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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

PG  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  25 December 1977 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 130,951 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 331 user | 164 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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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »



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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 ...
Merrill Connally ...


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


We are not alone See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

25 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

CE3K  »

Box Office


$19,400,870 (estimated)


$128,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


SFX man Douglas Trumbull created the cloud effects by injecting white paint into tanks half filled with salt water and half filled with fresh water. See more »


In the beginning of the scene where the aliens are coming to get Barry, Jillian's hair is tied back. Later, in the same scene, she's in the kitchen and her hair is down. See more »


Roy Neary: [as Lacombe and Laughlin show him a drawing of Devil's Tower] Yeah, I've got one just like it in my living room. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?
See more »


Referenced in Mater's Tall Tales: Unidentified Flying Mater (2009) See more »


Love Song of the Waterfall
Words & music by Bob Nolan, Bernard Barnes, and Carl Winge
Published by Unichappell Music, Inc./Elvis Presley Music.
From the United Artists Records album "Love Song of the Waterfall"
Sung by Slim Whitman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Mixed feelings
2 November 2008 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

When I saw this first in the theatre I was blown away. It affected me profoundly. I thought the whole concept was fresh and new, the family strife, the yearning for and then actively seeking a higher concept for one's life, the mental breakdown of the main character as he tries to visualize what's inside his head: messages from alien beings.

Richard Dreyfus, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, all perfectly cast. Along with Cary, the child actor who is brilliant.

As a microcosm of life in the seventies, the film is amazingly evocative, the perfect young family suburb, the children, the stay at home wife, the backyard barbecues. The husband who is a dreamer and when he starts to act it out, shatters this perfect home life.

Then the action moves to the mountain where the aliens are preparing to land. This scene got me in the theatre and gets me now. It is highly emotional. The music, the lights, the response of the mother ship. Highly charged cinematic moments.

However, and it is a big one. The transition of Richard Dreyfuss's character is far too sudden, he turns his back on children he obviously adores without any reflection whatsoever. How on earth would they survive in a seventies world without his income? Also Bob Balaban and Richard Dreyfuss are almost twin like in appearance and I kept getting them mixed up.

Francois Truffaut gave a fine performance as did many of the minor players. And the special affects - way before modern CGI - are breathtaking for their time.

Sometimes one is better leaving a movie seen in a theatre on its release exactly there: a one time viewing only. Seeing it for a second time removes the wonder and awe of that first viewing.

I would have given it a 9 the first time, this time a 6 so I calculated a 7 out of 10 to be fair.

22 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Bad father? Seriously? grybop
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Just saw this for the first time killerdominos
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