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Steven Spielberg: A Biography

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Director, producer, and studio magnate, Steven Spielberg is the most successful filmmaker in movie history, responsible for such box-office blockbusters as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan. From Spielberg's troubled youth to the personal epiphany of Schindler's List and t Director, producer, and studio magnate, Steven Spielberg is the most successful filmmaker in movie history, responsible for such box-office blockbusters as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan. From Spielberg's troubled youth to the personal epiphany of Schindler's List and the founding of DreamWorks, this impeccable biography reveals hidden dimensions of his personality and creative evolution while illuminating each film. This impeccable biography reveals hidden dimensions of the director's creative evolution while illuminating each film.


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Director, producer, and studio magnate, Steven Spielberg is the most successful filmmaker in movie history, responsible for such box-office blockbusters as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan. From Spielberg's troubled youth to the personal epiphany of Schindler's List and t Director, producer, and studio magnate, Steven Spielberg is the most successful filmmaker in movie history, responsible for such box-office blockbusters as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones trilogy, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan. From Spielberg's troubled youth to the personal epiphany of Schindler's List and the founding of DreamWorks, this impeccable biography reveals hidden dimensions of his personality and creative evolution while illuminating each film. This impeccable biography reveals hidden dimensions of the director's creative evolution while illuminating each film.

30 review for Steven Spielberg: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    James Caterino

    So much more than a mere biography, this monstrous book is an encyclopedia Spielberg, a gossip column, an intelligent academic study, and so much more. Full disclosure: I am a lifelong fan of the director and have four of his films in my all-time top 20; “Empire of the Sun”, “A.I.”, “E.T.” and “Close Encounters”. So this is a book made for someone like me. But truly, there is treasure trove of behind the scenes information here. I read everything I could get my hands on Spielberg related growing So much more than a mere biography, this monstrous book is an encyclopedia Spielberg, a gossip column, an intelligent academic study, and so much more. Full disclosure: I am a lifelong fan of the director and have four of his films in my all-time top 20; “Empire of the Sun”, “A.I.”, “E.T.” and “Close Encounters”. So this is a book made for someone like me. But truly, there is treasure trove of behind the scenes information here. I read everything I could get my hands on Spielberg related growing up and just about all of it is quoted from or referenced in here somewhere. The amount of research that went into this epic biography is staggering. The personal lives of the artists and stars do not interest me past a certain point. For me it is about the work, the art. So admittedly I could have done without some of the gossipy stuff. But the author does a good job of tying everything into his analysis. The author is a former critic for Variety, and while I have my disagreements with some of his critiques, (he dismisses “Poltergeist” and despises “The Temple of Doom”, two of my favorites), most of what he writes is highly intelligent, well thought out, astute, insightful analysis. And at last, here is someone who finally gives “A.I.” its proper due and recognizes it as the haunting, achingly sad, beautiful masterpiece it is. Bottom line: Like so many of the Bearded One’s films, this book is a masterpiece!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan Stack

    Very well researched. Almost too much. Do we need to know when, exactly, Max Spielberg was conceived?

  3. 5 out of 5

    StephenKubrick13

    Steven Spielberg: A Biography is the perfect source for learning about Steven Spielberg, acclaimed director of classics such as Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. It doesn’t go on for too long and ends perfectly. You can tell that Joseph McBride really did a lot of research in order to find out about this director. I would highly recommend it. Now it’s off to Stanley Kubrick’s Biography!

  4. 4 out of 5

    nbadarthmaul

    audiobook. a lot to unpack lol

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aihpos

    There are lots of information listed here which I didn't know about Steven Spielberg. For one, I didn't know his family background was Jewish. They fled to America during the war. Then, he once lived in Phoenix, Arizona while growing up. I was even surprised that he stayed in Valley of the Sun. If I knew, I would have took a closer at that place to feel what it was like during his time when I was in and out of Arizona several time. From this book, I learn that Steven got his first camera from hi There are lots of information listed here which I didn't know about Steven Spielberg. For one, I didn't know his family background was Jewish. They fled to America during the war. Then, he once lived in Phoenix, Arizona while growing up. I was even surprised that he stayed in Valley of the Sun. If I knew, I would have took a closer at that place to feel what it was like during his time when I was in and out of Arizona several time. From this book, I learn that Steven got his first camera from his father. To say his father didn't love him would be an understatement. Unlike many father's who don't really care much for their child back in those days, his father was always concern about his education. However, what Steven wanted to do was to make film. His father was more practical in making him get an education. Like all the biographies I have read, even Steven Spielberg have his share of hard stories in order to get to where he is from today. So who could blame him even if he show a bit of stuck up attitude. It wasn't easy for him even though he is talented. People were afraid of him outshine them that is why in those days very hard to built that dream if you do not have connections at all. Just talent alone is just not enough. I didn't quite enjoy reading this. Too much details about how flim movie was done and not what I was looking for in a biography book. A bit dry.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Published in 1997, this is a thorough (and hefty, at 528 pages in total, including various notes etc) and well written biography that follows Spielberg closely from precocious child genius to huge entertainment phenomenon. Focussing heavily on his youth (and striving to make a connection with his outsider status in relation to his later direction of “Schindlers List”), this really came alive for me when Spielberg reached Hollywood, with the period up to “1941” told in great depth. Beyond that, t Published in 1997, this is a thorough (and hefty, at 528 pages in total, including various notes etc) and well written biography that follows Spielberg closely from precocious child genius to huge entertainment phenomenon. Focussing heavily on his youth (and striving to make a connection with his outsider status in relation to his later direction of “Schindlers List”), this really came alive for me when Spielberg reached Hollywood, with the period up to “1941” told in great depth. Beyond that, the writer had middling feelings about the films (didn’t like “Raiders” or “Temple Of Doom” at all) and so some are addressed really briefly while his marriages - first to Amy Irving, then to Kate Capshaw - aren’t really examined in much detail at all (especially the latter). Other than those niggles, this is very readable, well presented and thoroughly researched, a great introduction to the director (there are other editions, bringing his story further up to date) and I’d very much recommend it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julian

