Favorite things about… Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The favorite film:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a 1977 sci-fi/drama directed and written by Stephen Spielberg

(Image: Alpha Coders)
(Image: Alpha Coders)

The synopsis:
Roy is on the job investigating a power outage in small-town Indiana when he suddenly has an odd encounter with what he believes is a UFO. After the incident, he begins hearing strange noises and having visions. Much to his wife’s dismay, Roy becomes obsessed with trying to find the source of these visions.

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The cast:
Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary
Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler
Teri Garr as Roy’s wife, Ronnie
Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler
Francois Truffaut as Lacombe
Bob Balaban as David Laughlin

(Image: pyxurz @ Blogspot)
(Image: pyxurz @ Blogspot)

Fun facts:

  • Four uncredited writers (Hal Barwood, Jerry Belson, John Hill and Matthew Robbins) are listed as contributors to the script on IMDb. Six uncredited writers (the aforementioned four, plus Paul Schrader and David Glier) are listed on the film’s Wikipedia page.
  • The title of the film comes from an actual ufologist’s classification of alien encounters. The “third kind” in this classification is actual observation of or contact with alien beings.
  • The film’s budget was $20,000,000. It grossed over $300,000,000.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind has been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation and added to the National Film Registry.
  • Uncredited writers Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins, friends of the director, make cameos in the film as the two World War II pilots who return to Earth.
  • The film was inspired by a childhood experience in which Spielberg and his father witnessed a meteor shower.
  • Due to the success of Jaws, Columbia gave Spielberg a lot of creative control on this project, trusting that he would churn out another hit.
  • Spielberg wanted to do a follow-up sequel or prequel to the film, but eventually decided against it.
  • Nominated for 8 Academy Awards: director, supporting actress, visual effects, art direction, score, editing and sound.
(Image: DVD Beaver)
(Image: DVD Beaver)

Favorite things:

  • Perfectly preserved 1945 aircraft, complete with photos and other artifacts. GIMME.
  • Barry’s goin’ for a midnight stroll with extra-terrestrials
  • The shot of the UFO floating toward the sky behind Roy’s truck after he waves for them to pass, thinking that it’s a car
  • MAGNETIC UFO FORCES wreaking havoc in Roy’s truck
  • The shot of the mailbox doors opening and shutting when Roy has his big encounter
  • Roy getting scared when the flashlight turns back on after the encounter
  • UFOs crossin’ the Ohio border
  • A boat… in the desert
  • The entire town showed up to play cards and wait for aliens. Totally normal pastime.
  • One man’s sign to the aliens says “STOP AND BE FRIENDLY”… as opposed to what, “Stop and kill us?”
  • Rollin’ the Earth (a globe) down the hallway: They’ve got the whole world in their hands!
  • The entire scene of Barry’s abduction. Everything in the house comes alive and it’s perfect.
  • Roy showering with his clothes on – is he a never-nude like Tobias Funke?
  • They’ve found the Devil’s Tower! (Cue dramatic music.)
  • Roy’s laugh when the UFOs begin descending on the Devil’s Tower
  • SUPER COOL SPACECRAFT filled with SUPER COOL ALIENS… and missing persons
  • The same SUPER COOL ALIENS take Roy to space, his true home.
  • Quotes:
    • “Is the door shaped like a square? No, it’s shaped like a rectangle!”
    • “Ladies and gentlemen… THIS is a flying saucer.”
    • “Dad, after this can we throw dirt in my window?”
    • “Even my dog has a gas mask!”
    • “Have you recently had a close encounter? A close encounter with something very unusual…”
    • “Einstein was probably one of them.”

    (Image: pyxurz @ Blogspot)
    (Image: pyxurz @ Blogspot)

10 thoughts on “Favorite things about… Close Encounters of the Third Kind

  1. I remember my Dad taking my brother and I to see this at the bygone Vineyard Twin Cinema; it was a small theatre, so the place was packed by the time we arrived, and we were stuck having to sit in the very front row. Imagine how close we were to the screen, and couple it with the opening scene, where the eerie opening music keeps building in crescendo until BAM!, the jolt of sound and the black screen suddenly goes bright with a desert dust storm. Yes, it scared the living daylights out of us. Still my brother’s all-time favorite movie, though.

    ‘Stop and Kill Us!’ Perfect!


  2. Now, I always go straight to the uppermost row when I see a movie…I’ve had too many problems in the past with people talking behind me or kicking my seat. Plus, out here in Arizona, Harkins Theatres have more legroom in the top row, which allows me to stretch out if need be.


    1. I’m only 5’0″ so I never need extra leg room, ha! I typically like to sit as close to the middle of the theater as possible (a habit I picked up from my dad, who claims it’s the best seat in the house). I usually go to matinees to avoid the obnoxious popcorn-throwing, seat-kicking night crowd.


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