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Martin Adam Pavlík
July 26, 2021, 3:35pm
Reading time: 7:38

Top 10 Steven Spielberg Films

Steven Spielberg's name is known to young and old alike. He has produced a lot of great and successful films, but which ones are the best of them all?

Martin Adam Pavlík
July 26, 2021, 3:35pm
Reading time: 7:38
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Top 10 Steven Spielberg Films
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Shy introvert with an artistic soul, passionate about film. He is seventy-four years old and he has made thirty-three feature films cross genres - from animated movies to bloody horrors.



As a child, he was a bullied outsider. Today he no longer has to worry about money. Billions of people around the world know him and you'll definitely go to the cinema again to see his new films. He has gained everyone's recognition, whether it's ordinary spectators or hyper-judgemental critics.


We have selected ten best films by the Oscar-winning visionary Steven Spielberg. Obviously,  since this is a very subjective ranking, you can easily have a completely different opinion. Don't forget to let us know in the comments below the article.


10. Munich (2005)

This political thriller tells a story that's set in 1972, when the Olympic Games were held in Munich. The Games were disrupted by masked terrorists from the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September and killed 11 Israeli athletes and members of the Olympic team. Following this tragic incident, the Israeli government has commissioned the Mossad intelligence service to track down and neutralize the Palestinians responsible for the murderous attack.


"I wanted people to understand that Munich embodies the problems of today's world that threaten us all. History is a reminder of how bad this can be. Munich is a prayer for peace. For a well-deserved peace, " said the American director in his biographical documentary Spielberg from 2017 by Susan Lacy about his very bold, melancholic and harsh film.


Although not so widely known, Munich is a top, exciting thriller with a number of shocking moments, cathartic conclusion and excellent acting by Eric Banu and Daniel Craig.

9. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

One of the most important works by the Ohio-born director and the first film for which he wrote the screenplay. Although he was assisted by Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins and Jerry Belson at that.


It is also a film that has forever changed the approach to visual, special effects. Spielberg gave his peers a beautiful guide on how to do it. Forget about crazy explosions, shootings and bloody fights with aliens. The clash of these two worlds was conceived in a completely different way, more sensitive and poetic than by his directing colleagues, who have turned similar topics into war films for the most part.



This is more of an intimate drama, to which the famous director has an extremely personal relationship. That's also because it was a followed up on one of his very first feature films - Firelight (1964) on UFOs.

8. Empire of the Sun (1987) 

Christian Bale and John Malkovich in the film Empire of the Sun. Source: Warner Bros.

Spielberg's inconspicuous, almost forgotten gem. World War II presented through the optics of a child. It is an adaptation of the autobiographical bestseller by J. G. Ballard, who recalls his experiences from the Japanese prison camp.


Camera floating over corpses in huge narrative scenes, beautiful work with props - small planes - and a fantastic performance of the thirteen-year-old Christian Bale in the lead role. In the aforementioned documentary, Spielberg says about the film over time: “It's a wonderful story about children's endurance. This child survivor has a lot more strength in him than all of the adults around. "


Many emotional scenes are slightly spoiled by a rather sizeable length (154 minutes), which unfortunately causes the film to lose pace at times. However, this work undoubtedly deserves a place in this ranking regardless. 

7. Bridge of Spies (2015)

Source: Cinemart

The 1950s and 1960s, the Cold War between the USSR and the United States, the fierce power struggle, the machinations of the FBI, the CIA and one strong story of loyalty, respect, friendship and the cruel decisions that sincerely touch even the most cynical of us.


The American director has proven that he's capable of making an exceptional film even late into his career. He played it safe again and joined forces with the great Tom Hanks. This time in the role of James Donovan, a renowned lawyer from Brooklyn. He's got the difficult task of defending the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel - the states enemy.

An elegant, but at the same time relentless game of high-ranking patriots proceeding at a slow pace with an abundance of dialogues. Another one of Spielberg's serious political films with an intimate atmosphere. Precise, graduating, sometimes even depressing and chilling.


6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Source: Paramount Pictures

The darkest, but ironically also the funniest and best Indiana Jones ever. Spielberg and George Lucas (who edited the film) geared up here and made the film more aimed at adults than children this time around. As Vogue points out, the film's grim tone was amplified by the fact that both Lucas and Spielberg had a difficult time while making the film.While Lucas was in the middle of a divorce from film editor Marcia Griffin, who, by the way, won an Oscar for Star Wars. Spielberg was fresh out of a break up with Kathleen Carey.


However, the latter did not mourn for too long. Him and the actress Kate Capshaw became so close during filming that they later formed a couple and married in 1991. Anyway, the Temple of Doom represents one important milestone in the history of cinema. As stated on ABC News, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) came up with a new accessibility rating for this film, the so-called PG-13 (a warning that the film contains scenes that may not be suitable for children under 13), which is still being used until today.