    I thought this book was great, it goes in depth about Steven's life, him overcoming things, and his first films. I also like how it talks about the origin of some of his most famous movies, like Jurassic Park, King Kong, and Jaws. This book is really good at describing how he did it, where he did it, and why he did it. Which makes the story even better to read. I definitely recommend this to anyone who is fan.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Luke Cavanagh

    Fascinating book with some much background details. The comments about Goonies (1985) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) are slightly off, since both are classics. Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) is a proto-Harry Potter movie.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jancee Bennett

    This was so dry, I’m dehydrated. I wouldn’t say it’s entirely the authors fault. Steve is the most successful AND the most boring guy at the same time somehow.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    A great biography on Spielberg. Dives into the films, but also into the personal life. Joseph McBride doesn't shy away from the flaws, so you get a full picture of Spielberg.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Jones

    easy read, and pretty interesting on how he got so famous in the early days of film making.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I love all the inside info about the making of Jaws, Indy, ET, Color Purple, etc. because I grew up with these movies and they are imprinted on me so strongly. (It was odd reading about all the bad reviews these movies got from serious critics when they came out because I was a kid at the time and assumed everyone loved them.) But I couldn't take all the psychoanalytic tone of a lot of the writing and skipped over a lot of the stuff about his adolescence. Still, it's such an American success sto I love all the inside info about the making of Jaws, Indy, ET, Color Purple, etc. because I grew up with these movies and they are imprinted on me so strongly. (It was odd reading about all the bad reviews these movies got from serious critics when they came out because I was a kid at the time and assumed everyone loved them.) But I couldn't take all the psychoanalytic tone of a lot of the writing and skipped over a lot of the stuff about his adolescence. Still, it's such an American success story and I'm mildly intrigued by SS's reluctance to come clean about some of the facts of his life. All part of becoming a success.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I really enjoyed hearing about Spielberg's childhood as he learned his craft, but the author goes way out of his way in the book to give his own opinion of Spielberg movies. Of course some of my favorites are ones the author hates because they are just "popcorn" movies and not "intellectual" enough. Like many (but not all) university professors, he wanders way out into the weeds to talk about his own agenda. I really wouldn't call this a pure biography, but an opinion piece that includes some bi I really enjoyed hearing about Spielberg's childhood as he learned his craft, but the author goes way out of his way in the book to give his own opinion of Spielberg movies. Of course some of my favorites are ones the author hates because they are just "popcorn" movies and not "intellectual" enough. Like many (but not all) university professors, he wanders way out into the weeds to talk about his own agenda. I really wouldn't call this a pure biography, but an opinion piece that includes some biographical background. His psychoanalysis of Spielberg and his movies was mentioned way too often as well.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andreas Jungherr

    Very good biography. Especially strong with regards to Spielberg's early days. The critical but balanced discussion of his later films let me to reassess quite a few of my former lazily harsh initial reactions to them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris a librarian

    I still need to get around to seeing The Sugarland Express.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    This is very long book but everything you need to know about Steven Spielberg and then some. But I really enjoyed the sections on the movies he made.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella

    Didn't finish this either, but I want to. I intend to go back to it actually, maybe rent it from the library this time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric Gilliland

    Excellent biography of Spielberg. It's especially strong on his formative years. The newer edition goes up to 2010, but mostly consists of film criticism.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Faye Brosnaham

  21. 4 out of 5

    James Disch

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Jolls

  24. 4 out of 5

    arg/machine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fre

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamey DuVall

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pat Downs

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  29. 4 out of 5

    severyn

  30. 5 out of 5

    james steller

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