Steven Spielberg has made several iconic pieces of cinematic entertainment. It’s been a while since his heyday, nearly two decades to be exact, but he is still one of the most unbelievable directors ever. These are my Top 7 Steven Spielberg Movies.
7. “Catch Me If You Can” (2002):
“Catch Me If You Can” is an incredibly charming old school style cops & robbers movie and stars two of the all-time greats. Tom Hanks plays a seasoned FBI agent on the hunt for Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio). Abagnale is a cocky kid who happens to be a genius. But instead of using his gifts positively, Abagnale becomes one of the greatest bullshit artists in history. The man had forged millions of dollars in fake checks before his 19th birthday while posing as a pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. Hanks keeps coming closer and closer but somehow the boy genius finds a way to escape. Add in a great supporting cast, particularly Christopher Walken as the loving father, and you’ve got yourself a movie worthy of Oscar nominations. Plus the fact that this is based on a true story only adds to its mystique.
6. “Saving Private Ryan” (1998):
Widely considered one of the premier war movies ever made, “Saving Private Ryan” is a visceral look at the greatest war the world has ever scene. From the start Spielberg slams the audience smack dab in the middle of the bloody D-Day battle as we stormed the beach in France. No denying what an unbelievable piece of moviemaking that was. From there the film turns into a bit more of a personal journey as Tom Hanks is tasked to lead a small company of soldiers into the countryside in order to find a single soldier named Private Ryan who is the only surviving member out of his four brothers. The journey sees nothing but bloodshed and hardship. Ya know, like what war actually is. This remains a classic gut punch of a movie.
5. “Minority Report” (2002):
“Minority Report” is the last GREAT movie Spielberg ever made, and it came out way back in 2002. A slick adventure picture, the director outdid himself when it comes to creating a totally original futuristic world. With Tom Cruise starring, the greatest runner in movie history, the movie tells of a world in which murder has been eliminated due to an advanced system that harnesses gifted minds known as pre-cogs that can see the future. Everything looks great until Cruise, the head cop at Pre-Crime, has his name come up to kill a man that he doesn’t even know. As he says when they almost arrest him early, Cruise utters “Everybody Runs” and the crazy futuristic chase is on. Complete with a battle in a robotic car plant to having his eyes replaced, Cruise will stop at nothing to prove his innocence even if he was the biggest proponent that the program is never wrong. Or is it?
4. “Jurassic Park” (1992):
This movie scared the hell out of me when I was a seven-year-old kid in the dark theatre. The T-Rex was crazy as he roared with the speakers on full tilt, but those damn sneaky Raptors literally gave me nightmares. “Jurassic Park” is not simply a purely masterful piece of summer blockbuster fun, it was also revolutionary. With the use of CGI still in its infancy, Spielberg and his team were able to combine the standard animatronics/models with brand new computer graphics seamlessly, creating a world full of dinosaurs that still looks legit to this day. I would argue it still looks better than these new nonsensical “Jurassic World” movies. This is one of the dozen or so movies I am so glad I got to see in the theatre opening weekend growing up before the internet happened. Pure brilliance.
3. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981):
Harrison Ford is a badass. He isn’t a great actor as he is always playing himself. But he is a movie star by any definition of the term. When I say the words battling with a whip in a movie, everybody thinks of Indiana Jones. Indy’s first go around “Raiders of the Lost Arc” is no doubt his best adventure. From the opening cave scene with a giant ball chasing him to a skilled swordsman simply getting gunned down in an instant, this is adventure fun 101. Of all of Spielberg’s movies I would argue “Raiders” is the closest to literally having some form of appeal to everyone. Whoever thought that an archaeology professor could be such a badass! His only kryptonite of course is snakes, which I sympathize with.
2. “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” (1982):
Spielberg has this strange level of charming childhood love when it comes to most of his work. Maybe it’s because he started making movies as a teenager. The greatest kid-centric adventure ever (Sorry “Goonies” fans) is no doubt “E.T.” Before Gizmo in “Gremlins” or Baby Yoda in “The Mandalorian”, E.T. was the original lovable creature every child wanted as a friend. This is Steven at his most heartwarming and fantastic, creating a journey without being cheesy. The little waddling creature with a shining orange heart trying to get home is what one hopes aliens traveling to Earth actually will be like. Doubt it, but one can wish. Add in the bike ride across the sky and you have the perfect recipe for a family night in at the movies.
1. “Schindler’s List” (1992):
Many critics with sticks up their asses criticized Spielberg for being unable to make serious drama. Dumb criticism because the adventure pictures he was making for decades were way better than some of the most intense of movies. Not everything great has to be depressing people! Then the director had a drop the mic moment. Enter “Schindler’s List”, the most harrowing non-documentary retelling of the Holocaust. Based on the story of Oscar Schindler (Liam Neeson), the movie somehow breaks down the worst event in human history into its most basic concept. This was holistically good versus undeniable evil. It is beautifully shot and the choice to go Black & White was a perfect choice to show visually there is no gray area when it comes to talking about what happened here. This and slavery are the biggest scars in human history and I have zero tolerance for people who just kind of shrug them off. I am so glad Spielberg was able to make this film and every classroom around the world should show it at least once to their students as this event can never be forgotten.