A man-eating shark. A friendly alien. An adventurous archeologist. A ragtag WWII platoon. A heroic German businessman in the Holocaust. The eclectic career of director Steven Spielberg, who celebrates his 72nd birthday on December 18, 2018, has virtually defined what a blockbuster could be in the past four decades, but he’s also been able to craft more personal films as well. In honor of his birthday, we are ranking Spielberg’s entire filmography from worst to best in a new photo gallery above of his 31 theatrical features (therefore, not including the TV movie “Duel”).
Spielberg’s reputation as a master entertainer came with the release of “Jaws,” his 1975 shark attack thriller. Made when he was just 29 years old, the film set box office records and made the summer safe for blockbusters again. Such following films as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) and all the Indiana Jones movies, and “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) cemented Spielberg’s ability to create spectacular amusements that brought in the big bucks.
He later moved into serious filmmaking with “The Color Purple” (1985), which paved the way for his 1993 Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List” (1993). That film swept the Academy Awards, bringing Spielberg Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. He added another trophy to his shelf for helming the World War II epic “Saving Private Ryan” (1998).
Additionally, Spielberg competed at the Oscars for directing “Close Encounters,” “Raiders,” “E.T.,” “Munich” (2005), and “Lincoln” (2012), while “Jaws,” “Raiders,” “E.T.,” “The Color Purple,” “Private Ryan,” “Munich,” War Horse” (2011), “Lincoln,” “Bridge of Spies” (2015), and “The Post” (2017) all contended for Best Picture.
Tour our gallery of all 31 Spielberg feature films, and see if your favorite topped the list.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.