Over his long and legendary career, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg has tackled primeval fears and imaginative fantasy, captured the magic of childhood wonderment and found the human side of stories across almost all genres: literary adaptations, action-adventure, historical films and more. All of that makes whittling down his filmography to only his best nearly impossible, but these 1o movies—all of them found in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die—might be his finest.
It’s not often that a movie adapted from a book turns out better than the original material—but when it does happen, the result is akin to cinematic magic. Here are 10 of our favorite movies, from “Brokeback Mountain” to “Mean Girls,” that were even more acclaimed than the books on which they were based.
“In the summer of 1916, panic struck the Jersey Shore,” reads the opening sentence of this Smithsonian magazine article. No, the panic was not caused by the arrival of overly tanned, puffed-hair and muscular visitors, but instead by shark attacks in the waters off the shore. During that summer, a shark attacked five victims. In an interview with George Burgess, a shark-attack expert in charge of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History (sounds like a role for Nicolas Cage), he explains that when these attacks happened people thought a sea turtle was responsible before the press ultimately identified it as a great white.
I don’t know if this is a symptom of the possibly disturbing revelation that I’ve never quite left my childhood in the past, but I’m of the opinion that anything recreated with LEGO equals instant amazingness and blog worthiness, such as these movie posters. And I think the most of the Internet seems to agree…