Top Steven Spielberg Movies - A Must Watch Films for Cinephile


Join us as we take a closer look at the career of one of the greatest directors of all time, Steven Spielberg. From the powerful Schindler's List to the thrilling Jurassic Park, this list features his must-watch films that have cemented his status as one of the most influential directors in movie history. Whether you are a fan of his artistic or commercial films, this list has something for everyone. For any cinephile, this list of top Steven Spielberg movies is a must-watch for any fan of the master filmmaker.

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1. Schindler's List (1993)

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley.

Genre: Biography, Drama, History.

My Take:

Schindler’s List is a masterful film directed by Steven Spielberg that tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of over a thousand Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. The film is a powerful exploration of the themes of good versus evil and the rise of a hero in tumultuous and troublesome times.

Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.

The film’s approach to the Holocaust is brutal and honest, capturing the atrocities and tragedies of the era in a way no other movie has been able to do. Using black and white cinematography adds a stark and powerful visual style that perfectly complements the film’s subject matter. The handheld camera work, which makes up 40% of the film, gives the movie a documentary-like feel that serves the subject matter well.

The acting in the film is also noteworthy, with exceptional performances by Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern. The musical score composed by John Williams and the central theme performed by violinist Itzhak Perlman is powerful and emotional and connects emotionally with the audience.

Schindler’s List was a critical success and won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Cinematography. It’s considered one of the most influential and essential films ever made, not only for its representation of the Holocaust but also for its examination of the human spirit in the face of great adversity.

Schindler’s List is an epic, dramatic masterpiece that explores the Holocaust in a powerful and emotional way. The film’s approach to the subject matter is captivating and realistic, with exceptional performances and a musical score that evokes deep emotions. It’s a film that is important to watch and to remember, not only for its representation of the Holocaust but also for its examination of the human spirit in the face of great adversity.

2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore
Genre: Drama, War

My Take:

In Saving Private Ryan, Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) leads a team of soldiers on a perilous mission during World War II to locate and bring back Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), the last surviving brother of four soldiers killed in action. The squad faces harrowing battles and grueling challenges as they navigate enemy territory, culminating in a powerful exploration of sacrifice, duty, and the human toll of war.

“I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel.”

The film's impact is felt right from its unforgettable opening scene on Omaha Beach, which is lauded for its realism and intensity. This epic battle sequence stands as a poignant reminder of the immense sacrifices made by soldiers during one of history's darkest periods.

Tom Hanks delivers a commanding and emotionally charged performance as Captain Miller, further reinforcing his reputation as one of Hollywood's finest actors. The supporting cast, including Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Edward Burns, all contribute outstanding performances, bringing depth and authenticity to their respective characters.

Saving Private Ryan's success extends beyond its cast and performances. Steven Spielberg's masterful direction, coupled with the film's striking cinematography and powerful score, earned it five Academy Awards, including Best Director. The film's realistic portrayal of the horrors of war has profoundly impacted both cinema and society, serving as a poignant tribute to the bravery and sacrifices of soldiers throughout history.

3. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama

My Take:

Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a riveting 2002 film that follows the captivating real-life story of Frank Abagnale Jr., a master impostor and con artist. Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Frank, a charming and brilliant young man who effortlessly assumes various identities, posing as a pilot, doctor, and lawyer, while Tom Hanks delivers a phenomenal performance as Carl Hanratty, the determined FBI agent relentlessly chasing him.

“People only know what you tell them.”

Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio deliver brilliant performances as the FBI agent Carl Hanratty and Frank Abagnale Jr., respectively. The dynamic between their characters is electric, and the dialogue between Hanks and DiCaprio is some of the most exciting in the film. Their chemistry is on full display, and their performances are nothing short of phenomenal.

The film is a masterclass in storytelling and is both thrilling and heart-warming simultaneously. The film’s pacing is spot-on, and the story never loses its momentum. The film’s visual style is both stylish and timeless, and the film’s score is equally impressive, adding to the film’s overall appeal.

