Born 1946                    Film director

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      Born on 18 December in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA


      At 21, signs to Universal on a seven year contract


      Directs segment of the episodic TV movie Night Gallery


      Directs Duel


      Directs first theatrical feature, The Sugarland Express


      Directs the brilliant Jaws



      Second Oscar nomination for Raiders of the Lost Ark



      Marries actress, Amy Irving. Son, Max Spielberg born


      With actress girlfriend Kate Capshaw, adopts Theo Spielberg


      Divorces Irving


      Sasha Spielberg born


      Marries Capshaw


      Sawyer Spielberg born


      Directs the hitherto biggest moneymaking movie of all time, Jurassic Park. Academy Awards for both Best Director and Best Picture for Schindler's List


      Forms DreamWorks SKG, an instant multimedia empire


      Adopts Mikaela Spielberg. Destry Spielberg born




    1. Indiana Jones 4 (2006)
    2. Vengeance (2006)
    3. War of the Worlds (2005)

    4. Terminal, The (2004)
    5. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
    6. Minority Report (2002)
    7. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)

    8. Unfinished Journey, The (1999)
    9. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
    10. Amistad (1997)
    11. Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair (1996) (VG)
    12. Schindler's List (1993) Jurassic Park (1993)
    13. Amazing Stories: Book One (1992) (V) (segment "The Mission")
    14. Hook (1991)
    15. Visionary, The (1990) (V) (segment "Par for the Course")

    16. Always (1989)
    17. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
    18. Empire of the Sun (1987)
    19. Color Purple, The (1985)
    20. "Amazing Stories" (1985) TV Series (episode "Ghost Train") (episode "The Mission")
    21. "Strokes of Genius" (1984) (mini) TV Series (introductory segments) (uncredited)
    22. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
    23. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) (segment 2)
    24. Poltergeist (1982) (uncredited)
    25. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
    26. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

    27. 1941 (1979)
    28. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
    29. Jaws (1975)
    30. Sugarland Express, The (1974)
    31. Savage (1973/I) (TV)
    32. Something Evil (1972) (TV)
    33. Duel (1971/I) (TV)
    34. "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law" (1971) TV Series (episode "Eulogy for a Wide Receiver")
    35. Columbo: Murder by the Book (1971) (TV)
    36. "Psychiatrist, The" (1971) TV Series (episode "Par for the Course") (episode "The Private World of Martin Dalton")
    37. "Night Gallery" (1970) TV Series (episode "Eyes") (episode "Make Me Laugh")

    38. Night Gallery (1969) (TV) (segment "Eyes")
    39. "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1969) TV Series (episode "The Daredevil Gesture")
    40. Amblin' (1968)
    41. "Name of the Game, The" (1968) TV Series (episode "L.A. 2017")
    42. Slipstream (1967) (unfinished)
    43. Firelight (1964)
    44. Battle Squad (1961)
    45. Escape to Nowhere (1961)

    46. Last Gun, The (1959)


    How much is he worth?

      It is reported that Spielberg's fortune is $2.2 billion (2002)


      5' 7½" (1.71 m)



Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg (1990s)

    b. Steven Allan Spielberg

      Schindler makes pots and pans; he then buys the lives of Jews who would otherwise die in camps. The numbers are precise—as in any serious business. And so, in one year, 1993, Steven Spielberg delivered to the screen Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, enamelware and human flesh, if you like. Jurassic Park , it seemed to me, was shoddy, foolish in plot and characters, and nearly immediately forgettable. It was also, for a while, the biggest grossing film of all time; the numbers are precise, if growing still. It was made to make obscene amounts of cash and its reason for being is that alone. It is a film without spirit, without soul; it is a nowhere film. "Life is Elsewhere" as Milan Kundera would say.

      The difference between a great director like Spielberg and, say, Hitchcock, another great director, is that when they both make real films of the unreal, Spielberg gives us Jurassic, without caring that the characters are one dimensional, unreal, and just a kind of nuisance getting in the way of the real stars, the dinosaurs; whilst Hitchcock makes The Birds, where in the unreality of birdworld the realness of the human characters makes us care for them. Hitchcock's spirit and concern for humanity is there in every second of the movie.

      Don't agree? You think Jurassic was made for any other reason than to gross shit loads of cash? Then explain away what The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) is doing in Spielberg's filmography? What the hell is that movie's reason for being if it ain't for the colour of your money, cos it sure ain't there for it's decisive insight into the metaphysics of the characters!

      Jurassic Park is a superb producers coup according to the principle "Show them something they've never seen." And in its comprehensive revelation of a lifelike, or movielike, fluency for unreal, unborn things it may prove more influential than any film since The Jazz Singer. "One day, all movies will be like this" you can almost hear the producers say. And ever since, mainstream Hollywood has been working flat out to replicate it.

