The following is a script from "Spielberg" which aired on Oct. 21, 2012. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Ruth Streeter and Rebecca Peterson, producers.
Say "Steven Spielberg" and we all see a dozen images: a shark, an alien space ship, Indiana Jones in a snake pit, soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy. His movies educate and enthrall; boggle and terrify. And now he's directed his 27th film about one of the most admired men in history and one of his heroes, Abraham Lincoln.
But before we tell you about that, we discovered things about Spielberg that took us by surprise: stories from his childhood that are reflected in many of his extraordinary films.
Steven Spielberg is now 65. He told us that when he's directing, he still gets just as worried, panicked, filled with dread as he did when he first started out.
Lesley Stahl: You're a nervous wreck.
Steven Spielberg: Yeah, it's true.
Lesley Stahl: Is it a fear?
Steven Spielberg: It's not really fear. It's just much more of an anticipation of the unknown. And you know, the unknown could be food poisoning. It's just the kind of level of anxiety not being able to write my life as well as I can write my movies.
Lesley Stahl: What about a way to handle your fears?
Steven Spielberg: There's no better way than to tell a story about them and infect everybody else. Although, I'll tell you something, it doesn't get it off your chest. It doesn't.
Lesley Stahl: The fear comes right back again?
Steven Spielberg: Comes right back again like it belongs to you. I own my fear.
Lesley Stahl: And you're going to hold onto it, actually, it sounds like to me.
Steven Spielberg: Well, it's commercial, so I don't want to.
Lesley Stahl: Exactly, exactly.
Steven Spielberg: I don't want to lose it.
He's been scaring us for almost 40 years. But he's also touched us, amazed us, inspired us, filled us with wonder and brought history to life.
With such an eclectic repertoire, we wondered if anything tied his movies together. It turns out there is:
Lesley Stahl: You have said that all your movies go back to your childhood.
Steven Spielberg: Most of them do.
Spielberg spent his childhood in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, with his three sisters, mom and dad.
Leah Adler: Anything he wanted, we did.
Arnold Spielberg: Yeah, that's true--
Leah Adler: We never said no.
Arnold Spielberg is now 95 and Leah is 92.
Leah Adler: Steve really did run us. He called the shots.
Leah was a full-time mom who Steven says was his co-conspirator.
Steven Spielberg: My mom didn't parent us as much as she sort of big-sistered us. She was Peter Pan. She refused to grow up.
Arnold was a computer engineer.