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Contact (1997)

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Dr. Ellie Arroway, 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
1,793 ( 438)
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, who passed away when she was nine years old leaving her then 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 (NSF) was pulled on her work, which is referred to some, including her NSF superior David Drumlin, 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 from space are decoded, ... 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, Wide Release

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

The long shot of Ellie as a child running up the stairs to get medicine is a shot that is practically impossible. The shot was filmed as a normal shot would have been, and then flipped and placed in the mirror which, at the time of shooting, was a bluescreen placement in the cabinet. See more »

Goofs

The desk of the ham radio station is arranged so that the semi-automatic Vibroplex ("bug") morse key is on the left hand side, closest to the camera. This suggests it is used by a left handed person. Yet neither Ellie nor her father appear to be left handed. Ellie uses her right hand to complete her drawing of Florida and her father wears his watch on his left wrist suggesting he is right handed. 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

Referenced in Archer: Archer Vice: Filibuster (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Fishin' Hole
(uncredited)
Written by Earle Hagen, Herbert W. Spencer and Everett Sloane
Performed by Andy Griffith
Played briefly during the opening sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An excellent, thoughtful movie
7 March 2005 | by vtancrediSee all my reviews

This movie examines the premise of what would actually happen if we were to make first contact with aliens, and how that contact would logically happen.

The protagonist is loosely based on an actual astronomer named Jill Tartar. She is focused on finding other life almost to the exclusion of all else in her life. When aliens respond to the Earth's first interstellar broadcast, she is caught up in the hysteria.

What follows is an interesting observation of humanity rather than any aliens. We learn very little about aliens throughout the movie. Rather, we see how people react to knowledge of this magnitude. The movie examines religious, scientific, military and international reactions to the idea of humanity not being alone. I thought they did a fantastic job of representing the scale of reaction, from the fanatic to the skeptic, within the confines of a 2 hour movie. The movie mixes a thoughtful, sentimental tone with a good pace for action and excellent characterization. There is a somewhat arbitrary love story thrown in, but it is tolerable based on how it helps the protagonist's long-delayed progress towards a deeper understanding of her own humanity.

The movie ends in a poignant yet hopeful tone, understanding our human problems but accepting them. I think the message is that the alien contact is the catalyst that will help humanity mature and grow past our more dark halves.

If you like the movie I'd recommend the book. It gives much more insight on the aliens, and expands the scope as there are a number of scientists that participate rather than just one from America, and goes more in depth into the science. It also attempts to show that religion and science can get along. My favorite part is at the very end of the book where Sagan shows how God hid a message in the very fabric of the cosmos, that we could only read when we were ready. Be prepared however, the book is quite a bit drier than the movie and those who don't enjoy reading Discover magazine may have to dig in to get through the slower, more scientific parts.


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