The fact that the events depicted are drawn from true events intensifies the film's impact, leaving audiences astounded by the lengths to which Frank goes to evade capture. His escapades and ingenious deceptions are both enthralling and entertaining. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks are, at their finest, skillfully portraying intriguing characters. Steven Spielberg's direction ensures the film remains an unforgettable experience.

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

My Take:

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, released in 1981, we embark on a thrilling adventure with the charismatic archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones, portrayed impeccably by Harrison Ford. This genre-defining film, directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by George Lucas, has left an indelible mark on the world of adventure spectacles.

The story follows Indiana Jones as he races against time to find the legendary Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get their hands on its mysterious powers. With exotic locations, dangerous traps, and heart-pounding action sequences, the film takes us on an enthralling journey that keeps us at the edge of our seats.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a true testament to the art of filmmaking, and it is a prime example of what a commercially successful movie can be. The film is a masterclass in filmmaking, with impressive visuals, a gripping storyline, and memorable characters. The film's attention to detail, both in terms of its visual style and its narrative, is impressive, and the film remains just as entertaining today as it was upon its initial release.

Harrison Ford delivers a standout performance as Indiana Jones, and he brings the character to life with his signature charm and wit. His performance is a key reason why the film has remained so popular for so many years, and he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest action heroes of all time.

Even after all these years, Raiders of the Lost Ark remains an entertaining and influential adventure film that appeals to audiences of all ages. It is a thrilling and entertaining journey through exotic locations, dangerous traps, and intense action sequences, all accompanied by a pulse-pounding musical score by John Williams. The film's style is classic and timeless, and it is a perfect example of the stylish American adventure movies of the 1980s.

5. West Side Story (2021)

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast:Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez

Genre: Musical, Romance, Drama

My Take:

West Side Story (2021) is a classic love story reimagined for a new generation. This romantic musical film, directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, is a spectacular display of filmmaking craft that captures the heart and soul of its original source material. This latest adaptation of the Broadway musical classic features a talented cast of new actors, each bringing their own unique flair to the beloved characters. The result is a movie that is both visually stunning and emotionally charged.

All my life, it's like I'm always just about to fall off the edge of the world's tallest building. I stopped falling the second I saw you.

The film's beautiful and vivid colour palette enhances the already gorgeous sets and costumes. The film's cinematography is top-notch, capturing both the characters and the background with a rhythmic motion that perfectly embodies the energy of the musical numbers. The camera work is simply breathtaking, and it's hard not to be swept away by the visual spectacle on display.

Another film highlight is the powerful and heartfelt romance between the two lead characters, Tony and Maria. Their love story is both magical and heartbreaking, and it's impossible not to be moved by their passion and devotion to each other. The film's script also delves into important themes of prejudice and discrimination, and the portrayal of the Latino characters by real Latino actors adds an authenticity to the film that is both powerful and necessary.

West Side Story (2021) is a movie that genuinely takes gold and makes it even more beautiful. The music and choreography are just as impressive as ever, and the film's all-new cast brings fresh energy to the classic material. This movie is one of the best movies of the year. If you're a fan of romance, and musicals, you owe it to yourself to see West Side Story (2021) on the big screen. Sure, I won't forget the theatre experience of West Side Story (2021).

6. Jurassic Park (1993)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

My Take:

Jurassic Park is an iconic movie that entertained millions of people worldwide and generated tremendous interest in dinosaurs and the study of paleontology. Directed by the legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the film was released in 1993 and has since become one of the most beloved and influential monster movies of all time.

God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.

The story of Jurassic Park revolves around a group of people who are invited to a mysterious island where genetically engineered dinosaurs are kept for research and study purposes. As the visitors explore the island, they soon realize that the dinosaurs are not as controllable as they were thought to be, leading to a series of thrilling and dangerous events.

The visual effects used in the movie were groundbreaking for their time, and the lifelike appearance of the dinosaurs is still impressive even by today’s standards. The attention to detail in the design and movements of the creatures is a testament to the talent of the visual effects team, and the result is a movie that looks like a real-life version of a monster movie.

