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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) More at IMDbPro »

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind -- A line worker, after a encounter with UFO's, feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind -- A line worker, after a encounter with UFO's, feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   117,689 votes »
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Up 27% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Steven Spielberg (written by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Close Encounters of the Third Kind on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 December 1977 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
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 »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 16 wins & 33 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Overrated, disappointing sci-fi film that has become fondly remembered over the years...but why? See more (312 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Richard Dreyfuss ... Roy Neary

François Truffaut ... 'Lacombe' / Claude Lacombe (as Francois Truffaut)

Teri Garr ... Ronnie Neary

Melinda Dillon ... Jillian Guiler

Bob Balaban ... David Laughlin

J. Patrick McNamara ... Project Leader
Warren J. Kemmerling ... Wild Bill (as Warren Kemmerling)

Roberts Blossom ... Farmer
Philip Dodds ... Jean Claude

Cary Guffey ... Barry Guiler
Shawn Bishop ... Brad Neary
Adrienne Campbell ... Silvia Neary
Justin Dreyfuss ... Toby Neary

Lance Henriksen ... Robert
Merrill Connally ... Team Leader

George DiCenzo ... Major Benchley (in closing credits) (as George Dicenzo)
Amy Douglass ... Implantee
Alexander Lockwood ... Implantee
Gene Dynarski ... Ike
Mary Gafrey ... Mrs. Harris

Norman Bartold ... Ohio Tolls

Josef Sommer ... Larry Butler
Michael J. Dyer ... Himself (as Rev. Michael J. Dyer)
Roger Ernest ... Highway Patrolman

Carl Weathers ... Military Police
F.J. O'Neil ... ARP Project Member (as F. J. O'Neil)
Phil Dodds ... ARP Musician
Randy Hermann ... Returnee #1 Flt. 19
Hal Barwood ... Returnee #2 Flt. 19
Matthew Robbins ... Returnee #3 Flt. 19
David Anderson ... Air Traffic Controller
Richard L. Hawkins ... Air Traffic Controller
Craig Shreeve ... Air Traffic
Bill Thurman ... Air Traffic
Roy E. Richards ... Air East Pilot

Gene Rader ... Hawker
Eumenio Blanco ... Federale
Daniel Núñez ... Federale (as Daniel Nunez)
Chuy Franco ... Federale
Luis Contreras ... Federale

James Keane ... Radio Telescope Team
Dennis McMullen ... Radio Telescope Team
Cy Young ... Radio Telescope Team
Tom Howard ... Radio Telescope Team
Richard Stuart ... Truck Dispatcher
Bob Westmoreland ... Load Dispatcher
Matt Emery ... Support Leader
Galen Thompson ... Special Forces

John Dennis Johnston ... Special Forces
John Ewing ... Dirty Tricks #1
Keith Atkinson ... Dirty Tricks #2
Robert Broyles ... Dirty Tricks #3
Kirk Raymond ... Dirty Tricks #4
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bennett Wayne Dean Sr. ... Scientist (uncredited)

Basil Hoffman ... Longly (uncredited)
J. Allen Hynek ... Himself - Smoking Pipe at Landing Site (uncredited)
Monty Jordan ... Special Forces Commander / Helicopter Pilot (uncredited)
Shay McLean ... Speaking Child Extra (uncredited)

Stephen Powers ... UN Observer (uncredited)

Howard K. Smith ... Howard K. Smith (uncredited)

Directed by
Steven Spielberg 
 
Writing credits
Steven Spielberg (written by)

Hal Barwood  uncredited
Jerry Belson  uncredited
John Hill  uncredited
Matthew Robbins  uncredited

Produced by
Clark L. Paylow .... associate producer (as Clark Paylow)
Julia Phillips .... producer
Michael Phillips .... producer
 
Original Music by
John Williams 
 
Cinematography by
Vilmos Zsigmond (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Michael Kahn (film editor)
 
Casting by
Shari Rhodes 
Juliet Taylor  (as Juliette Taylor)
 
