Steven Spielberg has presided over some of cinema’s most memorable scenes for the past 35 years. From the iconic lines “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” and “Smile you son of a b****” to the shot of water ripples in Jurassic Park and the kids flying through the night sky in E.T. Here’s ten of the director’s finest moments. What are your favourites?
10. Gourmet snakes, monkey heads, and beetles: Dinner Time! – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – see our comic strip look at Temple of Doom
It’s surprising on reflection just how many great scenes populate Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. If indeed it is a film with lots of memorable bits that don’t quite come together as a whole, there’s enough entertainment to make the film worthy of revisiting time and time again. Here, at the Indian palace, Short Round and Willie enjoy a gourmet banquet of giant beetle, snake filled with living snakes, soup with eyeballs, and chilled monkey brain.
9. Dinosaurs revealed – Jurassic Park – See also: “Spielberg dares to parody himself in Jurassic Park”
Awe-inspiring on two levels. The dinosaurs are first revealed in Jurassic Park with eye-popping grandiose, but it was also the moment Hollywood proved it could go further than it have ever done before with special digital effects.
8. Roy Neary waves by UFO – Close Encounters of the Third Kind – See also our review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Fabulous Spielberg moment as he has total control of the audience. Roy Neary waves a car to pass him. The audience think it is a UFO. It isn’t. Moments later, a similar event occurs. It must be a car again? Oh no it isn’t. This time it is a UFO.
7. Indy gets thrown out of a truck but clings on – Raiders of the Lost Ark
One of the most memorable scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy gets thrown out of a truck only to manoeuvre under the truck and use his whip to cling on to the back of it. All the while the driver continues to throttle along at high speed.
6. Ripples in the glass of water. Boom…Boom. T-Rex attack – Jurassic Park – See also: “Spielberg dares to parody himself in Jurassic Park”
Simple but effective is an often used phrase but it couldn’t be more apt for the rippling water. Here Spielberg tells us something very large is looming. Our anticipation, thanks to the fact we’ve already seen the ‘nice’ dinosaurs, is telling us that this is something to be afraid of.
5. “Smile you son of a bitch” – Jaws – Jaws 5 coming soon…apparently!
Could Jaws have ended any better? To conclude a great film with such a wonderful line of dialogue is the icing on the tastiest cake ever made.
4. Normandy landings on D-Day at Omaha Beach – Saving Private Ryan – See also Classic Scenes #2
Aesthetically one of the best World War II sequences ever filmed. Brutal, realistic, groundbreaking.
3. Mine rail car escape – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – see our comic strip look at Temple of Doom
You could say the blockbuster is a rollercoaster ride of emotion depicted on film. Here, Spielberg literally takes the audience on the rollercoaster.
2. Children escape authorities through flight – E.T.: The Extraterrestrial
Evading the authorities who want to experiment on their peaceful alien friend, the kids take flight. At that moment there is a butterfly in my stomach that suddenly awakens and takes flight with them. It is an indescribable feeling but one I cherish each and every time I see the film.
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1. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” – Jaws – Jaws 5 coming soon…apparently!
The scene when Jaws is finally revealed is also the moment one of the most iconic movie lines of all time is uttered. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Chief Brody says to Quint. The line has become part of popular culture and is the go-to phrase whenever a person is faced with an insurmountable proposition.
What’s your favourite moment in a Steven Spielberg film?