Spielberg and the Shaping Influence of a Father
photo by martin wippel
Written By

How much influence has your father had on your life? For Steven Spielberg, his fathers’ presence, or rather the lack of it, went on to shape many of his famous films. In a recent interview for 60 Minutes Spielberg admitted that many of the films he created were influenced by the relationship he had with his father growing up. Spielberg said,“I missed my Dad a lot growing up. Even though we were together as a family, my Dad was really a workaholic and he was always working.”Перепродажа пушнины

After his parents divorced Spielberg was very angry with his father. The absent or workaholic father became a recurring theme in many of Spielberg’s movies. (ET, Hook for example.) Years later he learned that the divorce was not his father’s fault but he had put his mother on a pedestal and found it easier to still pin the blame on his father’s absence.


Spielberg stayed angry with his father for as he put it, “many, many wasted years” But then came a change. Spielberg was urged by his wife to make peace with his father that resulted in an amazing reconciliation. In recalling the incident, Spielberg said, “My father and I had an amazing reconciliation, which is going on almost 18 years where we have really been in each others lives, and those feelings I expressed earlier I no longer feel today.”

The result of this reconciliation immediately worked itself out in the movies he made. The fathers in his films were heroes. In War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise, it begins with Cruise as an impatient, inattentive father and, after he courageously saves his children from an alien invasion, the movie ends with an emotional father-son reconciliation.

For better or worse

It’s amazing the influence our relationship with our father can have on our life, for better or for worse. For Spielberg, his life’s work was inescapably tied to his relationship with his father. It influenced the way he viewed the world. Looking back on my own experiences growing up, I can see the connections between the priority my father placed on work and how that affected my view of work.

Even major beliefs we have in life, like whether we believe or don’t believe in God, can be influenced by the relationship we have had with our father. I have found that the way I have viewed my father has affected the way I view God – distant or loving, absent or patient. When I heard the verse in the Bible that starts, “For God so loved the world…” it was easier for me to believe that God could be a loving father because I had experienced what a loving Dad was like. But when I read 2 Peter 3:9, “God is patient” it’s more of a struggle for me to embrace this understanding of God because patience was not my Dad’s strongest suit.

Does your father still “show up” in how you live your life? What are some ways he has influenced you, for better or for worse?