Production Design by
Joe Alves 
 
Art Direction by
Daniel A. Lomino  (as Dan Lomino)
 
Set Decoration by
Phil Abramson 
 
Makeup Department
Edie Panda .... hairdresser
Bob Westmoreland .... makeup supervisor
Dave Ayres .... creature crew (uncredited)
Ellis Burman Jr. .... extraterrestrial mask fabrication (uncredited)
Thomas R. Burman .... extraterrestrial mask fabrication (uncredited)
Frank Griffin .... extraterrestrial mask designer (uncredited)
Sharleen Rassi .... hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Clark L. Paylow .... unit production manager (as Clark Paylow)
Ronald L. Schwary .... unit production manager: additional scenes (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Baba Shaik .... production manager: India (uncredited)
John Veitch .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jim Bloom .... second assistant director
Charles Myers .... assistant director (as Chuck Myers)
Matthew Robbins .... second unit director: additional scenes (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Eric Stacey .... key second assistant director (uncredited)
Jerry Ziesmer .... assistant director: additional scenes (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Sam Gordon .... property master
George Jenson .... production illustrator (as George Jensen)
Bill Parks .... construction manager
Stan Cockerell .... set dresser (uncredited)
David Coleman .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Ralph McQuarrie .... conceptual artwork (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Neil Burrow .... sound effects editorial staff
Gene S. Cantamessa .... production sound mixer (as Gene Cantamesa)
Richard Friedman .... dialogue editorial staff (as Dick Friedman)
Sam Gemette .... sound effects editorial staff
Gary S. Gerlich .... sound effects editorial staff
Robert Glass .... re-recording mixer
David M. Horton .... sound effects editorial staff (as David Horton)
Bill Jackson .... assistant dialogue staff
Stephen Katz .... sound supervisor: Dolby (as Steve Katz)
Robert Knudson .... re-recording mixer (as Buzz Knudson)
Don MacDougall .... sound re-recording mixer
Richard Oswald .... sound effects editorial staff
Robert A. Reich .... assistant dialogue staff
Jack Schrader .... supervising dialogue editor
Chester Slomka .... sound effects editorial staff (as Chet Slomka)
Frank E. Warner .... supervising sound effects editor (as Frank Warner)
Raul A. Bruce .... boom operator (uncredited)
Ed Golya .... adr mixer (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Roy Arbogast .... special mechanical effects
Carlo Rambaldi .... realization of "extraterrestrial"
Bob Baker .... alien marionette (uncredited)
Wayne Beauchamp .... special effects (uncredited)
Johnny Borgese .... special effects (uncredited)
Kevin Pike .... special effects (uncredited)
Dell Rheaume .... mechanical effects: extraterrestrial masks (uncredited)
Robert Short .... alien designer (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Larry Albright .... special consultant
Peter Anderson .... special consultant (credited)
Mona Thal Benefiel .... project coordinator
Richard L. Bennett .... special consultant (as Richard Bennett)
David Berry .... camera operator (as Dave Berry)
Carol Boardman .... animation staff
Eleanor Dahlen .... animation staff
Cy Didjurgis .... animation staff
Don Dow .... laboratory technician
Jim Dow .... model shop coordinator (as J. Richard Dow)
Ken Ebert .... special consultant
Glenn Erickson .... project assistant
Eugene Eyerly .... camera operator
Rocco Gioffre .... assistant matte artist
David Gold .... effects electrician
Joyce Goldberg .... production secretary
Robert Hall .... optical photography
David R. Hardberger .... assistant cameraman (as David Hardberger)
Alan Harding .... assistant cameraman
Jack Hinkle .... laboratory expeditor (as Charles Hinkle)
Robert Hollister .... technician
Thomas Hollister .... laboratory technician (as Tom Hollister)
Paul Huston .... special consultant
Joseph A. Ippolito .... editorial assistant (as Joseph Ippolito)
Don Jarel .... matte photography
Jerry Jeffress .... electronics design (as Jerry L. Jeffress)
Gregory Jein .... chief model maker
David Jones .... special consultant (as David M. Jones)
Kevin Kelly .... special consultant
Tom Koester .... animation staff
Jim Lutes .... special consultant
Michael McMillen .... model maker
Bill Millar .... animation staff
Alvah J. Miller .... electronics design
Harry Moreau .... animator
