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STEVEN SPIELBERG- Top 25 Directors




Date of birth 18 December 1946
Location Cincinnati, Ohio, USA



STEPHEN SPIELBERG
Without a doubt one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, Steven Spielberg is perhaps Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and writer. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1946. He went to Long Beach University, but dropped out to pursue his entertainment career. He gained notoriety as an uncredited assistant editor on the classic western "Wagon Train" (1957). Among his early directing efforts were "Battle Squad (1961)", which combined World War II footage with footage of an airplane on the ground that he makes you believe is moving. He also directed Escape to Nowhere (1961), which featured kids as World War Two soldiers, including his sister Anne Spielberg, and The Last Gun (1959), a western. All of these were short films. The next couple of years Spielberg directed a couple of movies that would portend his future career in movies. In 1964 he directed Firelight (1964), a movie about aliens invading a small town. In 1967 he directed Slipstream (1967), which was unfinished. However, in 1968 he directed Amblin' (1968), which featured the desert prominently, and not the first Spielberg movie in which the desert would feature so prominently. Amblin' was also what he would eventually name his production company, which would turn out such classics as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Spielberg had a unique and classic early directing project, Duel (1971) (TV), with Dennis Weaver. The film is considered a classic that still baffles some. In the early 1970s Spielberg was working on TV, directing among others such series as Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" (1970), "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1969) and Columbo: Murder by the Book (1971) (TV). All of his work in television and short films, as well as his directing projects, were just a hint of the wellspring of talent that would dazzle audiences all over the world.

Spielberg's first major directorial effort was The Sugarland Express (1974), with Goldie Hawn, a film that marked him as a rising star. It was his next effort, however, that made him an international superstar among directors: Jaws (1975). This classic shark attack tale started the tradition of the summer blockbuster, or at least he was credited with starting the tradition. His next film was the classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), a unique and original UFO story that remains a classic. In 1978 Spielberg produced his first film, the forgettable I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), and followed that effort with Used Cars (1980), a critically acclaimed but mostly forgotten Kurt Russell\Jack Warden comedy about devious used-car dealers. Spielberg hit gold yet one more time with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), with Harrison Ford taking the part of Indiana Jones. Spielberg produced and directed two films in 1982. The first was Poltergeist (1982), but the highest-grossing movie of all time up to that point was the alien story E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Spielberg also helped pioneer a practice that he may or may not be particularly proud of: product placement. The concept, while not uncommon, was still relatively low-key when Spielberg raised the practice to almost an art form with his famous (or infamous) placement of Rieces Pieces in "E.T." Spielberg was also one of the pioneers of the big-grossing special-effects movies, like "E.T." and "Close Encounters," where a very strong emphasis on special effects was placed for the first time on such a huge scale. In 1984 Spielberg followed up "Raiders" with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), which was a commercial success but did not receive the critical acclaim of its predecessor. As a producer Spielberg took on many projects in the 1980s, such as the silly The Goonies (1985), and was the brains behind the little monsters in Gremlins (1984). He also produced the cartoon An American Tail (1986), a quaint little animated classic. His biggest effort as producer in 1985, however, was the blockbuster Back to the Future (1985), which made Michael J. Fox an instant superstar. As director, Spielberg took on the book The Color Purple (1985), with Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, with great success. In the latter half of the 1980s he also directed Empire of the Sun (1987), a mixed success for the occasionally erratic Spielberg. Success would not escape him for long, though.