This was because many scary and disturbing scenes in the film led angry parents in America to protest against PG (Parental Guidance) ratings, which meant that children of all ages could attend the film, but it was recommended that they were accompanied with their parents. Since the much stricter rating of accessibility R (restricted) was almost always a curse for the studios for a significant reduction in viewers and thus lower sales, ultimately this was a very favourable compromise.


5. Jaws (1975)

A film that fundamentally changed Spielberg's life and guaranteed maximum freedom in creation. A film about a murderous shark that earned three times more than it had cost to make. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the shooting, absolutely nothing went according to the plan and there was even a chance that the film would never get finished.


Although Spielberg was perfectly able to shoot Jaws in a studio and use mock-ups instead of real ships, he insisted on filming it directly on the ocean, which radically complicated everything, as almost none of the staff had enough experience.


"I thought it would be easy, but then I knew nothing about the tide or sea currents. I didn't know how water would be affected by the wind. How the sky colors affect the color of the water. Or how to put it all together. Simply put, it was one huge problem after another, " the director himself reminisced over the filming in the film Spielberg.


"When we first tested the shark, it sank down. Everything was going wrong, " he added. So they started modifying the shark, but the director still had to shoot for clearly defined dispositions and couldn't afford to not do anything for a month. In the end, thanks to the fact that the audience did not see the shark in the crucial scenes, everything was much more scary and exciting.

4. Jurassic Park (1993)

Source: Cinemart

No one has filmed anything like that before. This film changed the rules of the game once and for all. Spielberg exemplified that initially insane and rejectable ideas could be transformed into the most breathtaking sceneries for the human eye to enjoy.


A film that will get you to fall in love with science fiction and cinema as such. The grandiose story about revival of dinosaurs is a spectacular ride that every individual will enjoy, especially thanks to all the unforgettable scenes (such as escaping from the T-Rex or hiding from velociraptors).


Jurassic Park is an impeccable adaptation of the book by Michael Crichton and Sam Neill, Laura Dern together with Jeff Goldblum are an extremely striking acting trio. A movie that doesn't get boring for a single second that you can watch repeatedly without getting tired of it.

3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Source: Universal Pictures

Undoubtedly Spielberg's most beautiful and hilarious work, where he also showed how professionally he can work with children's actors and make the most of them at such a young age already (it is no wonder that Henry Thomas or Drew Barrymore have had an extremely successful career until today).


You probably also shed a tear during the final farewell scene. The story of a little boy and a friendly alien was also a painful childhood memory for the director. "The family in the movie and all those great child actors actually mirrored my own childhood," he admitted in a nearly two-and-a-half-hour-long great documentary directed by Susan Lacy. "The film is mostly about what fills the heart of a lonely child," he added.


Allen Daviau's shots, such as cycling in the sky in front of the bright-shining moon or E. T.'s glowing finger, could be framed in a living room picture and are often referred to in other films. Not to mention the beautiful script taken care of by Melissa Mathison.


2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

A picture that takes your breath away and sends chills all over your body. This raw war drama offers perhaps the most breathtaking intro into the history of world cinema. Tom Hanks mentions it in director Susan Lacy's documentary: "We had no idea what it would look like on a beach in Omaha. Spielberg didn't tell us actors nothing at all. He used our panic, confusion and fear to capture our shock and surprise in the most credible way. "


He couldn't have done better. New York film critic David Edelstein said of the film in the same documentary: "Spielberg understood the expressionist possibilities of using the sound here. You heard bullets whistling around you. You could hear them penetrate the body and destroy it. Ears ringing, leaving you completely disoriented. "

And the very end of the film? The spectators are torn to pieces, just like the soldiers under the fire of machine guns during the above mentioned initial landing. Film directing lesson that won't be forgotten. War films are Spielberg's most beloved, and he always takes special care about the outcome. As he mentions in the biographical documentary by Susan Lacy, his first films were already war-themed and he was mainly inspired by the works like Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Flying Tigers (1942) and Battleground (1949).


1. Schindler's List (1993)

Liam Neeson in the film Schindler's List. Source: Cinemart

Opus magnum. Not only is it undoubtedly the best, most sensitive, demanding, harsh, most personal and the saddest film by Spielberg, it is also one of the most precise and powerful moving pictures about the Holocaust ever made. The American director messes you up like never before. The viewer feels every single shot on his own skin and literally shakes with fear, just like Jews waiting to die in a gas chamber.


The captivating performances of the three top actors, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes, are complemented by the wonderful music of John Williams, the suggestive camera of Janusz Kamiński and the expressly breathtaking direction of Spielberg. In Spielberg (2017), Neeson says that during the shooting, the director was literally down in the dumps. "He was extremely unhappy, walking back and forth on the set. It was obvious how much he cared about the subject. He was telling a story about his family, his faith, so I was very aware of the seriousness of the film. "


In his own words, Spielberg knew that it would not be just an ordinary film, and he also knew that this film must be completely different from everything he'd ever made before. "I had to treat everything with great respect. We shot on sacred ground. When we were shooting in Krakow, I felt like we were shooting on a cemetery. It fundamentally changed my approach to film, to cinematography, " he said in the aforementioned documentary from 2017.


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