Steven Spielberg, the iconic filmmaker behind pictures such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. and Jurassic Park, has selected five films he considers to be all-time greats.
Spielberg, considered by many to be one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era, has enjoyed well over 50 years active in the film industry and has claimed victory in the ‘Best Director’ category at Academy Awards twice.
In a list which has been compiled by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who leaned on her friendly connections, Spielberg was asked to name five films he would suggest as some of his favourites film fans should rent on DVD.
“Steven Spielberg is a pretty good director, you might have heard of him,” Paltrow writes while introducing the list. “When I was 17 he asked me to be in Hook [his film about Peter Pan] one night when we were all driving to a movie. They made me a custom wig and I only had one line! Filming that scene was one of the best, most memorable days of my life.”
The acclaimed filmmaker preempted his list by stating: “These are not necessarily my all-time favourite films… but good choices to rent and enjoy!”
See the full list, below.
Steven Spielberg’s 5 favourite films:
5 – The Best Years of Our Lives – William Wyler, 1956
A film etched in the history books. William Wyler’s 1956 film about three United States servicemen re-adjusting to civilian life starred the likes of Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews and claimed seven Academy Award victories.
Official Film Synopsis: “Fred, Al and Homer are three World War II veterans facing difficulties as they re-enter civilian life. Fred is a war hero who, unable to compete with more highly skilled workers, has to return to his low-wage soda jerk job. Bank executive Al gets into trouble for offering favourable loans to veterans. After losing both hands in the war, Homer returns to his loving fiancée, but must struggle to adjust.”
4 – Captains Courageous – Victor Fleming, 1937
Given its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles back in 1937, Victor Fleming’s black and white coming-of-age classic was well received upon release and managed to land Spencer Tracy an Oscar for Best Actor.
Official Film Synopsis: “When spoiled Harvey Cheyne is suspended from boarding school, his businessman father takes him to Europe on a business trip. When the rebellious lad falls overboard from the steamship, he is saved from death by humble fisherman Manuel Fidello and forced by the captain of the fishing schooner to become a low-ranking member of the ship’s crew alongside the captain’s own son.”
3 – Tootsie – Sydney Pollack, 1982
Tootsie, the 1982 starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Sydney Pollack, as a major critical and financial success upon release and became one of the most profitable films of the time.
Telling the story of a volatile actor who decides to adopt a new identity as woman, Tootsie also stars the likes of Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Bill Murray and more before subsequently being nominated for ten Academy Awards.
Official Film Synopsis: “New York actor Michael Dorsey is a talented perfectionist who is so hard on himself and others that his agent can no longer find work for him. After a soap opera audition goes poorly, Michael reinvents himself as actress Dorothy Michaels and wins the part. What was supposed to be a short-lived role turns into a long-term contract, but when Michael falls for his castmate Julie, complications develop that could wreck everything.”
2 – The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola, 1972
Based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel of the same name and famously starring the likes of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, Francis Ford Coppola‘s masterpiece really needs no introduction.
Official Film Synopsis: “Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama, based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, focuses on the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone. When the don’s youngest son, Michael, reluctantly joins the Mafia, he becomes involved in the inevitable cycle of violence and betrayal. Although Michael tries to maintain a normal relationship with his wife, Kay, he is drawn deeper into the family business.”
1 – The Searchers – John Ford, 1956
With a nod of the head to John Ford, it perhaps should come as little surprise the Spielberg has decided to include an iconic Western film as part of his suggested list.
Based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May and set during the Texas–Indian wars, The Searchers stars the likes of John Wayne, Natalie Wood, Jeffrey Hunter and more in a project which is often lauded as one of the most influential films of all time.
Official Film Synopsis: “In this revered Western, Ethan Edwards returns home to Texas after the Civil War. When members of his brother’s family are killed or abducted by Comanches, he vows to track down his surviving relatives and bring them home.
“Eventually, Edwards gets word that his niece Debbie is alive, and, along with her adopted brother, Martin Pawley, he embarks on a dangerous mission to find her, journeying deep into Comanche territory.”