Another TV film (Something Evil) was made and released to capitalize on the popularity of The Exorcist, then a major best-selling book which had not yet been released as a film.
He fulfilled his contract by directing the TV film-length pilot of a show called Savage, starring Martin Landau.
It also set the domestic record for box office gross, leading to what the press described as "Jawsmania." King Kong and Superman, Spielberg and actor Richard Dreyfuss re-convened to work on a film about UFOs, which became Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
One of the rare films both written and directed by Spielberg, Close Encounters was a critical and box office hit, giving Spielberg his first Best Director nomination from the Academy as well as earning six other Academy Awards nominations.
Spielberg has often referred to the gruelling shoot as his professional crucible.
Despite the film's ultimate, enormous success, it was nearly shut down due to delays and budget over-runs. It was an enormous hit, winning three Academy Awards (for editing, original score and sound) and grossing more than 0 million worldwide at the box office.
In 1963, at age sixteen, Spielberg wrote and directed his first independent film, a 140-minute science fiction adventure called Firelight, which would later inspire Close Encounters.
"It isn't something I enjoy admitting," he once said, "but when I was seven, eight, nine years old, God forgive me, I was embarrassed because we were Orthodox Jews.
I was embarrassed by the outward perception of my parents' Jewish practices. That was how it all started." At age thirteen, while living in Phoenix, Spielberg won a prize for a 40-minute war film he titled Escape to Nowhere, using a cast composed of other high school friends.
It won Oscars in two categories (Cinematography, Vilmos Zsigmond, and a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing, Frank E. This second blockbuster helped to secure Spielberg's rise.
His next film, 1941, a big-budgeted World War II farce, was not nearly as successful and though it grossed over .4 million worldwide (and did make a small profit for co-producing studios Columbia and Universal) it was seen as a disappointment, mainly with the critics.
The archaeologist and adventurer hero Indiana Jones was played by Harrison Ford (whom Lucas had previously cast in his Star Wars films as Han Solo).