(Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Every Steven Spielberg Movie Ranked by Tomatometer
A box office success out of the gate (at 16, he shot a movie for $500 and sold $501 in tickets), Steven Spielberg has toiled in what must be the world’s funnest imaginary sandbox, on his way to becoming the most successful movie director ever. From the depths of his talent, we’ve gotten dashing adventurer archaeologists (Indiana Jones), far-away visitors(E.T.), hungry hungry dinos (Jurassic Park and sequel), and maturing insight into some dark moments of recent history (Schindler’s List, The Post). For his latest, Spielberg looks to his own past, creating a semi-autobiographical portrait of the artist as a young man in The Fabelmans.
Sure, his movies transcend generations — but how do they stack against each on the Tomatometer, piled up like so much mashed potatoes? We’re ranking all of the Steven Spielberg movies from lowest to highest, and finding out. —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: 110836%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108647%
Critics Consensus: Schindler's List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg's signature tender humanism to create the director's dramatic masterpiece.
Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which... [More]
Adjusted Score: 105541%
Critics Consensus: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102361%
Critics Consensus: With help from a strong performance by Leonardo DiCaprio as real-life wunderkind con artist Frank Abagnale, Steven Spielberg crafts a film that's stylish, breezily entertaining, and surprisingly sweet.
Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) worked as a doctor, a lawyer, and as a co-pilot for a major airline --... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102283%
Critics Consensus: Featuring bravura set pieces, sly humor, and white-knuckle action, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time.
Dr. Indiana Jones, a renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101201%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by another winning performance from Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg's unflinchingly realistic war film virtually redefines the genre.
Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108945%
Critics Consensus: Part memoir, part ode to the power of the movies, The Fabelmans finds Steven Spielberg digging at the family roots that helped make him a beloved filmmaker -- and proves he hasn't lost his magic touch.
Young Sammy Fabelman falls in love with movies after his parents take him to see "The Greatest Show on Earth."... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99431%
Critics Consensus: Close Encounters of the Third Kind is deeply humane sci-fi exploring male obsession, cosmic mysticism, and music.
Science fiction adventure about a group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) witnesses an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102004%
Critics Consensus: Jurassic Park is a spectacle of special effects and life-like animatronics, with some of Spielberg's best sequences of sustained awe and sheer terror since Jaws.
In Steven Spielberg's massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff... [More]
Adjusted Score: 109293%
Critics Consensus: Steven Spielberg's West Side Story presents a new look at the classic musical that lives up to its beloved forebear -- and in some respects might even surpass it.
Love at first sight strikes when young Tony spots Maria at a high school dance in 1957 New York City.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103016%
Critics Consensus: Bridge of Spies finds new life in Hollywood's classic Cold War espionage thriller formula, thanks to reliably outstanding work from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98439%
Critics Consensus: Thought-provoking and visceral, Steven Spielberg successfully combines high concept ideas and high octane action in this fast and febrile sci-fi thriller.
Based on a story by famed science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, "Minority Report" is an action-detective thriller set in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100500%
Critics Consensus: Daniel Day-Lewis characteristically delivers in this witty, dignified portrait that immerses the audience in its world and entertains even as it informs.
With the nation embroiled in still another year with the high death count of Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln brings... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92929%
Critics Consensus: Duel makes brilliant use of its simple premise, serving up rock-solid genre thrills while heralding the arrival of a generational talent behind the lens.
David Mann (Dennis Weaver), a mild mannered electronics salesman, is driving cross-country on a two-lane highway when he encounters an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 116660%
Critics Consensus: The Post's period setting belies its bitingly timely themes, brought compellingly to life by director Steven Spielberg and an outstanding ensemble cast.
Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper -- The Washington Post. With help from editor... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87252%
Critics Consensus: Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.
An art collector appeals to Jones to embark on a search for the Holy Grail. He learns that another archaeologist... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88159%
Critics Consensus: Its plot may ape the countercultural road movies of its era, but Steven Spielberg's feature debut displays many of the crowd-pleasing elements he'd refine in subsequent films.
Married small-time crooks Lou-Jean (Goldie Hawn) and Clovis Poplin (William Atherton) lose their baby to the state of Texas and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 87546%
Critics Consensus: It may be too "dark" for some, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood's finest filmmaking teams in vintage form.
