24 Spectacular Facts About Your Favorite Steven Spielberg Films

Updated on August 29, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the most critically acclaimed and popular directors in film history. His directing resume is versatile and he is a highly decorated figure in the cinema. With blockbuster hits like Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park, Spielberg is a Hollywood heavy-hitter. Here are 24 spectacular facts about your favorite Steven Spielberg films.

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1. During the production of Jaws (1975), Robert Shaw (Quint) and Richard Dreyfuss (Matt Hooper) could not stand each other and they argued all the time, resulting in genuine tension between their characters.

2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) was partially inspired by an experience from Steven Speilberg's childhood; one night his parents rushed the children in the car, without notice, and drove to an area others were gathered and watched a stunning meteor shower.

3. In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), when Indy and Marion are on the ship and he says, "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage" was ad-libbed by Harrison Ford.

4. Steven Spielberg shot most of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) from the eye-level of a child to further connect with Elliot and E.T.

5. For the bug chamber sequence in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Kate Capshaw (Willie Scott) was really covered with over two thousand insects. She had to take sedatives prior to the scene to get over her initial fear.

6. The Color Purple (1985) caused one of the most controversial moments in the history of the Academy Awards when it received 11 nominations, but no Best Director nomination for Steven Spielberg. Shockingly, the film won none of the categories.

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7. Harrison Ford nominated River Phoenix to play him as a teenager in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). They previously worked together on one of Ford's favorite film, The Mosquito Coast (1986). Phoenix said he prepared for the role by basing his portrayal on Harrison Ford and observing him, rather than his character Indiana Jones.

8. Robin Williams and Steven Spielberg became close friends during the making of Hook (1991). It was reported that after Williams' death, Spielberg watched Hook in his honor but couldn't finish it because he couldn't stop crying.

9. During production of Jurassic Park (1993), the T. Rex would sometimes malfunction due to the rain. Producer Kathleen Kennedy recalled, "The T. Rex went into the heebie-jeebies sometimes. Scared the crap out of us. We'd be like, eating lunch and all of a sudden a T. Rex would come alive. At first we didn't know what was happening, and then we realized it was the rain. You'd hear people start screaming."

10. When survivor Mila Pfefferberg was introduced to Ralph Fiennes on the set of Schindler's List (1993), she began shaking uncontrollably because he reminded her too much of the real Amon Goeth.

11. The Japanese tourists running from the rampaging T. Rex in the San Diego scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) are paying homage to the Godzilla films. They are saying in Japanese: "I left Japan to get away from this!"

12. In preparation for Saving Private Ryan (1998), the cast endured a grueling, week-long boot camp. Tom Hanks had previously been trained for the Vietnam War scenes in Forrest Gump (1994), and was the only one who knew just how hard and uncompromising it would be. "The other guys, I think, were expecting something like camping in the woods, and maybe learning things while sitting around the fire."

Steven Spielberg & Robin Williams.
Steven Spielberg & Robin Williams. | Source
Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List.
Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List. | Source
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13. For A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), in order to further his non-human appearance, Haley Joel Osment had his exposed skin (face, arms, hands) shaved every day to give him a plastic look.

14. In Minority Report (2002), when John Anderton (Tom Cruise) visits the jail, the retina scanner makes a confirmation sound that years later Apple would use as the charging sound.

15. Steven Spielberg's original choice to portray con man Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can (2002) was Johnny Depp; Leonardo DiCaprio eventually nabbed the role.

16. During the filming of the underwater scenes (when the ferry capsizes) in War of the Worlds (2005), Spielberg played a prank on Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning by playing the theme music from Jaws though the massive underwater speakers on the sound stage.

17. Harrison Ford's costume measurements for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) were the same as they were in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Ford has kept himself in very good shape, and even performed all of his own stunts.

18. After 10 years of development, Spielberg finally decided he would only make Lincoln (2012) if Daniel Day-Lewis decided to play him; he would not have created the film had the actor said no.

Dakota Fanning & Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds.
Dakota Fanning & Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds. | Source
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln.
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln. | Source

19. When he first read the novel Jaws, Spielberg said he found himself rooting for the shark because the human characters were so unlikable.

20. During the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) in Tunisia, nearly everyone in the cast and crew got sick except for Spielberg. It is believed that he avoided illness by eating only the food he'd brought with him: a lot of cans of Spaghetti-O's.

21. In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), the scene where Elliott kisses the pretty girl at school during the frog dissection took three to four takes to get right because Henry Thomas was so nervous.

22. Bob Hoskins (Smee) bought beer for 300+ extras after a lengthy and complicated scene was cut in Hook (1991).

23. While discussing chaos theory, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) shamelessly flirts with Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) in Jurassic Park (1993). After first meeting on the set, the pair ended up dating and were engaged for two years.

24. Spielberg insisted that all his royalties and residuals from Schindler's List (1993) be donated to the Shoah Foundation, which records and preserves written and videotaped testimonies from survivors of genocide worldwide. He felt it was "blood money."

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Bob Hoskins as Smee in Hook.
Bob Hoskins as Smee in Hook. | Source
Laura Dern & Jeff Goldblum.
Laura Dern & Jeff Goldblum. | Source

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    © 2019 Rachel M Johnson

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