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Spielberg and Crichton the Force Behind Jurassic Park and ER

Updated on November 3, 2019
Kenna McHugh profile image

I've written, contributed to books on film, and worked in the film industry. I like to share insights into the movie-making business.


Friendship With Benefits

Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton developed motion pictures and television programs together, notably Jurassic Park franchise and long-running ER series. The two men, who were dear friends working together is a fascinating story of success.

Dinosaurs from Jurassic Park

An acquaintance, who is a high school teacher told me about a time he showed his students the movie, Jurassic Park. At the end of the movie, some of his students thought dinosaurs were still alive on our planet. Not that the students were stupid. The movie was realistic enough to make the dinosaurs appear real in their mind's eye.

The movie’s detail and realistic images of a variety of dinosaurs, along with the story, acting, and sound, created a realistic world from Crichton’s bestselling novel the movie is based.

The original movie focuses on a devastating effort to produce and clone dinosaurs for an innovative theme park.

The franchise began in 1990 when Spielberg grabbed the rights of the unpublished book. Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment purchased the rights to the novel.

Since four sequels, the franchised flourished with the first two based on Crichton’s books, tons of video games, comic books, and theme parks.

The franchise resurrected Richard Attenborough's career and bolstered the careers of Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Lauren Dern, Chris Pratt, and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Jurassic Park motion picture franchise includes a water excursion at Universal Studios theme parks.

The franchise movies, alone, grossed close to 5 billion dollars worldwide.

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt

Crichton and Spielberg Winning Team

The success of the Jurassic Park franchise indicates Crichton and Spielberg made a winning team. They invested their good fortune in an American medical televisions series that proved just as fruitful as the movies about dinosaurs.

Crichton and Spielberg's team , under the umbrella of Amblin Television, created a medical television series called ER. The show lasted 15 years and several prestigious awards and pooled together famed talents, which I mention later in the article.

If anything, ER is a lesson on how to produce an award-winning television show and keep it on the air practically forever. I am sure students of film and television classrooms study this series in its entirety. They pick or indicate successful factors that kept the show high in the ratings with a large audience base worldwide.

Emmy Award Winners

The show won multiple Emmy Awards, with 124 nominations and 22 wins speak for the caliber of work that stood behind the camera and, of course, in front of the camera, launching the stellar careers of George Clooney along with Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle, Julianna Margulies, and Maria Bello.


Although I never watched the series as a whole but as clips from different shows, I tend to shy away from medical shows. ER taps into the intimate workings of an urban training hospital and the critical issues faced by the dedicated physicians and staff of its vigilant emergency room.

Every week fans glued themselves to the television and watched quirky and unique medical professionals save lives in a place where nothing is taken for granted or certain. The emergency room doors open and another distraught person or persons placed in their hands – life or death within an hour’s worth of television programming.

Endless Series

Even though I didn't watch the series, I watched the Collector's Editon DVD that formulates the 15th and final season, an all-time favorite of multiple shows about the emergency room drama.

The series lasted as long as it did because of the writers that are evident in the final season with how the premise of the show ends. The arc threads the connection from the earlier seasons, including Noah Wyle's professional choices and personal life.

Curtain Call

The final season is a curtain call for all the lead characters that appeared on the show. They returned one way or another, including those who died on the show.

One point of view about the medical drama is the large cast of major actors who left because of injury, death, fired, or disappeared. I understand because, like most long-running shows, cast members leave in hopes of bigger and better careers.

The final season includes movie stars. The main arc encompasses Catherine Banfield, medical director of the ER, played by Angela Basset, and her husband, Russell Banfield, played by Courtney B. Vance. Both are intense and support their side of the issue.

The series ends well, and that is what matters to the fans. The finale is rewarding to those who faithfully followed the multiple storylines.

George Clooney

I am sure you’ll appreciate watching the episodes, knowing that you can watch it again and again since you own the DVD. The cast changing through the years might throw you off, but graced with a guest appearance of Clooney and other original cast members.

If you still need an emergency room fix on television, there are similar shows that followed ER’s formula, which validates the series even more, such as Grey’s Anatomy, which is a long-running show as well.

© 2011 Kenna McHugh


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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      8 years ago from Northern California


      Thank you. As you know, I never watched a complete show, but some good actors.

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      8 years ago from Tennesee

      Well-written review, even though I hated that show.


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