Steven Spielberg's Ten Best-Directed Films

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

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Steven Spielberg is a living legend, and here's why: The man gave birth to the modern blockbuster (with his seminal Jaws), co-founded two studios (DreamWorks SKG and Amblin Entertainment), earned Oscar-nominations twelve times, and gave the world E.T. It's no wonder he was Dawson Leery's favorite director of all time.

With a nod to his impressive producing efforts in film (like The Goonies, Back to the Future, Flags of Our Fathers, Transformers, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and television (Tiny Toons Adventures, seaQuest DSV, Band of Brothers), we take a look at the ten best-reviewed films directed by Steven Spielberg, arguably the most influential filmmaker alive today.

Read on for our Tomatometer countdown of Steven Spielberg's ten best-reviewed films of all time (outside the Indiana Jones series). Check in with our Indiana Jonesin' series for retrospectives on Harrison Ford and George Lucas.

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10. The Color Purple
Tomatometer: 84%

In 1985, after striking earlier success with thrillers (Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) and family-oriented adventures (Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial), Spielberg made his first foray into the field of drama. The result -- an adaptation of Alice Walker's novel about poor African-American women in the South -- garnered eleven Academy Award nominations, including nods for lead Whoopi Goldberg, first-time actress Oprah Winfrey, and Margaret Avery. Notoriously, however, the pic came away with no wins; snubbed, perhaps, along with its not-nominated director?


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9. Jurassic Park
Tomatometer: 86%

Spielberg's trademark sense of wonder came thrillingly to life in the box office blockbuster Jurassic Park. He called the best in the business to work on the project: writer Michael Crichton to adapt his own novel, John Williams to provide a signature sweeping score, and Phil Tippett and Stan Winston to create some of the most memorable visuals of modern cinema. Jurassic Park became the highest-grossing film of its time, earning more than $914 million worldwide and spawning two sequels. More importantly, it taught us that playing God can be dangerous -- because Velociraptors can open doors.


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8. The Sugarland Express
Tomatometer: 92%

Spielberg's first theatrically released feature rode the popular genre of on-the-lam pics of the 1970s, but it bears the marks of his later cinematic signatures just the same. Cleverly-plotted visuals and a particularly humanizing turn by Goldie Hawn help distance this "based on a true story" crime drama from less successful road flicks. The film, in which a young couple holds a cop hostage while leading a low-speed caravan of police cars to retrieve their child (the titular "Sugarland Express"), was also scored by future Spielberg collaborator John Williams.