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Contact (1997)

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

Director:

Robert Zemeckis

Writers:

James V. Hart (screenplay by), Michael Goldenberg (screenplay by) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
1,768 ( 923)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jena Malone ... Young Ellie
David Morse ... Ted Arroway
Jodie Foster ... Eleanor Arroway
Geoffrey Blake ... Fisher
William Fichtner ... Kent
Sami Chester Sami Chester ... Vernon (as SaMi Chester)
Timothy McNeil ... Davio
Laura Elena Surillo Laura Elena Surillo ... Cantina Woman
Matthew McConaughey ... Palmer Joss
Tom Skerritt ... David Drumlin
Henry Strozier ... Minister
Max Martini ... Willie (as Maximilian Martini)
Larry King ... Larry King
Thomas Garner Thomas Garner ... Ian Broderick
Conroy Chino Conroy Chino ... KOB-TV Reporter
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Storyline

Astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway has long been interested in contact to faraway lands, a love fostered in her childhood by her father, Ted Arroway (David Morse), who died when she was nine-years-old, leaving her orphaned. Her current work in monitoring for extraterrestrial life is based on that love and is in part an homage to her father. Ever since funding from the National Science Foundation (N.S.F.) was pulled on her work, which is referred to some, including her N.S.F. superior David Drumlin (Tom Skerritt), as more science fiction than science, Ellie, with a few of her rogue scientist colleagues, have looked for funding from where ever they could get it to continue their work. When Ellie and her colleagues hear chatter originating from the vicinity of the star Vega, Ellie feels vindicated. But that vindication is short lived when others, including politicians, the military, religious leaders, and other scientists, such as Drumlin, try to take over her work. When the messages received ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A message from deep space. Who will be the first to go? A journey to the heart of the universe. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some intense action, mild language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | German | Russian

Release Date:

11 July 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Contact See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave Desert, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,584,908, 13 July 1997

Gross USA:

$100,920,329

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$171,120,329
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Jodie Foster's first movie in three years. Her previous movie was Nell (1994). See more »

Goofs

When Hadden is contacted onboard MIR, he states that the "low oxygen, zero gravity is the only thing keeping his cancer from eating him alive..." He is wearing a nasal cannula, which has only one purpose, to give additional oxygen to the patient. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Ellie: CQ, this is W9GFO. CQ, this is W9GFO here. Come back?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"For Carl" See more »

Connections

References A for Andromeda (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Wannabe
(uncredited)
Written by Spice Girls, Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard
Performed by Spice Girls
Played briefly during the opening sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Different from the book doesn't mean bad.
20 September 2002 | by jeeves-1See all my reviews

I am used to hearing from just about everyone who has read a book that was made into a movie that the book is always better. I tend to agree with this opinion. Contact, however, shows that in the arts the norm is not always the truth; opinion, no matter how often it is backed up with evidence, can never break through the barrier into be a hardened and absolute truth.

I saw this movie first before I read the book. That is partly because I didn't know that there was the book until after the movie. So, a year or so after the viewing, I got the book. Of course, the movie, in general terms, follows the book fairly well. I have to say, the movie can easily stand on its own merits just as the book can also.

The immediate impression of the film after the book is that there is a great emphasis on faith, proof, truth and opinion. These themes are not much brought up in the book - at least not with the same impact nor in the same way as in the film. Of course, the field of Astrophysics, of which Carl Sagan was a practitioner, lends itself very easily to ultimate questions such as God, faith, truth etc. The vastness of space and complexity of reality, viewed through the scrutiny of the scientific eye, is mind-boggling. As was repeated in the movie several times: "if we're all that there is, "its an awful waste of space." Personally, I think that the book relates these notions of vastness and complexity much better than the movie. But, the audience of the book was certainly not necessarily the same audience as the movie.

To be more fair, the vastness which was expressed in the book was demonstrated to an equal degree, but differed in quality, by the "aloneness" of Dr. Arroway as she scuttles across the universe. In the book, Dr. Arroway is not alone but go with a team of scientists, all of whom make their appearance in the movie. There is much more detail given in the book of the trip through the device than in the movie. In fact, there are very deliberate omissions made which eliminate the technological bent of the book. Yet, the focus of the movie does not allow the movie to be diminished by these omissions in the same way that the book would unavoidably be lacking without those details.

One final aspect of the movie which is relevant with respect to the book is time. Of course, in physics, time has its leading role so it must make at least a cameo in a movie which relies on physics. Astrophysics is tied inextricably to relativity which is likewise tied to time. The timelessness of the device design sent via radio signals and the instantaneous trip Dr. Arroway seemed to put relativity into perfect perspective. The book takes a slightly different view by using distance and the experience of each traveler of moving fast distances with no other apparent sensations of motion. It all adds up to different but equal expressions of the science which Carl Sagan had mastered.

Both the book and the movie are simply fantastic, one not outshining the other as regards their scope and vision. Watch the film, it is a beautiful one. Read the book, it is equally beautiful.


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