10. 'Duel' (1971)
Dennis Weaver finds himself pursued by an unseen, psychotic trucker. It's a simple premise, and as one might imagine, Spielberg's gift for suspense and his ability to mount a car chase serve him well here. But the prime attraction is the macho neurosis that drives the movie: Weaver's henpecked, suburban family man clearly feels psychologically besieged by this relentless, unhinged force, and watching him getting in touch with his inner Iron John is slyly exciting. Duel was one of several TV movies the director made in the early 1970s – including the fascinatingly weird L.A. 2017 – though it was released theatrically in Europe. It's since become canonized as one of Spielberg's finest early achievements and a huge glimpse of what was heading down the road.