Happy birthday Steven Spielberg!

Steven Spielberg in 2016 (Photo Georges Biard)
Steven Spielberg in 2016 (Photo Georges Biard)

Steven Allan Spielberg was born on December 18, 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

Steven Spielberg’s passion for cinema was born when he was just a child and the chance to shoot short films with a 8 mm allowed him to grow up not only dreaming of being a director but learning to do it, even if just as an amateur. His first real movie was “Firelight” in 1964, a science fiction story linked to an investigation into UFO phenomena, of which he was also the writer and producer. Various ideas of this movie were reprised years later in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977).

Steven Spielberg went to study English language and literature at California State University, Long Beach, but he kept on working on film projects and in 1968 he decided to leave college to become a professional filmmaker. After some experience as the director in some TV shows sometimes well-known such as “Colombo”, he directed the TV movie “Duel” in 1971, based on a subject and a screenplay by Richard Matheson. The success was so big that a longer version was produced for movie theaters.

Steven Spielberg’s real debut in cinema came with the dramatic movie “The Sugarland Express” (1974), awarded at the Cannes Film Festival but a failure at the box office. After that result, Spielberg chose to focus on something less challenging and directed “Jaws” (1975), which had a huge success, also thanks to the music by John Williams, whose main theme has become iconic.

The movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, of which Steven Spielberg was also a screenwriter, won the Oscar for Best Cinematography and a special one for the Best Sound editing and many other awards including two Saturn Award (Best Director and Best Original Score by John Williams) in various countries. “1941” (1979) was far less successful but it was an isolated case and Spielberg began the ’80s focusing on adventure films and science fiction.

In 1981, Steven Spielberg began a collaboration with his friend George Lucas in the production of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, the first film about the archaeologist / adventurer Indiana Jones’ saga, starring Harrison Ford. The movie won five Oscars and a number of other awards including 7 Saturn Awards. The first movie was followed by “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984), “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the crystal Skull” (2008).

After the first Indiana Jones movie, Steven Spielberg decided to reprise his old subject, partly autobiographical, to produce and turn “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982). The movie won 4 Oscars including the one of the best special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, Dennis Muren and Kenneth Smith and the best soundtrack by John Williams as well as other awards including 5 Saturn Awards.

In the ’80s, Steven Spielberg was very active as a producer as well in cinema but also on television with the TV show “Amazing Stories”. As a director, he started directing movies that dramatic and profound themes starting with “The Color Purple” (1985).

In the following years, Steven Spielberg alternated dramas to comedies and various blockbaster. For this reason, in 1987 a dramatic movie such as “Empire of the Sun” was released while in 1991 came a fantasy comedy such as “Hook”.

In 1990 came “Jurassic Park”, another movie winner of many awards, followed in 1997 by The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “Jurassic Park III” in 2001 and “Jurassic World “in 2015. This movies also inspired comics, video games and various merchandise.

In the ’90s came other notable movies such as as “Schindler’s List” in 1993, “Amistad” in 1997 and “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998, in which Steven Spielberg won Oscar, Golden Globe and other awards for best director.

Steven Spielberg didn’t forget science fiction and at the beginning of the new millennium came “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, a project started by Stanley Kubrick, and “Minority Report” in 2002. Spielberg started being even more active as executive producer of TV shows but also of the mini-series “Band of Brothers” (2001). His shows, however, are often unsuccessful, too often focused on cheesy families or anyway with a quality not at the same level as his movies.

As a director, Steven Spielberg kept on being successful in recent years, for example with “The Adventures of Tintin” (2011), which won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feasture Film. The project is to produce a trilogy but the second movie is already late.

Steven Spielberg has a number of project for the future, both as a director and a producer. Over the decades he had a huge influence especially in the field of cinema and seems well-intentioned to keep on being important.

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