Poll: Over 75 Critics Voted For Steven Spielberg’s Best Films, ‘Jaws’ #1 – Jordan Ruimy

This year’s 12th edition of the Scary Movies festival at Film at Lincoln Center premiered Ari Aster’s extended version of “Midsommar” this past Saturday.
With a filmography that spans six decades and more than 40 movies, Steven Spielberg’s landmark career has been that rarest of beasts, mixing commercial success with resounding artistic merits.
It’s not like he’s stopping either, the 75-year-old director just premiered “The Fabelmans,” the most personal movie of his career, to overwhelmingly positive reviews and a Toronto audience award to boot. Now, it’s become the current frontrunner to win the Best Picture Oscar. This comes after another critically-acclaimed film, 2021’s “West Side Story,” which itself was a seven-time Oscar nominee.
Suffice to say, there was no shortage of films to choose from when I asked 75 critics to submit what they considered to be the five best films of Spielberg’s career.
Jaws (60 votes)
Schindler’s List (41)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (40)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (36)
E.T. (29)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (25)
Saving Private Ryan (23)
Jurassic Park (18)
Minority Report (16)
Munich (15)
Catch Me If You Can (14)
Empire of the Sun (13)
Lincoln (13)
Duel (9)
The Sugarland Express (8)
West Side Story (7)
The Last Crusade (6)
The Temple of Doom (5)
Bridge of Spies (4)
The Color Purple (6)
1941 (3)
War of the Worlds (3)
The Post (3)
Always (2)
The Terminal (1)
Tintin (1)
Ready Player One (1)
Of course, like every great director, Spielberg’s had his fair share of faux pas over the years. Not receiving a single vote from any of the 75 participants were “Hook, “The Lost World,” “Amistad,” Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “War Horse,” and “The BFG.”
The biggest surprise is the sudden reappraisal of his 2001 sci-fi film “AI: Artificial Intelligence.” Impressively finishing in sixth place, the film was met with mixed reviews upon its release, but has gained a massive amount of critical support in the 20 years since.
Of note, only film critic Jordan Cronk voted for Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” which has only been screened, so far, at the Toronto International Film Festival. I would imagine more than a few people would have voted for that film if they had seen it advance of this poll’s publishing.
Kaleem Aftab (BFI), Carlos Aguilar (RogerEbert), Ethan Alter (Yahoo Movies), Jeffrey M Anderson (San Francisco Chronicle), David Ansen (Newsweek), Michael Atkinson (Village Voice), Nicolas Bell (IONCINEMA), Alex Billington (First Showing), Chuck Bowen (Slant Magazine), Liz Braun (Toronto Sun), Tom Brueggmann (IndieWire), Daryl Chin (Documents on Arts and Cinema), Nick Clement (Variety), Laura Clifford (Reeling Reviews), Ben Croll (The Wrap), Jordan Cronk (Film Comment), Peter DeBruge (Variety), Ed Douglas (Below the Line), A Dowd (The AV Club), Michael Dunaway (Paste Magazine), Steven Erickson (Gay City News), Max Evry (Slash Film), Marshall Fine (Freelance), Steve Finkelstein (FB Film Forum), Jaky Goldberg (Les Inrokuptibles), Jason Gorber (That Shelf), Matthew Hays (Concordia, Professor), Patrick Heidmann (Zeit), Odie Henderson (RogerEbert), Barry Hertz (The Globe and Mail), Matt Hoffman (The Film School Rejects), Robert Horton (Film Comment), Peter Howell (Toronto Star), Richard T. Jameson (Film Comment), Dave Karger (TCM), Elizabeth Karlin (Freelance), Don Kaye (Den of Geek), Adam Kempenaar (FilmSpotting), Glenn Kenny (New York Times), Peter Keough (Boston Phoenix), Harry Knowles (Aint It Cool), Robert Koehler (Film Comment), Kevin Laforest (Exta Beurre), Marcos Levy (Freelance), Craig D. Lindsey (Nashville Scene), Rod Lurie (Director), Piers Marchant (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette), Eric Marchen (That Shelf), Steve Mears (Film Comment), Myron Meisel (Freelance), Jared Mobarak (The Film Stage), Matt Neglia (Next Best Picture), Sheila O’Malley (RogerEbert), Brian Owens (Calgary International Film Festival), Van Papadopoulos (Cannes Classics, Programmer) Michael Patterson (Michael’s Telluride Blog), Gerald Peary (Harvard Film Archive), Miguel Pendas (San Francisco Film Festival), David Poland (The Hot Button), Claudia Puig (USA Today), Mara Reinstein (US Weekly), Timothy Rhys (Movie Maker), Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald), Nathaniel Rogers (The Film Experience), Nick Schager (Slant Magazine), Jordan Ruimy (World of Reel), Niles Schwartz (Slant Magazine), Yael Shuv (Time Out Tel Aviv), Jeff Sneider (The Ankler), Tony Joe Stemme (Freelance), Marlow Stern (The Daily Beast), David Sterritt (Christian Science Monitor), Sara Stewart (New York Post), Bob Strauss (San Francisco Chronicle), Ed Symkus (Boston Globe), Brian Truitt (USA Today), Max Weiss (Baltimore Magazine), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere), Oliver Whitney (Screen Crush), Matthew Wilder (Filmmaker), Chuck Wilson (LA Weekly), Susan Wloszcyna (Gold Derby)
Individual lists to be posted later today.
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