The movie is also a triumph of storytelling. The screenplay, written by Michael Crichton and David Koepp, is filled with tension, suspense, and humour, making for an entertaining and engaging adventure movie that has stood the test of time.

Jurassic Park has entrenched itself as a true masterpiece of entertainment, cherished by audiences of all ages. Its groundbreaking visuals, engaging story, and unforgettable characters have earned it a special place in the hearts of millions worldwide. A milestone in cinematic history, Jurassic Park's impact on popular culture is destined to endure for generations to come, ensuring its legacy as one of the most beloved and influential monster movies ever created.

7. Jaws (1975)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
Genre: Adventure, Thriller

My Take:

In 1975, Jaws burst onto the big screen and quickly earned its reputation as one of the greatest thrillers of all time. The film's timeless tale revolves around a small island community terrorized by a giant man-eating great white shark. Its gripping narrative and skilful direction by Steven Spielberg have left an enduring impact on both the film industry and audiences alike.

“You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat.”

Spielberg's genius is evident in his clever camera techniques that enhance the film's thrill factor. Approximately 25% of the movie was shot from the water level, immersing the viewers in the terrifying perspective of those treading water as the menacing shark lurks beneath. Employing handheld shots to counteract the ocean's swell added a raw and intense feel that placed the audience right in the middle of the heart-pounding action.

The film's characters, portrayed by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw, are equally instrumental in the film's success. Their dynamic performances and the tense interplay between them keep the audience at the edge of their seats throughout the film. Spielberg's clear vision for the movie allowed him to assemble a stellar cast that brought his vision to life with remarkable precision.

Decades later, Jaws remains a masterful piece of filmmaking that continues to set the standard for the thriller genre. Despite the film's dated technology, its impact is undiminished, solidifying its status as a timeless classic. Jaws serves as a testament to Spielberg's exceptional talent as a director, and its legacy will endure, cherished and revered by audiences for generations to come.

8. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody
Genre: Action, Adventure

My Take:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) is a top-notch piece of entertainment that has become one of the most popular sequels in Hollywood history. This movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, with two main purposes: to fulfill a three-movie obligation he had made with George Lucas and to atone for the criticism he received for the previous installment, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

Indiana Jones: 11 o’clock! Dad, 11 o’clock!
Professor Henry Jones: What happens at 11 o’clock?

The movie starts with a fun, action-packed scene that pays homage to Spielberg’s experiences as a Boy Scout. The story revolves around the search for the holy grail and the efforts of Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford) and his father, Dr. Henry Jones Sr. (played by Sean Connery), to find it before the Nazis do.

Throughout the movie, Harrison Ford does many of his stunts, adding to the film’s authenticity. The scenes are shot beautifully, with stunning visual effects and breathtaking locations. The movie also features a fantastic score by John Williams, which adds to the film’s overall impact.

The Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is outstanding, with loads of action and laughs. The movie is a thrilling adventure that has something for everyone, from the youngest of audiences to the most mature of viewers. The film is full of memorable moments, from the iconic action sequences to the witty dialogue between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

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

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Genre: Family, Sci-Fi

My Take:

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg that tells the story of a young boy named Elliott who befriends an alien who has been stranded on Earth. The film is a timeless classic that still captivates audiences today, and it’s easy to see why. The film’s themes of childhood innocence, interspecies friendship, and the emotional bond between Elliott and E.T. make for a touching and heartwarming experience.

He’s a man from outer space and we’re taking him to his spaceship.

One of the film’s most unique aspects is how Spielberg shot it. He shot most of the film from a child’s eye level to further connect with Elliott and E.T., creating a sense of intimacy between the audience and the characters. The bicycle chase scene is also a standout moment that is both thrilling and iconic, and it’s a favourite part for many film fans.

