E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial can be found here.

While collecting plant specimens in a wooded area in California, an extraterrestrial (E.T.) is accidentally stranded when his spaceship takes off without him. Totally alone on the strange planet, the alien makes his way down an embarkment and into a housing development where he is befriended by 10-year-old Elliott (Henry Thomas), with whom he forms a special mental bond. When E.T. gets the idea of making a communication device so that he can "phone home", Elliott, his 16-year-old brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton), and their 5-year-old sister Gert (Drew Barrymore) attempt to help. Things get critical when E.T. gets seriously ill and appears to be dying. Meanwhile, a group of government agents have tracked E.T. to Elliott's house, sealed off the house, and sent in a medical unit to examine and treat Elliott and the alien.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is based on a concept by director Steven Spielberg and a script written by American screenwriter Melissa Mathison. Spielberg's idea came from an imaginary friend he created after his parents' divorce.

E.T. doesn't give a reason, but viewers take it to mean that it was his way of showing Elliot that he meant no harm and wanted to be friends. It might also have been a way of requesting more.

Probably not. "B...good" were the first words in English that he learned from Gert when she was trying to teach him to talk by repeating "B...B..." from Sesame Street. She then added "...good", when E.T. mimicked her. It was more likely E.T.'s way of sharing a significant moment he had with Gert, whether or not he really understood the meaning of "be good" and her reply of "I will."

As the task force prepares to load E.T.'s body into a truck to be carried away for examination, Elliott and Michael hijack the truck. On their way down the driveway, Michael yells to his friends to meet them on their bicycles at the playground at the top of the hill. After a mad chase scene that leads them into a road block, the bicycles are lifted into the air, landing in the spot where a spaceship is landing to pick up E.T. Knowing that E.T. is going to leave them, Gert and Michael make their goodbyes. When it comes to Elliott's turn, E.T. asks him to 'come' but Elliott replies 'stay' 'I'll be right here,' E.T. says while pointing his finger at Elliott's head. In the final scene, the spaceship takes off, leaving a rainbow behind in its wake.

E.T. 's catchphrase throughout the movie is "E.T. home phone." The version of the phrase that became popularized was Elliott's inversion, "E.T. phone home."

On its 20th anniversary, Spielberg re-released the movie in theaters in a new edition. To make the film more interesting, Spielberg changed several details. First of all, the sound and picture were digitally remastered. Furthermore, two new scenes were added. In the first new scene, Elliott's mother searches for her children in the town on Halloween. In the other one, the relationship between E.T. and Elliott is shown in more detail. In the scene in the bathroom, Elliott explains many things about his world and the viewer is shown that E.T's race seems to prefer water as habitat. Spielberg had removed that scene in the original version because E.T. puppet looked too stiff to him. Moreover, E.T. is digitally animated in several shots now, which, at some points, is very apparent. He has also been remodeled digitally. This can be seen at the beginning of the movie when he is fleeing from the hunters and jumps through the forest like a kangaroo. Later it becomes apparent that E.T's facial expressions have also changed, probably to show more emotions than the puppet was able to. Having said that, the changes only occur in 1/4 of the movie.

After September 11th, 2001, one conversation between Michael and his mother was also changed. In the original version, she told him that he wasn't allowed to go out dressed like a terrorist. In the Special Edition, the word "terrorist" was replaced by the word "hippie". Furthermore, the weapons that were worn by the security guards when they were following the children have been replaced with walkie talkies. Spielberg, looking back, found it simply inappropriate to have men with guns follow the children. Years later, Spielberg revealed that he regretted making the changes and now prefers the film the way it originally was. The Special Edition DVD has since gone out of print as the original cut is the only version available on video, though the former still receives some TV airplay. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

While the film offers no explanation there are several possibilities: (1) There was no point in keeping E.T. on Earth seeing how he was dying after being separated from his species and he realized it was best that he returned home , (2) He realized how strong Elliot's connection was to E.T. and he learned the error of his ways and no longer saw E.T. as a science experiment but as a living thing with feelings, and (3) There really wasn't much he could do, the police weren't with him and if he tried to capture E.T. again Michael and his friends would have stopped him, plus for all he knew the other Extra Terrestrials in the ship could have had deadly weapons.

It contains the original 1982 "gun" version. There is also a bonus DVD which is also the original "gun" version. Spielberg has since disowned the 2002 "walkie-talkie" version.

It is not uncommon for little children to want to call their parents by their first name as that is how they often hear other adults refer to them as. It is highly doubtful that Gertie legitimately thinks that is how she is supposed to address her mother, she is more than likely trying to be funny or seeing how far she can push things. Also throughout the movie Mary has shown that she doesn't have a whole lot of control over her children, Michael's friends were smoking in her house, one of them tried to grab her butt, they wouldn't listen to her when she told them to come inside and Elliot wasn't even punished when he called Michael "penis breath" at the dinner table, so the fact that Mary doesn't correct Gertie is within her character. It is also possible that Mary realizes that Gertie is just going through a phase and has decided to let it run its course.


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