In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
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
The nine foot diameter model of the mothership that was used in the final sequences was kept locked up in Steven Spielberg's garage to help prevent pictures of it from appearing in the media before the release of the film. See more »
When the Aliens come to take Barry we see a beam of red light shining through the keyhole. The beam is moving sideways, implying the ship is flying around the house. When Barry opens the door, the lights outside are doing just that. See more »
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 »
A print of the film screened at the American Cinematheque (Los Angeles) several times features most of the Special Edition's edits, but also includes the Roy's tree-tossing sequence and his climb through the window. What's missing from this version is all of the footage from inside the spaceship. See more »
A perfectly fascinating piece of science fiction fantasy, it is visually impressive, well written and well directed. The film has certain moments that can be described only as classic, however the overall film is quite imperfect. There are some really striking flaws such as poor dialogue recording, an ending that is by far too roundabout, and in fact a whole end section that is not nearly as interesting as the beginning of the film. Either way, there is still however a lot to appreciate in the experience, including the spectacular sound effects, which won the film a special achievement Oscar.
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