Spielberg (TV Movie 2017) Poster

(2017 TV Movie)

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5/10
What do YOU think of Spielberg?
arielview8 October 2017
While I understand why the filmmaker might feel the need to address criticism leveled at Spielberg and his work (too populist, overly sentimental, etc), she takes a far too direct approach by voicing through interviews precisely why the viewer should dismiss those and see Spielberg through the same lens she does. The recent documentary DePalma, made about one of Spielberg's fellow "movie brats," did a brilliant job of asking that filmmaker, Brian DePalma, to open up about the work, major themes and controversies, and left the viewer to draw conclusions for themselves. Watching this last night, I found myself wishing the documentary itself hadn't decided itself to become so sentimental, only explaining the merits of Spielberg's oeuvre.

Don't get me wrong, Spielberg certainly is one of the most (if not THE most) influential players in the film industry and the film does a great job of showing how he became so successful, but the most interesting segments involve discussion of the craft behind iconic films. For Jaws, the discussion of how a low budget helped to build suspense is as rewarding as the anecdotes about Spielberg's process with actors on the set of Schindler's List. With a running time of 2.5 hours, not every film gets equal treatment, but revealing details of his process abound for the cinema buff.

All in all, worth a look, but don't be afraid to make up your own mind.
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9/10
Somewhat rah rah, but overall, very good!
AlsExGal8 October 2017
This documentary does a good job of analyzing Steven Spielberg's film career. It is in rough chronological order, but not exact chronological order. For example the film starts out with "Jaws" (1975) and comes back to Steven's film directorial debut with "Duel" (1971) later.

It goes into details about his home life only when it is relevant to his work as filmmaker, and it is apparently relevant a great deal. The audience knows this because it is Steven Spielberg himself who contributes the most to the commentary. Apparently Steven has a great gift - he has retained a vivid memory of what it was like to be a child all of these years later. That explains why he made some of the films he did, and how he worked with children and could show the viewpoint of children so well. Spielberg talks about how he has had the same team of professionals working with him on films for years, some since the 70s, and he pays tribute particularly to composer John Williams.

It does go into some of his failures, though only briefly. Apparently he considers "1941" (1979) a failure, and I guess I can see how coming off one hit after another in the mid to late 70s he might feel that way.

Many of the actors and actresses that have starred in his film are almost giddy with praise, and I guess we should expect that, but that is countered with Spielberg's criticism of his own work, which is very insightful.

The best stories: the pandemonium and the overruns in time and money on the set of "Jaws", and how Steven Spielberg, the perennial C student, could not get into USC film school no matter what he tried, so in 1968 he simply trespassed on the Universal lot, found a vacant office and took up residency, and began to go on different sets learning how professional directors practiced their craft. He was even thrown off the set of a Hitchcock film once! However, it was six months before anyone even challenged his presence at Universal, and even then he ended up with a seven year contract directing for Universal TV. Things and security have certainly changed in 50 years!

I'd highly recommend this work to anybody who wants the story of Spielberg's career from the mouth of the subject himself. 147 minutes seems like a long documentary, but for me the time just flew by.
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6/10
"Speilberg" Documentary.
robobalboa12 October 2017
What's confusing about this documentary is not what they decided to show, but what they decided to leave out. Maybe its too early for a full retrospective as the subject is still alive and working and creating, but then what exactly is the point of this documentary, other than it comes out on the 40th anniversary year of "Close Encounters"? After Spielberg shuffles off this mortal coil the interviews gained in the process of making this film will serve admirably in the making of what will probably have to be a series of documentary films that follow Steven Spielberg's life and career, but as it stands this seems like a Blu-Ray special feature. There are many years and films that are completely skipped or glossed over, there is barely a mention of all the success he's had as a producer, and there's no real build up or glory to his triumphs or his failures. It's surface-level and polite. it doesn't pose tough questions or try to answer anything either. I get that this is a puff piece, that in no way would anyone sign off on a documentary that paints them in a bad light, but this doesn't even make Spielberg *complicated*, even his relationship with his father is immediately forgiven and then brushed aside. What would be more interesting, and perhaps more revealing, would be Behind the Scenes documentaries that we already have that feature Spielberg, strung together with new interviews, and footage that presents context, and present his life this way. As it stands what this Doc offers is a quick overview and celebrity cameos that isn't all together uninteresting if only hindered by it's inability to commit to deep dives of the subject's career.
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8/10
An Ode to the Master Filmmaker
larrys312 October 2018
This HBO documentary, directed by Susan Lacy, at nearly two and a half hours long , is really an ode to one of the master filmmakers of all time Steven Spielberg.

