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, regarded 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 as part of a feature for Goop, Spielberg was asked to name five films he would suggest as some of his favourites that all movie 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 five favourite films:
5. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1956)
A film etched in the history books. William Wyler’s 1956 movie about three United States servicemen readjusting to civilian life starred the likes of Harold Russell, Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews and claimed seven Academy Award victories.
Notably, the film is now fondly remembered for the subsequent success Harold Russell received. Not considered a professional actor when he was nominated for an Oscar, the Academy Board of Governors later handed him an Academy Honorary Award “for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance”.
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, released in 1982 starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Sydney Pollack, was 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 a 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)
What can be said about The Godfather that hasn’t already been said? 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.
The film of iconic history, Coppola changed the face of cinema when he mapped out his portrayal of the mafia, becoming the highest-grossing film ever made and was celebrated by critics and audiences across the planet. A simply majestic creation.
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 that 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.”