13. 'The Sugarland Express' (1974)
This drama about a young wife (Goldie Hawn) who breaks her husband out of prison, so they can retrieve their baby from a foster home and flee to Mexico was the director's entry into the popular late Sixties/early Seventies lovers-on-the-run movie sweepstakes. And unlike most entries in this subgenre (see Badlands, Bonnie and Clyde), Spielberg's film is much more of a ride – the glee with which he orchestrates car chases and crashes is thrilling to watch. It also gives you an early indication that his work won't be all rainbows and Reese's Pieces, all the time: As the protagonists' freewheeling recklessness continues on a collision course with the forces of law and order, we know their adventure can't end well. Spoiler alert: It does not.