For movie buffs, like myself, the film can be mind boggling as the incredible list of Spielberg movies over the decades is documented. He will give his personal view of what went into each movie, and there are many behind-the-scenes details offered by his fellow artists and collaborators.

As other reviewers have noted, the praise heaped upon him in the doc can get to be overdone as the film progresses. Also, I would have liked to have heard what Spielberg thought of the many actors who, over the years, helped make his films so special, but there's virtually none of that here.

Overall though, to get to relive some of these great movies and to get lots of insight into what makes this genius of the cinema tick, was certainly worth the price of admission for me.
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8/10
On making Drew Barrymore cry.
bob-the-movie-man17 March 2018
"Spielberg" is an HBO-produced documentary by documentarian Susan Lacy. You'll never guess who the subject is?!

Steven Spielberg is a product of one of the most surprising revolutions in Hollywood in the late 70's: one of a set of wunderkind directors alongside such luminaries as George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius, Brian De Palma and Martin Scorcese. These men (only men, it should be noted!) were ready to cock a snook at Hollywood's traditional studio system to break rules (case in point, Star Wars' lack of opening credits) and move cinema into the format that would last to this day.

As this excellent documentary makes clear, Spielberg was one of the least rebellious of the movie-brats. Even though (astoundingly) he blagged himself a production office at Universal (after hiding during the Tram Tour toilet stop!), his path to the top was through hard graft on multiple Universal TV shows, after recognition of his talents by Universal exec Sidney Sheinberg who speaks in the film.

Before we get to that stage of his life, we cover his childhood back-story as a reluctant Jew living in a non-Jewish neighbourhood, driven to fill his time with tormenting his sisters and movie-making with a Super 8 camera. Scenes of home videos, photos and his early attempts at special effects are all fascinating. The impact of his Bohemian mother Leah and workaholic father Arnold, and particularly the very surprising relationship breakdown that happened between them, go a long way to explain the constant return to 'father issues' in many of his films such as "E.T.", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "Hook" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

The majority of the film though settles down into a roughly chronological review of the highlights of his movie career, with particular emphasis justly being placed on some of the key watershed moments in that career. Most of his films get at least a mention, but "Jaws", "E.T.", "Schindler's List", "The Color Purple", "Jurassic Park", "Munich" and "Empire of the Sun" get more focus. It is such a wonderful trip down my cinematic memory lane. I also forget just what cinematic majesty and craftsmanship is present in these films: I just hope that at some point this will get a Blu-Ray or DVD release so it can be properly appreciated (rather than viewing it on a tiny airplane screen which is how I watched this): the combination of film clips in here is breathtaking.

As might be expected for a documentary about the great director, there is plenty of 'behind the camera' footage on show, some of which is fascinating. Spielberg could always get the very best performances out of the youngsters on set, from Cary Guffey ("Toys!!") in "Close Encounters" to a heartbreaking scene where he reduces the young Drew Barrymore to howls of emotion in "E.T.". A master at work.

All of the movie scenes are accompanied by new interview footage from Spielberg himself, as well as warm platitudes from many of the luminaries he has worked with in the past. Directors involved include many of the the directors referenced above, as well as those modern directors influenced by him such as J.J. Abrams; his go-to cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond and Janusz Kaminski; his 'go-to' composer John Williams; and stars including his go-to 'everyman' Richard Dreyfuss, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Bob Balaban, Tom Hanks, Opray Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Dustin Hoffman and James Brolin. Some of these comments are useful and insightful; some are just fairly meaningless sound bites that add nothing to the film. What all the comments are though is almost all uniformly positive.

And that's my only criticism of the film. Like me, Susan Lacy is clearly a big fan. It is probably quite hard to find anyone who isn't.... but perhaps Ms Lacy should have tried a bit harder! There is only limited focus on his big comedy flop of 1979, "1941", and no mention at all of his lowest WW grossing film "Always". And there are only a few contributors - notably film critic Janet Maslin - who are willing to stick their head above the parapet and prod into Spielberg's weaknesses; ostensibly his tendency to veer to the sentimental and away from harder issues: the omitted "Color Purple" 'mirror scene' being a case in point.

