When someone asks me to list my favorite directors, there are always some names that come up: Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Lynch, and Scorsese, for example. However, there’s one name a lot of people tend to leave out (including me): Steven Spielberg.
Given his long history in the film industry, and his mastery both with more artsy films and with commercial projects, it’s astonishing to me that more folks do not include him in their list. In fact, Spielberg has been one of the most consistent directors out there, with an astonishingly good track record, both commercially and critically.
I was curious how I ranked Spielberg’s films (the ones I’ve seen, at least, and I was pretty surprised with what I found. I rate films on a 5-star scale, and here’s how I ranked Spielberg’s canon.
Spielberg Films I've Seen, Rated
Not only have I enjoyed the vast majority of Spielberg films, but he has also held this consistent excellence since his debut in 1964. You can see this in the average critical score of his films over each decade he has been working.
Critical and Social Ratings of Spielberg's Work, Average by Decade (Out of 100)
Over the span of five decades, Spielberg’s work has consistently been above average. While he’s had a few films that have slipped in critical and social consensus, and while he’s had a few average projects, the vast majority of his work is above average or a masterpiece. What’s even more incredible is the diversity of his work. This man has directed literally every kind of film possible, from psychological horror in Jaws, to science-fiction in Minority Report, to children’s movies like E.T. and masterful dramas like Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.
The bottom line is that this man’s work has been consistent to an astonishing degree. It’s difficult to find another director who has kept up this level of quality over this many years. So perhaps it’s time we start including him in our “Best Directors” lists. He’s definitely earned it!