      Schindler's List is the most moving film I have ever seen. No-one can deny its place among the top 100 greatest films ever made but I don't really believe in Spielberg as an artist: I don't believe that much soul or doubt is there, or that much heartfelt trust in the organic meaning of style. But Schindler's List is like an earthquake in a culture of gardens. And it helps persuade this viewer that mainstream cinema—or Hollywood cinema, to be precise—is not a place for artists. It is a world for producers, for showmen, and Schindlers. Sure, there are some fine artists in American film but they are cut far, far adrift from Hollywood in independant land. If art is to be found in cinema then look to Europe, to Bergman, Michael Powell, Cocteau, Lean etc., and you don't have to look beyond Europe's borders to find art for art's sake. The closest Schindler's List comes to art may be in aiding Steven Spielberg to back into the upheld coat of his own mysterious, brilliant, actorly nature. The film works so well because he is Schindler, and 1993 has been his 1944.

      From the mid-1970s, there was an accepted wisdom that Spielberg was the junior mechanic as movie director. It grew out of the interest in cars and trucks in his first two films; a motorized shark in the third; and some of the most elaborate special effects ever organized in Close Encounters. Even Spielberg himself acknowledged the prominence of smooth-working parts in his films, and looked forward to smaller, more intimate, and by implication, more humane pictures. He had nothing to be ashamed of, even if he uttered regrettable industry homily of approaching "movie ideas that you can hold in your hand" - as opposed to those that dwell in your mind.

      The rivalry of car and truck in Duel is a vivid allegory of the common man facing an enigmatic threat of terror and destruction. The motorcades of Sugarland Express never obscure the frantic emotions of a redneck mother blind to all but the need to retain her child. The mechanical shark in Spielberg's hands was a wittier version of the truck in Duel, and the means to an authentic pop art Moby Dick. And Close Encounters had a flawless wonder, such that it might be the first film ever made. Its laboratory effects and its models are all harnessed to an unusual plot structure, a view of personal stories that is remarkably detached for American pictures but never cold, and a kind of inquisitive awe for the unknown that transcends the paranoia and melodrama so widespread in science fiction. Close Encounters is a tribute to the richness of the ordinary human imagination. The inevitable comparison of Star Wars and Close Encounters reveals Lucas as a toymaker, and Spielberg as an admiring explorer of the mind's power.

      The son of an electrical engineer and computer expert, Spielberg began making 8mm films in high school with his father's camera. At that time he lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and he learned and commandeered his father's hobby. Firelight was a twenty-one-hour epic, according to its maker, anticipating some of the themes and images brought to fruition in Close Encounters. He took a degree in English at California State College, Long Beach, but was always working on movies. Amblin' was a short that won prizes and earned a release with Love Story—early evidence of Spielberg's ability at drawing together good luck and commercial acumen.

      He moved into TV and quickly won a reputation as an efficient director—the height of TV's needs. He worked on the pilot for Night Gallery and contributed episodes to Columbo, Marcus Welby, The Name of the Canw, The Psychiatrist and Owen Marshall. On that basis, he did Duel as a movie-of-the-week for ABC. Its impact was such that it got a theatrical release outside America. Deservedly so, for it stands up as one of the medium's most compelling spirals of suspense. The ordinariness of the Dennis Weaver character and the monstrous malignance of the truck confront one another with a narrative assurance that never needs to remind us of the element ot fable. The ending is unsatisfactory, partly because the rest of the film is so momentous, but also because sheer skill needed more philosophy for a fitting resolution.

      Sugarland Express is another epic of the road— raucous, feverish, and based on an actual incident. What makes its quest and journey so touching is the treatment of the central characters. They are not self-aware, enlightened, or stereotyped, and the movie never patronizes them. Goldie Hawn's wife is an untidy, vibrant woman, a robust departure from the social gentility that usually encloses Hollywood women. She is genuinely vulgar, but is never mocked because of it.

      Jaws is Spielberg's most old-fashioned film, and the occasion on which he was under most commercial pressure. But, like Coppola on The Godfather, Spielberg asserted his own role and deftly organized the elements of a roller coaster entertainment without sacrificing inner meanings. The suspense of the picture came from meticulous technique and good humour about its own surgical cutting. You have only to submit to the travesty of Jaws 2 to realize how much more engagingly Spielberg saw the ocean, the perils, and the sinister beauty of the shark, and the vitality of its human opponents. The terror of his films is healthy and cathartic because his faith in the unknown is so generous and sensible and his trust in the plain mans ingenuity and pluck so precise.

