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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

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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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1,335 ( 6)
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:

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

Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond overexposed the scenes with the extraterrestrials deliberately so they would appear fuzzy and diffuse. When producer Julia Phillips saw the footage, she thought he'd made a mistake and ordered the film re-processed so that the aliens came out with a normal contrast, and their rubber heads and suits were obviously fake. She then told Zsigmond he'd botched up the filming and it looked awful. The upset Zsigmond told the lab to reprocess the film the way he originally said and everything looked fine in dailies the next day. See more »

Goofs

As Barry opens the door (just before he's abducted), bright lights are seen moving just beyond the trees. Some of the light can be seen reflecting off the dollies on which the lights are mounted. See more »

Quotes

Roy Neary: [checking the paper] Hey, you know what's playing tonight? Pinocchio! You guys have never seen Pinocchio, you're in luck!
Brad Neary: Aw, who wants to see some dumb cartoon rated 'G' for kids?
Roy Neary: How old are you?
Brad Neary: Eight.
Roy Neary: You wanna be nine?
Brad Neary: Yeah.
Roy Neary: Then you're going to go see Pinocchio tomorrow night.
[Brad makes a disgusted gesture, but shuts up]
Ronnie Neary: Roy, that is a terrific way to win over your children.
Roy Neary: I'm not serious, I'm just saying that I grew up with Pinocchio, and if kids are still kids, they're going to eat it...
[...]
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 »


Soundtracks

She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain
(uncredited)
Traditional
Whistled by a UFO observer
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A terrific movie about alien contact.
20 April 2005 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is a film about aliens landing on earth, but instead of descending into the usual laser-gun confrontations between humans and aliens, this one dares to remain "peaceful". It is a film about contact, not conflict. It is also a wonderfully thoughtful film and a prime example of compelling story-telling. If there is a weakness with Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, it is that the director Steven Spielberg occasionally allows sentimentality to enter into the proceedings, but in truth it is a very minor weakness and it doesn't significantly spoil this tremendous movie experience.

Several missing aircraft turn up over 30 years after they were reported lost. More baffling still is the fact that they vanished over Florida but have turned up, in pristine condition and without pilots, in the middle of Mexico. Other weird things happen: an aeroplane pilot reports a near collision with a brightly lit spacecraft; a Navy warship missing for decades is found in the desert; thousands of Indians report a light in the sky which "sang" to them; and across America there are scores of inexplicable UFO sightings. Electrician Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is a normal family man who sees one of the UFOs. Soon after, he is tormented by a vision apparently implanted in his mind by the aliens. His torment becomes obsession as he tries to figure out the meaning of a hill-like shape that has become embedded in his mind. As his marriage collapses, he desperately tries to find answers and is finally gratified when he discovers that the picture in his head is trying to tell him where to go in order to witness an extra terrestrial landing.

The fact that Roy Neary is just an everyday guy cast into the most incredible of circumstances gives this film a real human dimension. Roy could represent any one of us - you, me, your next door neighbour, your father, whoever. Spielberg tells his story very carefully, adding clues and more layers of mystery before actually revealing where the story is heading. It is probably the most controlled and skillfully paced of Spielberg's '70s films. The ending, featuring the alien arrival, is a technical tour-de-force, but it works well on an emotional level too because the viewer has grown to know Roy and has been drawn into his quest for answers. John Williams provides yet another legendary music score - including an iconic five-note tune which the aliens and humans use to communicate with each other. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is a classic sci-fi film, as fresh and absorbing now as it was back in 1977.


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Was anyone else terrified when... fountaincap
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