The Top 10 Highest-Grossing Steven Spielberg Movies

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The Top 10 Highest-Grossing Steven Spielberg Movies

When it comes to Steven Spielberg, there’s not much that can be said of him that the world isn’t already aware of: his reputation as one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema precedes him. With a career spanning nearly six decades, this filmmaker has left an indelible mark worldwide, spearheading some of cinema’s most popular and groundbreaking productions, which over the years have remained as audience favorites.



Spielberg’s passion for film arose at a very early age, first as an avid moviegoer and subsequently as filmmaker, working on his first productions at the tender age of 12. In 1964, he premiered Firelight, his first indie film released in a local theater, which was responsible for ultimately igniting his passion for filmmaking. Eventually, Spielberg became an apprentice at Universal Studios, the company that granted him the opportunity to shoot his first short film and then offered him his first deal as director with a seven-year extension, which made him the youngest director ever to be offered such a deal by a major studio.

Although Spielberg’s skills were acknowledged since his early days in the industry, his breakthrough would only come in 1975 with Jaws, a film that shattered many records and became the first blockbuster in the history of cinema. From then on, Spielberg went on to headline critically and commercially successful productions that continued to solidify his reputation as an idol in the industry and garnered him cinema’s most prestigious awards. However, he did not limit himself to directing: he has also served as writer and producer, founding the production companies Amblin Entertainment and DreamWorks.

Spielberg’s contributions to film and television have been enormous, and he has been credited for some of the highest-grossing films in history. Furthermore, his work in the industry has inspired thousands of aspiring filmmakers worldwide. Here are the 10 highest-grossing films of Steven Spielberg’s career.

10 Raiders of the Lost Ark — $389.9M

Paramount Pictures

In 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark kicked off the Indiana Jones franchise with a bang, becoming one of the most acclaimed productions in history. This adventure film from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman stars Harrison Ford in one of his most iconic roles joined by Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliott.

Raiders of the Lost Ark follows renowned archaeologist Indiana Jones on his quest to find and recover the Ark of the Covenant, a powerful and vitally important device that he must get to before the Nazis do. Besides becoming a box-office hit, Spielberg’s film went on to earn nine Academy Award nominations, taking home wins for Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

Related: Steven Spielberg’s 10 Least Successful Movies

9 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — $474.3M

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Paramount Pictures

The success of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981 prompted the development of the franchise’s first sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Although this movie became another box-office hit, it did not meet with as positive reviews as the original film. Fortunately, Spielberg managed to recover with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the third installment of the film series starring Harrison Ford as the title character.

This time, Jones sets out on an expedition to find the Holy Grail, an ancient artifact that his father had been researching years ago. Joining Ford in this 1989 blockbuster are Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies and Julian Glover.

8 Jaws — $482.9M

Universal Pictures

Jaws is the film that catapulted Spielberg’s career to stardom, entirely changing the future of the industry and scarring moviegoers all over the world. This 1975 production is based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name and follows a police chief, a shark hunter, and a marine biologist on their mission to hunt down a shark that endangers the tranquility of the seaside town of Amity Island.

Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw head the cast of this blockbuster that had a very tricky shooting process, as it was the first major movie to be filmed in the ocean, resulting in a number of malfunctions in their mechanical sharks. Even so, Spielberg managed to terrorize the audience almost without actually displaying the shark on screen, which earned him great acclaim and several accolades. The overwhelming popularity of Jaws spurred the development of three sequels, but none of them featured the original director.

7 Saving Private Ryan — $485M

Saving Private Ryan
Paramount Pictures

1998 marked the release of Spielberg’s film Saving Private Ryan, which is still considered to this day one of the best productions ever made. It stars Tom Hanks alongside Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, and Jeremy Davies, and made history for being one of the most accurate portrayals of the war.

Saving Private Ryan is set in 1944 during World War II, and follows Captain John Miller and his team as they search for Private James Ryan, a soldier who is missing in action and has lost his three brothers in combat, so they can bring him home and soothe his family’s mourning. Apart from becoming an absolute box office hit, this production won five Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, among several other accolades.

