This Friday, Steven Spielberg’s newest film, “Bridge of Spies”, hits theaters nationwide. It’s the prolific director’s first film since 2012’s stodgy but well-made “Lincoln”.
“Bridge of Spies” – which I will be reviewing for BigPictureBigSound.com and talking about on Matt, Mike and a Movie – had its debut at this year’s New York Film Festival. Met with almost unanimous praise, sitting at a 90-percent on RottenTomatoes.com, the film could be an Oscar player in a few months.
In anticipation for his next movie, here is a look at my five favorite Spielberg films:
- Saving Private Ryan (1998) – Quite possibly the best war film ever made, Spielberg’s film is visceral and emotionally satisfying. The movie opens with one of the greatest segments in film history – the storming of Omaha Beach – which is absolutely thrilling. Tom Hanks, who headlines “Bridge of Spies”, leads a cast including Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel and Matt Damon. “Saving Private Ryan” won five Oscars, including Best Director for Spielberg. Infamously, it lost Best Picture to the whimsical but wholly forgettable “Shakespeare in Love”.
- Schindler’s List (1993) – Most would cite this as Spielberg’s best film. The gorgeous black and white film is devastating and difficult to watch but a very important piece of filmmaking. Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. “Schindler’s List” won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director for Spielberg.
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – A delightful flight of fancy from Spielberg, who always oscillated between large popcorn flicks and searing dramas. “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” follows a young boy, who befriends an alien on Earth and helps him return to his home planet. “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” won four Academy Awards and was nominated for Best Picture and Director for Spielberg.
- Catch Me If You Can (2002) – A seemingly forgotten gem from 2002, “Catch Me If You Can” features one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s best and most energetic performances. He stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., who was responsible for conning millions of dollars in checks by posing as a pilot, doctor and lawyer. Christopher Walken, in an Oscar-nominated role, co-stars as his father and Tom Hanks co-stars as the cop on his case.
- Hook (1991) – Spielberg’s take on the classic “Peter Pan” story is pure fun and escapism. A nostalgic favorite from the director’s oeuvre, the late Robin Williams stars as an adult Peter Pan, who must return to Neverland to get his kids back from Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman).
Stay tuned to see how “Bridge of Spies” rates among Spielberg’s films.