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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 124,693 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 324 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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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:

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:

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Barry is shown to be surprised by the extraterrestrials. Director Steven Spielberg had two crew members hide in boxes off camera, one in a clown suit and one in a gorilla suit. One popped out, then the other as the cameras rolled, catching young Cary Guffey's bewildered reaction. Spielberg then whispered to the gorilla to remove his mask, eliciting a smile from Guffey. See more »

Goofs

Roy's sunburn changes it's degree of redness between shots. See more »

Quotes

Ronnie Neary: [the Neary children watch The Ten Commandants on TV] You know, that movie is four hours long.
Roy Neary: I said they'd only watch five.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tremors: Hit and Run (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Song of the Waterfall
(1937)
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

Transforming Fear to Wonder
16 July 2004 | by (Spokane, Washington) – See all my reviews

An amazing film, one of my favorites. I watch this regularly, especially at times when the reality of life is overwhelming, just to refocus and regain some sense of perspective.

Everything in this film works toward one end: to transform the adult sense of fear back into the childlike sense of wonder at the world. From the very opening moments of the film, designed to create confusion and startlement, this movie creates a sensation of dread and foreboding. The dissonance of the soundtrack, the juxtaposition of images, they all are working to build into the viewer a feeling that something just isn't right, that something out of the ordinary is taking place, and underscoring this all with a sense that this is something to resist, to pull away from, to not allow it to affect one's "ordinary life."

But as the movie progresses, the tone begins to shift, and the true intent of the film begins to peek through. This isn't about being afraid of the unknown, but rather embracing it. Paying attention to the "subliminal images" in life, allowing them to lead you into something unknown and perhaps dangerous, only then can one be open to wonder and experience the world through the magical eyes of a child.

Dreyfuss' character takes us on this journey, met with resistance all along the way. His wife, his neighbors, his job, his community, all are working against him, and it's only when he's reached his craziest that he truly gives in and begins to stop trying to understand and instead embraces the experiences in store for him. The scientific community is seeking to understand, but without having any personal calling to be involved. Only Barry is truly able to throw himself into the strangeness that is taking place, and his enthusiasm is greeted by both the characters and the audience as somehow alien and threatening.

The ending of this film, when all the fear is finally stripped away and the sense of amazed wonder overtakes everyone on the screen and in the audience, brings about an amazing catharsis. Discarding all the "adult" sensibilities and being able to approach life once again with a sense of innocent amazement for the Strange hidden amongst the Ordinary, one can begin again to approach life from a fresh vantage point.

Powerful, mystifying, and rejuvenating. I highly recommend this film for anyone jaded with life and seeking a sense of renewal.


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