Steven Spielberg's Ten Best-Directed Films

We take a look at Spielberg's best critical and commercial successes.

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3. Catch Me If You Can
Tomatometer: 96%


Spielberg lightened things up a bit in 2002 with the real-life story of Frank Abagnale (Leonardo di Caprio), a career con-man who'd posed as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, and stolen millions in forged checks -- all before graduating high school. With the pic, Spielberg notched another crowd-pleasing critical and commercial success, and helped nab Oscar nominations for composer John Williams and supporting actor Christopher Walken.



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2. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Tomatometer: 98%

The film that defines movie magic flew into theaters on Spielberg's handlebars, awakening the child inside every movie lover. With a young boy named Elliott who discovers an orphaned alien in his backyard as its protagonist, E.T. was shot fittingly from a kid's point of view. The resulting identification among younger audiences, as well as adults young at heart, helped make E.T. a box office giant. A 20th Anniversary Edition, released in 2002, featured altered special effects, including the replacement of federal agents' guns with walkie talkies -- but alas, no inclusion of Harrison Ford's brief appearance as a school principal. E.T. himself -- lover of Reese's Pieces, phoner of home -- remains one of the most beloved movie characters in history.


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1. Jaws
Tomatometer: 100%


How huge a movie event was Jaws? Well, consider the fact that the idea of a "blockbuster" didn't exist until Spielberg's landmark shark attack thriller opened in 1975. The brilliant decision to turn Jaws into the first effective wide release in Hollywood history opened the financial floodgates, making it the first film to break $100 million. ("We're gonna need a bigger boat - for all this money!") John William's suspenseful score, highlighted by that infamous "duh-duh...duh-duh" cue, would earn him another Oscar. The award-winning creature feature, adapted from Peter Benchley's novel, marked Spielberg's entry into film history -- an auspicious beginning for the incredible career to come.



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