I took a little hiatus from my Top 10 lists and I think this two-part series will exclaim that I’ve returned with guns a blazing. Show me anyone who hasn’t seen and liked at least one of these twenty Steven Spielberg classics and I would be shocked.
Whether for himself or his films the accolades are never-ending from Academy Award winners and nominations to obliterating box office records previously set. By his own films! For me personally it started off in the summer of 1975 with one helluv a fishing story. He never looked back and is still running with his latest being a smash hit paying homage to the 16th President of the United States.
Thank you to Google Images, You Tube, Wikipedia and IMDB for the assistance in putting this list together. Enjoy this Part I series and we’ll wrap up Part II hopefully next week! The angle I took is that these are my favorites.
Go now. Shoo! Start scrolling down to get to the good stuff for those of you that haven’t already cheated and check out my trademark trivia questions!
20 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Question – The final fight scene was filmed in Sri Lanka with the rope bridge actually suspended a couple of hundred feet across a gorge. Harrison Ford had no fear of heights and ran across it but who wouldn’t go near it?
I consider the Indiana Jones franchise to be a trilogy +1 and of the first three this still is good but my least favorite of them. I felt it was a little too dark seeing it on opening night and Mr Lucas came out later and even agreed with that assessment. Apparently he was going through a divorce when he came up with the idea for the film. It’s ok, George. Regardless, Indiana Jones always rocks!
Harrison Ford – Indiana Jones
Kate Capshaw – Wilhelmina “Willie” Scott
Jonathan Ke Quan – Short Round
Amrish Puri – Mola Ram
19 Amistad (1997)
Question – The crew was astounded when Anthony Hopkins delivered the entire seven page courtroom speech in a single take. Spielberg was so in awe of the actor what did he do?
Are you kidding me? When I saw the lineup for this movie in the trailer I said no way! It doesn’t get any more elite in finding this best of the best actors. As with all stories and movies on slavery I cringed about our world’s dark past and was rooting with all of my might for the men to prevail. Which thank goodness they finally did.
Answer – He refused to call him Tony and addressed him as Sir Anthony for the entire shoot.
Morgan Freeman – Theodore Joadson
Nigel Hawthorne – Martin Van Buren
Anthony Hopkins – John Quincy Adams
Djimon Hounsou – Sengbe Pieh / Joseph Cinqué
Matthew McConaughey – Roger Sherman Baldwin
18 The Lost World (1997)
Question – This film contained some 50% more dinosaur action than the original. In the San Diego scene where the T-Rex is terrorizing the city what are the fleeing Japanese tourist saying?
Jeff Goldblum – Dr. Ian Malcolm
Julianne Moore – Dr. Sarah Harding
Vince Vaughn – Nick Van Owen
Pete Postlethwaite – Roland Tembo
Richard Attenborough – John Hammond
17 Minority Report (2002)
Question – Spielberg wanted to use CG to create the air bubbles rising in the bathtub when Anderson holds his breath. What happened instead ?
Oh wow, to be able to live a world free of murder only 40 years from now! It becomes an amazing futuristic mystery drama that kept me wondering where the answers were for Anderton.
Answer – Tom Cruise took the time and learned how to do it himself.
Tom Cruise – Captain John Anderton
Max von Sydow – Director Lamar Burgess
Colin Farrell – Danny Witwer
16 Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Question – In spite of the cameras being obviously present, during filming, what happened to Leonardo DiCaprio?
I’m always drawn to true life stories through film first and foremost. What made this movie such a hit was that Abangale himself said what was shown on the screen was 80% accurate. I understood the motivation but the cat and mouse game stole the show.
Answer – Real people came up to him and tried to give him their money.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Tom Hanks – Carl Hanratty
Christopher Walken – Frank Abagnale, Sr
Martin Sheen – Roger Strong
James Brolin – Jack Barnes
Amy Adams – Brenda Strong
15 War of the Worlds (2005)
Question – What happened underwater to Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning during the ferry capsizing scenes?
I am a huge loyal fan of the 1953 H.G. Wells classic so I walked in being skeptical to this remake. It has all of the bells and whistles of special effects and still manages to tell a good sci-fi story. Better than the original? Never.
Answer – As a joke Spielberg played the dramatic music from Jaws (1975) through the massive underwater speakers on the sound stage.
Tom Cruise – Ray Ferrier
Dakota Fanning – Rachel Ferrier
Justin Chatwin – Robbie Ferrier
Miranda Otto – Mary Ann Davis
Tim Robbins – Harlan Ogilvy
14 Munich (2005)
Question – What is the significance of Guri Weinberg’s role?
I can vaguely remember the 1972 Summer Olympics and my dad telling that something had gone terribly wrong. As I grew older and learned about the entire story at length I was totally supportive of retribution against and elimination of the assailants. The movie presents a very gray area in how that gets carried out and addressing what is right and wrong and who is the ture enemy.
Answer – He plays his own father. He is the son of Moshe Weinberg, the Israeli wrestling referee and former champion who died in the massacre when Guri was just 1 month old.
Eric Bana – Avner Kaufman based on Yuval Aviv
Daniel Craig – Steve
Ciarán Hinds – Carl
13 The Color Purple (1985)
Question – Steven Spielberg’s biggest regret for the film was his lack of courage about what?
I remember watching this movie with my fiance’ when we had a date night while her kids were at the sitter. We were absolutely blown away and brought to tears more than once at Celie’s plight. The reunion between she and Nettie was awesome.
Answer – That of portraying the lesbian relationship between Celie and Shug. At the time of filming, Spielberg feared that overt sexuality between the two characters would alienate audiences.
Whoopi Goldberg – Celie Harris Johnson
Danny Glover – Albert Johnson (“Mister”)
Oprah Winfrey – Sofia
12 Lincoln (2012)
Question – To what lengths did Spielberg to for authenticity in this film?
What’s ironic is that Day-Lewis did not want this role as he told Spielberg that he felt he was not worthy of the part. An incredible movie that quite accurately depicts one of America’s all time iconic figures and heroes. I can speak for most in that we’re glad you stepped up to the plate on this one, Daniel!
Answer – He spent 12 years researching it and dressed in a suit every day for 3 1/2 months while also only addressing Lewis as “Mr President” and Field as “Mrs Lincoln” or “Molly”. Additionally, he recreated Abraham Lincoln’s Executive Mansion office precisely, with the same wallpaper and books Lincoln used. The ticking of Lincoln’s watch in the film is the sound of Lincoln’s actual pocket watch. Lincoln’s watch is housed in the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Kentucky (not the Lincoln Presidential Library.) It is the watch he carried the day of his assassination.
Daniel Day-Lewis – President Abraham Lincoln
Sally Field – First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln
David Strathairn – Secretary of State William H. Seward
Tommy Lee Jones – Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania
Hal Holbrook – Francis Preston Blair
James Spader – Republican Party operative William N. Bilbo
11 E.T. (1982)
Question – In 1981 while on location shooting Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg dictated the story to whom?
You would be hard pressed to find anyone of movie watching age that has not seen this classic. It struck a deep chord with me as I reflected back vicariously through Elliot in wanting that special bond with another that would remain in my heart forever.
Answer – Screenwriter Melissa Mathison who was there with her then-boyfriend and future husband Harrison Ford.
Henry Thomas – Elliott
Robert MacNaughton – Michael
Drew Barrymore – Gertie
Dee Wallace – Mary
Peter Coyote – Keys
What was your favorite of the group? We’ll finish up with Part II hopefully next week!