Director Steven Spielberg‘s career has evolved over more than four decades, from “Duel” in 1971 to “Lincoln,”his most recent acclaimed effort, in 2012. Along the way he won three Oscars and was responsible for such major cultural, critical and commercial turning points as “Jaws” (1975), “E.T.” (1982), the “Indiana Jones” franchise, “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). But when was Steven Spielberg at his best?
We asked our forum posters, many of whom are Hollywood insiders, what they think is the prolific filmmaker’s best decade. Read some of their comments below, then join the discussion here and vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.
ETPhoneHome: My favorite is by far his ’80s work (and I’m obviously quite partial to one film in particular), but he’s had success in every era, and he’s definitely going to go down as one of the greatest directors ever.
Halo_Insider: The 1980s definitely feel like the right time for him. “Jaws” might have put him on the map, but it feels like the decade of “Indiana Jones” and “E.T.” was the one where he shined brightest as the world’s major populist director. I would say that there is a lot to admire about his work in the other decades, but the 1980s don’t quite have things like “1941,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” or “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” weighing them down.
Icky: Barring this current era, he’s had some triumphs and clunkers every decade except the ’80s, where everything ranged from decent/passable to really good. So, I’ll go with the ’80s. I’m surprising myself by putting the ’00s over the ’90s. “Saving Private Ryan” is a bit (here comes the dreaded word) overrated. And I admire “Schindler’s List” more than I believe it’s truly great.
ATadPolish: This decade isn’t looking as good as his others, my favorites are “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” so I would say the ’90s was his best decade.
John: Jury is still out half-way through the 2010 decade. I enjoyed “Tintin” more than “War Horse,” which was a spectacular production and a heart-warming story but it stretched credulity too much with the extent the horse was anthropomorphized in order to make the plot work. “Lincoln” was very strong and tells the basics of an important historical story, but it’s a dramatic bio that, like most, suffers from some inaccuracies and over-simplifications.
When did Steven Spielberg do his best work? Or are his best years ahead of him? Vote below, then jump into our forums thread now where film fans are passionately discussing this topic.
Photo: Steven Spielberg with his two Oscars for “Schindler’s List.” Credit: Everett/REX