Biography: Steven Spielberg is a very successful and famous American director and producer of films. He is also one of my favorite movie directors ever. It still amazes me how entertaining his films are. In addition, his films don’t feel outdated at all.
Spielberg became successful in the ’70s and ’80s with his imaginative mainstream movies, where he combined a simple story with brilliant special effects and non-stop excitement. He also provides a lot of childlike sentiments in his work. Films such as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T, the Indiana Jones trilogy, and the Jurassic Park cycle brought in incredible profits, entertainment, and emotion to millions of people. On top of that, it had a huge impact on the film industry.
Steven Spielberg vs. the criticism
At the same time, Spielberg received a lot of criticism: with his films he would have created a formula that would guarantee any filmmaker with a sufficient budget to make a successful film. Spielberg would thus be the inventor of the blockbuster.
Because of this criticism, and because Spielberg wanted to be seen as a serious filmmaker. Therefore, he made a surprising turn in his career in the 90s by making artistic and headstrong films. Films such as Schindler’s List, Amistadt, Saving Private Ryan, and Munich received a lot of prizes. Furthermore, a lot of critics even praised the film. Spielberg even won the Oscar for best director twice.
Spielberg is, commercially speaking, the most successful director of the 2nd half of the 20th century. No less than 8 of his films are in the top 100 of all time’s most successful films. He is also one of the most influential businessmen in Hollywood, and he has the most outstanding brand awareness of all filmmakers.
This won’t be a Steven Spielberg biography if we don’t talk about his relationships!
Spielberg was married from 1985 to 1989 to actress Amy Irving. When they divorced in 1989. She received one hundred million dollars from Spielberg after a judge decided that the prenuptial agreement, written on a napkin, was valid. Their divorce was one of the three most precious in the history of celebrity divorce. After the divorce, Spielberg, and Irving shared custody of their son, Max Samuel.
Spielberg then had a relationship with the actress Kate Capshaw, whom he met when he selected her for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. They married on October 12, 1991. In addition, Capshaw converted herself to Judaism. Now, they have four houses: in Los Angeles, New York, East Hampton (a village in the state of New York), and Naples (Florida). There are seven children in the family, including (his stepdaughter) actress Jessica Capshaw.
On December 18, 1946, Steven Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the only son of Arnold and Leah Spielberg. Furthermore, his parents were Jewish people of German descent, and he had four older sisters.
Because Steven’s father was a computer expert, he had to move from city to city a lot. which is why young Steven moved more than twelve times in his youth. However, he spent most of his childhood in Phoenix, Arizona.
Spielberg grew up in typically American suburbs. It was precisely these sleepy suburbs that would frequently recur in his films later on. He was known as a dreamy and shy little boy who preferred to watch television or fantasize. As a child, he had a fascination for extraterrestrials, the Second World War, and television. All these subjects would later play a role in his films.
With an 8mm camera, Spielberg started to make movies. In 1961, he made his first war film Escape to Nowhere. It’s a 30-minute silent color film about a group of American soldiers in Africa who had to take on the Germans. With this film, Spielberg won first prize at an amateur film festival. In 1963 his first feature film, Firelight, premiered. And that was a low-budget two-hour science fiction feature film.
His career started at Universal Studios with his first film, Amblin’, a romantic comedy of 24 minutes. Consequently, that made him the youngest director to get a contract at a big Hollywood studio.
In 1971, Spielberg made a big breakthrough with the television film Duel. The television film was such a success that it was released as a feature film in Europe’s cinemas.
Spielberg’s first feature film was only a moderate success: The Sugarland Express. Shortly after, Spielberg’s second film Jaws broke all cinema records. The film was made for a budget of just $700,000 but made a profit of over $100 million. Moreover, Jaws was the first film to make that much money. In one fell swoop, Spielberg was Hollywood’s #1 director.
More and more iconic movies
Immediately, many regarded Spielberg as a very respected director. And, there were a lot of expectations. His next film, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ from 1977, strengthened his reputation. On top of that, he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director.
After he made a name for himself with the two films mentioned above, his career fell into a dip. He made some films that absolutely couldn’t live up to the high expectations. He made a flop such as the film called “1941.”
In 1993, however, Steven Spielberg returned with Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, which were both commercially and artistically successful. Some years later, in 1997, he made Amistad and the following year the impressive ‘Saving Private Ryan’, which was a great success.
Although Spielberg has always continued to produce (a lot) for film and TV (and the occasional computer game), he resigned from the director’s chair for a few years after Schindler’s List. Instead, he was producing films.
That’s where the next movies came to existence: the “Running Man” trilogy. That trilogy consists of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, and Catch Me If You Can. A few years later, The Terminal (2004), War of the Worlds, and Munich (both 2005) followed in a short period of time.
This was followed by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The long-awaited fourth part in the film series about archaeologist-adventure Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, many hated this film. He then directed The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn from 2011, based on the cartoon series The Adventures of Tintin by the Belgian cartoonist Hergé. (shout-out to my country). War Horse came out at about the same time. That is where Spielberg discussed the First World War for the first time. The film became a reasonable commercial and artistic success. However, the historical drama Lincoln won two Oscars. One for the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis, who won his third Oscar for Best Actor, as President Abraham Lincoln.
Inspired by his success, in 1994, Spielberg, together with David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, founded Dreamworks. It’s a multimedia entertainment studio for the production of films, music, and interactive software. When Spielberg co-founded Dreamworks SKG with them, it seemed for a moment that the ultimate dream factory could only release successful movies. The first film, The Peacemaker, immediately became a big disappointment. Not because the film itself wasn’t beautiful, but because it could have come from any Hollywood studio, a characteristic you’d rather not associate with Spielberg.
With the arrival of Dreamworks, Hollywood and Silicon Valley are definitively linked. Multimedia is the magic word, but what will become the new ideology of this new Silicon Hollywood? According to Paul Groot, the coming years will mainly be about technognosis, a religious tone in which the Jewish and Christian traditions will dominate in a gnostic atmosphere driven by technical progress.