Hot Best Seller

Steven Spielberg: A Biography

Availability: Ready to download

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.


Compare

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. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "[With a movie camera] I discovered what a tool and a weapon, what an instrument of self-inspection and self-expression it is . . . I had learned that film was power." -- Steven Spielberg, regarding his first movie-making efforts as a teenager, on page 101 If author McBride's Steven Spielberg: A Biography has a drawback it's that the biography's publication date is 1997 - which coincided with Spielberg's 50th birthday - and so it sort of treats the director as being more popularly known for crowd "[With a movie camera] I discovered what a tool and a weapon, what an instrument of self-inspection and self-expression it is . . . I had learned that film was power." -- Steven Spielberg, regarding his first movie-making efforts as a teenager, on page 101 If author McBride's Steven Spielberg: A Biography has a drawback it's that the biography's publication date is 1997 - which coincided with Spielberg's 50th birthday - and so it sort of treats the director as being more popularly known for crowd-pleasing popcorn-ish fare like Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park and the (at that time) Indiana Jones trilogy. The book concludes with the success of the Oscar-winning Schindler's List as the probable cinematic gateway into more respected, 'grown-up' work. So we're missing out on his last twenty-fives worth of critically-acclaimed films - such as Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Munich, and Lincoln - but otherwise this was still a very good book, especially with detailed look at his childhood / young adult years in New Jersey and Arizona, and how various experiences shaped his eventual work. But I have to subtract a star from the rating for the author's obvious and sometimes odd distaste for the aforementioned Indiana Jones trilogy - although Temple of Doom is certainly not one of my favorite flicks - because I'd argue that both Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade could now be considered classic adventure films that have stood the test of time.

  2. 5 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!

  3. 5 out of 5

    J.r. Molina

    What I want a from a directors biography. Interviews from friends, co workers and family, reviews of the time, and reflection of the work through modern lenses Anyways a great read and made me appreciate Spielberg more

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan Stack

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

  5. 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!

  6. 5 out of 5

    nbadarthmaul

    audiobook. a lot to unpack lol

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dave Stone

    Exhaustively researched, and exhaustive to read WHoooo Boy, does this book go on and on. I wanted to give up and quit so many times. You could have cut this book in half and it would have been a shade over just right. I love all the stuff about the movies and what went into them, especially the creative choices. But man oh man do you have to slog through a lot of tabloid he said she said to get to the next one. Just getting to the first home movie you have slog through the painfully complete hist Exhaustively researched, and exhaustive to read WHoooo Boy, does this book go on and on. I wanted to give up and quit so many times. You could have cut this book in half and it would have been a shade over just right. I love all the stuff about the movies and what went into them, especially the creative choices. But man oh man do you have to slog through a lot of tabloid he said she said to get to the next one. Just getting to the first home movie you have slog through the painfully complete history of every recorded ancestor of Mr. Spielberg this author could unearth. Equally painful to read were the numerous accounts of young Steven's cruel and violent behavior toward girls in his family and neighborhood. This book has everything in it, even if I only wanted a quarter of whats here.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Have been reading this for the better part of the year, and finally just decided to power through the home stretch this weekend. This is a pretty fascinating overview of Spielberg's career, and McBride's insight proves invaluable - even when I disagree with his takes on certain films (War of the Worlds is a masterpiece!), or wonder why he's belaboring the point of "Spielberg's actual age" so much in the early going. Also worth noting - unless it's since been updated - this only follows him up to Have been reading this for the better part of the year, and finally just decided to power through the home stretch this weekend. This is a pretty fascinating overview of Spielberg's career, and McBride's insight proves invaluable - even when I disagree with his takes on certain films (War of the Worlds is a masterpiece!), or wonder why he's belaboring the point of "Spielberg's actual age" so much in the early going. Also worth noting - unless it's since been updated - this only follows him up to about 2010, when Tintin and War Horse were just going into production, so it's obviously somewhat incomplete by now. Still, Spielberg's approach to his career is one from which I derive a preponderance of enthusiasm for my own, so that's always nice. Good to re-charge the batteries every once in a while.

  11. 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. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ElaineY

    Enjoyed this in audio. It reminded me of Stuart Wood's Son of Stone (Book 2`1) which had Stone's son, Peter, as a young genius in the movie industry. It was fun going along with Spielberg to see how he got into the industry. Enjoyed this in audio. It reminded me of Stuart Wood's Son of Stone (Book 2`1) which had Stone's son, Peter, as a young genius in the movie industry. It was fun going along with Spielberg to see how he got into the industry.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Paulin

    Love many of his movies. Was a good in depth on his life and career and how he was able to make some very iconic movies and make a big name in Hollywood for himself.

