Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Taglines: We are not alone.

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.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film, written and directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO).

Close Encounters was a long-cherished project for Spielberg. In late 1973, he developed a deal with Columbia Pictures for a science fiction film. Though Spielberg received sole credit for the script, he was assisted by Paul Schrader, John Hill, David Giler, Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins, and Jerry Belson, all of whom contributed to the screenplay in varying degrees. The title is derived from UFO-ologist J. Allen Hynek’s classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the third kind denotes human observations of aliens or “animate beings.” Douglas Trumbull served as the visual effects supervisor, while Carlo Rambaldi designed the aliens.

Made on a production budget of $18 million, Close Encounters was released in a limited number of cities on November 16, 1977 or November 23, 1977 before expanding into a wide release the following month. It was a critical and financial success, eventually grossing over $337 million worldwide.

A Special Edition of the film, featuring additional scenes, was released theatrically in 1980. A third cut of the film was issued on VHS and laserdisc in 1998 (and later DVD and Blu-ray). The film received numerous awards and nominations at the 50th Academy Awards, 32nd British Academy Film Awards, the 35th Golden Globe Awards, the Saturn Awards and has been widely acclaimed by the American Film Institute. In December 2007, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Movie Poster (1977)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Roberts Blossom, Cary Guffey, Lance Henriksen, François Truffaut, Teri Garr
Screenplay by: Steven Spielberg
Production Design by: Joe Alves
Cinematography by: Vilmos Zsigmond
Film Editing by: Michael Kahn
Set Decoration by: Phil Abramson
Art Direction by: Daniel A. Lomino
Music by: John Williams
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: November 16, 1977