Steven Spielberg is one of our finest filmmakers. Spielberg has made some of the most incredible films of all time and continues to produce extraordinary entertainment nearly 50 years after launching Jaws on audiences in 1975. The Fabelmans mark Spielberg’s final effort and, by all accounts , sounds like another solid achievement in a career full of unprecedented success. As such, we thought it would be fun to revisit six essential films from Spielberg’s magnificent legacy, those that made him the filmmaker he is today.

Jaws (1975)

Enough has already been written about Jaws that it’s almost foolish to add to the discussion. Still, the classic 1975 film about a great white shark terrorizing the people of Amity Island remains a defining moment in movie history, paving the way for what we regularly call the summer blockbuster.

In other words, without Jaws, there’s no Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Batman, Terminator 2: Doomsday, or The Dark Knight, among many others. Without Jaws, is there even a Star Wars?

Jaws made Steven Spielberg a rising filmmaker, reinvented the modern horror movie, instilled enough confidence in Hollywood to take risks on ambitious movies with bigger budgets, and established the common trend of spin-offs. .

That said, Jaws didn’t accidentally stumble upon their jaw-dropping success. It’s a hell of a beautiful film that skilfully mixes the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock with the adventure of John Ford. What could have been a hackneyed, crude, paint-by-numbers horror picture (see Jaws 2, 3, and 4) has become a gripping, crowd-pleasing experience filled with colorful characters, deft script, and twists. real excitement. Jaws deserves its place among the best movies ever made.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark is one hell of a movie – a harrowing adventure filled with non-stop action, amazing special effects, a stunning score from John Williams and a rugged hero (played by Harrison Ford ) who has since become more iconic than James Obligation. More importantly, the photo conjured up a new genre out of thin air: the PG-13 family adventure.

Spielberg’s success stems from this untapped resource, which featured thrilling films designed for all ages that had enough grit and spunk to be cool among the teenage crowd – and enough nostalgia to appeal to older moviegoers. From that well came Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Poltergeist, Gremlins, The Goonies and Jurassic Park – all movies with an abundance of adult content that knew when to step back and let the audience’s imagination fill in the gaps.

Jaws made Spielberg a household name, Close Encounters of the Third Kind proved it could carry an epic, but Raiders of the Lost Ark was the movie that cemented Spielberg as the de facto blockbuster extraordinaire we know today. today. In just under two hours, Raiders jumps from one action beat to the next and deftly blends drama, suspense, adventure, horror and romance into an incredibly satisfying experience that still has an incredible impact some 40 years after its release. .

Spielberg and George Lucas should have worked together more often.

ET The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

I’m of the opinion that ET the Extra-Terrestrial is a bit overrated. Yes, it captures the nuances of childhood better than most and features a handful of child performances that deserve recognition – it’s the ultimate family movie. Indeed, a joyful cinematic experience blessed by one of John Williams’ greatest scores. But ET also looks like a carefully calculated product that hits all the right buttons without venturing too far off the beaten path. This aspect affects many of Spielberg’s later films, namely Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Hook, and even the marvelous Jurassic Park.

Where Jaws and Raiders dared to reshape the cinema, using all aspects of old series and movies that Spielberg grew up watching, ET feels more like a mainstream product designed to appeal to the masses. Yet ET took the world by storm and, for better or worse, gave Spielberg the keys to the kingdom. As such, it remains one of his essential shots.

And look, I’m not saying ET is a bad movie. I saw it on Imax recently and had a great time. Certain moments explode offscreen (ET and Elliot’s flight over the moon, for example), and the story has enough depth to give the whole affair a deeper emotional payoff. Yet ET feels too much like a product designed not to fail rather than a novel by an incredible author.

Schindler’s List (1993)

After the commercial failures of Empire of the Sun, Always and Hook, Steven Spielberg fought back with the double of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. The former was extraordinarily financially successful and helped usher in a new brand of CGI cinema. The latter quickly became a critical darling and eventually gave Spielberg what he craved most: respect from the Academy.