This is a recommended watch for Spielberg fans. On the eve of the launch of his latest - "Ready Player One", a film that I am personally dubious about from the trailer - it's a great insight into the life and works of the great man. It could though have cut a slightly harder and more critical edge.
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8/10
Shines Because Of The Personal Interviews/Material
zkonedog5 November 2017
In the year 2017, it must be kind of difficult to produce a compelling documentary about a figure such as Steven Spielberg. I mean, in all honesty, what more can be said about the man that hasn't been already?! Where "Spielberg" really manages to shine, then, is in its coverage of Steven's personal life and background.

As per the usual, "Spielberg" covers all the "usual subjects" (Jaws, Indy, Schindler, Saving Private Ryan, etc.) and all the old stories get told yet again. Fortunately, the production values of this doc are good enough (that's what happens with the backing of HBO) that it never really feels old or stale.

Like I said, though, the real highlights are the personal interviews with Spielberg himself (or family members and those who know him closely). I learned many new things about his personal life, and I loved the home videos with wife Kate Capshaw and his seven children. We all know him as a fantastic filmmaker (which he surely is), but this doc does a really good job of portraying him as a person as well.

So, while perhaps not the most ground-breaking documentary of all-time, "Spielberg" is still entertaining (due to the production value) and information (personal information) and never failed to hold my interest during the almost 2.5 hour runtime.
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2/10
Saccharine sentimentality, fawning and ultimately boring
typrat9 October 2017
This could have been great, especially given the access the filmmakers obviously had and the stature of the people interviewed. Instead it's an overlong, boring and unimaginatively grovelling look at Spielberg's life and career. Apart from a few tantalizing clips of a young Spielberg at work there's absolutely nothing new here and it just sinks into an extended EPK-level parade of sycophantic comments and backslapping, intended, it seems, more to curry favor with Hollywood establishment power than to offer any perception or insight into a master filmmaker, his films and his methods. Like the syrupy sentimentality of Spielberg at his worst, this is more of a protracted, tedious, sugar-coated eulogy than a perceptive and insightful documentary. It seems to me that the filmmakers are more fearful of incurring Spielberg's displeasure than presenting something engaging, new and compelling. What an awful waste of an incredible opportunity.
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7/10
The amazing life and times of Steven Spielberg
paul-allaer10 October 2017
"Spielberg" (2017 release; 147 min.) is a documentary about the life and times of legendary film maker Steven Spielberg. As the movie opens, Spielberg describes in glorious detail the profound impression left on him when he saw "Lawrence of Arabia" in the theater in 1962, and again and again (much later in the documentary, Spielberg confesses he still watches that movie at least once a year). We then go to the "Bridge of Spies" movie set, where Spielberg is seen giving detailed instructions as a particular scene is being prepped. Next comes a lengthy passage about "Jaws", whose unexpected commercial success (in particular in view of the almost disastrous production) "changed my life", Spielberg comments. "It Was a free pass into my future". At this point we are less than 15 min. into the documentary.

Couple of comments: this documentary is directed by Susan Lacy, best known for being the Executive Producer of the American masters TV series. Here she presents a portrait of Steven Spielberg. While of course spending lots of time on Spielberg's key movies (none gets more screen time than "Schindler's List"), we also get a peek into Spielberg's personal life (reason that I refer to "the life and times"). "I am a child of divorce" could well easily have been the sub-title of the documentary, as Spielberg points out time and again how profoundly this has affected his film-making, and why there are so many "dissolution of family" themes in his films. We also get some fascinating 8mm footage from the Spielberg family when Steven was growing up (no mention, though, that Steven was born in Cincinnati--where I live). Lacy interviews a ton of people, including Steven's parents and three sisters, but of course also many contemporaries (in particular George Lucas, Brian de Palma, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola). But in the end, the most fun remains watching the many highlights of Spielberg's most important movies, commentated by Spielberg himself. Counting his early 70s TV work, Spielberg has been making movies for almost half a century! It simply blows the mind. You may or may not like Spielberg's style of movies, but he undeniably has been one of the top directors in Hollywood for decades, and still is to this day. Can't wait for his upcoming movie "Ready Player One", to be released in early 2018.

