Steven Spielberg
Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg celebrates his 70th birthday on Sunday 18 December Getty

Steven Spielberg turns 70-years-old on Sunday 18 December. Arguably one of the most influential filmmakers that ever lived, he's also got a bank balance that goes with it; making him one of the wealthiest directors in the world.

Across his legendary career, he has worked with several of Hollywood's acting greats including Daniel Day Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks and dabbled in many genres making sci-fi films, historical war dramas, thrillers and adventure movies suitable for the whole family. But its his willingness to push boundaries in each and ever category he's ever worked in that has made him such a pioneer.

But when you've dished out brilliant film after brilliant film, it can be hard for fans to pick out your best. So in honour of the three-time Oscar winner's milestone birthday, IBTimes UK has taken a look back over his filmography and picked out the standouts...

Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)
When a film's theme is THAT iconic, it's almost impossible for it not to be a hit... Universal Pictures

Arguably one of Spielberg's most thrilling (and iconically-themed) outings, Jaws (as most probably know) focuses on a small town in New England that becomes terrorised by a great white shark in their waters.

Police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to shut down the beaches, however, because of the time of year, the mayor rejects Brody's urges, fearing that the loss of visitor revenue will devastate the town. Instead, ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and experienced ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer creature.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

Indiana Jones
Raiders Of The Ark was not only a popular film in its own right, it inspired three sequels too LucasFilm

While Spielberg made a series of films about the adventures of Harrison Ford's charismatic archaeologist Indiana Jones, the first deserves the most recognition having kick-started it all. Collaborating with Star Wars' George Lucas, Spielberg managed to create a movie that recaptured the thrill of old adventure serials while simultaneously putting his unique, modern spin on it and updating the genre. It's no surprise that it went on to win four Oscars and become the highest-grossing movie of 1981...

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Of all the movies Spielberg has made across his lengthy career, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is undoubtedly one of most synonymous with his name Universal Pictures

During a visit to Earth one night, a group of aliens are discovered and disturbed by humans. Fleeing, they accidentally leave one of their own behind and the young alien finds himself getting into all kinds of mischief.

Fortunately, the extra-terrestrial soon finds a friend in Elliott, a 10-year-old boy who has become very lonely since his parents separated. The wish to go home again is strong in E.T. though, so Elliott resolves to help his new companion return to his own planet, even though their emotional connection is one that means a great deal to both of them.

The Color Purple (1985)

The Color Purple
The Color Purple marked a bit of a change for Spielberg, who was starting to become known as a summer blockbuster name Warner Bros. Pictures

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker, The Color Purple starred Goldberg as Celie Harris-Johnson, an oppressed black woman living in the early 1900's. Spanning across four decades, Celie is forced to endure hard times and terrible abuse, including domestic violence, chauvinism, the loss of her children and sister, racism and even rape. But despite her tough life, Celie never gives up hope when striving towards equality and leaving her bleak childhood behind.

Nominated for 11 Oscars including best picture, it marked a change of pace for Spielberg, who typically offered up summer blockbusters. While many of his previous films had undeniable heart, this outing cemented him as a director who could also handle hard-hitting and emotional human stories too.

Schindler's List (1993)

Schindler's List
Having picked up seven Academy Awards, Schindler's List is regarded as one of the greatest films ever made Universal Pictures

Winning seven Academy awards including Spielberg's first directing accolade, Schindler's List is still considered one of the greatest films ever made among many cinema-goers. Based on the novel Schindler's Ark and the real-life events before that, it centres on German businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) who becomes an unlikely humanitarian when he witnesses the horrific way Nazi officer's treat the prisoners of concentration camps.

Vowing to save as many lives as possible, he attempts to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews, employing them and making sure they were deemed essential to the German war effort which kept them from being transported to places such as Auschwitz. Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley also star.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park
Despite having been released 23 years ago, timeless classic Jurassic Park still holds up today Universal Pictures

Based on Michael Crichton's novel, Jurassic Park follows paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (played by an on-form Jeff Goldblum), who travel to a remote island to tour a theme park populated by genetically-modified dinosaurs. Despite the park's mastermind John Hammond claiming that the facility is safe and that his visitors will give their blessing for the park to be opened to the public, the group soon find themselves fighting for their lives when various ferocious predators break free and give in to their violent, survivalist natures.

While its effects may be considered a little dated now, both the action adventure story and thought-provoking message about the lengths humanity will go to to be entertained still hold up today earning it true "classic" status.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Saving Private Ryan
With its star-studded cast, thrilling action scenes and emotional story, Saving Private Ryan is still regarded as one of the best war movies of all time Paramount Pictures

Saving Private Ryan is undoubtedly one of the most beloved war films in cinematic history, having transcended the genre and proving that heart-wrenching emotion can be interwoven with epic action scenes. Complete with a star-studded including Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Ted Danson and frequent Spielberg collaborator Hanks, it tells the story of Captain John Miller, who along with his troops, ventures behind enemy lines to rescue a missing private.

Surrounded by the brutal realities of war, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honour, decency and courage, all the while searching for Ryan.