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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Poster

Goofs

Continuity 

E.T.'s potted plant is suddenly much larger when Gertie and Mary are in the car right before the bicycle chase gets underway. The plant returns to its original, smaller size when Gertie gives it back to E.T. before he leaves.
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This goof item contains spoilers. Click to view

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Mary reads "Peter Pan" to Gertie, there's a view of her silhouette on the closet door slats. Her lips don't match the narration.
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Near the beginning of the film, when the trucks race through the woods approaching the expected location of the spaceship landing, one of the trucks "screeches" when it stops. A vehicle's tires would not screech on wet, muddy ground.
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When E.T. takes a can of beer from the fridge, we see Harvey the dog bark twice - but we don't hear the first bark.
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Continuity 

In the 20th Aniversary Edition, when Eliott is showing E.T. the bathroom and is then on the phone with his mother, the Coke can changes designs. At first, it is the older version from 1982, then it changes to the updated 2002 can design. It switches back and forth for the entire length of the scene.
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Elliott is given money and told to wait for the pizza guy outside, indicating the pizza has been ordered and on its way. But a line or two later, the boys ask him to make sure he orders lots of pepperoni and sausage. He is then seen outside meeting the driver at the foot of the driveway.
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Gertie's hamburger changes size, and eventually disappears (inconsistent with her eating it).
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When E.T. gets on his ship, Elliot's mother gets up twice, and Elliot is (not) holding his dog by the collar.
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Elliot crashes his bike during the chase through the new housing development, but is back in the pack an impossibly short time later.
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After one of the kids whips off his balaclava and says, "We made it!" during the bike chase, a hoard of government agents rush into the street behind him. In the next shot of Michael reacting, his friend takes off the balaclava again and the agents run into the street again.
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When E.T. is alone in the house and misspells "nuisance" on the toy, we see that the back panel has been removed, but in the next shot the panel is back on. Later, when E.T. drags the blanket with the "phone" ingredients on it, the panel is back off.
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At the beginning when the men are searching for E.T., the keys on the "Key Man" keep changing sides between shots.
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The size of the eye holes on E.T's ghost outfit change shape and size several times (most noticeable when Michael finds the abandoned outfit when he is looking for E.T.)
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When the plastic hallway with the scientists in it detaches from the speeding van, the ramp that was seen in the shots before is gone.
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When the boys are playing around the kitchen table, the cigarette and ashtray disappear.
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When Elliot thinks E.T. is dying, and is talking to him through the window of the box, the towel that is wrapped around Elliot keeps changing position - sometimes it is wrapped tightly around his neck, and other times it reveals a bit of his left side.
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When Gertie is waiting with the bike at the rendezvous, the sun is just about to set behind the mountains. Yet there is still plenty of daylight for the Halloween street scenes. The sun is then shown much higher above a smaller foothill. Finally, when the kids and E.T. meet up at the bicycle, the sun has just dropped below the mountain peak.
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The first time E.T. makes Elliott's bike fly, E.T.'s sheet goes from opened to wrapped tightly in alternating views - wrapped in far shots, opened in close-ups.
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When E.T. runs through the swing set he sets everything moving. The far shot of Elliot shows the two-man swing is stationary. In the next close shot it is moving again.
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When Elliott and his four companions "land" their bikes in the forest on their way to the spaceship, there are clearly six sets of bike wheels landing, not just five.
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When Elliot disconnects the tunnel and two men from the back of the van, the men's air hoses remain attached to the van as it speeds away, however the air hoses are gone a second later when the van is shown from a different camera angle.
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When E.T. spies on Gertie and her mom reading the bedtime story, the set of blinds open in the closet door changes between shots. When we see E.T. from behind looking into the bedroom, the blinds in the middle of the door, just above his head are open. When we see E.T.'s face from the front, the blinds in the bottom third of the closet are open, at and below his eye level, and the middle blinds are closed. The set of open blinds changes back and forth between shots.
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When Elliott and his brother first try to drive away in the government van and are caught, the agents crowd around and in front of the truck. But moments later the van drives off easily with no one in front of it.
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In the shot of the spaceship taking off at the end, all of the people surrounding it on the ground have disappeared.
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When Elliot burps in the classroom, his pencil disappears during several shots. The papers on his desk change position several times.
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When E.T. is walking outside during Halloween, the eye holes on his sheet are far apart and only one is matched up to his eyes. However, the shots of what E.T. is seeing through his sheet show the two eye holes lined up close together.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Elliot, Michael, and E.T. arrive at the park after escaping the scientists, a ramp can be seen where they drive over the curb.
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As Michael leads Mary into the bathroom where Elliot and E.T. lay sick, the camera dollies backwards, brushing past and visibly disturbing an indoor bamboo tree.
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The silhouette of the mime wearing the E.T. gloves can be seen through the railing when Elliot is luring E.T. with the Reese's Pieces.
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Errors in geography 

The street the boys turn onto during the chase when the boy says "we made it" isn't the same street as they had turned into. There should have been houses, but instead, there were just trees and cars.
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Almost everything about the phases and appearance of the moon is wrong for the northern hemisphere.
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Factual errors 

In addition to the other lunar errors, at first we see a crescent moon then the famous full moon being crossed by the bicycles (later to become Amblin Entertainment's signature logo). From thin crescent to full moon takes about half a lunar cycle, 14 days, but the time frame of the movie suggested only a few days at most.
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When Elliot goes to sleep outside to look for E.T., the moon is directly behind him. When he is awakened several hours later, the moon is in the same position.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Some are confused when E.T. magically heals Elliot's cut finger that the blood disappears. E.T.'s true powers are not fully known so it is possible E.T. made the blood go back into his body along with healing the wound.
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Revealing mistakes 

One of the boys moves his lips in sync with Elliot's line, "Nobody go out there."
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When "Keys" goes inside the Clean room created for ET and Elliot, he and others wear a "Clean Suit" , but the tubes coming out of the helmet go nowhere, not even a filter, meaning they are breathing contaminated air and that the suit is useless.
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[20th Anniversary Edition] The government agents and police have had their hand guns replaced with walkie-talkies, but they are still extending their trigger fingers for no apparent reason.
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When the boys are racing away on their bicycles from the Feds, the stunt doubles for Elliott and his friends are obviously way too tall to be children.
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When Elliot returns with a snack for a frightened E.T. hiding among stuffed animals in his toy closet and asks "want a Coke?", the stuffed animals around E.T. fall down, knocking off some chips from Elliot's plate on to the animals. There are already chips on one of the animals as it falls, before it has a chance to actually touch the plate (possibly left behind from earlier takes).
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[20th Anniversary edition] When E.T. is eating potato salad and drinking beer in front of the refrigerator during the scene when he is alone at home, the shadow of his head cast on the fridge door is that of the original puppet, not the CGI head.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

At the end, when E.T. and Elliott are hugging, when the camera is behind E.T., Elliott's arms are all the way around him, but when the camera is behind Elliott, his hands are on E.T.'s shoulders.
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Revealing mistakes 

When E.T.'s being chased by the government workers and running back to the spaceship, you see a pole behind E.T. pushing him. This is right before you see the alien in the spaceship as it's leaving.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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