Are These the 30 Shots that Define Steven Spielberg?

A 21-year-old Steven Spielberg. Credit: Amblin
Steven Spielberg is our greatest living director. Can we define him through his most famous shots? 

How do we get to know a director? Sure, we can watch their film, but is there something deeper? Something else that can take us over time and space, so we can look at them in full? 

Many people like to examine their shots. 

For Steven Spielberg, he has so many iconic images that transcend his movies, from the oners to the Spielberg face, to the way he treats certain characters. I recently saw a tweet that had what is said to be Spielberg's 30 best shots, or at least the ones that defined him. 

I figured we would take a look at that and then discuss. Check out Mike Warbuton's tweet below. 

Wow, what a roller coaster. Looking at that provides such an imaginative ride through the career of the most successful filmmaker of all time. Progressing like this shows not just how Hollywood has changed, but how Spielberg has stayed the same in some respects. But more on that later. 

Among this montage are some all-timer shots. Ones that define what Hollywood is for all generations. 

I loved revisiting some of the classic Spielberg shots in only a few minutes. The context comes rushing back, and you get the feeling of what you felt the first time you saw each movie. The shots come in chronological order and don't have any repeat films, so I think we can safely say they probably aren't even the 30 best Spielberg shots. 

I'd want to add plenty from Jaws, and even some of the longer takes from Raiders and Schindler's List that don't edit down into two minutes. Still, it's very fun to look at these shots together to see if there is a narrative flow. 

There are even sequences like the "Middle Passage" from Amistad that I think better exemplify who Spielberg is and what he believes. 

I think the main takeaway is how much each shot was done to make the audience react. They all are involved in making us think and feel something—whether it's fear, empathy, excitement, or just joy, Spielberg is always directing for the audience. 

With such a long and illustrious career, it's nice to see that consistency throughout. Even amidst films that aren't as popular as others. 

What was your takeaway here? Which shots were missed and which did you like best? Let us know in the comments.      

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1 Comment

Absolutely not. How do you not include the ending frame of E.T.??? smh

April 7, 2021 at 9:35PM

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Scott Wild
Director
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What’s the clip from of Tom Cruise all sweaty after the tripod in War of the Worlds? I can’t make it out.

April 8, 2021 at 6:00PM

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