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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

10 Times Steven Spielberg Was The Best Director Alive

He's the man that changed cinema for the better. Steven Spielberg has received numerous accolades and awards for his work. Steven Spielberg is rightly regarded as one of the best to ever step behind the camera. Since the 1970s, he has been adding his legendary pictures into the catalogs of many different genres. With each masterpiece, he managed to cast aside any doubts that critics had toward his abilities as a movie man.

10Spielberg Crafted One Of Cinema's Most Breathtaking Scenes With Saving Private Ryan

Few movies in film history have ever opened with such levels of intensity as Saving Private Ryan. Saving Private Ryan's second scene, which sees soldiers storm the beach as part of the Normandy invasion, is hair-raising, horrifying, and heartbreaking all at once. Thanks to Spielberg's exceptional filmmaking skill, this scene is an extreme assault on the senses, and one that captures the terror of warfare.

Desaturated colors and handheld cameras became a staple of the war film genre because of Spielberg. Plenty of imitators came after Saving Private Ryan, but there has never been a better movie about WWII.

9Spielberg Matured As A Filmmaker With His Heartbreaking Drama The Color Purple

Spielberg's early successes in cinema displayed his incredible range as a director. The terrors of Jaws, the mesmerizing Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and the heartwarming magic of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial showcased the versatility of the American filmmaker. To really mature as a movie man, Spielberg had to tackle something far more meaningful.

985's The Color Purple saw Steven Spielberg transform into a director capable of tackling the most heartwrenching human tragedies. This Whoopi Goldberg starring masterpiece takes on all forms of difficult subjects. It wouldn't be the last time Spielberg would bring such heartbreak to the big screen.

8He Took On The Holocaust With Schindler's List

Few expected the American director to follow The Color Purple with a Holocaust movie a few years later. Spielberg was initially hesitant to adapt the story of Oskar Schindler. He was insecure as to whether he was really "ready" to make such a movie.

Cinema's most commercially successful director faced the challenge head-on and created the definitive movie about the Holocaust. Schindler's List won seven Academy Awards and the American Film Institute even listed the picture as the 8th greatest American movie of all time.

7Spielberg Brought One Of Cinema's Greatest Heroes To Life In Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Harrison Ford is no stranger to iconic movie characters. Han Solo is one of the most popular figures in one of cinema's most popular franchises. Yet to many fans, Steven Spielberg's Raiders Of The Lost Ark gave audiences one better. Raiders Of The Lost Ark spawned a wildly successful series and launched Indiana Jones into a pop-culture phenomenon.

George Lucas certainly played his part in creating both of Harrison's heroic characters, and a huge helping of credit must go to Ford himself. Without Spielberg's expert ability to make sensational action-adventure movies, Indiana Jones would not have become one of cinema greatest personas.

6With The Opening Scene In Jaws, He Instilled A Generation With An Irrational Fear Of The Ocean

In 1975, Steven Spielberg managed to scare an entire generation of the ocean with a single scene. Jaws not only terrified audiences, but it also changed the motion picture as it was known. Spielberg's shark sensation essentially created the summer blockbuster.

Jaws' opening scene featured a young swimmer being taken under by a gigantic (though unseen) great white shark. Jaws was an instantly unforgettable slice of movie magic. Today, Jaws is a pop-culture powerhouse, and its iconic opening scene is largely the reason why.

5Spielberg Stunned Audiences With Roy's First Encounter In Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

Richard Dreyfuss' Roy first encounters extra-terrestrial life in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. This scene remains one of the best examples of the director's ability to stun an audience with a single cinematic sequence.

Gorgeous visuals, a goosebump-inducing use of sound, and a heart-pounding pace make this scene one of the most memorable of Spielberg's career. Audiences in 1977 had never seen anything quite like this. Despite The Third Kind's influence on modern science fiction, there's an argument that fans haven't seen anything like it since.

4He's Been Collecting Golden Statues For Most Of His Career

At the time of writing, Steven Spielberg's movies have amassed an insane total of 32 Academy Awards. This includes 2 Best Director awards and a single Best Picture despite earning 10 nominations for the latter. No modern filmmaker has the Jaws director beat in this sense. The sheer amount of recognition he has received is a testament to his skill and staying power in Hollywood.

Spielberg has also earned multiple Lifetime Achievement awards from various bodies. He was even given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

3He Ensured That E.T.'S Flying Bikes Captured The Imagination Of Millions

His filmography is incredibly diverse in terms of movie genres. Steven Spielberg has a well-deserved reputation in Hollywood as a filmmaker with a tremendous knack for warming the heart. Many fantastical adventures have played their part in cementing this reputation.

A single scene in E.T. offers all the evidence needed to prove Spielberg's talent. The flying bikes are iconic in Spielberg's catalog. Witnessing Elliott and his little alien buddy taking off for the first time in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a truly breathtaking and unforgettable experience.

2He Directed An Exceptional Performance From Daniel Day-Lewis In Lincoln

Lincoln is yet another fantastic movie from Steven Spielberg. Lincoln features Spielberg's finest achievement when it comes to directing an actor. Daniel Day-Lewis won a Best Actor Academy Award, which may not seem a rare accomplishment as he has a record three of the statues. But, Spielberg still deserves his share of the credit for directing one of the greatest acting showings ever put to film.

The resulting combination of the talents of two all-time greats in Spielberg and Day-Lewis does not disappoint. Sensational may seem an overstatement, but Lincoln absolutely lives up to the hype.

1Steven Spielberg Created The Ultimate Big Screen Blockbuster, Jurassic Park

When it comes to Spielberg's greatest cinematic achievement, there are almost too many movies and moments to choose from. In terms of a single big-budget picture, 1993's Jurassic Park may just be the highlight of the filmmaker's incomparable career.

If Jaws birthed the blockbuster, Jurassic Park was the evolution of it. Iconic and influential, Spielberg's dinosaur delight is simply must-see cinema. Jurassic Park broke new ground and old records, created an unshakable franchise, and ensured Spielberg's place among the greatest film directors to ever live.

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