Indeed, Schindler’s List won a slew of Oscars, including a statue for Best Director and Best Picture, and turned Spielberg into a de facto artist capable of delivering adult imagery. From there, the man oscillated between commercial and more personal projects, often with mediocre results – see The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Amistad in 1997. Schindler’s List dealt Spielberg a mortal blow for years 80 once and for all and replaced him with a more nuanced, bespectacled, headscarf-wearing performer whose films yearn for meaning. The year 1993 was really when our little boy finally grew up.

As for the film, Schindler’s List is quite an experience. Guided by the strong actors of Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes, the film tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, whose efforts during World War II saved the lives of some 1,200 Jews. Shot entirely in black and white by Janusz Kamiński, who will now collaborate with Spielberg on all of his films, Schindler’s List goes to the jugular and recreates the Holocaust in devastating detail. An exceptional film.

Ironically, all it took for Spielberg to hit the stars (artistically speaking) was to put his feet on the ground.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Spielberg’s later career would produce solid entertainment such as Minority Report and Lincoln, but neither left behind the cultural impact of Saving Private Ryan. I’d go so far as to say it was Spielberg’s last truly monumental film — a summer spectacle that left a considerable mark on the pop culture zeitgeist.

Saving Private Ryan forever changed cinema, or at least the warrior genre. Brutal, violent, and intense, the R-rated film paved the way for a legion of video games and TV shows (like HBO’s Band of Brothers and The Pacific), and all but revitalized the wartime epic. Ryan’s success opened the floodgates from which We Were Soldiers, Black Hawk Down, Letters from Iwo Jima, Dunkirk and 1917 emerged. These films borrow elements or build on techniques found in the masterpiece of Spielberg, sometimes with spectacular results of their own.

Yet for all its dedication to authenticity, Saving Private Ryan remains the pinnacle of Spielberg’s classic blockbuster: a harrowing action vehicle that blends the realism of Schindler’s List with the thrills of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the shock and awe of Jaws. . Upon release, the discussion around Ryan revolved around the first 20 minutes, which (like Jaws) sets the tone perfectly with an extended, relentless action sequence that skillfully recreates the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Yet for me the hallmark of this masterpiece is the final hour, in which Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his motley crew of soldiers defend a bridge against German troops in the sequence most extraordinary that Spielberg has ever produced. , without exception. Both heartbreaking and exhilarating, the final battle delivers an overwhelming visceral experience that incorporates all of Spielberg’s best tendencies as a filmmaker.

While Spielberg would produce better films in the future, none would match the technical mastery achieved in this classic WWII epic.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

If Jaws was Spielberg’s breakthrough and Schindler’s List marked his foray into more adult fare, Catch Me If You Can was where Spielberg finally moved on to human drama. Sure, he occasionally dipped his toes into empty big-budget blockbusters like War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Ready Player One with mixed results. However, from 2002 Spielberg’s interest shifted to intimate character studies of imperfect people caught in larger-than-life circumstances.

Except none of his later endeavors would match the sheer enjoyment of Catch Me If You Can, a light-hearted comedy deftly shrouded in heavier themes of childhood, divorce, and parenthood. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (in one of his best roles), Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken and Amy Adams, the 2002 hug follows the real-life exploits of Frank Abignale Jr., a young man who runs away from home in 17 and turning to a life of petty crime. Frank poses as a pilot, doctor and lawyer, collects millions of dollars in fraudulent checks and sleeps with beautiful women while evading the FBI in 1960s America. Spielberg considers Frank’s exploits adventures harmless imbued with youthful ignorance; he’s not a bad boy, just lost and lonely.

Clever, sweet, emotional and funny, Catch Me If You Can is the kind of image only Spielberg could conjure up. An expertly directed film that ranks among his finest achievements as a filmmaker, one that has proven he can make personal drama without all the bells and whistles.

Must-Watch Steven Spielberg Movies Before The Fabelmans | Pretty Reel