Academy Awards 1977 -
Best Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Academy Awards 1977 -
Best Sound Effects Editing
New York Times - 11/17/1977
"...The best -- the most elaborate -- 1950's[-style] science fiction movie ever made..."
New York Times - 12/25/1977
Included in the New York Times "10 BEST FILMS OF 1977"
Entertainment Weekly - 06/08/2001
"...The only feature to date for which Spielberg has taken sole writing credit, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is one of his most personal works....The story's primal appeal endures..."
Total Film - 08/01/2000
"...An undisputed classic....It's Richard Dreyfuss's finest hour..."
Uncut - 07/01/2001
"Where the film scores is in its portrayal of an ordinary man, whose brush with the unknown changes his life..."
Empire - 01/01/2008 5 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t remains awe-inspiring stuff that has held up better than the other big science-fiction film of 1977."
Wall Street Journal - 11/06/2009
"Steven Spielberg's shining, glowing masterpiece will never wear out its welcome."
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is Steven Spielberg's extraordinary film about a man named Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) who becomes obsessed with meeting extraterrestrials after encountering a UFO on an abandoned road one night. Against the wishes of his wife (Teri Garr) and children, Neary, along with another witness to the sighting (Melinda Dillon), travels to a mysterious mountain where the government has built a landing strip hoping to attract the aliens. Director François Truffaut costars as Claude Lacombe, one of the organizers of the project. Spielberg hoped to follow up the huge success of JAWS with a low-budget film that would be an easy shoot, but, thanks in part to the complicated special effects, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS quickly snowballed into being an expensive endeavor but a commercial and artistic success. No one who has seen the film has ever looked at a plate of mashed potatotes the same way again.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is director Steven Spielberg's mesmerizing movie about earth's encounter with spaceships and alien beings as experienced by one ordinary man. Richard Dreyfuss is Roy Neary, a man who, after encountering an unexplainable phenomenon one night, becomes obsessed with discovering more, to the dismay of his wife and family. Legendary French filmmaker François Truffaut plays the head of a government agency hoping to attract the aliens to an isolated mountaintop in this unforgettable sci-fi thriller.
The film was shot in India, Alabama, and Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is number 64 on the American Film Institute's list of Americas 100 Greatest Movies.
The small, lithe aliens were played by young girls who Steven Spielberg believed were more graceful than boys.
A close encounter of the first kind is when a UFO is sighted. Close encounters of the second kind involve the discovery of physical evidence, and close encounters of the third kind are contact with extraterrestrials.
Although actor Richard Dreyfuss won the Oscar for Best Actor that year, he got it for THE GOODBYE GIRL, not for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.
The laserdisc features interviews with Spielberg, composer John Williams, and special effects man Douglas Trumbull, as well as previously edited material.
In 1980, Steven Spielberg issued a reedited version of the film entitled THE SPECIAL EDITION. He shortened some scenes and added a sequence at the end showing the interior of the mother ship.
Estimated budget: $20 million.
When CLOSE ENCOUNTERS was released in 1977, it quickly became Columbia Pictures' most profitable film, eventually taking in $166 million at the domestic box office and $338 million worldwide.
Because Spielberg really wanted the story to surprise spectators, he kept a closed set during production and requested that the actors stay mum about the film's content.
One working title of the film was WATCH THE SKIES.