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My Top Ten Steven Spielberg Movies - Rob Wainfur

Steven Spielberg Movies That Make My Top Ten

This website, The Bearded Trio started way back in 2009 and during that time I have never done my personal top 10 Steven Spielberg movies.  I thought it would be too hard to do but I recently asked on our Facebook page if you would be interested in knowing my Spielberg favourites and as a result I've been convinced to do the list.

So here it is, it's not in order* (that would be way too hard to do) and I've decided to leave out Schindler's List as the movie carries a powerful and important message and I believe it deserves to stay out of a silly top ten list like this.  It's Spielberg's most important movie but I wanted to give you my top ten movies that I keep coming back to.  You know the ones, you've had a hard day at work and just want to put on what I call a "movie comfort blanket."

*That not in order bit?  Well it's a little bit in order.  What I mean is the top five are always fighting for the number one spot, my favourite Steven Spielberg movie of all time.  It depends what day it is, what mood I'm in and a million other factors.  Enjoy the list and sorry if I've missed your favourite, as I say these are my go to Spielberg moves not necessarily what the most critically acclaimed they are.

10 - The Terminal (2004)
It's a Spielberg directed movie and has Tom Hanks in it.  I'm bound to like it.  I love movies that have a certain confinement to them.  A movie that is set in one place, meaning the story is more focused.  A beautifully shot movie on an impressive set and a wonderful John Williams soundtrack.  You can find out more about the movie here.

9 - Duel
It's a TV movie, yes but I am a huge fan of 90 minute movies (the theatrical version comes in at 89 minutes.)  In a way, like The Terminal it has the confined feel with the main focus on our main character (David Mann) in his car being pursued by a grubby and evil looking truck.  It's maybe a precursor to a certain Steven Spielberg movie set on water.  More on that later.

8 - A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Steven Spielberg has often been accused of being too sentimental with his films.  That horrible word "saccharin " has been used with this 2001 movie but you know what?  I don't care.  I think there is a place for all kinds of movies.  If you like your violent movies I fully understand (they are not my cup of tea) but there is also a place for movies that have a sweet, almost fairy tale feel and A.I. is definitely one of these.  I'm also a huge fan of "near-future" movies too and the way we see the future in this movie is extremely well done.  Still waiting for my interactive teddy though.

7 - Ready Player One
I love the book.  Ernest Cline's classic has all the ingredients that appeal to me.  Retro references from movies, music, TV and gaming.  It is one of my favourite novels and when I heard Steven Spielberg was to direct the movie adaption I knew he was perfect for the job.  I also knew not to get my expectation too high because there was no way a two hour movie was going to do the book justice.  However, the movie was a huge amount of fun and I felt it was a worthy attempt at Cline's vision.  You can read my thought on comparing books with movies here.

6 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
"I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers."  That's just one of the quotes I use frequently from this third outing from Indiana Jones.  Some of you may be surprised to see The Temple of Doom doesn't make an appearance on this list.  I was never a fan of the second movie.  It was probably my first example of a movie sequel (or prequel in this case) that didn't live up to my expectation.  The Last Crusade was (in my eyes anyway) a return to form.  Once again they were looking for a religious artefact that had some history in real life behind it and for some reason that made the movie more believable and relatable.

5 - Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg, check.  Jeff Goldblum, check.  Dinosaurs, check.  Come on!  This just had to be on the list.  Seeing those dinosaurs come to life and using CGI to do it for the first time, I was just amazed at how realistic they were. The powerful soundtrack by John Williams which has one of my favourite pieces of all his music and the absolutely incredible sound effects blew my senses away.  Dinosaurs were cool again and they have been ever since.

4 - E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
If you lived in the UK in the early eighties then you will remember that cinema releases were usually a few months behind the American grand release.  This led to pirate copies of the latest movies appearing on VHS.  Usually, a friend of the family would know someone, maybe the local barber would have an unusual side business.  Anyway, I had my first viewing of this 1982 classic on VHS and the quality was way below standard.  But, the copy was mine and I was allowed to keep it.  Needless to say that I re-watched it dozens of times and had to have everything E.T.  Stickers, LPs, figures and storybooks were all in my collection.  It's a wonderful movie, again with that sentimental feel that I love and is typical of classic Spielberg.  By the way, I've bought numerous copies of E.T. over the decades and I kind of feel that have made up for having an illegal copy back in 82.  Sorry, Universal.  Be Good!

