Steven Spielberg’s 10 Best Movie Climaxes, Ranked

Steven Spielberg's 10 Best Movie Climaxes, Ranked

Steven Spielberg is one the greatest filmmakers of all times. His 1970 summer blockbuster, the New Hollywood blockbuster, helped him rise to fame in the New Hollywood movement. Spielberg is still as popular today, unlike many of his New Hollywood peers.

Whether he’s telling the story of a theme park full of cloned dinosaurs or a 25-foot great white shark terrorizing a seaside town or an archeologist-turned-explorer seeking the fabled Ark of the Covenant, Spielberg tends to conclude his movies with big, spectacular set-pieces that capture the audience’s imagination.



This made-for TV gem put Spielberg on the map DuelThe film is basically a long-form car chase. This makes the movie feel like it has reached its climax. A man commuting across the Mojave Desert for business – aptly named Mann – runs afoul of the largely unseen driver of a tractor-trailer who starts relentlessly pursuing him.

The final act of this cat-and mouse chase ends when Mann tricks the trucker into driving over a cliff edge.

9Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

This is the most exciting action sequence you will ever see Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomAlthough the mine cart chase is the highlight, the finale is close behind. Short Round, Willie, Indy and Willie flee the Thuggee Cult across a rope bridge suspended over crocodile -infested water.

Then, just when they think they’re in the clear, Mola Ram and his thugs corner them from both sides. Indy, seeing no other choice, cuts the bridge in half. The heroes and the villains hang from the edge.

8 West Side Story

West Side Story 2021 Maria Running To Tony Ending

Not only did Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story manage to live up to the classic original; it actually surpassed it in many ways – including its depiction of the darkest scene in the musical. The climax of Spielberg’s West Side StoryThis is done much more sensitively and delicately than the original.

As per the original, Spielberg’s revamp culminates in Tony dying in Maria’s arms. Thanks to Rachel Zegler’s impeccable delivery, the emotions of Maria’s final monologue ring true.

7Bridge of Spies

Spielberg’s spy caper Bridge of SpiesThe prisoner exchange is the culmination. This is a suitably tense showdown, but it’s also an emotional moment as Soviet spy Rudolf Abel bids farewell to his American lawyer James B. Donovan.

This movie has a lot of charm. It starts out as a Cold War thriller, but ends up telling the story about an unlikely friendship between Tom Hanks (perfectly matched) and Mark Rylance (stunning).

6Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

The Grail Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The largest, most outrageous, and boldest set-piece in the world Indiana Jones and Indiana Jones: The Last CrusadeThe tank chase is the most famous. The climactic scene that follows isn’t very action-packed, but it’s still iconic and engaging. Indy races through the temple housing the Holy Grail so he can save his father’s life and ends up face-to-face with the ghost of the knight guarding it.

As the temple crumbles, Indy’s father inspires him to let go of fortune and glory and embrace what really matters: his family and friends. Riding off into the sunset would’ve been the perfect ending for Indiana Jones’ story if Spielberg could resist making a fourth movie.

5Private Ryan’s Savings

Captain Miller tells Private Ryan to earn this in Saving Private Ryan

Nothing in Spielberg’s World War II epic Private Ryan’s SavingsLives up to the intense opening D-Day sequence. However, the intense finale scene is not far behind. Although the scene features fighter planes and tanks, it doesn’t lose sight of the characters or their relationships.

Captain Miller gets one of Spielberg’s most deeply affecting death scenes as he tells Ryan to earn the sacrifices that his fellow soldiers made to save him.

4 Jurassic Park

jurassic park visitor center scene with t rex

These are the two most thrilling sequences. Jurassic Park are the T. rex’s escape and the velociraptors’ attack in the kitchen. The climactic set-piece brings these two monsters together and solidifies the movie’s message of “Life… uh… finds a way.” As the survivors flee from the raptors, the T. rex arrives to take care of them.

After John Hammond played God and endangered his grandchildren’s lives, nature found a way to sort itself out. The T. rex’s roar is brilliantly punctuated with the falling “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” banner.

3 E.T. Extra Terrestrial

The government finally captures the titular alien. E.T. Extra TerrestrialElliott and his friends take him out and race their bikes to the mothership, where they can send him home. E.T. is also on the road. makes the kids’ bikes fly past a full moon in one of cinema’s most recognizable images.

The real climax is E.T.’s heartbreaking farewell with Elliott. This scene is truly a tearjerker. This scene is a real tearjerker. Only Spielberg could have made audiences so passionate about this slimy creature from another dimension.

2 Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark-face melt scene

In the frightening climactic sequence Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy’s first adventure, the Nazis incur the wrath of God by opening the Ark and unleashing the vengeful spirits within.

This scene exceeds the PG rating, with melting faces and heads exploding. This ending has been criticized, as Indy is not involved in the resolution of the conflict. But it’s still an undeniably spectacular sequence.

1 Jaws

Quint’s Indianapolis speech acts as the “calm before the storm” in the final act of Jaws. The Orca is eventually killed by the shark. Quint is eaten alive, Hooper remains in a box at the bottom, and Chief Brody becomes trapped on a sinking vessel with few options. He shoves an air tank in the shark’s mouth, climbs up to a vantage point, and shoots the tank.

Brody signs off with a cool action hero one-liner: “Smile, you son of a b***h!” In the film’s glorious climactic money shot, the shark explodes into a million pieces. Not only does Brody vanquish the great white that’s been terrorizing Amity Island; he conquers his fear of the ocean.

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