Conne Morgan .... animation staff
Max Morgan .... camera operator (as Maxwell Morgan)
Barbara Morrison .... effects negative cutter
Dennis Muren .... mothership photography
Bruce Nicholson .... assistant cameraman
Ron Peterson .... camera operator
George Polkinghorne .... mechanical special effects
George Randle .... special consultant
Marcia Reed .... still photography (as Marcia Reid)
Peter Regla .... electronics design
Ray Rich .... key grip
Eldon Rickman .... camera operator
Richard Rippel .... assistant cameraman
Larry Robinson .... special visual effects coordinator
Peggy Rosson .... production accountant
John Russell .... camera and mechanical design
Jeff Shapiro .... special consultant
Robert Shepherd .... project manager: effects unit
Dan Slater .... electronics design
Steven Spielberg .... visual effects concepts
Scott Squires .... assistant cameraman
David K. Stewart .... UFO photography (as Dave Stewart)
Robert Swarthe .... animation supervisor
Ken Swenson .... model maker (as Kenneth Swenson)
Don Trumbull .... camera and mechanical design
Douglas Trumbull .... special photographic effects
Jor Van Kline .... model maker
Robert E. Worthington .... model maker (as Robert Worthington)
Hoyt Yeatman .... project assistant
Matthew Yuricich .... matte artist
Richard Yuricich .... director of photography: photographic effects
Larry Albright .... mothership neonlight effects designer (uncredited)
Peter Anderson .... additional model photography (uncredited)
Peter Anderson .... model and minature electronics (uncredited)
Don Baker .... additional effects photography (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Thane Berti .... visual effects (uncredited)
Kathryn Campbell .... visual effects editor (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Leslie Ekker .... animator (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Gregory L. McMurry .... visual effects technician (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Mike Peed .... animation photography (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Christopher S. Ross .... model maker (1980 special edition: mothership interior) (uncredited)
Jonathan Seay .... visual effects camera (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Scott Squires .... developer: cloud tank (uncredited)
Mitch Suskin .... model maker (1980 special edition) (uncredited)
Robert Swarthe .... visual effects supervisor (1980 special edition: inside mother ship) (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Buddy Joe Hooker .... stunt coordinator
Bobby Bass .... stunts (uncredited)
Craig R. Baxley .... stunt driver (uncredited)
Jerry Brutsche .... stunt driver (uncredited)
Steven Burnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Jeannie Epper .... stunts (uncredited)
Buddy Joe Hooker .... stunts (uncredited)
Monty Jordan .... utility stunts (uncredited)
Stephen Powers .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
John A. Alonzo .... additional director of photography (as John Alonzo)
Jim Coe .... still photographer
William A. Fraker .... director of photography: additional American scenes
Earl Gilbert .... gaffer
László Kovács .... additional director of photography (as Laszlo Kovacs)
'Fast' Eddie Mahler .... video technician
Nick McLean .... camera operator
Steven Poster .... director of photography: second unit (as Steve Poster)
Douglas Slocombe .... director of photography: India sequence
Peter Sorel .... still photographer (as Pete Sorel)
Pete Turner .... still photographer
Michael C. Butler .... additional photography (1980 special edition: inside mother ship) (uncredited)
Richard E. Cunha .... additional photography (uncredited)
Allen Daviau .... additional photography (1980 special edition: Gobi Desert sequence) (uncredited)
Jim Dickson .... additional photography (uncredited)
Norman Lang .... electrician (uncredited)
Mike Laurance .... camera operator: additional photography (uncredited)
Rexford L. Metz .... additional photography: second unit (uncredited)
Tim Ryan .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Frank Stanley .... additional director of photography (uncredited)
Robin Vidgeon .... focus puller: India (uncredited)
Chic Waterson .... camera operator: India (uncredited)
Joseph Westheimer .... additional photography (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Sally Dennison .... additional casting
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
James Linn .... wardrobe supervisor (as Jim Linn)
 