The film also has a beautiful score composed by John Williams that perfectly complements the story. In fact, the end of the film was one of Williams’ most significant musical experiences. After several attempts were made to match the score to the film, Spielberg took the film off the screen and encouraged Williams to conduct the orchestra the way he would at a concert. He did, and Spielberg slightly re-edited the film to match the music, which is unusual since normally, the music would be edited to match the movie.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial had the longest theatrical run (over a year), a testament to the film’s popularity and timelessness. The film is emotionally tumultuous and evenhanded, making it a serene and touching movie. It still blows me away to this day, and it’s no wonder why it’s considered one of Spielberg’s best films and one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.

10. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi

My Take:

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is a 1977 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg that tells the story of a man who becomes obsessed with mysterious lights in the sky and the aliens who might be behind them. The film was a major box office success and received critical acclaim for its breathtaking visuals, compelling story, and innovative use of special effects.

One of the most notable aspects of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is how it was inspired by Steven Spielberg’s experiences. The film’s depiction of a man who becomes fixated on mysterious lights in the sky was partly inspired by a childhood memory of Spielberg’s when his parents took him and his siblings to watch a meteor shower. This intimate connection to the story helps to make it feel grounded and relatable, even as it explores the vast unknowns of space.

The visuals in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” are nothing short of stunning. Spielberg’s mastery of filmmaking techniques and innovative use of special effects help to create a sense of awe and wonder as the film’s protagonist embarks on a journey of discovery that takes him from his suburban home to the far reaches of space.

Another key aspect of the film’s success is the iconic five-note melody that plays a central role in the story. The theme was a chance arrangement that both composer John Williams and director Steven Spielberg happened to like out of hundreds of different permutations, and it has since become one of the most recognizable musical themes in movie history.

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" remains a genuine masterpiece of the science fiction genre, a film that captivates audiences with its thrilling narrative, breathtaking visuals, and heartfelt storytelling. With its exploration of human curiosity, the pursuit of truth, and the possibility of life beyond our planet, the film inspires wonder. It ignites our collective imagination, solidifying its place as an iconic and significant piece of cinema.

11. Bridge of Spies (2015)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda
Genre: Drama, History, Thriller

My Take:

“Bridge of Spies” is a film that expertly blends suspense, drama, and history to bring to life the incredible true story of the Cold War. The film is a visual spectacle directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, with the director’s signature style of visual storytelling elevating the story to new heights.

“Every one Desvers defense, Every person matters.”

The film is set during the height of the Cold War and follows James B. Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer played by Tom Hanks, as he is tasked with negotiating the release of a captured U.S. pilot in exchange for a Soviet spy. The film explores themes of justice, patriotism, and the importance of the Constitution in challenging times. As the title suggests, the film revolves around the idea of a “Bridge of Spies,” the bridge is the Constitution, and the act of negotiating a prisoner exchange demonstrates its power.

The acting in “Bridge of Spies” is nothing short of flawless. Hanks delivers a strong and steady performance as the film’s lead, embodying the ideals of the Constitution and standing up for what is right, even in the face of opposition. His performance is backed up by a talented Mark Rylance as the captured Soviet spy.

One of the most impressive aspects of “Bridge of Spies” is its attention to detail. From the intricate set design to the meticulous costuming, every aspect of the film is carefully crafted to create a sense of authenticity. The film’s score, composed by Thomas Newman, also plays a significant role in setting the mood and tone of the film, adding an extra layer of tension to the already suspenseful story.

“Bridge of Spies” is not just a film about a spy exchange but a meditation on the Constitution and the values it represents. The movie conveys that the Constitution serves as a guide to navigate the unknown and is not just a mere ornamental aspect of national pride. It is a mature and thought-provoking entertainment that will leave you feeling both entertained and enlightened.

The collaboration between Spielberg, Hanks, and the Coen Brothers makes for a genuinely riveting film that will leave you on the edge of your seat. With its combination of suspense, drama, and historical significance, “Bridge of Spies” is a testament to the power of the Constitution and the importance of standing up for what is right.

