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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

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After an accidental encounter with otherworldly vessels, an ordinary man follows a series of psychic clues to the first scheduled meeting between representatives of Earth and visitors from the cosmos.

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'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' at 40

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Steven Spielberg's cultural phenomenon Close Encounters of the Third Kind with a look at images from the film.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Roy Neary
... Claude Lacombe (as Francois Truffaut)
... Ronnie Neary
... Jillian Guiler
... David Laughlin
... Project Leader
... Wild Bill (as Warren Kemmerling)
... Farmer
... Jean Claude
... Barry Guiler
Shawn Bishop ... Brad Neary
... Silvia Neary
Justin Dreyfuss ... Toby Neary
... Robert
... 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:

We are not alone See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

14 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

CE3K  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$132,088,635

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$303,788,635
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roy Neary was originally going to be named Norman Greenhouse. See more »

Goofs

The insignia worn by some of the Navy fliers do not correspond to their ranks. See more »

Quotes

David Laughlin: Have you recently had a close encounter?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 1980s special edition, the new musical edition features the end credits different, then the fades into well after the end credits to the black screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dawson's Creek: ...That Is the Question (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

When You Wish Upon a Star
(1940)
Words: Ned Washington/Music: Leigh Harline
© 1940 Bourne Co.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Strong emotional core that avoids Rockwell-esque sentimentality
24 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

When the whole area suffers a full blackout, electrician Roy Neary is called out to service some poles suspected of being down. Sitting in his truck trying to find directions he is suddenly caught in a bright light and the electric's on his truck fail. Shortly it passes and he sees a craft pass overhead. At the same time nearby a woman pursues her young son who has wandered out in search of the lights that have been calling to him. Both adults are left wanting to know the truth and filled with half-ideas and images that haunt them – when Gillian Guiler son is taken, this becomes even more important to them. Meanwhile the military, led by investigator Claude Lacombe uncover planes and ships that have been missing for decades and uncover hidden codes and signals in the mysterious crafts.

I am currently ploughing my way through Speilberg's Taken on BBC2 so I thought I'd give this classic another view just to remind myself how good Speilberg and aliens can be. The plot is perfect for any UFO nut – the government are behind everything and know of everything. The story unfolds really well – the three main stories complimenting each other and giving the film a sense of pace. The strand with Lacombe following events all round the globe is the least personal (and thus least involving) but it is enticing us for the climax of the film. Neary's soul searching maybe does go on a little too long but the emotion in the family situation is intense and his frustration and sense of confusion is very real. Although the thrid strand has less screen time the abduction of the child is a powerful scene and the emotion is well brought out.

The special effects are very good but the glue of the film is the emotional telling. This is Speilberg doing well – he never really gives into his American Apple Pie style sentimentality and the film keeps moving along and has a real emotional heart to it. The climax of the movie always sort of messes me up and I find it best not to question it's logic on any level for fear of holes opening up all over it – but it does have a sense of childlike wonder to it, which I guess Speilberg was trying to get across.

As usual Dreyfuss does well under Speilberg and he is mostly responsible for keeping the emotion in his character realistic without being all syrupy and sickly. Truffaut is OK but it's impossible to see him as anyone but Francis Truffaut and his character suffers as a result. Garr and Dillon are both strong female characters for different reasons and the support cast are generally very good (including a good handful of the Dreyfuss family).

Overall this film never gets me as one of the greatest sci-fi's of all time, but it is certainly a very good film that takes `real' people as it's driver and not flashy effect shots. That `Taken' seems to be slipping into Norman Rockwell type mawkishness is good enough reason to revisit CE3K.


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