  15. 5 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.

  16. 5 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. 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Jones

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

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really loved reading this book. It's been quite the emotionally journey for me as I frequently fall in love with my protagonists. Since my lover is a real person this time, I found myself really becoming immersed into his history. I now realize that while I thought I was a "Spielberg fan", I am about as good of a Spielberg fan as Phil Tippett is a dinosaur supervisor. My first Spielberg movie was "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when I was 12. I also remember going to the theater to see "R I really loved reading this book. It's been quite the emotionally journey for me as I frequently fall in love with my protagonists. Since my lover is a real person this time, I found myself really becoming immersed into his history. I now realize that while I thought I was a "Spielberg fan", I am about as good of a Spielberg fan as Phil Tippett is a dinosaur supervisor. My first Spielberg movie was "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when I was 12. I also remember going to the theater to see "Raiders of the Lost Arc", "ET", "Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom", "Schindler's List", "Saving Private Ryan" (I think), and "Lincoln". I've also seen "Jaws" on a big screen at the beach (more than once). I'm pretty sure every other Spielberg movie that I've seen has been on some sort of TV screen including "Duel", all of the Jurassic movies, "AI" (sometimes referred to as my favorite movie), "Always", "Hook" and "Minority Report". Interestingly, I never knew that "Duel" which I saw as a very young child, and have remained so traumatized by, that I didn't get my driver's license until I was 23, and which I continue to use as my excuse for the way I drive on road trips, was a Spielberg film. So, because there were so many films that I hadn't seen, I bought all of the DVDs (including some TV shows and movies). I also began watching the many interviews and speeches he's given, which are now available on YouTube. I've purchased many of the vintage copies of magazines featuring Steven's many adventures, and other references such as Carl Gottlieb's "The Jaws Log". Steven Spielberg has become my COVID project. Of the movies that I've finally watched on DVD, (I can't tell you how hard I cried when I realized that I may never be able to see these movies in the theater), I am absolutely IN LOVE with "The Color Purple", "The Sugarland Express", and "1941". "Empire of the Sun" is growing on me (I've only watched it once), and I still have to watch everything since 2005 (except Lincoln). I've really changed the way I think about movies, in that, I now try to pick up on all of these nuances in lighting, and camera angles, and expressions, and gestures that I never fully appreciated before. However, that pressure becomes kind of overwhelming at times, and I sometimes find myself afraid to watch them AT ALL. I am always hoping to be in "just the right mood" to digest the emotional content, and alert enough to notice all of the subtle transitions, and perceptive enough to take in all of the grand cinematography; but I am hardly ever in THAT mood! I have finally realized that I won't ever fully understand a movie in one viewing, even a "light" movie will probably require at least ten viewings if I want to really experience it. So now I've given myself permission to just watch a film for the first time, and enjoy what I enjoy, with no pressure on myself. But, I also know that 2 through 5 are going to wreck me, but then after 6 through 10, I'll finally understand the film pretty well, until I come to understand that I don't. When the week of June 29, 2021 rolled around, I hoped the movie "AI" would be in theaters for the 20th anniversary. It wasn't. I cried. I hope that I can see Schindler's list in a theater on, or around November 30, 2023. Beyond that, I fear to desire anything more because the only thing that will fulfill my dream will be the thing that haunts my nightmares. I am so happy to have read this book and to have been encouraged to seek out even more understanding beyond this book. I love empathizing with young Steven: that lonely, imaginative, dreamer, yearning for acceptance and belonging. I love being inspired by apprentice Steven: that confident, creative storyteller, reaching out and grabbing his dreams. I love being in awe of virtuoso Steven: that Master, actualized, artist, re-creating the industry in his own image. Joseph McBride did an excellent job stimulating my enthusiasm, delighting my curiosities, and elevating my spirit. A+

  19. 4 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 4 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. 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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jolls

    Masterful book that not only gives a biography, but also a film course in the process. I reference this book countless times over the years.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Cox, a librarian

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

  24. 4 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.

  25. 5 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. 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.

  26. 4 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. 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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard Wilson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Faye Brosnaham

  30. 5 out of 5

    James Disch

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...