Editorial Department
Charles Bornstein .... assistant film editor
Bob McMillian .... color consultant (as Robert M. McMillian)
Geoffrey Rowland .... assistant film editor
 
Music Department
John Neal .... music scoring mixer
Kenneth Wannberg .... music editor
Tommy Johnson .... musician: tuba soloist (uncredited)
Tom Raney .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Paul Salamunovich .... vocalist: harmonic chanting (uncredited)
Steve Schaeffer .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Jim Self .... musician: tuba, voice of the mother ship (uncredited)
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Jerry Williams .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Bill Bethea .... transportation
Chris Haynes .... production driver (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Judy Bornstein .... second assistant to producers
Charlsie Bryant .... script supervisor
Patrick Burns .... production staff (as Pat Burns)
Colin Cantwell .... technical dialogue
Kendall Cooper .... assistant to producers
Al Ebner .... publicist
H.L. Edwards .... during the filming of all animal sequences, Veterinarian of Gillette, Wyoming was in attendance at all times to aid the filmmakers and the anesthetist in proper treatment of the animals used
Rick Fields .... assistant: Mr. Spielberg
Janet Healy .... production staff
J. Allen Hynek .... technical advisor (as Dr. J. Allen Hynek)
Joe O'Har .... location manager
Dan Perri .... title designer
Gail Siemers .... production secretary
Steve Warner .... location auditor
Murray Weissman .... publicist
Seth Winston .... intern: AFI
Noreen Beasley .... dialogue translator: French for F. Truffaut (uncredited)
Norman Brokaw .... production counsel (uncredited)
Norman Garey .... production counsel (uncredited)
Steve Hinton .... pilot (uncredited)
Pat Kingsley .... publicist (uncredited)
Kevin Von Feldt .... assistant: Clark Paylow (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Johnny Mathis .... special thanks
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"CE3K" - USA (informal short title)
"The Special Edition: Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - USA (reissue title)
See more »
Runtime:
132 min (special edition) | 137 min (director's cut) | 135 min (original version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby (35 mm prints)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Brazil:Livre | Canada:PG | Finland:K-12 | France:U | Germany:12 (DVD rating) | Iceland:L | India:U | Ireland:PG | Netherlands:12 (original rating) | Netherlands:6 (re-rating) | Norway:12 | Peru:PT | Portugal:M/12 (Qualidade) | Singapore:PG | South Africa:PG | South Korea:All | Spain:T | Sweden:11 | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | USA:PG (Approved No. 25062) | USA:TV-MA (TV rating) | West Germany:12 (f)

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:
Continuity: License plate(s) on the station wagon as Roy and Jillian drive through roadblocks.See more »
Quotes:
Air Traffic Controller:AirEast 31, do you wish to file a report of any kind to us?
AirEast Pilot:[over radio] I wouldn't know what kind of report to file, Center.
See more »
Soundtrack:
When You Wish Upon a StarSee more »

FAQ

What does the title mean?
How many different versions exist of this movie?
Why was Roy fired?
See more »
59 out of 110 people found the following review useful.
Overrated, disappointing sci-fi film that has become fondly remembered over the years...but why?, 31 July 2004
Author: MovieAddict2014 from UK

Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977) is a genuinely silly, unfortunately outdated story. Its epic scope made it one of the highest-grossing films of 1977, nominated for two Academy Awards ® (it lost Best Visual Effects to George Lucas' "Star Wars"). Now, 27 years later, it just seems goofy and sickeningly sweet.

Spielberg adds a schmaltzy layer to most of his films that set his projects apart from the work of other directors. Arguably the most famous filmmaker since Hitchcock (in terms of public recognition), Spielberg is responsible for some of the greatest films ever made. Most critics consider "E.T." and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" – both films that deal with extra-terrestrial life – to be some of his finest. For me, they are both rather disappointing. And unbearably sugar coated.

