HitFix ranks the legend's greatest films to date
12. 'Empire of the Sun' (1987)
"Adapted from a novel by J.G. Ballard" is as surprising a credit as you're ever likely to encounter in a Steven Spielberg film, but the match seems well-made. This is one of the biggest financial failures of all time in cost-to-return ratio, but the film's reputation has grown enormously over the years. It is atypical Spielberg, more head than heart, but all you really need to know about why this one got made is that Spielberg had a huge affection for the work of David Lean, and this was his chance to make "one of those movies." Christian Bale gave a tremendous performance here, decades before he was Batman, and seeing this early work of his is only one of the many reasons you should hunt down the new Warner Blu-ray of this immediately.
- Drew McWeeny