5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
This was Spielberg’s first alien-based movie, and it set the tone and style which would define many of his movies later on. After the mindblowing success of Jaws, Spielberg could do whatever he wanted. So he decided to make one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. It set in a new style never seen before in Hollywood, which is what made Spielberg popular. Aliens didn’t have to be the bad guys every time. And Spielberg wrote the script himself here. Teaming up with Richard Dreyfuss once again, Spielberg once again includes emotion and great characterization into a mainstream script in order the give the movie more depth. And what a film it was.
4. ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
The most Steven Spielberg movie on this list, this movie showcases all the elements that define Spielberg as a director. An out-of-this-world (literally) script, great characterization, great visuals, great background score, and an eventually human movie (not literally), which is anchored by the emotion evoked by the lead characters. Henry Thomas’ Elliott, a lonely young boy living with his single mom and siblings, finds some direction and meaning in his life when he stumbles upon a lovable alien critter who he dubs E.T. Stranded on Earth and trying to phone home, E.T. forms a bond with Elliott that rivals some of cinema’s greatest teams. Sweet, thoughtful and in the end, tear-jerking, ET is one of sci-fi’s hallmarks.
3. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
This is my favourite movie on this list. What a great film! Partnering with George Lucas, the duo went on to make one of the most culturally significant and popular movie franchises of all time. It opens with one of the most iconic scenes in cinema, Indy side-stepping booby traps and bloody thirsty tribes to collect his artifact. Raiders is a masterclass in every sense of the word. Writing, acting, directing, set-pieces, costumes, you name it. And don’t you dare tell me you don’t hum along to John Williams’ classic Indiana Jones soundtrack.
2. Jaws (1975)
Riddled with iconic scenes and dialogues, the success of Jaws spurred Spielberg to the forefront of Hollywood, cementing his place as one of the leading filmmakers at the time, and for the next 4 decades. Jaws is the first summer blockbuster movie ever made, which paved the way for more ‘blockbusters.’ No amount of adjectives will be enough to describe the awesomeness (another adjective) of Jaws. You could fit a boat-full of that. But guess what? You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
1. Schindler’s List (1994)
The most emotionally powerful movie of Spielberg’s career, Schindler’s List follows the life of industrialist Oskar Schindler, who unwittingly decides to help Jews escape Germany during the Holocaust, unintentionally becoming a hero in the process. This time, Spielberg doesn’t manipulate anything, save for the beautiful black-and-white shots. Oskar Schindler, Aman Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) and the Jew workers are told with the utmost honesty, and it is up to the audience to judge. One of the greatest human dramas ever made, based on one of the most horrifying events in human history. This is Spielberg at his best. This is filmmaking at its best.
This was our list of the best movies of the visionary director, Steven Spielberg. He has been an instrumental agent in the fueling of our childhood nostalgia and dreams. Which of his movies are your favourites? Tell us in the comments.
By Aditya Sarma, Deepjyoti Roy