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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.

See our Close Encounters gallery

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:

Now There Is More (USA 1980 special edition re-release) 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

One of the reasons behind new cost increases was Steven Spielberg's decision to release the film in 70mm using a process that allowed for a wider magnetic sound track to let him create greater audio impact as well as visual. See more »

Goofs

In the tunnel, Roy is driving on the left (wrong) side of what appears to be a two-lane, two-way road. However, after his first encounter with the UFO, Roy's driving became very erratic and he is also seen scraping the side of the truck against a barrier, and even almost runs over Barry Guiler. See more »

Quotes

Roy Neary: [as Lacombe and Laughlin show him a drawing of Devil's Tower] Yeah, I've got one just like it in my living room. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?
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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: Time of the Apes (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Song of the Waterfall
(1937)
Words and Music by Bob Nolan, Bernard Barnes, and Carl Winge
Published by Unichappell Music, Inc./Elvis Presley Music
From the United Artists Records album "Love Song of the Waterfall"
Sung by Slim Whitman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Aliens in Muncie make for Spielberg's Best Film Ever

Steven Spielberg has made huge popcorn blockbusters that gross more money at the box office (i.e. "Jaws," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," or "Jurassic Park") and are more exciting on a visceral level. As he as aged and matured as a director, he has also made movies that are more important and will hold a more solid place in the chronicles of film as an artistic document of history (i.e. "Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," and "Munich"). For my money, his best film will still always be "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." This film is Spielberg's humanistic and heartfelt answer to Kubrick's intellectual and cerebral look at man's first contact with life from elsewhere in the universe in his 1968 opus "2001: A Space Odyssey."

"Close Encounters" came early on in Spielberg's career, made in 1977, and has all the hallmarks of his later films played just right before he became so self-referential. Here we have his typical bag of tricks long before they became so typical: familial strife, coming to terms with something bigger than oneself that challenges the male protagonist's view of the world around him, little kids in jeopardy, superb build up of suspense, fantastic visual effects, and a memorable score from John Williams. From the first UFO sightings in Muncie, Indiana to the fantastic finale at Devil's Tower in Wyoming, this is grand entertainment. Lots of films have emulated this movie to varying degrees of success, from Robert Zemeckis' earnest "Contact," to the shameful scam that was M. Night Shymalan's "Signs," and even Spielberg himself recently did the dark natured flip-side to benevolent alien encounters with his remake of "War of the Worlds" (which makes a fantastic double-feature with this). However, nothing compares to this true original. No other film has made me want to believe in aliens more, and I'll never look at a plate of mashed potatoes the same again.


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