The Top 10......Best Steven Spielberg Movies Ever

May 31, 2005

The Bottom Line same old Shpiel

Steven Spielberg has been a cultural icon for over 30 years now. He has supplied us with some of the most remarkable, breathtaking and memorable films of all time. This is my tribute to my favorite director with my top 10 Spielberg movies ever.

10. Duel (1971) - Originally made for TV, Duel has become a cult classic. A very simple yet very suspenseful premise, Dennis Weaver is a regular Joe driving home when a maniacal driver in a Diesel truck get annoyed with him and follows him wherever he goes, striking fear in his heart and just toying with his vehicle. An effective formula, keeping the story plain but using effective camera angles to show Weaver’s fear and the shear speed of both vehicles. Make sure you watch the remastered version on DVD as the quality is fantastic.

9. The Color Purple (1985) - Based on an Alice Walker Novel, Spielberg captures the gripping and heart wrenching story of Celie (Whoopie Goldberg), a black woman in the early century south and her tribulations through incest, an abusive marriage to Albert (Danny Glover) and the separation from her family. This inspiring story has our main character empower herself and goes a quest to find out her real identity and her family. Superb performances by Goldberg, GLover and Oprah Winfrey, beautifully shot and well paced, true to the book. Nominated for 11 academy awards, winner of none, a real shame, but as you will see in the latter movies no real surprise for a director with the caliber of Spielberg.

8. Minority Report (2002) - In this futuristic thriller Spielberg shares his vision of our future some 50 years from now with gadgets and fabulous scenery to engross us in the moment. Here, Tom Cruise plays Detective John Anderton, lead investigator in the futuristic pre-crime division. In this future, 3 psychics predict future murders and the cops stop them before they ever happen, leading to the question of how can they be sure the killer will go through with the plan of killing. When Anderton is framed to appear he will kill someone he uncovers something that could bring the division down. Suspenseful and visionary, good performances by Cruise and Samantha Morton as one of the psychics, a very entertaining caper.

7. Jaws (1975) -The movie that kept us out of the water for years, horrifying and intense, using the trick of fearing the unseen yet knowing it is there, the killer shark only appears at the end and looks as real as it could be being a mechanical being. With Roy Scheider as the hunter who tries to salvage the beach town from bankruptcy and further loss of life. Spielberg’s first summer blockbuster that spawned 3 cheesy sequels. The film that put him on the map.

6. Jurassic Park (1993) - In Spielberg’s most productive year, Jurassic Park was a definite winner, very entertaining and visually incredible, using computer effects to create impressive looking dinosaurs in this story of a theme park/Zoo comprised of regenerated dinosaurs and what goes wrong when they escape their cages. Thrilling and scary, visually and audibly impressive, one of the first big CGI movies of our time.

5. Raiders of the Lost Arc (1981) - The movie that introduced us to Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his adventures. Without a doubt the best adventure series Spielberg has concocted, it is still fun to watch to this day, with mazes, creepy crawlers, timely humor and Indy’s charm, this movie pioneered the action adventure genre. Jones is an archeologist who enjoys hunting down ancient artifacts, here it is Noah’s Arc, his journey is treacherous but as always he perseveres. The 2 sequels are almost as worthy and it’s been announces that Indy 4 is coming in 2006, very exciting.

4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - Spielberg’s spectacular look at the potential encounters between man and alien, very reserved yet visually impressive with great performances, particularly Richard Dreyfus. Dreyfus, who encounters a spaceship, among other people is drawn to a mountain in Wyoming which turns out to be the military’s base for alien contact. Simply spectacular and ground breaking.

3. Saving Private Ryan (1998) - Considered to be the most realistic depiction of WWII events, this harrowing story takes us to an unbelievably gut wrenching first 45 minutes of the D-Day invasion of US troops on Normandy beach and the massacre that follows. The movie itself, starring Tom Hanks who plays a squadron leader who, together with his crew, are assigned to find Private Ryan (Matt Damon), the sole surviving brother of 3 whose other brothers perished in the war. Their mission is to deliver him home safely, yet they battle incredible opposition doing so. Documentary style, shaky and desaturated cinematography captures the realism of the film perfectly. So real it made real veterans who watched it shed tears. Clearly should have won Best Picture that year but lost to Shakespeare in Love.

2. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982) - Spielberg most successful Box Office Grossing movie, a fairy tale alien story where a kid befriends an alien who simply wants to get home, adventure and imagination runs wild and the emotions begins to take effect towards the end. Captured kids fantasies of being able to fly on their bikes, accompanied by a wonderful score by John Williams, this is a timeless classic that was nominated for best picture but lost to Ghandi simply die to its box office success.

1. Schindler’s List (1993) - One of the best films ever made, the story of Oskar Schindler, brilliantly played by Liam Neeson, A German entrepreneur who saved the lives of 1000s of Jews during the holocaust. This is a major tear jerker, a brutally realistic depiction of the terrible acts inflicted by the Nazis on their victims, primarily the Jews. Filmed in Black and White effectively, exceptional performances by Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes, the score by Williams, the cinematography and Spielberg’s uninhibited portrayal of a subject matter really difficult for him to display. Winner of Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg. As close to perfect cinema as it gets.

Future Spielberg movies the could break the top 10

War of the Worlds (2005) - Tom Cruise as a father trying to save his family for invading Martians, sure to provide harrowing performances and huge visual effects. My most anticipated film of 2005.

Untitled Munich Olympics Film (2006) - This already is shaping up as an Oscar contender, the story of the Massacre of 11 Israeli Athletes by Lebanese Terrorists during the 1972 Olympics. Filmed through the eyes of the Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service.

Untitled Abe Lincoln Film (2006) - With Liam Neeson as Lincoln, could lightning strike twice for Spielberg/Neeson?

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