Steven Spielberg

Filmmakers

Steven Allen Spielberg (born December 18, 1946) is an American filmmaker. He is considered one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era and one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. He gained early attention with his short film Amblin’ (1968), which led him to becoming the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio (Universal) after Sid Sheinberg, then the vice-president of production for Universal Television saw the film. Spielberg was signed to a 7-year contract with Universal Television. He gained some early praise for Duel (1971), often considered among the best made for TV movies. He made his feature film directorial debut with The Sugarland Express (1974), with Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, William Atherton, and Michael Sacks.

He became a household name as the director of Jaws (1975), with Roy Schneider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, and Murray Hamilton; which was critically and commercially successful and is considered the first summer blockbuster. His subsequent releases focused typically on science fiction/adventure films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), with Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, Cary Guffey, and François Truffaut; Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), with Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, and Denholm Elliott; E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993), with Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, and Henry Thomas, Peter MacNaughton, and Drew Barrymore; which became archetypes of modern Hollywood escapist filmmaking.

Spielberg transitioned into addressing serious issues in his later work with The Color Purple (1985), with Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Rae Dawn Chong, Willard Pugh, and Adolph Caesar; Empire of the Sun (1987), with Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, and Nigel Havers; Schindler’s List (1993), with Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Ralph Fiennes; Amistad (1997), with Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, and Matthew McConaughey; and Saving Private Ryan (1998), with Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, Jeremy Davies, and Matt Damon.

He has largely adhered to this practice during the 21st century, with Munich (2005), with Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler, and Geoffrey Rush; Lincoln (2012), with Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones; Bridge of Spies (2015), with Hanks and Mark Rylance; and The Post (2017), with Meryl Streep, Hanks; Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, Alison Brie, and Matthew Rhys.

He co-founded Amblin Entertainment and DreamWorks Pictures, where he has also served as a producer or executive producer for several successful film trilogies, tetralogies and more including the Gremlins, Back to the Future, Men in Black, and the Transformers series. He later transitioned into producing several video games. He’s also collaborated on various projects with fellow filmmaker and lifelong friend, George Lucas.

Spielberg is one of the American film industry’s most critically successful filmmakers, with praise for his directing talent and versatility, and he has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice (along with one Best Picture win). Some of his movies are also among the highest-grossing films, while his total work makes him the highest-grossing film director in history. His net worth is estimated to be more than $3 billion. Other notable films include the ensemble WWII comedy 1941 (1979), with Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune, Slim Pickens, and Robert Stack; Hook (1991), with Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Julia Roberts, and Maggie Smith; A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), with Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O’Connor, Brendan Gleeson, and William Hurt; Catch Me of You Can (2002), with Leonardo DiCaprio, Hanks, and Christopher Walken.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • The Last Gun (1959) – short
  • Fighter Squad (1961) – short
  • Escape to Nowhere (1961) – short
  • Firelight (1964) – partially lost
  • Slipstream (1967) – unfinished short
  • Amblin’ (1968) – short
  • Night Gallery (1969) – TV movie
  • Duel (1971) – TV movie
  • Something Evil (1972) – TV movie
  • Savage (1973) – TV movie
  • The Sugarland Express (1974)
  • Jaws (1975)**
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)**
  • 1941 (1979)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)**
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)**
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) – directed with John Landis, Joe Dante, & George Miller
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
  • The Color Purple (1985)
  • Empire of the Sun (1987)
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  • Always (1989)
  • Hook (1991)*
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Schindler’s List (1993)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)*
  • Amistad (1997)
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  • The Unfinished Journey (1999) – documentary short
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  • Minority Report (2002)*
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  • The Terminal (2004)
  • War of the Worlds (2005)
  • Munich (2005)
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)*
  • The Adventures of Tintin (2011)*
  • War Horse (2011)
  • Lincoln (2012)
  • Bridge of Spies (2015)
  • The BFG (2016)
  • The Post (2017)
  • Ready Player One (2018)*
  • West Side Story (2020)

Other notable New Hollywood filmmakers: