That list of 206 films Spielberg says you MUST watch? It's a hoax

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2012

Don't toss out your film school application just yet. That Steven Spielberg viewing list for aspiring filmmakers currently exploding all over the Intertubes—which he supposedly insists you see before you serve him lunch or rotate the tires on his Bugati—is a fake.

Not that this isn't an intriguing collection of 206 fantastic films all serious students of the medium should absorb, but legitimate sources have exposed it for the pretender it is. Even screenwriter Edgar Wright, who co-wrote the upcoming The Adventures of Tintin, felt it necessary to insert a well-placed needle in its bubble of truth by declaring, "That List? Fake," over on Twitter.

Well, that's no fun.

This Spielbergian Scroll of Cinema originated as a Google Docs page entitled "The Spielberg Curriculum," purporting to be from the maestro himself, and included notions of it being movies you must see before the great director would even talk to you, let alone sign you to a multipicture deal worth bazillions.

How would this be verified? We can only speculate. Perhaps some kind of Voight-Kampff empathy test administered in the company of chain-smoking replicants, or just a quick Q&A resulting in early lunch for a genetically engineered Spinosaurus for those with less-than-accurate answers.

You can find the notorious list here.

Lists of anything are inherently cursed with an arbitrary assemblage of iron-clad favorites and a sprinkling of esoteric foreign fare to go down smoothly with the bloated blockbusters. Yet we love them, one and all, dearly and devotedly. It's just in our geek blood.

Glaring omissions to the 206, had it actually been from Spielberg, would be in the areas of classic sci-fi, old Elvis films and gilded Disney animation. Walt Disney's Pinocchio masterpiece is reportedly one of his absolute favorites, as witnessed by his Blue Fairy fantasies in A.I., and would have certainly been at the top. And the pulp glory of Forbidden Planet, War of the Worlds and The Thing From Another World are among his cherished childhood memories from growing up in 1950s Scottsdale, Ariz., suburbia.

At a cursory glance, there are far too many obvious choices included for an astute cinephile and film historian such as the father of E.T and Bruce the shark. And Godfather III? Come on!

We're sure Spielberg is giggling a bit at all the attention, in between the 49 projects he's juggling and spinning around his creative galaxy. Maybe this will spur him to action to truly complete an official list of his own. Until then, peruse this gathering of greats and let us know what's missing or mangled.

Hey ... where's The Shining, anyway?