The second of the Lucas/Spielberg Indiana Jones epics is set a year or so before the events in Raiders of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88504%
Critics Consensus: Though the plot elements are certainly familiar, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still delivers the thrills and Harrison Ford's return in the title role is more than welcome.
It's the height of the Cold War, and famous archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), returning from his latest adventure, finds... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85694%
Critics Consensus: Munich can't quite achieve its lofty goals, but this thrilling, politically even-handed look at the fallout from an intractable political conflict is still well worth watching.
After the murder of 11 Israeli athletes and their coach at the 1972 Olympics, the Israeli government secretly assigns Avner... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81529%
Critics Consensus: Heartfelt without resorting to preachiness, Amistad tells an important story with engaging sensitivity and absorbing skill.
In 1839, the slave ship Amistad set sail from Cuba to America. During the long trip, Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) leads... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79897%
Critics Consensus: One of Steven Spielberg's most ambitious efforts of the 1980s, Empire of the Sun remains an underrated gem in the director's distinguished filmography.
Jamie Graham (Christian Bale), a privileged English boy, is living in Shanghai when the Japanese invade and force all foreigners... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85086%
Critics Consensus: Steven Spielberg's adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells' classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.
Dockworker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) struggles to build a positive relationship with his two children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83792%
Critics Consensus: Technically superb, proudly sentimental, and unabashedly old-fashioned, War Horse is an emotional drama that tugs the heartstrings with Spielberg's customary flair.
Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his beloved horse, Joey, live on a farm in the British countryside. At the outbreak of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82472%
Critics Consensus: A curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick's chilly bleakness and Spielberg's warm-hearted optimism, A.I. is, in a word, fascinating.
A robotic boy, the first programmed to love, David (Haley Joel Osment) is adopted as a test case by a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91401%
Critics Consensus: The BFG minimizes the darker elements of Roald Dahl's classic in favor of a resolutely good-natured, visually stunning, and largely successful family-friendly adventure.
Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Naturally... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82518%
Critics Consensus: Drawing deep from the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark playbook, Steven Spielberg has crafted another spirited, thrilling adventure in the form of Tintin.
While shopping at an outdoor market, young reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell), accompanied by his faithful dog, Snowy, buys a model... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94421%
Critics Consensus: Ready Player One is a sweetly nostalgic thrill ride that neatly encapsulates Spielberg's strengths while adding another solidly engrossing adventure to his filmography.
In 2045, the planet is on the brink of chaos and collapse, but people find salvation in the OASIS, an... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79123%
Critics Consensus: It might have been better served by a filmmaker with a deeper connection to the source material, but The Color Purple remains a worthy, well-acted adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66262%
Critics Consensus: Its central romance takes occasional dives into excessive sentimentality, but Always otherwise flies high thanks to director Steven Spielberg's rousing feel for adventure.
Aerial firefighter Pete (Richard Dreyfuss) risks himself and his vintage World War II airplane in a constant and death-defying quest... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68180%
Critics Consensus: The Terminal transcends its flaws through the sheer virtue of its crowd-pleasing message and a typically solid star turn from Tom Hanks.
When Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks), an Eastern European tourist, arrives at JFK in New York, war breaks out in his... [More]
Adjusted Score: 59729%
Critics Consensus: The Twilight Zone: The Movie suffers from the typical anthology-film highs and lows; thankfully, the former outnumber the latter.
This tribute to the beloved supernatural TV show has four episodes. In the first, racist Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) is... [More]
Adjusted Score: 58336%
Critics Consensus: The Lost World demonstrates how far CG effects have come in the four years since Jurassic Park; unfortunately, it also proves how difficult it can be to put together a truly compelling sequel.
John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) summons chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to his home with some startling information -- while... [More]
Adjusted Score: 41328%
Critics Consensus: Steven Spielberg's attempt at screwball comedy collapses under a glut of ideas, confusing an unwieldy scope for a commensurate amount of guffaws.
After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, residents of California descend into a wild panic, afraid that they might be the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 33056%
Critics Consensus: The look of Hook is lively indeed but Steven Spielberg directs on autopilot here, giving in too quickly to his sentimental, syrupy qualities.
When his young children are abducted by his old nemesis, Capt. Hook (Dustin Hoffman), middle-aged lawyer Peter Banning (Robin Williams)... [More]