Steven Spielberg and his effects on culture

Essay, 2011

8 Pages, Grade: A



Steven Spielberg was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was an armature film maker as he grew up moving several times and spending most of his youth in Arizona. He attended California State University Long Beach before dropping out to pursue his career in entertainment. In 1957, he gained experience as an unaccredited assistant editor in Wagon train the western classic. In 1961, he made an effort directing Battle squad which made a combination of footage of a plane on the ground, and that of World War II. In the late 1960s, he became a director for Universal and with the help of a television film, called duel in 1972; he got the opportunity to become a director. This paper will seek to analyze his life and the impact he had on culture.


Steven Spielberg began his career as an amateur recording films as a child using the family camera. He started by recording family events, and then proceeded to film narratives with the camera set at different angles. He then filmed a movie at around twelve years of age using a script and cast of actors. At sixteen, he managed to film a science fiction movie titled firelight which was more than two hours long. In one night of showing the film, it earned $100 more than it had cost to produce (Film makers para 3). Later on, Spielberg produced a twenty four minute movie entitled Amblin which led to Universal signing him up as the youngest director on a long term deal. The movie won many festival awards leading to the signing of a contract of seven years under the television division. It is then that he directed "duel" which was well received and released to the theatres (Film makers para 5).

How his upbringing led to his impact on culture

Steven’s family life from his young age, formed lasting memories, frustrations and wishes that later influenced his work. His father was an electrical engineer while his mother was a pianist. Both had emotional differences that were distinct. His dad was a workaholic who cared a lot about providing for his family, and was too occupied to take note of Spielberg’s talent (James 6). On the other hand, his mother loved art and thus encouraged him (James 6). His grandparents also played a role, by telling him of their stories emigrating from Russia to America while his grandmother taught English to survivors of the holocaust. During his visits to his grandparents, he would at times listen to the stories of the holocaust survivors and the brutal torture they endured (James 6). Spielberg’s father was a war veteran and sometimes would describe stories on his experiences of the war in a bid to bond with him (James 9). He gave Spielberg vivid accounts, which were later significant in his development of movies. After the family moved in 1957, they resided in a home which was later the inspiration for the homes shown in Close encounters of the third kind, Poltergeist and E.T the extraterrestrial (James 9).

When he was denied access to traditional film schools, he studied English at California State University in Long Beach where after jumping off a tour bus at Universal studios, he found a janitors closet which was abandoned and made it into an office(Film makers para 2). It is here that he developed and improved his skills in making of films. His upbringing played a major role to his impact on culture. Being the youngest and the only son among four siblings, Spielberg was given much attention. The fact that he did not perform well in class did not hinder him, from pursuing his interests in the film making industry. His fathers support through renting of a home theatre system went a long way in helping to promote his career. It is important to note that most of his movies, were based on science fiction as a result of his trying to fit into society due to the constant moving as he grew up that was caused by his fathers job.

Steven financed his first film at 12 with money gotten from a tree planting business. He would screen the movie at home and charge admission fees to viewers. At 14 years, he made the film escape to nowhere and battle squad which gained him an audience. At this point he was able to make a plane which was stationary, to appear like it was moving at a high speed. The movie firelight that he later produced, was 140 minutes and was based on a story his sister had written on UFO attack (Talk Talk para 3). This early childhood influenced culture, as his later movies were also often based on war and alien life-forms. Moreover Stevens’s relationship with his father was not a good one as his father was often working with little time left for his family, later on his parents divorced. This is clearly reflected in the films Spielberg has directed as they feature kids with distant fathers and having emotional distress. After getting a contract with Universal, Spielberg started directing with the first work being the sugar land express which was released in 1974.He was then given the duty of directing for the movie Jaws. He later directed encounters of the third kind, and raiders of the lost ark.

Spielberg suffered from anti-Semitism when he was a teenager and this made he sympathize with civil rights movements. His fathers influence is clearly seen in fighter squad (1959) and in the movie escape to nowhere released in 1962(Flickering myth para 1).Schindler’s list is also a reflection of his Jewish heritage and it clearly affects how the movie was produced


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Steven Spielberg and his effects on culture
The University of Chicago
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ISBN (eBook)
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steven, spielberg
Quote paper
Richards Macdonald (Author), 2011, Steven Spielberg and his effects on culture, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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