Spielberg documentary unveils figure behind some of the top movies of all time
If you have watched more than a few movies in the past 40 years, you surely know the name, Steven Spielberg. He burst onto the scene as a young, visionary upstart who was able to turn the “unfilmable” novel Jaws into a major box office success and an ongoing cinema classic.
Spielberg followed that rookie win with a string of massive hits including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan. Sure, there were some misfires, but how many Hollywood directors can claim a string of blockbuster successes across multiple genres the likes of Spielberg’s record?
Now, though, it’s the filmmaker that will be on the screen, as HBO is releasing a documentary about his life and monumental success. The opening act of the documentary focuses on Spielberg’s early life and breakout career.
The audience learns that Spielberg had an amazing introduction into the movie business, being raised around extraordinary directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, celebrated director of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.
Coppola, too, offers some of the greatest praise for Spielberg as a unique talent among filmmakers, saying no other director has been able to jump between making massive blockbuster movies and prestige films quite like Spielberg.
The documentary is helmed by director Susan Lacy, whose resume includes PBS’ American Masters Series. Suitably, it opens with a movie that inspired Spielberg’s love for movies and the movie business. From there, the narrative moves into the trials and tribulations of filming Jaws, which might have succumbed to B-movie effects and miscalculated moves in the hands of another director.
But Spielberg fought through the struggles. He found a way to film something moviegoers had never really seen in a way that inspired countless other horror and suspense directors, while practically inventing the summer blockbuster.
The documentary interviews multiple family members and friends of the director, as well as colleagues who share personal stories about one of the most private public figures in Hollywood.
Then, viewers get what they really want, an inside look at the life and times of the director through his own eyes. Spielberg is forthright and open in front of the camera, talking about his struggles growing up and the difficulty he had dealing with his few notable flops.
This is a side of the director that many fans have never seen before, and it should add an impressive layer onto the myth and the legend of one of Hollywood’s premier directors, of his generation or any other.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.