After 1984's Raiders of the Lost Ark sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Spielberg directed a film called The Color Purple. It was an adaptation of Alice Walker's much honoured novel exploring the lives and struggles of a group of African-American women during the Depression years. The film went on to gross over 100 million dollars at the box office, later securing 11 Academy Award nominations.
A 1987 dramatisation of J.G. Ballard's novel Empire of the Sun was Spielberg's next picture, and was one of his few box-office disappointments, but Spielberg returned to form with 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Hook (1991) was Spielberg's long-awaited return to fantasy material. It was a lavish yet quirky update of the Peter Pan story starring Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, and Julia Roberts. Budgeted at over $60 million, the film received mixed reviews and although doing better than original thought at the box office, Spielberg fell victim to a lot of criticism.
However in 1993 Spielberg returned with a vengeance with Jurassic Park, a $70 million adaptation of Michael Crichton's dinosaur disaster novel, represented a return to the kind of muscular adventure that had served him well in the past. This film consisted of superb special effects, which ranked among the most aggressively marketed films of all time. The result was a global blockbuster, with receipts coming in at over one billion dollars.
In the same year as Jurassic Park, Spielberg released Schindler's List. For once, he went against his instincts and made an impressively restrained black-and-white epic docudrama set during the Holocaust. The film achieved widespread critical praise and won two Academy Awards for best director and best picture. This was Spielberg's first Academy Award for best director, although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had honoured him with the Irving Thalberg Award in 1987. The film also collected Best Picture honours from the major critics organisations, in addition to seven British Academy Awards, including two for Spielberg. He also won the Golden Globe Award and was honoured by his peers with his second Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award, the first having come for The Color Purple. In February 1997, Schindler's List was seen by a television audience of 65 million people in NBC's unprecedented airing of the film in its entirety, without commercial interruption.