The late 1980s found Spielberg's projects at the center of pop culture yet again. In 1988 he produced the landmark animation/live action film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). The next year proved to be another big one for Spielberg, as he produced and directed Always (1989) as well as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Back to the Future Part II (1989). All three of the films were box-office and critical successes. Also in 1989 he produced the little known comedy-drama Dad (1989), with Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson, which got mostly mixed results. Spielberg has also had an affinity for animation and has been a strong voice in animation in the 1990s. Aside from producing the landmark "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", he produced the animated series "Tiny Toon Adventures" (1990), "Animaniacs" (1993), "Pinky and the Brain" (1995), "Freakazoid!" (1995), "Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain" (1998), "Family Dog" (1993) and "Toonsylvania" (1998). Spielberg also produced other cartoons such as The Land Before Time (1988) , We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993), Casper (1995) (the live action version) as well as the live action version of The Flintstones (1994), where he was credited as "Steven Spielrock." Spielberg also produced many Roger Rabbit short cartoons, and many Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs and Tiny Toons specials. Spielberg was very active in the early 1990s, as he directed Hook (1991) and produced such films as the cute fantasy Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991). He also produced the unusual comedy thriller Arachnophobia (1990), Back to the Future Part III (1990) and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990). While these movies were big successes in their own right, they did not quite bring in the kind of box office or critical acclaim as previous efforts. In 1993 Spielberg directed Jurassic Park (1993), which would for a short time hold the record as the highest grossing movie of all time, but did not have the universal appeal of his previous efforts. Big box-office spectacles were not his only concern, though. He produced and directed Schindler's List (1993), a stirring film about the Holocaust. He won best director at the Oscars, and also got Best Picture. In the mid-'90s he helped found the production company DreamWorks, which was responsible for many box office successes in the '90s and beyond. Spielberg as a producer was very active in the late '90s, responsible for such films as The Mask of Zorro (1998), Men in Black (1997) and Deep Impact (1998). It was on the directing front that Spielberg was in top form in the late 1990s, though. He directed and produced the epic Amistad (1997), a spectacular film that was shorted at the Oscars and in release due to the fact that its release date was moved around so much in late 1997.

The next year, however, produced what many believe was one of the best films of his career: Saving Private Ryan (1998). This was an almost perfect film about World War Two that is spectacular in almost every respect. It was stiffed at the Oscars, losing best picture to Shakespeare in Love (1998). In the 1990s Spielberg produced a series of films, including Evolution (2001), The Haunting (1999) and Shrek (2001). he also produced two sequels to Jurassic Park (1993), which were financially but not particularly critical successes. In 2001 he produced a mini-series about World War Two that definitely WAS a financial and critical success: "Band of Brothers" (2001) (mini), a tale of an infantry company from its parachuting into France during the invasion to the Battle of the Bulge. Also in that year, Spielberg was back in the director's chair for Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001), a movie with a message and a huge budget. It did reasonably at the box office and garnered varied reviews from critics. As of right now Steven Spielberg is teaming up with Tom Cruise for the expected box office hit Minority Report (2002). While the movie is showing off good special effects and a stellar pairing of two titans of the screen, critics have not all been too friendly. Perhaps this is a further sign that Spielberg's days of big box-office are on the decline. As well as producing Men in Black II (2002), Spielberg's next two projects are producing and directing Catch Me If You Can (2002), with Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, and _"Indiana Jones 4". While Spielberg has proven a brilliant filmmaker in the past, his latest efforts have been mixed, but only the future will tell how he is looked upon as a presence in film. And while Spielberg has been extremely active in films there are many other things he has done as well. Spielberg produced the short-lived TV series "SeaQuest DSV" (1993), an anthology series entitled "Amazing Stories" (1985), created the video game series Medal of Honor set during World War Two, and was a starting producer of "ER" (1994). Spielberg, if you haven't noticed, has a great interest in World War Two. He and Tom Hanks collaborated on Shooting War (2000) (TV), a documentary about World War II combat photographers, and he produced a documentary about the Holocaust called A Holocaust szemei (2000). With all of this to Spielberg's credit, it's no wonder that he's looked at as one of the greatest ever figures in entertainment. Spielberg is a great filmmaker without a doubt, and it does not seem he is anywhere near done making films, and with all of the money he has he probably could do anything he wanted to. And recently Spielberg graduated from Long Beach State University with a degree in filmmaking. His possibilities are still limitless.

Quotes


" I think that the Internet is going to effect the most profound change on the entertainment industries combined. And we're all gonna be tuning into the most popular Internet show in the world, which will be coming from some place in Des Moines. We're all gonna lose our jobs. We're all gonna be on the Internet trying to find an audience."


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