      Close Encounters is as close to a mystical experience as a major film has come, but it is the mysticism of common sense. I don't think Spielberg believes in UFOs or specific answers in the universe. But he believes in man's vision and the determination that trusts its own experience more than official versions of the truth. The Dreyfuss character is no fanatic; he is another ordinary man whose life is disrupted by what he believes in. The way his domestic life is violated by increasing obsessiveness gives the film the flavor of surrealism. But the characters are smaller than the happenings that inspire them. Smallness never diminishes them. There is no violence to oppress them, only an invitation to the highest flights of fancy. The movie could have been naive and sentimental—it was inspired by Disney—but Spielberg never relinquishes his practicality and his eye for everyday detail. It is extraordinary that so big and popular a film should have such a slender dramatic thread, and that the central marriage should be permitted to break up without apology, adultery, or the promise of reunion. It is the essence of Spielberg's attitude that when Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon embrace, it is not as lovers brought together by plot, but as fellow believers.

      At first sight, the Spielberg of the eighties may seem more an impresario—or a studio, even— than a director. Yet he directed seven films in the decade, including the Indiana Jones trilogy, the phenomenon of E.T., and Empire of the Sun (a fine work, rather "explained" by Schindlers List), an adaptation of J. C. Ballard's book about childhood in Shanghai after the Japanese invasion. Empire of the Sun was among Spielbergs box-office failures, and there are signs that he writes failure out of history. Yet it combines the life of a child with the momentous world of adults in a way scarcely attempted in his other films. So busy, so enterprising, Spielberg had time for three flat-out bad films—The Color Purple, Always, and Hook (warning enough to any critic who seems ready to categorize Spielberg as a master of control and market forces).

      At the same time, he became a producer, a tireless master of many ceremonies, and many of them simultaneous. Even E.T. feels calculated—to these eyes, it is not as inspired or involuntary as the wondrous Poltergeist (82, Tobe Hooper), on which Spielberg was producer, author of the story, and reshooter. Some argue that Hook was personal; I found it maudlin, fussy, and misjudged. Could it be that Spielberg's judgment smothers the vestiges of personal expression he can muster? Or is it that he is truly most himself when satisfying the enormous audience? He is a tycoon such as few can comprehend. He has done astonishing things; he has become vital to the business. And like Schindler, he has made us all think deeply about the nature of business. As a director, he took a rest after 1993— and then came back with a new, improved Jurassic Park, Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan, all in the space of a couple of years. Ryan changed war films: combat, shock, wounds, and fear had never been so graphically presented; and yet there was also a true sense of what duties and ideas had felt like in 1944. I disliked the framing device. I would have admired a director who trusted us to get it without that. Never mind—Ryan is a magnificent film. Which is very much more than I could say for A.I., which seemed to me far too self-conscious in its thinking (and can no director coax a performance from the made entirely from wood, Jude Law that shows even the faintest flicker of emotion?). Indeed, I suspect that, for all his power with futuristic technology, Spielberg's mind was made in the forties and fifties. There were worse times to be raised.

      At any event, the filmography would be incomplete without the list of works that he has produced: I Wanna Hold Your Hand (78, Robert Zemeckis); Used Cars (80, Zemeckis); Continental Divide (81, Michael Apted); Poltergeist; Gremlins (84, Joe Dante); Back to the Future (85, Zemeckis); The Goonies (85, Richard Donner); Young Sherlock Holmes (85, Barry Levinson); The Money Pit (86, Richard Benjamin); the animated film, An American Tail (86, Don Bluth); . . . batteries not included (87, Matthew Robbins); Innerspace (87, Dante); Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (88, Zemeckis); Back to the Future II (89, Zemeckis); Dad (89, Gary David Goldberg); Joe Versus the Volcano (90, John Patrick Shanley); Arachnophobia (90, Frank Marshall); Gremlins 2: The New Batch (90, Dante); Back to the Future III (90, Zemeckis); and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (91, Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells).

      On The Flintstones (94, Brian Levant) he was credited as Steven Spielrock (yeah, it's still not funny); Twister (96, Jan De Bont); Men in Black (97, Barry Sonnenfeld); Deep Impact (98, Mimi Leder); The Mask of Zorro (98, Martin Campbell); Shrek (01, Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson); Jurassic Park III (01); and the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (01), which he and Tom Hanks had spun off from Saving Private Ryan.

      In fact, his producing hat had grown larger still with the formation of DreamWorks in 1995. With that enterprise (formed with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen), Spielberg was part of a new studio, involved in decisions on whether to build studio space as well as every individual project they took on. So it is one more measure of the inhuman—or of a level of performance beyond common humanity—that Steven Spielberg is also still a writer and a director. Moreover, he has maintained his own level of excellence for close to twenty-five years. He has never had significant or prolonged failure.

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