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Vote! Your Fav Spielberg Film

Last updated on: November 10, 2011 16:39 IST

Vote! Your Fav Spielberg Film

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Raja Sen in Mumbai
This Friday, India sees the release of Steven Spielberg's latest, a motion-capture version of The Adventures Of Tintin. The 64-year-old filmmaker has waited a long time to bring Tintin to the screen, and while we wait to see what he's done to Herge's great hero, here's a look at Spielberg at his most heroic.

Here, then, is my list of the ten finest Steven Spielberg movies.

10. Catch Me If You Can

One of Spielberg's breeziest, this astonishing true story about a master con-artist folds out like a cat-and-mouse tale that unashamedly uses all the classic storytelling tropes. Spielberg, embracing the lightness of his subject over all possible dark subtext, makes a sparkling, jazzy, genuinely humorous film, one that showcases Leonardo DiCaprio's charisma like few films previously had.

Image: A scene from Catch Me If You Can

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9. Duel

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A red car. A highway. And a trucker who appears to be seeing red. Duel, Spielberg's first film -- to this day a go-to movie for young filmmakers studying the thriller -- is a tremendous achievement of economy and storytelling.

With only about enough meat in the story to justify a short, Steven nevertheless turns out an edge-of-the-seat feature that grips you from the word go. Stunning, really.

Image: Poster of Duel

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8. Minority Report

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The magic lay in the detailing. Spielberg took on this Philip K Dick story -- about a 'PreCrime' officer in 2054 being framed by a system considered infallible -- and managed not just to keep the central theme about free will in focus, but also make a pacy, dizzyingly sharp thriller that never slowed down.

The film's dark look of an apocalyptic noir was a truly original take, and more than balanced by its rollicking pace. 

Image: A scene from Minority Report

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7. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

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Beautiful but awful light, just like fire coming through the doorway. He's very small, and it's a very large door, and there's a lot of promise or danger outside that door."

Spielberg picked out the image of the young Barry in Close Encounters as the defining shot of his career, and not just does it emphasise everything we love most about the director's movies -- imagination, awe, spectacle, innocence -- but also sums up his outlook as he with a simple 'or', bridges the tremendous gulf between promise and danger.

Image: A scene from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

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6. Saving Private Ryan

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Set around the Normandy Invasion in World War II, this film is most remembered for its relentlessly brutal opening sequence, an on-screen slaughter that looked as real as a snuff film and as merciless as a nightmare.

The film, a rather fascinating ensemble piece, was historically dodgy and decidedly American in tone, but it is an undeniably overwhelming cinematic experience, a true must-see.

Image: A scene from Saving Private Ryan

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5. Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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The tuppenny novel never had a funner hero than Indy. Spielberg's Indiana Jones films provide a masterclass in adventure filmmaking, ha-ha funny with a breakneck narrative, high stakes situations, exotic backdrops and a hero with enough style to rank alongside the best of them.

This first of the films was decidedly the finest, and showed off Steven's ability to bring out the 10-year-old inside us all.

Image: A scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark

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4. Jurassic Park

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He made us believe. In a T-Rex. Turning a terrific Michael Crichton page-turner into a thrillride was never going to be the big challenge, but what Spielberg did in the early 90s with animatronic majesty, the way he created dinosaurs that stormed around our screens, was the true awesome magic of this film.

Jurassic Park moved the special effects goalposts and made the world's collective jaw drop. It was a spectacular and irresistible triumph of the imagination.


Image: A scene from Jurassic Park

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3. Schindler's List

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Perhaps his most critically acclaimed film, this was the sensitive but consistently compelling Holocaust film that finally, belatedly won Spielberg his Oscar gold.

A beautiful yet edgy black and white picture -- with just a singular coat of red -- this told us the story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German businessman who employed thousands of Jewish refugees to save them from Nazi incarceration. A hauntingly effective film, this.

Image: A scene from Schindler's List

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2. Jaws

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The words 'hauntingly effective,' however, apply to few films as emphatically as they do to this picture, Spielberg's best.

The special effects industry hadn't caught up with Spielberg's vision yet, but that wasn't about to stop the director from making a film so chilling -- while also being so incisively funny -- that it made us afraid of water itself.

The narrative is crackling, the tension is nervously taut, and the film's finest scenes don't feature the shark at all.

Image: A scene from Jaws

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1. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

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When we use the words 'movie magic,' we essentially mean something that makes us feel a little bit like ET did. Spielberg's most intimately personal effort, this evocative, surprising and heartwarming film -- one of the best of the eighties -- that just happened to feature an unforgettable alien.

There have been many readings of ET over the years, scholars even finding Biblical allegory, but all that truly matters about this glorious film is how it makes you feel. Amazing.

Image: A scene from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

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