12. The Fabelmans (2022)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Michelle Williams, Gabriel LaBelle, Paul Dano

My Take:

Last year many of the audience missed the decade's best musical romance, "West Side Story," to watch in theatres; I hope this movie does not get that treatment because of OTT platforms.

"The Fabelmans" is a must-watch for Steven Spielberg fans. As a massive fan of the director, I was excited to see a film that delves into the family and childhood that shaped him. And I was not disappointed. The film tells the fictionalized story of the Fabelman family, with a young Steven Spielberg stand-in as the protagonist. The film explores the complex relationships within the family and the struggles of artistic drive versus personal responsibility.

One standout aspect of the film is how it explores the mysterious nature of talent and the sacrifices one must make in pursuit of it. The film also delves into the theme of family and the complexities of being a parent and a child.

The film also includes a memorable and unique appearance of filmmaker David Lynch as the greatest film director ever, which is both funny and fitting for a movie about the art and craft of filmmaking.

"The Fabelmans" is a beautifully crafted and emotionally rich film that will resonate with Steven Spielberg fans. Steven masterfully crafted a fictional account of his own upbringing and the influences that shaped him as an artist.

13. Minority Report (2002)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
Genre: Action, Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi

My Take:

In a thought-provoking science fiction world, Minority Report presents a future where crime can be foreseen and stopped before it even happens. Tom Cruise shines as John Anderton, the head of the Pre-Crime unit, who unexpectedly becomes the target of a murder accusation against himself. The film's thrilling and intricate storyline, supported by the stellar performances of the entire cast, especially Cruise's portrayal of the embattled Anderton, keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

Set against a backdrop of a sleek and futuristic visual design, the film immerses audiences into this captivating new world. The aesthetics perfectly capture the atmosphere of a society controlled by predictive technology. As viewers navigate this thrilling futuristic thriller, they are compelled to ponder the ethical implications of utilizing such advanced technology to predict and prevent crime.

The film's visual artistry is extraordinary, with its bright, bold futuristic cityscape and intricate technological gadgets. The production design and innovative use of special effects create a mesmerizing visual feast that adds depth to the story, leaving audiences in awe of its creative brilliance..

Minority Report masterfully combines riveting action with cerebral depth, making it an exceptional futuristic thriller that entertains and challenges its audience. Beyond the breathtaking visuals and captivating storyline, the film serves as a cautionary tale, prompting reflection on the potential consequences of embracing advanced technology without considering its ethical ramifications.

14. Lincoln (2012)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn
Genre: Biography, Drama, History

My Take:

"Lincoln" is a magnificent film that showcases the talent and dedication of its cast and crew. With Steven Spielberg at the helm and Tony Kushner's script as its foundation, the film is a powerful exploration of Abraham Lincoln's presidency and the events leading up to the end of the Civil War. The attention to detail in this film is impeccable, with Spielberg spending 12 years researching it, and the recreation of Lincoln's Executive Mansion office is a testament to this.

One of the film's biggest draws is the presence of Daniel Day-Lewis, who is simply mesmerizing in his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Day-Lewis' performance is a tour de force, bringing to life the complexities and contradictions of the 16th president with his incredible range. After 10 years of development, Steven Spielberg only agreed to make the film if Day-Lewis agreed to play Lincoln, and it is clear that the decision paid off.

Kushner's screenplay is a masterclass in dialogue, capturing the essence of the time's political maneuvering and philosophical debates. The film's focus on the details of politics is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging, making it an immersive experience for the audience. It's a must-see for Day-Lewis' charismatic and nuanced performance as Lincoln and is sure to leave a lasting impact.

"Lincoln" is a grand and complex film that makes politics exciting again. With its flawless acting and visual storytelling, this film is a testament to the art of filmmaking. It is a daring and mannered true story, rich with novelistic intrigue, and provides a unique look into one of the most defining moments in American history. This film will captivate audiences with its intricate political maneuvering, inspiring performances, and unwavering commitment to accuracy.


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