A lot can be said about Mr. Spielberg. He hunted triceratops (impossibly), butchered Stanley Kubrick’s last movie (A.I: Artificial Intelligence), plus co-raised a porn star. Beneath the headlines, this filmmaker has been making iconic movies since the 70s.
These are the best Steven Spielberg movies and where you can stream them:
10. Ready Player One, 2018 (Rent or Buy on Amazon)
Munich, Amistad, and Empire of the Sun all could have been on this list of iconic Steven Spielberg movies, instead, we picked Ready Player One.
As the saying goes “think of the kids,” and we did. This movie opened up younger minds to the legendary director and hopefully inspired a new generation of filmmakers.
9. Catch Me If You Can, 2002 (Paramount Plus)
Catch Me If You Can was the first movie that made me realize Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t some schmuck getting by in Hollywood on good looks alone. His performance and the true story of conman Frank Abagnale put across a captivating message that shocked a lot of people. It proved to the world, not only stupid people get duped.
8. The Color Purple, 1985 (Netflix and HBO Max)
The Color Purple is still revelatory and brutal. The performances from Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Danny Glover should have gotten Academy Awards. What makes this movie stand out is that it has a story that lives long in memory, unlike some modern movies that deal with racism and sexism.
7. Schindler’s List, 1993 (STARZ)
12 Academy Awards don’t lie. Schindler’s List is a movie of substance. Along with The Color Purple, it should be in the top 3 but isn’t. People are impacted by these movies and so they get filed away as real-life horror stories. Iconic but left to one side, away from popular culture because it’s just too harrowing.
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6. Jurassic Park, 1993 (HBO Max and Peacock Premium)
Jurassic Park made dinosaurs come back to life and pushed movie-makers to think bigger with visual effects. It inspired two terrible sequels and a Jurassic World spin-off that’s pure Hollywood popcorn. One thing is undeniable, Jurassic Park is a bonafide iconic movie, from quotable Jeff Goldblum lines to man-on-toilet being eaten by a T-Rex memes.
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5. Saving Private Ryan, 1998 (Paramount Plus)
From horrifying D-Day landing to a newly formed brotherhood. Saving Private Ryan is a movie that inspired new frame skipping techniques, spin-offs like Band of Brothers, and popularized words like fubar. Somehow it never got filed away as horrible human history but it still only ranks at #5 on this Steven Spielberg iconic movies list.
4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977 (Buy or Rent on Amazon Prime)
All I’m going to say is mashed potato, big headed-aliens, and a light show that will be remembered forever. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 movie that changed everything for science fiction fans. Don’t believe me, check out the trailer below.
3. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982 (Peacock Premium)
To this day I don’t get the enthusiasm for E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial. Yet it’s a big deal to a lot of people who grew up in the 80s, like my wife. To me, E.T looks like an unofficial toy ordered from Wish. Broken and doesn’t match the description. However, E.T still sits in geeky shops and stars in commercials some 38 years later. Amazing.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981 (Paramount Plus)
Everyone in the world knows and loves Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark is where it all started and despite the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sucking, there isn’t a more iconic character in movie history. Unless you count animals and cartoons.
1. Jaws, 1975 (Fubo TV)
Think shark, think Jaws. This movie changed how people see water, swimming, sharks, and everything related to a beach getaway. My 15-year-old daughter has a friend who has a Jaws-inspired Amity Island t-shirt. This movie came out in 1975 and kids are still wearing merch for it?
Undeniably the movie’s theme song, poster, and shark hunting scenes are why it remains iconic. Those things and the fact it’s still the best shark movie available.
Steven Spielberg has been involved in many more iconic movies, as an executive producer or writer. Our top 10 focuses on the movies he directed. Check out his filmography here to see everything the legend has been involved in.