He created the cinemas first true summer blockbuster. He inspired the birth of the PG13 rating. His films have inspired theme park rides and charities. He has raised and renewed interest into some of the most defining and horrific events in our history, not the least of which was the holocaust, and he gave us an intensely realistic glimpse into the horrors of war. He has won two Best Director Oscars and has built his worth to be over one billion dollars. I can honestly say that Steven Spielberg will go down in history as the filmmaker who made the greatest impact on world culture.
He has managed to create a powerful career based off of that simple principle. Jaws made us react with fear. ET made us react with tears. Schindler’s List made us react with both and everything from Raiders of the Lost Ark to Saving Private Ryan took care of every emotion in between. Motion Pictures are revered as the art form that can offer more emotion than any other medium. They are there to teach us and to transport us from our every day lives into a world of majesty and imagination. With that said, is there any doubt as to which director has taken us into these worlds the most?
I have read that as a young boy, the first movie that Steven Spielberg saw was Cecil B. DeMille’s award winning The Greatest Show on Earth. DeMille had made a picture that was large, lavish, star studded and entertaining. There can be no doubt in any one persons mind that this film had a tremendous and long-lasting impact on the way in which Steven Spielberg would make his movies.
Now, to really understand how amazing this filmmaker is you should bundle together all of his movies and look at them not as separates, but as one big body of work. Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., The Color Purple, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report and Munich are all films that have won either critical praise or box office gold and in most cases they have managed to win both. Five of these films are currently listed among AFI’s 100 Greatest American Movies list. Neither Martin Scorsese nor any other contemporary filmmaker has been able to manage such an accomplishment.
Five of Steven Spielberg’s films are currently listed among AFI’s 100 Greatest American Movies list. Neither Martin Scorsese nor any other contemporary filmmaker has been able to manage such an accomplishment.
But it’s not enough to just understand what the man has accomplished with his movies you must also understand what he has accomplished through his movies. In 1975 he scared everyone out of the water. In 1981 he managed to encourage a new generation to take interest in archaeology. The next year he made us all fall in love with a tiny stranger from another world. His landmark year came in 1993, when he managed to bring dinosaurs back to life and to leave one of the highest marks in film history with his epic masterpiece about the tragedy that was the holocaust. In 1998, he touched the hearts and memories of war veterans everywhere with the affecting and shockingly realistic war film, Saving Private Ryan.
The success of all of these movies has provided Spielberg with many opportunities and a certain influence that most world leaders could never obtain. Steven Spielberg, along with three other powerful media moguls, created Dreamworks Pictures which has become one of the new leading Hollywood studios. It has given us dozens of multi-million dollar blockbusters including all three instalments of the Shrek franchise and Transformers. It has also released such important pictures as American Beauty, Almost Famous, Gladiator and Letters from Iwo Jima.
Steven Spielberg’s very own studio Dreamworks Pictures. This is the beginning of the Dreamworks’ title card which begins its movies. The studio has developed many films that have grossed over $100 million including Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, and Meet The Parents
Steven Spielberg has also contributed to filmmaking on the technical side of things. Along with good friend George Lucas, he helped to usher in the use of computer animation or CGI to take special-effects to a whole new level. Films such as Toy Story, Shrek or Finding Nemo would not be possible today without the innovation employed on films like Jurassic Park which made genetically engineered dinosaurs seam alive and possible.
John Ford inspired an entire generation of genius filmmakers from Martin Scorsese to Francis Ford Copolla to George Lucas. It has been said of Stanley Kubrik that he could film a picture better than any other director. Alfred Hitchcock is remembered as the master of suspense. I believe that Steven Spielberg will go down in history as the filmmaker who made the impossible possible and who set the high standard for 20th Century entertainment.
Written by Dan Rooney. Dan is an aspiring filmmaker who has written extensively on film including this excellent article about Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Daniel Plainview in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood.
Steven Spielberg Week
Introducing Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg’s Influence on Filmmaking
Steven Spielberg’s Filmography on IMDB
Spielberg’s Wikipedia page
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