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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
Roy Neary, an electric lineman, watches how his quiet and ordinary daily life turns upside down after a close encounter with a UFO.

Director:

Steven Spielberg
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Popularity
1,822 ( 335)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Dreyfuss ... Roy Neary
François Truffaut ... 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 Shawn Bishop ... Brad Neary
Adrienne Campbell ... Silvia Neary
Justin Dreyfuss Justin Dreyfuss ... Toby Neary
Lance Henriksen ... Robert
Merrill Connally ... Team Leader
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Storyline

Two parallel stories are told. In the first, a group of research scientists from a variety of backgrounds are investigating the strange appearance of items in remote locations, primarily desert regions. In continuing their investigation, one of the lead scientists, a Frenchman named Claude Lacombe, incorporates the Kodály method of music education as a means of communication in their work. The response, in turn, at first baffles the researchers, until American cartographer David Laughlin deciphers the meaning of the response. In the second, electric company lineman and family man Roy Neary and single mother Jillian Guiler are among some individuals in Muncie, Indiana who experience some paranormal activity before some flashes of bright lights in the sky, which they believe to be a UFO. Roy becomes obsessed with what he saw, unlike some others, especially in some form of authority, who refuse to acknowledge their belief that it was a UFO in not wanting to appear crazy. That obsession ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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 »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The situation on U.S. Navy Flight 19, from which the airplanes that appear in the Mexican desert came, disappeared off Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in December 1945. No trace has ever been found of "the Lost Flight 19," which left the Naval Air Station near there in 1945. See more »

Goofs

The helicopter used to evacuate the people who made it to Devil's Tower is a Bell model 214. This model was never used by the US military and was primarily sold to Iran, Australia, Ecuador, Oman and the United Arab Emirates for their military forces and was also sold to civil aviation worldwide. See more »

Quotes

Roy Neary: I guess you've noticed something a little strange with Dad. It's okay, though. I'm still Dad.
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Crazy Credits

Near the end of the credits it starts to reads as follows: "During the filming of all animal sequences, H.L. EDWARDS, Veterinarian of Gillette, Wyoming, was in attendance at all times to aid the filmmakers and the anesthetist in proper treatment of the animals used, and at no time were the animals harmed or mistreated in any way." See more »

Alternate Versions

The Criterion Collection 3-disc Laserdisc released in 1990 featured both the 1977 Theatrical & 1980 Special Edition cuts. The theatrical however held onto the '80 Special Edition shot of a shadowed spaceship flying over Roy's truck. This was requested by Steven Spielberg while overseeing the disc's production. The 1980 cut can only be viewed on players that could have re-arranged the disc's chapters from the end of the disc to earlier on, requiring a 5-second pause between chapters. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dawson's Creek: The Kiss (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

More Than a Feeling
(1976) (uncredited)
Written by Tom Scholz
Performed by Boston
Produced by John Boylan and Tom Scholz
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User Reviews

 
The Source of Great Modern Sci-Fi
25 July 2020 | by smithpaulusmcSee all my reviews

Steven Spielberg's 1977 sci-fi drama Close Encounters of the Third Kind recounts two tales: one of an Indiana family-man who leaves it all behind, searching for truth after encountering a UFO, and the other of a team of researchers racing to communicate with an alien life form they have not ever seen themselves. It is easy to tell that many more modern science fiction works including Arrival, Interstellar, and Contact pay homage to this film through set design, a focus on communication, and a calling to unite as a people to solve the mysteries of the universe.

Despite being released in the late 70's, the work is undeniably beautiful and features special effects that appear far more advanced than any other films from the same time period. As impressive as the practical effects are Richard Dreyfuss and François Truffaut's chops as they portray the protagonists in the two timelines that converge near the film's end. The film also uses music dynamically throughout. Rather than simply adding a score that highlights the emotion in each scene, John Williams crafted music that interacts with the scene and exists in the film's world. From the alien's leitmotif "re mi do do so" to the emerging soundscape caused by each encounter, Close Encounters is spellbinding.

Close Encounters is a very personal film for its director Steven Spielberg. It is one of the few that he both wrote and directed. It features themes like the pain of being an artist and the great calling to something greater than one's self. Because of Spielberg's connection to the subject material, the movie can feel a little self-serving. Regrettably, it is also a little longwinded at times, but at no point will you wish you had not pressed play.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | French | Spanish | Hindi

Release Date:

14 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

CE3K See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,767,758, 3 September 2017

Gross USA:

$135,189,114

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$306,889,114
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Special Edition) | (Theatrical Original) | (Director's Cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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