6 Ready Player One — $592.2M

Ready Player One
Warner Bros. Pictures

Ready Player One is the newest Spielberg film on this list, released as recently as 2018. It is based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name and stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe and T.J. Miller. This production, which was highly praised at the time of its premiere, transports the audience to 2045, when the planet is crumbling and society evades reality by losing itself in a virtual reality universe known as the OASIS.

When the creator of said universe dies, he offers his fortune to the player who finds the Easter egg hidden in the game, and thus, the orphan and skilled player Wade Watts joins the contest, unaware of the dangers lurking in it. The popularity of Ready Player One prompted the development of a sequel, which is currently in production.

5 War of the Worlds — $606.8M

War of the Worlds
Paramount Pictures

War of the Worlds is yet another of Spielberg’s greatest film classics, and one of the most iconic productions within the science fiction genre. This film, inspired by the work of H. G. Wells, follows Ray Ferrier, a divorced dockworker from New York who is left in the care of his estranged children for a few days, in what seems to be another boring visit where neither will be able to bond.

However, after alien forces invade the Earth and spark a confrontation unlike any other, Ray must go to great lengths to protect his children and return them to their mother unharmed. Tom Cruise stars in this production alongside Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin and Tim Robbins, with Morgan Freeman serving as narrator.

Related: Steven Spielberg’s 10 Most Rewatchable Movies

4 The Lost World: Jurassic Park — $618.6M

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Universal Pictures

The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the second installment of the Jurassic Park trilogy, hit theaters in 1997. This production, based on Michael Crichton’s book of the same name, once again sees Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazzello, and Ariana Richards reprising their roles from the original film and features Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwait, and Arliss Howard as new cast members. This installment is set four years after the events of the previous film, with IGen dangerously close to bankruptcy following the disaster on Isla Nublar.

To prevent this from happening, Hammond and his nephew Peter Ludlow summon Dr. Ian Malcolm to go on an expedition to Isla Sorna to document the dinosaurs living there in order to build a new theme park, although this mission proves to be even harder than it seems. The Lost World: Jurassic Park became a box office hit and earned a few accolades, although its reviews were not as good as the original film’s. Its popularity among audiences prompted the development of a sequel released in 2001, but without Spielberg’s involvement.

3 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — $786.6M

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Paramount Pictures

The Indiana Jones franchise turned out to be one of the highest-grossing ones directed by Spielberg. 2008 marked the premiere of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth installment in the film series, which also happened to be the highest-grossing film in the franchise so far. This production was the last one directed by Spielberg, since its 2023 sequel was helmed by James Mangold.

The film takes the audience back to 1957, when Indiana Jones sets out on a quest to find a device known as the Crystal Skull of Akator. However, the archaeologist ignores a significant piece of information: the treacherous Soviet agent Irina Spalko is also looking for this artifact, so he will have to rush to get his hands on it before she and her team can. Ford leads the cast once again as Indiana Jones alongside Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, and Ray Winstone.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Pictures

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial ranks easily among the best-loved films in Steven Spielberg’s entire career, and it also made its mark as one of the biggest blockbusters ever, becoming, for a long time, the highest-grossing film in history. This 1982 production that follows a boy named Elliott on his mission to assist an alien to go back home stars Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton and Drew Barrymore. The film won four Academy Awards, six Saturn Awards and two Golden Globes, among other recognitions.

1 Jurassic Park — $1.04B

Jurassic Park
Universal Pictures

Topping the list with a total gross of over one billion dollars is Jurassic Park, the 1993 film that replaced E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as the highest-grossing film in history until Titanic‘s premiere. This production based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name also emerged as one of the most iconic films in Spielberg’s career, with technological developments that paved the way for all the films that followed and earned him widespread acclaim.

Jurassic Park stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough, and it follows a group of scientists who travel to Isla Nublar to visit a park filled with de-extinct dinosaurs before its official opening, unaware that, on their visit, an on-site malfunction will put their lives at risk.

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