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Contact (1997)

PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi  |  11 July 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 188,384 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 598 user | 158 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine.



(novel), (story), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sami Chester ...
Vernon (as SaMi Chester)
Timothy McNeil ...
Laura Elena Surillo ...
Cantina Woman
Michael Chaban ...
Hadden Suit
Willie (as Maximilian Martini)
Thomas Garner ...
Ian Broderick


Astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway has long been interested in contact to faraway lands, a love fostered in her childhood by her father, Ted Arroway, who passed away when she was nine years old leaving her then orphaned. Her current work in monitoring for extraterrestrial life is based on that love and is in part an homage to her father. Ever since funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) was pulled on her work, which is referred to some, including her NSF superior David Drumlin, as more science fiction than science, Ellie, with a few of her rogue scientist colleagues, have looked for funding from where ever they could get it to continue their work. When Ellie and her colleagues hear chatter originating from the vicinity of the star Vega, Ellie feels vindicated. But that vindication is short lived when others, including politicians, the military, religious leaders and other scientists such as Drumlin, try to take over her work. When the messages received from space are decoded, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Get ready to take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history... of history. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some intense action, mild language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

11 July 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Contacto  »

Box Office


$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,584,908 (USA) (11 July 1997)


$100,853,835 (USA) (31 October 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In order to make contact, intelligent life would likely choose such a "standard" cosmic frequency as hydrogen and multiply it by a transcendental number such as pi. Not only would this frequency be a common place to look for radio signals, it would be an unmistakable sign of intelligent life. See more »


You can't use walkie-talkies/cell-phones near a radio telescope array. It would overpower the array, making it useless. See more »


[first lines]
Young Ellie: CQ, this is W9GFO. CQ, this is W9GFO here. Come back?
See more »


Referenced in Honest Trailers: Interstellar (2015) See more »


Written by Willie Beck, James 'Diamond' Williams, Marshall E. Jones, Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner, Marvin Pierce, Ralph Middlebrooks, and Clarence Satchell
Performed by Ohio Players
Played briefly during the opening sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"For Carl"
30 March 2000 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Reading other peoples' reviews, I see a split 50/50 argument where one side loves the movie and the other hates it. I am not one bit surprised, due to the importance of the film, and I feel this is proof that Contact is one of the most powerful movies of the decade. Like the reaction from the civilians to the machine, a movie with this much heavy firepower is likely to get both loathing and praise from its viewers. I for one praise the film, for its toughness and sensitivity, symbolism and passion, and the fact that it is a rare science fiction film, a gem which was released in a time where scientific intelligence in film has become a nothing short of a joke as the wonder of the universe has been ignored and the mystery of alien life have become a neverending trail of movie villains.

The film of course centers around the science vs. religion theme, the oldest and most frightening of all school debates. Instead of taking the more independent path the book takes, the film takes the more sensitive on the science vs. religion argument throughout the film by telling us that science and religion points to the same direction (the "pursuit of truth") but are misunderstood when studying the nature of their WAY of finding the truth (science uses evidence and answers, religion uses love faith). At the end of it all, the film lets us know that if science and religion stops colliding with each other and starts to combine and compliment each other (listen to Ellie's final words in her testament) the human race might achieve things we can only dream about now.

A perfectly refreshing film, with lots to say, great acting and directing, sound and special effects. Robbed by the Academy.

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