Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top 10 Essential Steven Spielberg Movies

Today marks Steven Spielberg's birthday.  Spielberg is arguably the most successful director in Hollywood today.  His films are timeless and part of the American movie experience.  His new film The Adventures of Tintin opens in theatre this Christmas.  Today we countdown the Top 10 Essential Christmas films...

10 - Jurassic Park (1993)

One of the biggest blockbusters of all time, Jurassic Park broke new ground in spectacular visual effects that still hold up today.

9 - Minority Report (2002)

A darker-edged science fiction movie about a police unit that predicts crime before it happens and promptly puts a stop to it.  Of course, the entire system fails...

8 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The third installment in the Indiana Jones series, and the second best of the franchise (more on #1 later.)  Impressively, Spielberg has directed every Indiana Jones picture.  This film ramps up the fun by adding Sean Connery to the cast as Indy's grumpy father.

7 - Catch Me if You Can (2002)

Leonard Dicaprio was known more for his dramatic roles, and this film really allows him to demonstrate some more comedic skills.  While not a comedic role per se, it's certainly a lot lighter and less serious as other films like Gangs of New York and Titanic.  Tom Hanks also works well as the FBI agent trying to track the notorious con artist Frank Abingale (DiCaprio).

6 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

One of the greatest science fiction films ever made.  Close Encounters is unique that it focuses more on the families affected by the alien encounters affecting their small town.  Notably it was released the same year  as another famous science fiction film... Star Wars.

5 - Schindler's List (1993)

One of the most powerfully emotional movies of all time.  Schindler's List won an impressive 7 Oscars including Best Picture.  Liam Neeson's performance as Nazi war-profiteer-turned-Jewish-liberator is one of the greatest performances of all time.  Schindler's List was released the same year as Jurassic Park, demonstrating Spielberg's ability to make a wide variety of cinema, from dramatic character studies to tremendous blockbusters.

4 - E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

One of the most enduring family films of all time. E.T. remains a favorite in the hearts of everyone who has ever seen it.  More than just an overly-sentimental children's film, as some have criticized, it brings compassion, warmth and heart not found in many modern films.  This blog also challenges you to NOT cry at the end of this film.

3 - Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The best movie about war ever filmed... with one of the most spectacular battle scenes in cinema history.  Spielberg is very careful to NOT glorify war as many other films in this genre so often do. Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Tom Sizemore bring their A-Game to the acting table.  Hanks' Capt. John Miller is clearly one of film's great leaders.

2 - Jaws (1975)

Widely considered the first blockbuster ever made, Jaws delivers in every conceivable way.  It's horrifying, exciting, action-packed... and it is stuffed with character development.  It doesn't hurt that this was one of the biggest movies of all time and still delivers on-screen over 30 years later.

1 - Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

No list of the best Spielberg movies would be complete without including one of the greatest adventure stories ever told starring the greatest blockbuster actor of all time, Harrison Ford, in the role of the greatest action hero of all time.  Raiders of the Lost Ark is just so much damn fun, it's literally impossible to watch that movie without a smile.