"Spielberg" premiered at this year's New York Film Festival to good acclaim, and recently opened up on HBO, where I saw it a few days ago. While the documentary isn't "revolutionary" (and clearly was made with the blessing of the Spielberg family), I nevertheless quite enjoyed it and was amazed how quickly these 2 1/2 hrs. flew by. If you are a film buff, or a fan of Steven Spielberg, you cannot go wrong with this.
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9/10
the "George Gerswhin" of American cinema (as per Coppola's compassion) in this very good profile and truly in-depth look at an oeuvre
Quinoa19848 October 2017
With Spielberg, we have another profile of yet another hugely influential American filmmaker on the heels of De Palma and By Sidney Lumet. And... when it's this filmmaker and this story and this group of films, I don't think for at least some of them (yes, even Jaws and lessor known ones like Empire of the Sun) enough can be spoken about them. It takes often a miracle for a movie to come out good let alone great, and Steven Spielberg has at least nine or ten masterpieces to his name.

I'm glad this one on Spielberg via Susan Lacy (a veteran go-to for American Masters docs) goes the full route on the career and the man in as much depth as possible. Though it lacks much about Hook, Lost World and Always (the latter's not here at all, the former is mentioned for five seconds as an example of 'sometimes he has failed'), I think I need what is presented here as the man's own words on his work, and his colleagues, AND especially the critical community, from Hoberman to AO Scott. You actually get a sense of not only Spielberg's growth or... No, wait, growth is the wrong word since he was already doing what he did so well in 74 and 74 & 75 and even Duel (that shot of the truck going off the bridge is a gorgeous monster movie moment in all cinema), more like a maturity and an expanding sense of what a movie can be. He has his complexities - who else can have Jurassic Park and Munich in his resume - but the critics point that out along with the objective fact that he is to film the major force in Hollywood in the past 45 years.

But it would be one thing if it is all "its the greatest guy ever" etc. This shows that Spielberg hasn't always known what to do on every film; seeing him making Schindlers List and Saving Private Ryan, his two Oscar wins, one gets the sense he had to figure out what to do day to day, and yet that also came out of many years of *doing* it, of understanding and getting even deeper than he already was. This doc does a great job is giving to the audience, whether they've known this about Spielberg before or not, that making ET and Schindler's List were no more or less exceptional efforts on what humanity is all about in all of its highs and lows, its just that an audience will take Nazis more seriously than aliens.

Or... Who knows? But through every anecdote and story from Spielberg, his sisters and parents, his fellow (now elder) "movie brats" who were as Lucas describes their version of Paris in the 1920s (and I think hes right), there's a full portrait of everything with this man. And that's what is the same and yet done unique unto itself as the De Palma and Lumet films. It's not *too* glossed over about what hes been in life (as someone admits about him, "hes a nerd. A lovable nerd, but still a nerd") and yet it cant help but be inspiring and I hope will be an inspiration for future filmmakers who didn't live through seeing Jurassic Park or Ryan or Minority Report or even Lincoln (one of those films that is still somehow underrated despite being a commercial and critical hit) in a first run. It didn't all come out of nowhere ultimately; the message that one comes away with is that passion and inspiration is crucial, but hard work and not showing fear in the process (though one may have it) is key.
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Spielberg on Spielberg
Michael_Elliott19 February 2018
Spielberg (2017)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

This documentary clocks in at just under two and a half hours and has Steven Spielberg talking about his time in Hollywood as well as some personal stories about his family and how this shaped the movies that he would make. Not only do we get interviews with Spielberg himself but we also hear from his parents, his sisters as well as co-workers and friends including Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Richard Dreyfuss, John Williams, Janet Maslin, Sid Sheinberg and various others.

For the most part I thought this was a very good documentary that was put together very well. The film does a very good job at going over Spielberg's career as well as the personal stories that helped shape them. This includes stories about his parents divorce, the fifteen-years he and his father struggled to have a relationship as well as him becoming a father. All of these stories are told in such a good way that it helps when we then get to the movies because it brings some good insight.

The film discussion is certainly the highlight of the series as the director gets to reflect on his career, the films he's proud of and a few moments where he wasn't as happy. Of course, a lot of the lesser films are pretty much overlooked 1941 gets a quick twenty-second comment whereas HOOK, THE LOST WORLD and ALWAYS aren't even mentioned. We do get some terrific stories about JAWS, DUEL and what it was like for a twenty-year-old to try and direct someone like Joan Crawford.

Fans of the director are certainly going to enjoy this documentary and especially since he shares some good stories about their production as well as things that were going on behind-the-scenes.
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6/10
A man with a vision
Prismark1015 February 2018
Steven Spielberg has always been open about himself in interviews, about his work and life. So there is very little that is new in this documentary apart from Spielberg doing some second unit directing work in Scarface (1983.)

This is a long documentary looking at Spielberg's rise as a director. Sneaking into Universal Studios, starting in television and then moving into movies. He quickly establishing himself as a wunderkind with Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and then made the (then) biggest film of all time with ET.

However it does come across as too much of a celebratory backslapping promotional piece with friends, families, collaborators, actors and fellow directors. There is the bit in the documentary where everyone wondered how they could produce realistic dinosaurs for Jurassic Park. They went down to see Dennis Muren who showed what he had in his computer and they jumped with joy with what they saw. That is Dennis Muren who previously worked with Spielberg, is an ace special effects supremo who works for George Lucas's company ILM. I have a fair idea they knew what to expect.

There is very little by way of criticism here apart from the failure of his comedy 1941. Nothing about the reasons for the failure of his first marriage to Amy Irving, the relative failure of Dreamworks or even the difficulties he has these days of getting his film projects funded.
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7/10
What you would expect
johnnyreevesbass13 October 2019
I am a huge fan of Spielberg first and foremost. Anyone wanting to watch this doc about him expecting something other than its going to a be a lengthy look at his career and life should find something else to watch. I enjoyed learning a bit more about this man that help change and create some of hollywoods biggest blockbuster films. 7/10 is just due to I think the vision could have keep things more interesting by taking out some aspects of his life and focus more on other subjects. But overall its a good find to watch and enjoy.
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10/10
I Love This Guy
ini_ynti-2245713 October 2017
Yesterday's movie night was quite a hard pick for me: Spielberg or Christine. Both started at 10 p.m and are based on true story, only the previous one is a documentary and the other one is a biopic. At the last second, I finally picked Spielberg because he's a great filmmaker despite the fact I haven't watched all of his movies. Another reason, I know Dawson Leery from Dawson's Creek worships this guy. He's explained why but I need to know more about Spielberg. He's considered a genius for making a debut at a very young age. One of those great artists in the world. I was so glad to find out that this documentary is a world premiere, meaning I've made the right choice.

The documentary is so informative and entertaining at the same time. Love to see those individuals involved in filmmaking spend their time together, support, criticize and appreciate each other's works. Spielberg himself was driven to filmmaking at a very young age although he wasn't so sure if it was his real passion or just a plain hobby, or even his diversion since he was bullied and a broken home kid. Those hard times in his youth reflected almost in his every movie. Some of them are very personal. And yes, Dawson was right when he said Spielberg almost never put nudity or sex scene in his movies because he's shy. So cute, anyway.

I downloaded Lawrence of Arabia right away because it's the movie that's so meaningful for Spielberg in his career as a director. I promise my self to watch all movies where Spielberg's in it.
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9/10
It is what it is
carolrmag14 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you Love Steven's work you will love this documentary. I am a fan and really appreciate the opportunity of getting to know the man and his motivation for doing the brilliant films he has made so far. I didn't love all his movies, actually through this documentary I realize I haven't seen some of his earlier films. But if I have to mention by heart movies that have deeply touched me, either for a really fun time, horror or drama, Spielberg will be at the top of my list. Here you get to see the man behind the legend. and I personally got to like him as a person even more.
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9/10
Legend and a Pioneer
Marwan-Bob9 January 2020
An HBO Documentary Film About one of The Greatest Film Makers of All Time, The Man is a Legend and a Pioneer, I've Seen 22 Films Directed by him Followed by Scorsese 21 Films, and that's not easy the man Makes many Great Films.

Schindler's List ----------------------------- 10/10 Catch Me If You Can ----------------------- 9/10 The Terminal ---------------------------------- 9/10 Saving Private Ryan ------------------------- 9/10 Empire of the Sun ---------------------------- 9/10 Bridge of Spies -------------------------------- 9/10 Jurassic Park ------------------------------------ 9/10 War Horse ----------------------------------------9/10 Jaws ----------------------------------------------- 8/10 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ---------- 8/10 Raiders of the Lost Ark ----------------------- 8/10 Ready Player One ----------------------------- 8/10 A.I. Artificial Intelligence ------------------- 8/10 Munich ------------------------------------------- 8/10 Minority Report ------------------------------- 8/10 Amistad ----------------------------------------- 8/10 The Post ----------------------------------------- 8/10 Lincoln ------------------------------------------ 8/10 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial -------------------- 8/10 The Color Purple ----------------------------- 8/10 Close Encounters of the Third Kind ---- 7/10 Duel ---------------------------------------------- 7/10
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8/10
A Less Than Great Documentary about a Great Director
jadepietro18 October 2017
(RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5)

GRADE: B

THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED.

IN BRIEF: An well crafted but bias love-fest about this great director.

SYNOPSIS: A document that celebrates the films of Mr. Spielberg.

David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia inspired him to become a director. As a teenager, filmmaking kept "those scary whispers" from starting up, providing him a security that life itself could not deliver. His use of close-ups, stationary angles, fluid camera movement, personal storytelling, and quick cuts established his unique style. His sanitized view of suburbia and the Americana, his sentimental view of nostalgia, and his love of childhood and family can be found in most of his films. This is Steven Spielberg. And Susan Lacy's well made documentary examines this legendary filmmaker with much skill (and just too much adoration).

The documentary gives us all the facts about this great director using archival footage, interviews with friends and associates, and snippets of his many movies. Turned down from USC film school, he snuck off the tour bus on Universal Studios and observed directors like Hitchcock at work. He later worked at that studio as a first time director gaining knowledge and experience by creating television episodes and movies before his big blockbuster summer hit, Jaws, changed the film industry forever.

Using his own personal experiences and his avid love of cinema encouraged him to explore many genres: sci-fi (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., A.I. Minority Report), war movies (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Empire of the Sun, War Horse) horror (Jurassic Park, Jaws), adventure (Duel, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Adventures of Tintin), historical biographies (Lincoln, the underrated Bridge of Spies), even comedies (1941, Always, The Terminal).

Spielberg delves into his beginnings very effectively. Upset with some critics' assertion that he was primarily a successful commercial and mainstream filmmaker, Mr. Spielberg took up the challenge and created films on more serious subjects such as racism (Amistad, The Color Purple), terrorism and 9/11 (Munich, War of the Worlds), and genocide (the aforementioned Schindler's List). This documentary spend a great deal of time on one of his greatest achievements about the Holocaust ever made, with numerous segments from that Academy Award winning film.

Ms. Lacy's film, though well researched, purposely skips over some of his lesser works and allows Mr. Spielberg himself to sidestep his early personal life with the former Mrs. S. (Amy Irving). Yet it still manages to flaunt his happy marriage with his current spouse (Kate Capshaw) and his now happy family life.

Directors Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Francis Coppola, J.J. Abrams, and Brian DePalma were his friends and creative rivals and their comments in interviews add great insight to the technical aspects of this man. In fact, the point is made numerous times that his films dealing with technology advancements were living examples of state-of-the-art filmmaking themselves. (CGI use in Jurassic Park, Minority Report, A I., War of the Worlds, Close Encounters, etc. elevated the bar in cinematic terms)

The documentary is always entertaining with special moments to savor: Spielberg's own reminiscences of filming of his two masterworks, Saving Private Ryan, and Schindler's List, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski discussing his camera work with fascinating details in conjunction with the director's vision on the latter epic, scenes of him directing a young Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas on the E.T. set that are very insightful and gives us a glimpse of his extraordinary technique as a director. The director himself gives due credit to his artisan family who are his crew for many movies, including composer John Williams. However, his personal life and hardships are glossed over such as his first marriage and divorce and his film duds are rarely acknowledged (Hook, The BFG, his comedies).

The film becomes a love-fest rather than a serious chronicle of an artist. It continuously lauds him. Janet Maslin, Todd McCarthy, J. Hoberman, and A. O. Scott analyze his films with much admiration. Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Oprah Winfrey, and Ben Kingsley speak eloquently of working with him. Yet, except for his estrangement with his father, there are no warts at all in this depiction of Mr. Spielberg and that becomes a bit of the problem for such a flattering documentary.

One wishes would have could have shown a more balanced vision of this immensely talented man with at least a margin of human error, but that does not exist in The World of Spielberg. Just as some of his films rely too heavily on uplifting and positive viewpoints, so does this documentary and that prevents this film from becoming a great work of art about a great director. Perhaps the subject himself could not give up complete control to Ms. Lacy to make an completely honest portrait of an artist.

Still, while the documentary shows this visionary director in the best of light, with little shading, it also shows us some of the best films of the last 40 years that emerged from a master craftsman who celebrates "pure movie-making". Spielberg is a fine testament about one man whose love for the movies made the world a better place.
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8/10
Inspiring
HorrorMovieManiacMan3 September 2019
I love this documentary. It not only touch's on Spielbergs film life but what led him to start doing what he does. It covers his whole life and it is absolutely fascinating. The only problem I had with it was that in one of the sections they talk about one of his movies and how it got poor reception. It was a different style from his other films and people in the documentary excuse it like it was a perfect movie and how the audience didn't like it because it wasn't what Spielberg usually does and not that the film had some problems.
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10/10
Honest account of Spielberg's journey
Kishere-film30 August 2019
Spielberg in my mind is one of the most inspirational filmmakers out there.

At age 12 I wrote a letter to Spielberg asking to be in one of his movies. To my surprise I received a letter back from Amblin Entertainment. This was back in 1994, so pre-internet! I was living in a sleepy town in Dorset,UK so this was a massive deal to me even though the letter diplomatically said no. It did however offer me advice on getting into the industry. Now in my 30's and an indie filmmaker this documentary has reminded me why I love filmmaking so much. Spielberg offers an honest account of his passion, family life and his struggles with his mindset between and during projects. You also hear from his family and their experience growing up with Spielberg. It's nice to know that Spielberg rocks up on set and doesn't always have a plan. You also get the thoughts and feelings of fellow filmmakers who shared his journey.

This really is a great documentary for any Spielberg fan or aspiring filmmaker.
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6/10
Too long, but very informative
skepticskeptical15 August 2019
I knew very little (nearly nothing) about Steven Spielberg the man before watching this excessively long documentary. I am pretty sure that Spielberg´s own editor would have whittled this down to a manageable length. (BBC has created some excellent ~50 minute documentaries of great directors which seem both thorough and satisfying...) I also find the general tone of idol worship a bit over-the-top. Spielberg is an interesting fellow, but he is, when all is said and done, a movie director.

Nonetheless, I did learn a lot--about his history and especially his family life, which appears to have informed and even motivated much of his filmmaking. I also enjoyed seeing the clear evolution of his movies from sensational blockbusters (beginning with Jaws) to more reflective works such as Munich and Schindler´s List, both of which are superlative, in my view. He has by now created so many successful films that I had lost sight of his directorship of even some movies which I´ve seen. Catch Me If You Can seemed to me quite Scorsese-esque, but it turns out that it was directed by Steven Spielberg!

All in all, this is worth watching for anyone interested in filmmaking and the life of a very creative person whose medium is movies. I recommend digesting it in two parts.
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6/10
Nice insight into the mind of one of the most popular directors EVER. It is a bit too much sugarcoated and sentimental towards the end, but that's THE Spielberg characteristic
imseeg7 May 2019
Being a kid from divorced parents, Steven Spielberg struggled for many years with extreme fears. The theme of fear of abandonment (divorce) and the theme of being destroyed by an evil other (bullies at school) can be recognized in many of his movies, especially in his early work: Duel, Jaws, ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Lots of other directors and actors in this documentary praise Steven Spielberg's vision HOW something should look on the silver screen, but the funny thing is that Spielberg himself confesses that he is incredibly insecure on set, every single time till this very day. He basically admits that he still doesnt know what he is doing, until the very last minute. Only at the exact moment of creation, the juices start flowing visually for Spielberg.

This is a nice portrait about Spielberg's long career, becoming a bit too much self praising and sentimental though towards the end, but hey, that's a characteristic all of Spielberg's movies have got in common: there has to be a sugar coated happy ending.