3 - Raiders of the Lost Ark
I remember seeing the trailer for the first time at the cinema and was blown away by the action on screen.  My Mum and Dad were very religious but my Dad also enjoyed the historical background to religion (probably why I liked The Last Crusade too.) Anyway, he was really looking forward to seeing this and I was so happy that we had a connection to this movie.  It turned out the movie was everything I wanted it to be and my father enjoyed it too.  The movie is easily one of my favourites and the soundtrack too.  The Desert Chase is a classic example of how an action movie should be shot.  As I write this now I feel I want to start watching it again, a classic Steven Spielberg movie has this effect and this is most definitely a classic.  The Bearded Trio's finest example.

2 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind
I love the subject matter of Close Encounters.  I am and for as long as I've remembered been fascinated with UFOs.  Don't worry, I don't watch Ancient Aliens on the History Channel all day long but I am fascinated over the sightings over the decades.  When a movie takes the subject seriously too then I am bound to fall in love with it and CE3K is one of those examples.  This movie has one of my favourite scenes from a Spielberg movie and it's so simple.  Roy Neary's van moving across the screen as we see it from above and a shadow of a UFO slowly following.  So atmospheric.  Also, moving away from UFOs, I always remember watching CE3K as a kid and being amazed at how advanced the Americans were.  They had drive-through McDonalds, TVs in more that one room, phones with huge cables that allowed you to walk around the room and even electric windows in their cars.  They were so more advanced than we were back then, well that's what I thought at the time and I had this fantasy of living in the great country some day.  Those thoughts, memories and fantasies are always rekindled when I watch this movie window into a 70's lifestyle.  There's another certain movie that does that for me too...

1 - Jaws
It's perfect!  It's a rare example of the movie being better than the book.  It has a classic score by John Williams.  It has all those 70's memories as mentioned above.  It has that confined setting as I've mentioned above.  It has a perfect cast and perfectly acted.  Do you get the impression that I think this is a perfect movie?  I can't remember the first time I watched Jaws, I was too young to see it at the cinema but I do remember my older brother getting in a lot of trouble with my parents for sneaking out and watching it.  It wasn't exactly a movie for a religious family at the time.  Anyway, it's number one and it's there more times than not to be honest.  Thank you Steven Spielberg for so many superb movie memories.  I'll drink to yer leg.

Well, there we have it.  My top ten Steven Spielberg movies.  I have to give a few notable mentions that are just outside:
Minority Report
Catch Me If You Can
War Horse
and because I love Columbo, Murder by the Book. (This almost made the top ten.  Probably on another day it does.)

Sorry if your favourite didn't make the list, as I say these are my personal favourites and not what I think are regarded as the best.  I hope there are some of your favourites on the list but I am genuinely interested to know what yours are too.  Feel free to post below or on our social media pages.

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.


  1. What an amazing list, Rob, thanks so much for sharing!

    It's full of pleasant surprises such as Duel, The Terminal, Ready Player One and A.I. which all deserve much more attention and praise than they usually get. And I fully understand your reasons not to include Schindler's List.

    Since you asked - here is my personal list (just like yours it is highly volatile):
    - Jaws
    - Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    - Raiders of the Lost Ark
    - Schindler's List
    - Bridge of Spies
    - Catch Me If You Can
    - E.T. - The Extraterrestrial
    - Poltergeist (I know, I know!)
    - Jurassic Park
    - The Post

    On my Spielberg website, I created a commented ranking together with my co-author of the book "Steven Spielberg - Tiefenscharfe Analysen" (sadly, available in German language only). This ranking looks a little different due to our combined votes.

    Keep up the good work!
    Joerg (

    1. That is a wonderful list. Thank you for sharing. Wait! Can we include Poltergeist? DOH! I didn't for obvious reasons but if I could, it would probably be in the top ten...No, I know it would be.

  2. Great list Rob and testament if needed if just how consistent he is. I only struggle with 1941, but would with great pleasure happily watch any of his other films. I've never done a top 10 or a ranking of his films. My number 1 is pretty locked but the rest change positions regularly depending on the colour of the sky that day.


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