Every Steven Spielberg-written film ranked by Rotten Tomatoes Score

Long recognized as one of the greatest directors of all time, Steven Spielberg cemented his legacy with films like Jurassic Park, The soldier James Ryanand Jaw. The Fabelmans is Spielberg’s latest film and a coming-of-age story heavily inspired by Spielberg’s own youth.


Although Steven Spielberg has directed over 30 films in his career, The Fabelmans is only the fifth film for which he also has a “Written By” credit. whileThe Fabelmans While it has received positive reviews so far, fans of Spielberg’s work may be interested in finding out how it compares to the other films he has written throughout his career.

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8/8 Firelight (1964) – N/A

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Steven Spielberg, 17, was supervising the shoot for his first film, Firelight

Shot for only $500 firelight was the first film that Spielberg directed at the age of 17 (per Britannica). A sci-fi film that follows alien abductions that are disrupting a fictional small town in Arizona. The film only screened once at Spielberg’s local theater in Phoenix.

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While the film never had a wide theatrical or home release, and there are rumors that only 3% of the film ever got a release, Spielberg himself did mention the fallout firelight had on the writing and production of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. With Joseph McBride Steven Spielberg: A Biographyit says that some shots out firelight were recreated in their entirety for close encounters.

7/8 Ace Eli and Rodger Of The Skies (1973) – N/A

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Shot from Steven Spielberg's first feature film credit

Ace Eli and Rodger Of The Skies Adventure comedy about a stunt pilot who has to raise his young son alone after the tragic death of his wife. Not currently available to stream, the film’s most notable aspect is arguably Steven Spielberg’s first feature-length film, with Spielberg receiving a written credit for developing the story.

The film garnered some praise for its flight scenes and leading actors, and Spielberg fans will note themes such as paternal responsibility that have recurred in his films and screenplays since.

6/8 AI Artificial Intelligence – 75%

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Haley Joel Osment surrounded by robots in AI artificial intelligence

After spending decades in development hell, Stanley Kubrick passed in person AI Artificial Intelligence to Steven Spielberg in 1995 (per The ringtone). After another six years of development, the film was finally released in 2001. Based on a short story by Brian Aldiss, Spielberg’s screenplay stayed close to the treatment written by Ian Watson when the project was still Kubrick’s project.

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Despite being a passion project for the director, initial audiences and reviews weren’t quite as thrilled with the results of his “collaboration” with Kubrick. At the moment, many thought the film was much more of a Kubrick film than a Spielberg film, making it a disappointment at the box office, despite the fact that the film has grown in popularity in the years since its release.

5/8 The idiots – 76%

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The Goonies: One of the craziest kids movies of the 1980s

Technically, Spielberg just made up the story for it the goonies, with Chris Columbus doing the actual script. But the film still retains much of the magic Spielberg was known for throughout his career. Tell the story of a group of friends who go in search of lost treasure, The Goonies became one of the most popular films of the 80’s and helped launch the careers of young actors such as Sean Astin and Josh Brolin.

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While he may have only contributed the story, Spielberg’s fingerprints throughout the ’80s classic are on par with his best films with adventure, humor and heart.

4/8 The Sugarland Express – 86%

Available to rent from Prime Video

Steven Spielberg's feature-length directorial debut

Along with co-writing the story, The Sugarland Express is a significant entry in Spielberg’s filmography for two reasons: it marks his feature film directorial debut and it is the first collaboration between Spielberg and composer John Williams.

Starring Goldie Hawn and William Atherton, the film follows two parents who take a police officer hostage and are on the run to reach their son before he is placed in foster care. The success of this film prompted Richard Zanuck and David Brown to let Spielberg work on his next film. Jaw.

3/8 Poltergeist – 88%

Stream on HBO Max

Immediately after its release poltergeist established itself as a horror film unlike any that audiences had seen before. Moviegoers were shocked to see Steven Spielberg’s name with a script credit and horror maestro Tobe Hooper directing.

With Hooper reportedly trimming more of Spielberg’s sci-fi elements in favor of a pure horror film, the results of their collaboration have undoubtedly been successful poltergeist is still considered one of the greatest and scariest horror films of all time. Originally rated R by the MPAA, Hooper & Spielberg were able to reduce it to a PG rating and do so poltergeist also one of the scariest movies ever released with a PG rating.

2/8 Close Encounters of the Third Kind – 94%

Available to rent from Prime Video

Close Encounters of the Third Kind final shot

Using elements from Spielberg’s first film, firelight, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is still considered one of the director’s best films and is widely considered one of the best sci-fi films of all time. Tell the story of Roy Neary how his life changes after an encounter with a UFO. close encounters was only Spielberg’s third theatrical debut as a director, and cemented his status as a director to watch.

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The film’s script focuses on themes found in many of Spielberg’s later films, including family and coming-of-age, and introduced audiences for the first time to what would become the director’s trademark.

1/8 The Fabelmans – 94%

Currently in cinemas

the fabulous men
Paul Dano and Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans.

For his latest film and screenplay, Spielberg looked inward. The Fabelmans is a semi-autobiographical story about the youth and early career of an aspiring director named Sammy Fabelman.

Featuring characters inspired by his parents and other close childhood friends, the film has received near-universal acclaim from audiences and critics alike, with particular praise for portraying Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy and Michelle Williams and Paul Dano as his parents . The film may be a coming-of-age story, but Spielberg’s love of films and belief in their power is clear in every shot.

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