7.7/10
162,430
389 user 216 critic

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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
Reviews
Popularity
427 ( 287)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor
Duel (TV Movie 1971)
Action | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey
Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins
Munich (2005)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Marie-Josée Croze
Jaws (1975)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach resort, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
Contact (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of extraterrestrial intelligence, sending plans for a mysterious machine.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt
Cape Fear (1991)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a fourteen-year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange
Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A woman attempts to reunite her family by helping her husband escape prison and together kidnapping their son. But things don't go as planned when they are forced to take a police hostage on the road.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, Michael Sacks
Edit

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
Edit

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:

We are not alone See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Spanish | Hindi

Release Date:

14 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

CE3K See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$132,088,635

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$303,788,635
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Vilmos Zsigmond, the director of photography on The Sugarland Express (1974), returned to work with Spielberg after passing up the job of shooting Jaws (1975). He found the director more commanding and less eager to discuss options than previously, but Zsigmond was enthusiastic to be on the picture. "[Close Encounters] had the smell of a great movie. We fell into sandtraps not because anybody made mistakes but because we were making things that had never been done before." Zsigmond found himself blamed for many of those "sandtraps" by producer Julia Phillips and the studio, who almost fired him over his insistence that he needed at least one day to pre-light the enormous set. Nevertheless, Zsigmond refused to give in to pressure to use less lighting, and he was supported in this by Spielberg and especially Trumbull, who knew what it would take to match the scenes to the special effects. After the first two months of shooting in Mobile, when studio executives and financial backers began to show up on set, Phillips insisted on firing him. Several other cinematographers were called as potential replacements--John A. Alonzo, László Kovács, Ernest Laszlo--but most of them were friends of Zsigmond and agreed that if he couldn't handle the job, no one could. See more »

Goofs

Shadow of camera on the screen door of the farm. See more »

Quotes

Roy Neary: [angrily] Who are you people?
Claude Lacombe: Mr. Neary, please, one more question.
David Laughlin: Have you recently had a close encounter... A close encounter with something very unusual?
Roy Neary: [cautiously] Who are you people?
See more »

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 Hooked (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

More Than a Feeling
(1976) (uncredited)
Written by Tom Scholz
Performed by Boston
Produced by John Boylan and Tom Scholz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Transforming Fear to Wonder
16 July 2004 | by hippybearSee all my reviews

An amazing film, one of my favorites. I watch this regularly, especially at times when the reality of life is overwhelming, just to refocus and regain some sense of perspective.

Everything in this film works toward one end: to transform the adult sense of fear back into the childlike sense of wonder at the world. From the very opening moments of the film, designed to create confusion and startlement, this movie creates a sensation of dread and foreboding. The dissonance of the soundtrack, the juxtaposition of images, they all are working to build into the viewer a feeling that something just isn't right, that something out of the ordinary is taking place, and underscoring this all with a sense that this is something to resist, to pull away from, to not allow it to affect one's "ordinary life."

But as the movie progresses, the tone begins to shift, and the true intent of the film begins to peek through. This isn't about being afraid of the unknown, but rather embracing it. Paying attention to the "subliminal images" in life, allowing them to lead you into something unknown and perhaps dangerous, only then can one be open to wonder and experience the world through the magical eyes of a child.

Dreyfuss' character takes us on this journey, met with resistance all along the way. His wife, his neighbors, his job, his community, all are working against him, and it's only when he's reached his craziest that he truly gives in and begins to stop trying to understand and instead embraces the experiences in store for him. The scientific community is seeking to understand, but without having any personal calling to be involved. Only Barry is truly able to throw himself into the strangeness that is taking place, and his enthusiasm is greeted by both the characters and the audience as somehow alien and threatening.

The ending of this film, when all the fear is finally stripped away and the sense of amazed wonder overtakes everyone on the screen and in the audience, brings about an amazing catharsis. Discarding all the "adult" sensibilities and being able to approach life once again with a sense of innocent amazement for the Strange hidden amongst the Ordinary, one can begin again to approach life from a fresh vantage point.

Powerful, mystifying, and rejuvenating. I highly recommend this film for anyone jaded with life and seeking a sense of renewal.


160 of 217 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 389 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed