Steven Spielberg’s one of the most successful and acclaimed filmmakers in history, and there’s no denying that his career as a screenwriter has played a major role in this success. Spielberg has written or co-written the screenplays for iconic Spielberg films, including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Schindler’s List.
While Spielberg’s early screenplays were often collaborations with other writers, such as John Milius and Hal Barwood, these screenplays helped launch Spielberg’s unique voice as a filmmaker and established his career.
In 1975, Spielberg’s screenplay for Jaws became one of the highest-grossing films of all time, a landmark film that redefined the blockbuster genre. Spielberg’s screenplay for Jaws was praised for its suspenseful pacing, realistic depiction of sharks (for the time) and its iconic characters.
Spielberg’s next major success as a screenwriter came in 1977 with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Close Encounters was a sci-fi film that explored the idea of alien contact. Spielberg’s screenplay for Close Encounters was praised for its emotional impact, visual beauty and sense of wonder – trademarks of the auteur’s films.
In 1982, Spielberg wrote and directed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which became one of the highest-grossing films of all time. E.T. told the story of a friendship between a young boy and an alien, capturing a similar dynamic between a child and a beloved stray. Spielberg’s screenplay for E.T. was praised for its heartwarming story, its memorable characters, and its groundbreaking special effects.
Spielberg continued to write or co-write the screenplays for many subsequent films, including: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and Lincoln. All critical and commercial successes, they helped establish Spielberg as one of the most important filmmakers ever. It’s no wonder most film students will cite Spielberg as an inspiration when it comes to getting into the world of filmmaking.
Having crafted so many screenplays, the juggernaut filmmaker has developed some identifiable trends when it comes to his screenwriting:
Suspenseful pacing: Spielberg knows how to build tension and keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
Emotional impact: Spielberg is able to connect with the audience on a personal level and evoke strong emotions, such as fear, joy, and sadness.
Sense of wonder: Spielberg’s able to coax a sense of wonder by creating worlds that are both believable and fantastical, appealing to audiences of all ages.
Spielberg’s screenplays have helped to make him one of the most successful and acclaimed filmmakers in history. Through suspense, emotion and wonder, Spielberg has managed to create some of the most beloved and iconic films of all time.