It's funny that Spielberg is the most popular movie director on this planet, with hundreds of millions of movie goers watching his movies, yet this documentary about him has only gotten 17 reviews up until now. I would advice anybody to especially watch his earliest movies: Duel, Jaws, Close Encounters, ET, all those early magnificent classics will guaranteed make your jaw drop down by amazement and lift your heart up skywards from joy, because of the sheer brilliance of these early Spielberg classics. What a playful, genius talent he was in his younger days! I must admit though that his later work, (from the 90s till now), is often (not always; "Saving Private Ryan") lacking in the same kind of exuberant powerful spirit his early work (70s and 80s) did have...
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9/10
A great documentary of Spielbergs life and work.
nicktusk-9559110 February 2019
A very impressive and informative piece of possibly the greatest movie director of all time. Spielbergs movies are so compelling but also so visceral. You feel as if your whole life is based on his trademark work by watching his movies. So many people have seen Spielberg's movies. He is what Bill gates is to Microsoft . Michael Jordan is to basketball. Tiger woods to golf. Undeniably talented and calculated director. And just when you think Steven is done directing he puts out another engaging movie picture for us to watch on the movie screen. Spielberg's work is also praised by fellow movie directors and friends throughout the whole documentary. There are also very relevant and up until now , unknown facts about his family life and history. Also many of his smash hit films are documented with behind the scenes shots of the film set. I found the Jaws behind the scenes information very fascinating . Perhaps his most watched film in history . However Saving Private Ryan another masterpiece with a trivia revealing fact about the film and why he directed it. As opposed to internet research, this film gives you all the true facts about Steven Spielberg and the people he has worked with over the years in Hollywood. A must see!
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8/10
A celebratory piece with daddy issues.
fees70721 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you dig Spielbergo you'll dig Spielberg (2017). It plays out pretty much like a Spielberg film. It's so Spielbergian! That light, disneyfied air floats over the screen while every now and then something serious will intrude like a knife and stab you but the disneyfiedness of the atmosphere heals all wounds with a rapidity unseen in history's tome of medical breakthroughs. Of course, sub theme of an elusive daddy permeates proceedings, but it's the mother of all daddy issues here, the great big cord that links all of Spielberg's work and which proves the man an auteur of cinema.

In short: there are lots of cool insights into the man, the work, the time and the people involved in the Spielbergian journey, so if that's your type of thing, this film is your type of thing. Spielberg!
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8/10
Spielberg - the documentary
dromasca9 October 2019
147 minutes may be too much or too little for a documentary about the biography and career of one of the most important contemporary film directors. That's exactly the feeling left by Susan Lacy's 'Spielberg' for HBO. On one hand 147 minutes for a documentary is far above the average or the 'norm', although at the end of the viewing I can testify that I was permanently captivated and that I did not have the impression of repetition or boredom at any time. On the other hand, I was left with the feeling that there were enough un-elucidated aspects, enough questions that were not asked, and even important and interesting Spielberg films that were ignored or mentioned only superficially.

What I liked: The first part of Steven Spielberg's career, including television directing and his first films, is rendered in an interesting and well documented manner. The formation of the group of young directors and friends who conquered Hollywood in the 1970s and who have since dominated an important segment of the American film industry is also well described, including the testimonies of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Brian De Palma. Very interesting and authentic are the discussions about Spielberg's family, including interviews with his parents and sisters, especially since family relationships and broken parents' marriage played a decisive role in the development of the director's personality. Finally, the best part of the film, in my opinion, is the one that discusses Spielberg's attitude towards his Jewishness, artistically transposed on screen into the most personal, most special, and perhaps the best film of his career: 'Schindler's List'.

What I liked less: The film is based, like any documentary dedicated to a film director, on many testimonies of actors, producers, other collaborators, as well as on the comments of film critics and colleagues. These abound here as well, but their quality is uneven. Few of them bring up original information and different perspectives. Most do not go beyond laudatory superficiality. Also some of his important films were left out, while too little space was given to others, for example the sci-fi trilogy made in the early 2000s. It would also have been interesting to find out more about Spielberg - the film producer.

Considering the quantity of the material and I suspect that a significant part was eliminated during the editing, I think that this film dedicated to Spielberg contains two films. One of them, original and interesting, would be the one about Spielberg's family and person, and their impact on his films. Mounted and presented separately I think it would have made a sensation. The other film, about Spielberg's film work, I believe would benefit from more in-depth work. Fortunately, Spielberg's career is still in progress, and there is still plenty of time for improvement.
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