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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

PG  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  25 December 1977 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 127,080 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 328 user | 159 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 33 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
Merrill Connally ...
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Storyline

Roy Neary sets out to investigate a power outage when his truck stalls and he is bathed in light from above. After this, strange visions and five musical notes keep running through his mind. Will he find the meaning of the visions, and who - or what - placed them in his mind? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Now There Is More (USA 1980 special edition re-release) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

25 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

CE3K  »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,400,870 (estimated)

Gross:

$128,300,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(special edition) | (director's cut) | (original)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is possible to see an upside down R2-D2 (from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), etc) in part of the large spacecraft that flies over Devils Tower. The SFX people needed more detail, and so supposedly there are many more such items, such as a shark from Jaws (1975) (also directed by Steven Spielberg), etc. R2-D2 is visible as Jillian first sees the mothership up close from her hiding place in the rocks. See more »

Goofs

When Jillian has caught up to Barry on the highway and almost gets hit by Roy, a shot shows the two up close with the background out of focus, but the stars in the background sky are in sharp focus. See more »

Quotes

Claude Lacombe: [to Roy Neary] I envy you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in South Park: Over Logging (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

When You Wish Upon a Star
(1940)
Words: Ned Washington/Music: Leigh Harline
© 1940 Bourne Co.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Strong emotional core that avoids Rockwell-esque sentimentality
24 January 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When the whole area suffers a full blackout, electrician Roy Neary is called out to service some poles suspected of being down. Sitting in his truck trying to find directions he is suddenly caught in a bright light and the electric's on his truck fail. Shortly it passes and he sees a craft pass overhead. At the same time nearby a woman pursues her young son who has wandered out in search of the lights that have been calling to him. Both adults are left wanting to know the truth and filled with half-ideas and images that haunt them – when Gillian Guiler son is taken, this becomes even more important to them. Meanwhile the military, led by investigator Claude Lacombe uncover planes and ships that have been missing for decades and uncover hidden codes and signals in the mysterious crafts.

I am currently ploughing my way through Speilberg's Taken on BBC2 so I thought I'd give this classic another view just to remind myself how good Speilberg and aliens can be. The plot is perfect for any UFO nut – the government are behind everything and know of everything. The story unfolds really well – the three main stories complimenting each other and giving the film a sense of pace. The strand with Lacombe following events all round the globe is the least personal (and thus least involving) but it is enticing us for the climax of the film. Neary's soul searching maybe does go on a little too long but the emotion in the family situation is intense and his frustration and sense of confusion is very real. Although the thrid strand has less screen time the abduction of the child is a powerful scene and the emotion is well brought out.

The special effects are very good but the glue of the film is the emotional telling. This is Speilberg doing well – he never really gives into his American Apple Pie style sentimentality and the film keeps moving along and has a real emotional heart to it. The climax of the movie always sort of messes me up and I find it best not to question it's logic on any level for fear of holes opening up all over it – but it does have a sense of childlike wonder to it, which I guess Speilberg was trying to get across.

As usual Dreyfuss does well under Speilberg and he is mostly responsible for keeping the emotion in his character realistic without being all syrupy and sickly. Truffaut is OK but it's impossible to see him as anyone but Francis Truffaut and his character suffers as a result. Garr and Dillon are both strong female characters for different reasons and the support cast are generally very good (including a good handful of the Dreyfuss family).

Overall this film never gets me as one of the greatest sci-fi's of all time, but it is certainly a very good film that takes `real' people as it's driver and not flashy effect shots. That `Taken' seems to be slipping into Norman Rockwell type mawkishness is good enough reason to revisit CE3K.


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