Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 35th Anniversary

Posted: November 15, 2012 in cinema, movies
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I saw this movie in theaters when I was 10 years old, but was the Special Edition (1980) where the character of Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Neary, at the end of the film entered the mothership. Steven Spielberg made a timeless classic, celebrating the intergalactical peace with music and special effects – a legacy of his parents: the mother was a classical pianist and the father a technician in electronics.

The original “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was released on November 1977, but Spielberg was not satisfied with the movie. In 1980, he made his “Special Edition”, removing 15 minutes from the original and adding 12 minutes of new scenes to be exact, and a new final. In 2001, Spielberg made his definitive version, released on DVD as “Close encounters of the third kind (Collectors Edition)”.


“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (often referred to as “Close Encounters” or “CE3K”) is a 1977 science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg and features actors Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey. It tells the story of Roy Neary, a lineman in Indiana, whose life changes after a close 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 receives 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 ufologist J. Allen Hynek’s classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the third kind denotes human observations of actual aliens or “animate beings”. Douglas Trumbull served as the visual effects supervisor, while Carlo Rambaldi designed the aliens.

The score was composed, conducted and produced by John Williams, who had previously won an Academy Award for his work on Spielberg’s “Jaws”. Much like his two-note “Jaws” theme, the “five-tone” motif for “Close Encounters” has since become ingrained in popular culture – the five tones are used by scientists to communicate with the visiting spaceship as a mathematical language as well as being incorporated into the film’s signature theme.

“Close Encounters” was released in November 1977 to critical and financial success, grossing out $337,700,000 of the film’s $20 million budget.

  1. […] Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 35th Anniversary […]

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