So, what is the primary problem with "Close Encounters"? Is it a bad movie? No, not really. But it's not a particularly memorable one, either. Apart from a few so-called "classic" sequences (the boy opening the door, the mashed potatoes, the alien arrival), the movie fails to spark much interest. Most of it – to be completely blunt – is quite stupid. Spielberg admits on the Special Edition DVD that he finds "Close Encounters" a bit too optimistic and unrealistic. When Spielberg made this movie, he believed in extra-terrestrial life, and was a young man with no children. In retrospect, Spielberg claims that the movie is a perfect snapshot of his youth, but as an adult, he would never make the movie the same way he did in '77.

One of the largest flaws is the fact that Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss fresh off the success of Spielberg's 1975 smash hit "JAWS") abandons his own family (wife and children) to embark on a crazy search for extra-terrestrial life. In a matter of thirty minutes of screen time he has packed up, traveled to Wyoming, broken past blocked off roads, found a new romantic interest, and by the end...well...let's just say that the conclusion is rather shameful on Spielberg's behalf. It is quite evident that he had no firm grasp of moral obligation in '77, and Roy's climactic decision is wholly unbelievable.

Then again, most of the film is like that, too.

Neary is an electrician who experiences a "close encounter" one night when a UFO seems to attack his car, and then flies off into the distance. Roy soon struggles with confusing mental images that have mysteriously implanted into his brain.

Hounded by the smart Dr. Lacombe (French director Francois Truffaut in his acting debut), Roy soon realizes that the extra-terrestrials plan to land on earth – and he wants to be there, to see it all.

Roy's evolution is too fast – in a matter of what seem to be few days he has turned into a complete loon, and because of Spielberg's lack of character arc, the sudden change is startling and – worst of all – cold. We lose all sense of empathy for Roy, primarily because we do not experience his pain – we see him suffering, sure, and moping around like a "cry baby," as his son names him. But this happens so fast that we are left wanting more.

The movie's conclusion – which lasts over forty minutes long – is the most exciting part, but the abrupt change of pace (from being a slow-moving charming family film about "close encounters" to an oddball chase movie about the government covering up a dangerous conspiracy and hunting down escaped witnesses) hinders the lasting impact. Spielberg is constantly trying to find a groove for his movie, and never really finds one to stay the course.

Then, there's the long-awaited alien introduction (which lasts over twenty minutes long). Most people flocked to the theaters in order to see this sequence – the special effects showcase of the year. This is proven by the fact that Spielberg purposely draws out the scene for such a lengthy period of time. Then, audiences savored the F/X because they were the best since Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (even the trailer advertisements claimed this was so, in order to entice viewers). Now, they're outdated, by almost all standards of special effects. Watching them for twenty minutes becomes tiring.

And of course, the annoying musical conversation between man and alien comes next – something else that only makes the film more grating so many years later. "It's so '70s!" someone once said. I agree. (Many great masterpieces were made during the 1970s, but most people forget how many downright cheesy, forgettable movies were made, too.)

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" simply does not hold up after 27 years, which is quite unfortunate. The F/X are shoddy, the ideas are insane, the movie is long and boring, and the direction and acting are about the only two things that approach greatness. Spielberg shows talent behind the camera here, but it is vastly inferior to "JAWS." Even John Williams' score fails to leave the same impact as "JAWS," "Jurassic Park," etc.

Produced during a slew of "happy alien" movies (followed by another slew of "mean alien" movies during the '80s after Ridley Scott's "Alien" in 1979), "Close Encounters" is at times amusing, annoying, fast, long, and silly, all at once. The nation needed hope during the '70s, and they turned to the skies. Spielberg answered their calls, with a movie that set records, but is now nothing but a forgettable tale.

Many will disagree with me when I say that "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is an overrated, disappointing motion picture with few redeeming qualities. The harsh feedback should be interesting.

2.5/5

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