Steven Spielberg is one of the most iconic directors of all time, creating countless hit movies and beloved stories that have stood the test of time. His range is impressive, directing genres spanning adventure, horror and even the occasional historical epic. As such, there are many Spielberg films that I enjoy greatly. While I wish I could include every Spielberg film on this list, it only calls for five, so I will stick to the premise. Without further ado, here are the top 5 Steven Spielberg films!
5. E.T: The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
E.T is regarded as one of Spielberg’s finest films and for good reason. Its story is simple, following the adventures of the titular alien and a young boy named Elliot. Despite this, it is emotionally impactful and there is enough adventure to satisfy younger viewers, as well as the young at heart. It’s not my favorite Spielberg film and I find it somewhat cheesy, but I still enjoy watching it at the end of the day. Overall, it’s a solid film.
4. Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park utilizes a story that is even simpler than E.T’s in terms of premise. An eccentric entrepreneur opens a park featuring genetically recreated dinosaurs, havoc runs amuck and the protagonists literally have to run from danger. Does that make the film less worthy? Absolutely not. Jurassic Park is a wild ride from start to finish, with gripping action and effects that while dated today, were absolutely groundbreaking in 1993. Not every film needs to have a complex, intricate story and Jurassic Park is proof.
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Indiana Jones series is one of the most beloved film series in Hollywood and it’s not very hard to see why. Featuring adventure, mystery and history, it’s the thinking man’s popcorn flick. As such, it had to start off with a bang, which it did with 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Featuring Harrison Ford as Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, the story concerns the struggles of the titular character to recover the Ark of the Covenant from nefarious Nazi officials. Though I cannot reveal if Indy succeeds or not, I can reveal that Raiders of the Lost Ark is a solidly fun, exciting adventure film that keeps you on the edge of your seat consistently.
2. Jaws (1975)
The first directorial effort from Spielberg was certainly not his worst, with a story that holds up far better than the notoriously bad special effects. Set in the quaint summer town of Amity Island, Jaws focuses on the efforts of three ragtag misfts; police chief Martin Brody, marine biologist Matt Hooper and fisherman Quint, as they must track down a hungry shark who is terrorizing the populace. Whether the trio were successful or not, I can say with the utmost confidence that Jaws is a delight on all fronts. The story is consistently engaging, with a premise that is easily digestible and very relatable.
1. Schindler’s List (1993)
Without question, Schindler’s List is Spielberg’s strongest film. While the other films listed had an obligatory sense of fun, Schindler’s List eschews this for a powerful retelling of the efforts of a factory owner to hide and rescue the Jewish populous of Nazi Germany. Shot entirely in black-and-white, save for a single scene, the story captures the pure emotional terror that was rampant during the Holocaust. Liam Neeson excels as Oskar Schindler and the film is powerful without ever being preachy. Overall, it is Spielberg’s best film.