Thanks to the unmatched record-keeping of the internet, there exists a video of a then-29-year-old Steven Spielberg watching as the nominees for the 48th Academy Awards are announced. The year is 1976 -- just after the release of 1975's "Jaws" -- and a brash Spielberg predicts "Jaws" will be nominated in 11 categories. Alas, the film does not get 11 nominations, instead receiving only four -- none of which are for best director.
There's a lot to unpack in this three-and-a-half minute gem -- the quintessential '70s garb worn by Spielberg and his friends, the group's dismay when Spielberg is snubbed for best director and the subdued celebration that follows the announcement of "Jaws"' best picture nomination. But as devastated as Spielberg was that day, perhaps he'd be less disappointed if he knew just how much success was in store for him in the years to come.
Few directors can match the commercial and critical success Spielberg has amassed over his nearly 50-year career. Three of his next four directing credits after "Jaws" cemented his status as one of the film industry's heavy hitters: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982). To date, Spielberg has earned 16 Academy Award nominations with three wins -- two for "Schindler's List" for best picture and a best director win for "Saving Private Ryan." He's made box office smashes across various genres -- from period pieces "Lincoln" and "The Color Purple" to action films like "Jurassic Park" to sci-fi thrillers "Minority Report" and "Super 8." Spielberg has something for every type of moviegoer, and his versatility makes it difficult to pick out a true favorite.
Undeterred, PrettyFamous -- an entertainment data site by Graphiq -- sorted through Spielberg's entire filmography and turned to the numbers to rank each movie from worst to first. To do this, PrettyFamous included all Spielberg movies with at least 100 IMDb votes. The data experts then ranked each of these films by Smart Rating -- a score out of 100 that takes into account a movie's IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer and Audience Score, Gracenote rating, Metacritic Metascore and the inflation-adjusted U.S. box office gross. The team excluded TV series, short films, videos or any movies, shows or documentaries in which Spielberg appears as himself.
That left 87 films in which Spielberg played some part in producing, beyond just serving as the director. With a catalog as extensive as his, Spielberg has unsurprisingly made a few duds over the years (most would agree that the world didn't need 2008's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"). But there are plenty of hits on the way to the top, with 21 films scoring Smart Ratings of 90 or better. The top 10 speaks to Spielberg's astounding longevity -- the most recent film of the bunch was released more than 40 years after his infamous great white shark first terrorized beach-goers everywhere.
Note: Movie descriptions are sourced (with minor edits) from Gracenote.