.. use their imaginations, he told Film Comment (Graham 530). Stanley Kaufman described the films finale as one of the most overpowering, sheerly cinematic experiences I can remember (529). Having released his second box office smash in a row, Steven also earned his first Oscar nomination as well. Unfortunately, he would lose in what would be the beginning of an Oscar losing streak.
This time period would also mark his meeting and collaboration with another director whom he met at a film festival, George Lucas. Steven saw Lucas as both compadre and competition (Empire 5). The two would develop a close friendship over the years that stands to this day and would collaborate on many projects. Steven would be the executive producer on Lucass 1977 mega-hit, Star Wars. The film would even gross more money than that of Spielbergs own Jaws.
It was in 1981, however, that Lucas and Spielberg would collaborate on Raiders of the Lost Ark. Aside from making the lead character Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford, the biggest action hero in American cinema next to James Bond, the film was nothing short of non-stop entertainment and suspense. Raiders puts people in the same place that made me want to make movies as a child, which wanting to enthrall, entertain, take people out of their seats to get them involved in the kind of dialogue with the picture youve made. Theyre just a lot of fun to make (Graham 530). Grossing around 300 million dollars and spawning two sequels, it earned Steven his second Oscar nomination for Best Director.
While Raiders gave him the reputation as the master of action sequences, it would not be until later on that he would be taken as a serious film director. Following Raiders, Steven released what he calls his most personal film, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, in 1982. The film, starring a then young Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, told the story of an alien and his friendship with a young boy after being left behind by his spaceship. At the time, Steven revealed to the Harper Bazaar, the movie is about how I felt when my parents broke up (Corliss 78). In the words of a USA Today columnist after E.T.s release, Steven is the first director since Alfred Hitchcock to become a household name (Graham 530). In addition to earning Steven yet another Oscar nomination which he lost again, E.T.
grossed nearly 400 million dollars beating fellow buddy Lucass blockbuster, Star Wars. Because Steven was always interested in so many projects, he was never able to attend to all of those he wished. Thus, in 1984, he founded his own production company, Amblin Entertainment. The result would be a number of great films including Gremlins, The Back to the Future Trilogy, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Growing tired of creating action packed stereotypical Spielberg pictures, in 1985 Steven made his first attempt at serious filmmaking, The Color Purple. The story evolved around a woman, played by Whoopi Goldberg, who is oppressed by the men around her.
The film, though received by most as deeply moving, received criticism for what some called insensitivity to the realities of poverty, brutality, and black experience (Graham 531). The film made Whoopi Goldberg into huge star and earned eleven Academy Award nominations. Ironically, Steven was snubbed for Best Director and the film failed to win one award in what would mark the beginning of the Academys reputation for disregarding films that deal with African-American culture. His first attempt at serious filmmaking would lead to 1987s Empire of the Sun, a film about a British boys experience within a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. Once again, his fathers influence showed up on screen. Empire of the Sun and The Color Purple would be among Stevens least commercially successful efforts. In an attempt to rebound off of 1991s box office flop, Hook, Steven released in the summer of 1993 what would become at the time the most successful film in the history of American cinema. When Jurassic Park was released, Steven made us believe that dinosaurs existed through the use of digital effects on computers.
Astounding crowds with trademark Spielberg action, the films gross would not be toppled until the 1997 winter release of James Camerons historical epic Titanic. During the shoot of Jurassic Park, Steven began work on another project, Schindlers List, which would become his most critical success of his career. Schindlers List is the true story of Oskar Schindler who saved over one thousand Jews from certain death by employing them in his factory during World War II. One writer for Newsweek noted, this movie will shatter you, but it earns its tears honestly (Corliss 81). The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won seven including Best Picture and finally after all the rejections, Steven won his first Oscar for Best Director. In 1997 when the American Film Institute announced the 100 Greatest Films of All Time, five of Stevens films were among them including Schindlers List which ranked at number nine. Following the production of the film, in 1994 Steven founded the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which recorded oral histories of Holocaust survivors.
He then followed that up with the Righteous Persons Foundation, which provided grants for Jewish groups and causes. After taking a three-year break from film making, Steven returned in 1997 with a not surprising follow-up to 1993s Jurassic Park entitled The Lost World. Despite the films commercial success, the film has been regarded as the worst work of Stevens career. Even Steven himself has noted that the film was made because he knew that it would be a huge blockbuster. Later that same year, he released the drama Amistad, the true story of African-American mens struggle for freedom aboard the slave ship La Amistad. Even though the film was named as one of the best pictures of the year by critics throughout the country, the film failed to receive any Oscar recognition which some might attribute to the Academys reputation of, once again, disregarding films that deal with African-Americans and their culture.
Most recently in 1998, Steven released the World War II drama Saving Private Ryan which single-handedly redefined the term movie violence. Creating what some may call the most graphic and realistic war movie ever made, Steven made the film as a tribute to his father and dedicated it to him after receiving his second Oscar at the seventy-first Annual Academy Awards. People were taught that war is no laughing matter. Steven Spielbergs films have left us with so much to remember. From the horrors of Auschwitz to the image of a boy on a bicycle, sillouhetted against the moon, his films have sketched images in our minds we are unable to forget.
His influence upon mainstream Hollywood directing is more than evident. Whether it be making us reflect on past tragedies or teaching us that differences should be celebrated aside from being just recognized, his methods of storytelling have established him as more than just a wonderful film director, but as a great humanitarian. Bibliography Works Cited Corliss, Richard. Peter Pan Grows Up, but Can He Still Fly? Time Magazine. 19 May, 1997. 75-82. Dyer, Richard.
At Work Again, he and John Williams Exalt in their Admiring of 24 Years. Boston Globe 24 Feb. 1998: 4/13/99 http://www.multimania.com/spielbrg Stein, Ruthe. Biography : Steven Spielberg. Empire Mar. 1998: 4/13/99 http://www.multimania.com/spielbrg Graham, Judith.
Current Biography Yearbook 1996. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1996. Gritten, David. When the Going Got Tough: Steven Spielbergs D-Day Drama Saving Private Ryan salutes the citizen soldier of WWII.
L.A. Times 10, May 1998: 4/13/99 http://www.multimania.com/spielbrg Martinelle, Betty. Personal Interview. 11 Apr. 1999. Biographies.