1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) This balletic sci-fi epic is one of two movies Steven Spielberg wrote for himself (the other being A.I., which he took over from Stanley Kubrick, half counts).
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) With a bullwhip, a leather jacket, and an "only Harrison Ford can pull this off" fedora, Spielberg invented the modern Hollywood action film by doing what he does best: looking backwards.
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) People like to talk about "wonder" when they talk about Spielberg. But in his best films, like E.T., that sense of wonder is always rooted in the drab confines of reality.
4. Jaws (1975) "Da-dum… da-dum… da-dum da-dum da-dum!" You know the music. You know the "bigger boat" line.
5. Jurassic Park (1993) The movie you've watched 1,000 times on TNT holds up. The way Jurassic Park pushes in from the grandiose to the personal arcs—Dr. Grant's relationship hang-ups
6. Catch Me If You Can (2002) With a bullwhip, a leather jacket, and an "only Harrison Ford can pull this off" fedora, Spielberg invented the modern Hollywood action film by doing what he does best: looking backwards.
7. Lincoln (2012) Without the nostalgic glow, Spielberg's rowdy, rousing act of political theater stands out as a treasure waiting to be appreciated.
8. Schindler's List (1993)) For years, the word on Spielberg was that he couldn't handle "adult" material. With Schindler's List, released the same year as the crowd-pleasing Jurassic Park, he silenced many of his critics, stunned audiences, and won countless awards for delving deep into the horrors of the Holocaust.
9. Minority Report (2002) On the surface, Minority Report is yet another sci-fi film from a master of the genre, but look closer and you'll find something else: a canny neo-noir about a detective on the run.