In 1973, when Steven Spielberg's movie, Sugarland Express, was released, it was acclaimed by Pauline Kael as "One of the most phenomenal debut films in history." Spielberg was twenty-six. This book explores the Spielberg phenomenon within the context both of the films themselves - by examining their appeal, plots, stars, directorial style, and cinematic technique - as well as the popularity of this filmmaker's themes and subject matter. Combining biography with astute, in-depth (but never pretentious) film analysis, Philip Taylor looks at the inside story of Spielberg's rise to fame as the wunderkind the Hollywood establishment loves to hate. He examines Spielberg's formative filmmaking influences, including directors such as Francois Truffaut and David Lean; his early years in television; and the films he has produced and directed, with reference to the technical and commercial considerations surrounding them - including such blockbusters as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, E.T., and others. The text is illustrated with production shots and film stills, and a detailed filmography provides plot synopses for all of Spielberg's films, as producer and director, whether for film or TV. Our most commercially successful director for the last fifteen years, Steven Spielberg is primarily an entertainer, and his films a medium for escapism in the best Hollywood tradition. His ability to create universal appeal is a rare talent but, surprisingly, one still hardly recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.