8. Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can is a great film that really shows the evolution of Spielberg's career. It is the tipping point in which we can practically see him making the gear shift into 'films' before our very eyes.
While it is an adventure story, its also a recounting of true events and is much more focused on the drama and performances than it is on the action. What action sequences there are, are much more subdued than the typical Spielberg blockbuster had been up until this point.
But the film is absolutely wonderful. In reteaming with Tom Hanks, Spielberg feels much more adept at honing in on a performance-driven film rather than doing the heavy lifting himself.
This is also where we begin to see the distinct shift in his directorial style that he himself has admitted to, where he stopped storyboarding for anything that didn't involve extensive special effects work. Instead, he would simply show up on the day and create the shots based on the blocking of the performances that were already in place.
It makes the film feel much more off-the-cuff and immediately pressing, in the best of ways. In a film about a man who lives life from one lie to the next, Spielberg was able to evolve his style to suit the story in the best way possible.