of the college explains that Indy’s recent activities have made him the object of suspicion, and that the government has put pressure on the university to fire him. On his way out of town, Indiana meets rebellious young Mutt (Shia LeBeouf), who carries both a grudge and a proposition for the adventurous archaeologist—if he’ll help Mutt on a mission with deeply personal stakes, Indy could very well make one of the most spectacular archaeological finds in history—the Crystal Skull of Akator, a legendary object of fascination, superstition, and fear. …[more]

Film:Munich (2005)

Munich

Steven Spielberg

At its core, Munich is a straightforward thriller. Based on the book Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by George Jonas, it’s built on a relatively stock movie premise, the revenge plot: innocent people are killed, the bad guys got away with it, and someone has to make them pay. But director Steven Spielberg uses that as a starting point to delve into complex ethical questions about the cyclic nature of revenge and the moral price of violence. The movie starts with a rush. The opening portrays the kidnapping and murder of…

Film:War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds

Steven Spielberg

Despite super effects, a huge budget, and the cinematic pedigree of alien-happy Steven Spielberg, this take on H.G. Wells’s novel is basically a horror film packaged as a sci-fi thrill ride. Instead of a mad slasher, however, Spielberg (along with writers Josh Friedman & David Koepp) utilizes aliens hell-bent on quickly destroying humanity, and the terrifying results that prey upon adult fears, especially in the post-9/11 world. The realistic results could be a new genre, the grim popcorn thriller; often you feel like you’re watching Schindler’s List more…

Film:Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can

Steven Spielberg

An enormously entertaining (if somewhat shallow) affair from blockbuster director Steven Spielberg. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a dazzling young con man who spent four years impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer—all before he turned 21. All the while he’s pursued by a dedicated FBI agent named Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), whose dogged determination stays one step behind Abagnale’s spontaneous wits. Both DiCaprio and Hanks turn in enjoyable performances and the movie has a bouncy rhythm that keeps it zipping along. However, it…

Film:Amistad

Amistad

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s most simplistic, sanitized history lesson, Amistad, explores the symbolic 1840s trials of 53 West Africans following their bloody rebellion aboard a slave ship. For most of Schindler’s List (and, later, Saving Private Ryan) Spielberg restrains himself from the sweeping narrative and technical flourishes that make him one of our most entertaining and manipulative directors. Here, he doesn’t even bother trying, succumbing to his driving need to entertain with beautiful images and contrived emotion. He cheapens his grandiose…

Film:The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg

In the low tradition of knockoff horror flicks best seen (or not seen) on a drive-in movie screen, Steven Spielberg’s sequel to Jurassic Park is a poorly conceived, ill-organized film that lacks story and logic. Screenwriter David Koepp strings along a number of loose ideas while Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, the quirky chaos theoretician who now reluctantly agrees to go to another island where cloned dinosaurs are roaming freely. Along with his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) and daughter, Malcolm has to deal with hunters, environmentalists, and…

Film:Hook

Hook

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s deeply flawed but sporadically fun and moving update of the Peter Pan legend stars Robin Williams as the grown-up Pan, a corporate-takeover type who must embrace his old identity in order to save his kids from Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman). The stars put on a good show, including Hoffman’s read of Hook’s hysterical personality, Julia Roberts mini-turn as a tiny Tinker Bell, and Maggie Smith’s touching performance as the aged Wendy. The visual contrast between the adult Pan’s bustling outside world and the insulated fantasy of Neverland is…

Film:Always

Always

Steven Spielberg

Considered by many to represent a low point in Steven Spielberg’s career, 1990’s Always did suggest something of a temporary drift in the director’s sensibility. A remake of the classic Spencer Tracy film A Guy Named Joe, Always stars Richard Dreyfuss as a Forest Service pilot who takes great risks with his own life to douse wildfires from a plane. After promising his frightened fiancée (Holly Hunter) to keep his feet on the ground and go into teaching, Dreyfuss’s character is killed during one last flight. But his spirit wanders restlessly,…

Film:Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun

Steven Spielberg

Roundly dismissed as one of Steven Spielberg’s least successful efforts, this very underrated film poignantly follows the World War II adventures of young Jim (a brilliant Christian Bale), caught in the throes of the fall of China. What if you once had everything and lost it all in an afternoon? What if you were only 12? Bale’s transformation, from pampered British ruling-class child to an imprisoned, desperate, nearly feral boy, is nothing short of stunning. Also stunning are exceptional sets, cinematography, and music (the last courtesy of John Williams) that…

Film:The Adventures of Indiana Jones series

The Adventures of Indiana Jones series

Steven Spielberg

As with Star Wars, the George Lucas-produced Indiana Jones trilogy was not just a plaything for kids but an act of nostalgic affection toward a lost phenomenon: the cliffhanging movie serials of the past. Episodic in structure and with fate hanging in the balance about every 10 minutes, the Jones features tapped into Lucas’s extremely profitable Star Wars formula of modernizing the look and feel of an old, but popular, story model. Steven Spielberg directed all three films, which are set in the late 1930s and early ‘40s: the comic…

Film:Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: 2nd in Indiana Jones series

Steven Spielberg

The Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) adventure after Raiders of the Lost Ark is more violent than its predecessor, but also looser, more imaginative, and finally more satisfying. Still organized like a series of connected cliffhangers, the story (set 10 years before Raiders) involves Indy’s attempted rescue of stolen children from a pagan cult. Director Steven Spielberg draws upon sundry cinematic influences, particularly Gunga Din, for an air of classic adventure, though one can also find traces of John Wayne movies in Jones’s relationship with…

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