Steven Spielberg is one of my all-time favorite film directors, and he’s had a major impact on me as a lover of cinema. He’s made so many different genres and narratives, yet none of them ever feel stale or wrote. He’s the kind of director that shows his feelings through his filmmaking and you get a real sense of who he is as a person and as a storyteller. It’s really tough narrowing down my five favorites of his, but here they are ranked. Instead of writing about each film as a whole, I have instead shared what my favorite scene is for each film. I think it helps to give insight to who I am as a film watcher and a film lover. Especially that of the great Steven Spielberg. The Man, the Myth, the Legend.
1. Jaws (June 20, 1975)
Jaws is not only my favorite Steven Spielberg film, it’s also become my overall favorite film. I love every moment in this, but my favorite is the climax when the shark starts attacking the boat and poor Quint gets eaten alive. For the entirety of the film, you only hear ominous music and see a fin waving back and forth, and then you see the people being attacked screaming from above the water. Then half-way though you see a glimpse of him swimming next to the boat, and get a view of just how big he is. But when he comes out of the water and fully attacks, it’s an explosion of emotion and excitement. Also, seeing him blow up is a delight since he was such a terror.
2. Saving Private Ryan (July 24, 1998)
Of the many films about World War II, I think this one is still the best and my favorite. It is so good in fact, that it’s hard to narrow down to a favorite scene, but one I really like is when Private Ryan has already been told about his brothers and he and Captain Miller are sitting on a stoop and Ryan is telling a funny story about them and he’s both laughing and trying to hold back tears. It’s a great scene because it shows how important every soldier is and what really matters. These solider are just trying to survive and get back to their loved ones, and it was their mission to help one soldier in particular get back to what is left of his. Heartbreaking and warm.
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (June 11, 1982)
E.T. is one of the most sentimental films ever made, and it wears its heart on its sleeve. But since I’m not that into sentimentality, my favorite scene is when Elliott bring E.T. into the house and he starts showing him around. Then Gertie comes in and sees him and screams and then E.T. screams, and it’s all a hoot. I think I like this scene the best because it’s so normal compared to the rest of the drama that takes place later in the film. Plus, it’s great because Elliott is a kid and you can see how excited he is that he’s actually giving a space alien a tour of his home. Not your everyday moment.
4. Jurassic Park (June 11, 1993)
I love Jurassic Park because Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs to life and we got to see what it would be like if humans and dinosaurs interacted. Of course, most of it is devastating and horrifying. The scariest scene by far is when they’re stopped in front of the T-Rex area on the tour and the power is out and it’s raining. When the T-Rex finally shows and roars, it’s magical. No matter how many times I see this film and especially this scene, it gets my heart racing. The best single moment is when the lawyer gets eaten. It’s so ironic since he’s the one that was legitimately hiding.
5. Catch Me If You Can (December 25, 2002)
There are some really great moments in Catch Me If You Can, but I think the one I always come back to as my favorite is when Frank is in the hotel room with Cheryl Ann, and he’s negotiating the price he’ll pay for them to have sex. It’s a great back-and-forth cat & mouse, and ultimately Frank gets the best deal because he negotiated a deal to pay her with a fake check. She doesn’t know it yet, and will soon find out she was taken by one of the best con artists to ever live. The playfulness of this scene just epitomizes the film as a whole, and shows how clever both Frank could be and the screenwriter, Jeff Nathanson.