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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Claude Lacombe (as Francois Truffaut)
...
...
...
...
Warren J. Kemmerling ...
Wild Bill (as Warren Kemmerling)
...
Philip Dodds ...
...
Shawn Bishop ...
Adrienne Campbell ...
Silvia Neary
Justin Dreyfuss ...
...
Robert
...
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Storyline

Two parallel stories are told. In the first, a group of research scientists from a variety of backgrounds are investigating the strange appearance of items in remote locations, primarily desert regions. In continuing their investigation, one of the lead scientists, a Frenchman named Claude Lacombe, incorporates the Kodály method of music education as a means of communication in their work. The response, in turn, at first baffles the researchers, until American cartographer David Laughlin deciphers the meaning of the response. In the second, electric company lineman and family man Roy Neary and single mother Jillian Guiler are among some individuals in Muncie, Indiana who experience some paranormal activity before some flashes of bright lights in the sky, which they believe to be a UFO. Roy becomes obsessed with what he saw, unlike some others, especially in some form of authority, who refuse to acknowledge their belief that it was a UFO in not wanting to appear crazy. That obsession ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Close Encounter of the First Kind - Sighting of a UFO. Close Encounter of the Second Kind - Physical Evidence. Close Encounter of the Third Kind - Contact. WE ARE NOT ALONE See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

14 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

CE3K  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$128,300,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(special edition) | (original) | (collector's edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steven Spielberg had approached Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, and Gene Hackman for the role of Roy Neary. Jack Nicholson was also considered. McQueen turned the role down because he said he wasn't able to cry on film. See more »

Goofs

In the climatic ending the first alien, a tall and spindly creature crawls out of the huge "mother" ship's opening, then stands up spreading its long arms out wide. It's a very memorable and dramatic cinematic entrance with the film's score adding to the grandeur. The smaller aliens come out and stand in line, then greet the humans. We do not see the first tall alien again in the film and in all released versions of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, Spielberg's intent was to show a racially diverse group of aliens aboard the ship, as evidenced by the final alien who communicates with Lacombe, who is also a physically different character than the tall and small aliens. The tall alien was not meant to resemble a spider, but was referred to by the production team as the "Jesus alien" because of its arms-out gesture. There were originally supposed to be three of them, joining hands in that position and creating more shimmering lights. The production team simply could not make this work. This alien was a marionette, and it was very difficult to film without the strings showing. See more »

Quotes

Roy Neary: I wanna speak to the man in charge.
David Laughlin: Mr. Lacombe is the highest authority.
Roy Neary: He isn't even an American.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 1980s special edition, the new musical edition features the end credits different, then the fades into well after the end credits to the black screen. See more »

Connections

Featured in I Love the '70s: 1977 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Square Song
(1970)
Words and Music by Joe Raposo (as Joseph Raposo)
Published by Jonico Music, Inc.
Courtesy Pickwick International, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Beautiful, extraordinary and beautiful.
9 August 2005 | by (Sundance, Utah) – See all my reviews

Watch the skies, you may see the stars move. Is it your imagination, or did it really happen. Answer to that could go both ways. Three UFOs fly past you while you are on the highway, one bright blue, the other red and blue, and the third bright orange, followed by a small red orbit tailgating it. Was this real, or just your imagination: Either it was real, or you must be seeing things...

Thus is among th many questions asked in the Steven Spielberg UFO classic, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" a film that explores not just the possibility that we are not alone in the universe, but a film that compels us to look inside ourselves and try to find the real meaning in our lives. The story starts when lost pilots planes are being found, except that they have been lost for over thirty years! And in another part of this world, a married man, working for a cable company, experiences a "close encounter" of the first kind - sighting a UFO. Then, he experiences physical experiences regarding a shape and place he has never comprehending before. With a scientific expedition in pursuit, Roy Neary( Richard Dreyfuss) and a fellow "close encountering" Jillian Guiler(Melinda Dillon) try to find out the answer to their questions of why these strange occurrences are happening.

As realistic as it could be, this film transcends the usual alien picture because it portrays the unbelievable as totally realistic and what one wouldn't expect - intelligent life is just that - intelligent, and accepting, of our world and universe. The images in this film light up the screen and make you feel like you are living a dream, with flurry images of light, making one feel warm and gentle. The locations are great too, as they go from Mongolian deserts, to farmlands, to the famous "Devil's Tower" in Wyoming, where the main magic happens.

The characters are what really grab you. Roy Neary, the main focus, is as normal as he can be, what with working for a power company. A perfect fit in the puzzle this movie weaves. Francois Truffaut makes an almost rare appearance in a much bigger role than usual, as an astronaut that is just as fascinated with these happenings as the rest of the civilians. All characters are credible and you just learn to love 'em. The story lines (including family values, what is more important in one's life, and what the ultimate experience in heaven is) are as empathetic as it can get.

John Williams scores a masterpiece with a score that touches all the senses in our subconscious and takes us on a journey with the characters, but on a journey within ourselves, as does the movie, and in the end, you feel refreshed and ready to take on your troubles and strife.

The matter of which version is which is a real conversation piece. As the original theatrical version is VERY rarely seen, one suspects, based on many reviews, that the 1980 re - release is a much better film. But this should not hinder any viewings of this spectacular film.

Spielberg, get back to these kinds of films!


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