I have been a huge fan of Steven Spielberg for many many years and it is always exciting when one of his movies is on the horizon. This week, he is back in the director's chair with The BFG.
The BFG is a new live-action adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic and will see the filmmaker reunite with actor Mark Rylance, who recently won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in Bridge of Spies.
To celebrate the release of The BFG and the return of Spielberg, who is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, we take a look at some of his unmissable movie... do you have a favourite?
- Jaws (1975)
When talking about Spielberg movies, Jaws is the best place to start. It was back in 1975 when the movie thrilled audiences for the first time... forty years one, the movie is still a terrifically tense and terrifying watch.
Jaws was the third big screen feature of Spielberg's directing career and was the movie that really did help put him on the map as a filmmaker.
I love the fast pace of this movie, Spielberg keeps the story, the action, and the terror zipping along - never giving the audience a moment to breath or relax. This only heightens the anxiety and keeps you well and truly on the edge of your seat. In that respect, Spielberg has delivered one of the most perfectly planned and constructed horror movies of all time.
Jaws went on to be a critical and commercial smash and became the highest grossing movie of all time - that is until Star Wars came along. It also played a pivotal role when it came to establishing the blockbuster movie making business in Hollywood; the release of Jaws really was a pivotal moment.
Forty years on, Jaws remains one of Spielberg's greatest movies as well as one of the finest horror movies to have ever hit the big screen. The sequels that followed never did live up to the original, but Jaws truly is a bonafide classic.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Spielberg has brought many iconic characters to the big screen over the years... but none more so than Indiana Jones.
The fedora-wearing, bull-whip carrying archaeologist was played by Harrison Ford and was introduced to audiences for the first time back in 1981 - and was to be the first in a series of hugely successful films.
It was another enormous role for Ford as he reunited with George Lucas - who was behind the story.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a fantastic mix of great action, exciting set pieces, humour, as well as interesting characters and relationships. It is still a rollicking adventure over thirty years later.
I have always loved Ford in this role and unassuming teacher who turns into this iconic hero. There's a swashbuckling swagger to Ford as Indy and, for me, it will be the role that he is forever known for.
Raiders of the Lost Ark was both a critical and commercial success and went on to be nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture.
The Temple of Doom, Last Crusade, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have followed over the years and Indiana Jones went on to be a hugely successful and much-loved franchise. A fifth film is in the pipeline.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Of all of Spielberg's great movies, E.T. remains my favourite and is a film that I have grown up with. It is a movie that I have watched again and again over the years and it never fails to have me reaching for the tissues.
E.T. was to be Spielberg's first foray into children's movies as he teamed up with Melissa Mathison, who penned the wonderful screenplay. E.T. may have been a departure for Spielberg but, for me, this movie is his greatest moment as a director. This is a movie that has well and truly stood the test of time and remains a powerful watch, no matter how old you are.
Of course, E.T. is a wonderful sci-fi movie and there is plenty to keep fans of this genre happy, but more than that, E.T. is a terrific portrait of childhood. Spielberg captures the wonder, innocence, and acceptance of childhood. Elliot, Michael, and Gertie all accept E.T. for who he is and are not bothered by the differences between them.
E.T. becomes a movie that is not so much about an alien, but more about acceptance, tolerance, and friendship. It is these themes that have made this such an enduring movie, as they are relevant and relatable today as they were when the film was first released.
E.T. is a movie that has continued to thrill generation after generation of movie-lovers and it is hard to believe that this is a movie is over thirty years old. It is a film that is packed with heart and charm and that has not diminished over the years.
Upon release, E.T. become the highest-grossing film of all time - surpassing the total posted by Star Wars. It would hold this title for over a decade... until Jurassic Park came along in the early nineties.
- Jurassic Park (1993)
Speaking of which, it was 1993 when Spielberg brought Michael Crichton's novel of the same name to the big screen in spectacular style.
Jurassic Park was one of the standout films of the nineties and, for me, remains one of the best blockbusters of all time. It may have been over twenty years since the film was first released, but it is one of those rare films that has not dated and looks just as fantastic today as it did back in 1993.
Jurassic Park was a movie that thrilled a generation as the mix of special effects and life-sized animatronics brought some of the most iconic dinosaurs to life like never before.
Jurassic Park is a masterclass in blockbuster filmmaking as Spielberg has you on the edge of your seat right from the very start. He has crafted a movie that not only looks fantastic but is also driven by the characters and their relationships. Spielberg is such a wonderful blockbuster filmmaker and Jurassic Park is up there as another great achievement.
Upon release, the movie went on to gross $900 million at the global box office - becoming the highest grossing film of all time; until Titanic came along a few years later.
While we have returned to the world of Jurassic Park over the years, the movies have never quite managed to recapture the adventurous spirit of the original.
- Schindler's List (1994)
Spielberg is a director who doesn't just deliver great blockbusters movies, he has also brought us some wonderful drama projects over the years. One of his most personal films came in 1993 - released in 1994 in the UK - with the very powerful and poignant Schindler's List.
The movie was based on the book Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally and the real life of Oscar Schindler, a businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
Firstly, Schindler's List is a beautiful looking movie - shot in black and white and in a documentary kind of style. It is an extraordinary piece of work from Spielberg who captures the horrors of the Holocaust whilst exploring a very human story.
The whole tone of the film oozes brutality and cruelty which, at times, is difficult to watch and is devastatingly emotional.
Schindler's List, which was a critical and commercial hit, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Neeson, went on to win Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg.
Schindler's List is one of those movies that stays with you long after the credits have rolled and it is one of the most powerful Holocaust movies in recent years. It is a movie that everyone should see.
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Spielberg returned to the war genre in 1998 with his sweeping epic Saving Private Ryan, which remains one of the best World War II movies in recent years.
Despite being a story of fiction it was inspired by a monument that was dedicated to eight brothers who died during the American Civil War and writer Robert Rodat moved that sibling scenario into the Second World War.
Saving Private Ryan is remembered for its harrowing opening scenes with twenty-seven intense minutes set on Omaha Beach as American troops landed in France. These are widely regarded as some of the most powerful war images ever committed to film.
This is an unflinching and realistic movie about war that doesn't glorify or lie about combat and the horrors that were faced by the men who fought.
From start to finish, Saving Private Ryan is a powerful movie that is driven forward by another terrific central performance by Tom Hanks. He took on the role of Captain John H. Miller, who leads a group of men to find James Ryan, a man who wants to serve his country and return to his wife.
This is a movie about ordinary men doing extraordinary things and Saving Private Ryan asks audiences to remember those who sacrificed everything.
It was another huge critical and commercial hit for Spielberg when it was released in 1998. The film was nominated for eleven Oscar, including Best Picture, and won five, including Best Director.
Other Spielberg movies that you cannot afford to miss, include Munich, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Catch Me If You Can, and Lincoln.
The BFG is released 22nd July.
Tagged in Steven Spielberg