Steven Spielberg

"One of the most famous Hollywood directors, Steven Spielberg has an intuitive sense of the hopes and fears of his audience. This quality and his showmanship have made him one of the greats, in the league of Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Capra, and Alfred Hitchcock." - Ronald Bergan (Eyewitness Companions: Film, 2006)

Steven Spielberg

Director / Producer / Screenwriter
(1947- ) Born December 18, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Top 250 Directors / 21st Century's Top 50 Directors

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Drama, Science Fiction, Adventure, Period Film, Costume Adventure, Chase Movie, Sci-Fi Action, Action, War Drama, War, Fantasy, Psychological Sci-Fi
Key Collaborators: John Williams (Composer), Michael Kahn (Editor), Janusz Kaminski (Cinematographer), Kathleen Kennedy (Producer), Frank Marshall (Producer), Rick Carter (Production Designer), Gerald R. Molen (Producer), Harrison Ford (Leading Actor), David Koepp (Screenwriter), Colin Wilson (Producer), Tom Hanks (Leading Actor), Richard Dreyfuss (Leading Actor)

"Steven Spielberg’s films tend to convey a certain “heaviness” with regard to adult life but joy and belief with regard to the children. He is at his most effective in his films that focus on childhood, such as E.T. (1982) and Empire of the Sun (1987), and in films where the adults act like enthusiastic adolescents, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Jurassic Park (1994). His portrayals of adult life, on the other hand, are marked by destructive human behavior, such as Schindler’s List (1993) and Amistad (1997), in which Spielberg constructed stories about such human tragedies as the Holocaust and a slave revolt in such a way as to create a hero." - Ken Dancyger (The Director's Idea: The Path to Great Directing, 2006)
"As America in the 1990s moves slowly away from the Reagan era, will Spielberg find new materials and adult themes, or will he seek continuing refuge in tried and true formulas? And will those formulas continue to work? And finally, will Spielberg manage to successfully mediate his apparent dual interests - being a modern day mogul in the style of Walt Disney or Cecil B. DeMille as well as being a respected artist whose work requires no apology?" - Charles Derry (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Even when depicting the Holocaust, slavery in America or the infernal battlefields of World War II in his serious, honourable period projects, Spielberg cannot resist sweetening his bitter history lessons with mawkishness and ameliorating sentiment. He is a director of action-adventure nonpareil, but can never fully adapt his boyish temperament to weightier material. No matter his setting or subject, we're always in Spielbergland, a world of magical make-believe where Tom Hanks can face down a German tank with a single pistol and where the "showers" at Auschwitz are really showers after all." - Jessica Winter (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"In bringing a distinctly personal sensibility to the traditional genres of mass entertainment, Steven Spielberg rapidly became the most commercially successful director in cinema history. While it is impossible to deny either his Midas touch or his extraordinary technical proficiency, it has nonetheless become increasingly clear in recent years that he is perhaps more at home with sentimental 'family' fodder than with more sophisticated material." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
"Steven Spielberg, along with sometime collaborator George Lucas, is widely credited with rescuing American cinema from the commercial doldrums of the 1960s. However, he is just as frequently accused of reducing of the art form of the Hollywood movie to a merchandise-friendly beacon for dominant values. Spielberg's cinema strongly reflects both of these simplifications, but also contains largely unheralded thematic discourses (especially concerning the fragility of family bonds) as well as an unparalleled capacity to integrate technological innovation with the narrative forms of mainstream cinema." - Martin Flanagan (Contemporary North American Film Directors, 2002)
"It is to Spielberg's credit that he has rarely allowed his power or influence to cloud his judgement, and despite one or two fiascos (no doubt necessary, in psychological terms, to prevent vainglory), he has weaved his way skilfully between the twin pillars of popular culture and genuinely heartfelt projects with commendable restraint." - Mario Reading (The Movie Companion, 2006)
"Spielberg has a passionate interest in World War II that is reflected in the subject matter of films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998)... Most controversial of his films is Schindler's List (1993), the story of a man who saved Jews from the extermination camps; Spielberg was accused of maudlin misrepresentation as much for bravely bringing the Holocaust to light in the context of mainstream entertainment." - Murray Pomerance Crucianelli (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"One of the things Henry Hathaway told me is that you just have to know what you're doing every single minute of the day. His advice was: even if you don't know what the hell you're doing, pretend you do." - Steven Spielberg (Directing the Film, 1976)
"A lot of the films I've made probably could have worked just as well 50 years ago, and that's just because I have a lot of old-fashion values." - Steven Spielberg
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Duel (1971) , Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) , The Color Purple (1985), Schindler's List (1993) , Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Recommended
Jaws (1975) , Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) , E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) , Catch Me if You Can (2002)
Worth a Look
The Sugarland Express (1974), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Jurassic Park (1993), Amistad (1997), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) , Minority Report (2002) , Munich (2005) , War of the Worlds (2005), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Lincoln (2012)
Approach with Caution
1941 (1979), Empire of the Sun (1987), Hook (1991), The Terminal (2004), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Not Recommended
Always (1989)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Steven Spielberg / Favourite Films
Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles, Day for Night (1973) François Truffaut, Fantasia (1940) Ben Sharpsteen, The Godfather (1972) Francis Ford Coppola, A Guy Named Joe (1943) Victor Fleming, It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) David Lean, Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick, The War of the Worlds (1953) Byron Haskin.
Source: Empire (1989)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
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