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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

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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
1,379 ( 208)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 38 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 iconic five-note melody was a chance arrangement that both composer John Williams and director Steven Spielberg happened to like out of hundreds of different permutations. The tone was later used in Moonraker (1979) and again in the cue line in Star Tours (1987). See more »

Goofs

The mother ship is clearly several times larger than the circumference of Devils Tower; therefore, it could not be hidden by it. The mother ship just appears out of nowhere, and the mass of clouds that appeared in the preceding shot are gone. However, Steven Spielberg has stated that this was entirely a stylistic directorial decision and special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull stated that having the mothership first appear behind Devils Tower gave it an immediate sense of scale. See more »

Quotes

David Laughlin: We didn't choose this place! We didn't choose these people! They were invited!
Claude Lacombe: They belong here more than we.
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 Another Life: Through the Valley of Shadows (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

The Square Song
(1970)
Words and Music by Joe Raposo (as Joseph Raposo)
Published by Jonico Music, Inc.
Courtesy Pickwick International, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

Strong emotional core that avoids Rockwell-esque sentimentality
24 January 2003 | by bob the mooSee 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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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

USA

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:

$306,898,466
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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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