Few directors are as synonymous with quality cinema (and film in general) as Steven Spielberg. Heck, even his non-union Mexican equivalent shares a certain notoriety in the right circles. Part of that is his ability to choose excellent films on which to work (mostly… sorry, 1941), and part of it is his incredible talent that he brings to every project. What’s impressive about Spielberg, or at least one of the many impressive aspects of the man, is that he’s able to turn so many moments in his films into iconic images that resonate with audiences for generations.
Jacob T. Swinney has taken 30 shots from Spielberg’s film career and put them into a compilation. It’s incredible how much these isolated shots are able to tell a story or convey emotion, or at least bring viewers back to how they felt when they first experienced the film. As Swinney writes,
Before I knew what a director was, I knew who Steven Spielberg was. I believe that this is partially due to the fact that Spielberg has crafted some of the most iconic shots in all of cinema. Many filmmakers have that one signature shot that will forever solidify them in film history— Spielberg has dozens. This video showcases the work of Steven Spielberg in 30 memorable shots, one from each of his full-length films. From something as magical as a silhouetted bicycle streaking across the moon, to something as simple as tiny ripples in a cup of water, this is Steven Spielberg.
Excellent framing, a sense of wonder or dread, and a certain undefinable element combine to make these shots stand out in a career full of them.