Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

29 corrected entries

(4 votes)

Corrected entry: When Roy starts collecting supplies to start his sculpture, he throws things through the kitchen window, breaking it. After he's done, he uses a ladder to climb through the same window, which he then slam shut behind him. It went from closed and broken to fixed and opened within a matter of frames.


Correction: This has already been submitted and corrected. The window over the sink is already open when Roy starts throwing shrubbery inside. It is a vase sitting by the window that falls and shatters.

JC Fernandez

Correction: Nowhere on the Guinness Book of Records site is there a listing for loudest film ever created. Besides which, the volume setting in a theater has more to do with how loud a film is.


Corrected entry: At the beginning of the movie, Barry is going down the stairs to look for the aliens. He is holding a flashlight, but in the next shot his hands are empty.


Correction: You may be mistaking the lightbeams on the walls and floor as coming from Barry, but it's the aliens. In fact, it's the appearance of the lights on the walls of the stairwell that prompts Barry to investigate downstairs. At no point do you see Barry carrying a flashlight.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: Throughout the shots of Roy speeding to catch up with the UFO all of his truck's exterior lights are on, but in the shot where he sideswipes the guardrail the truck's roof lights and tail lights are off. (00:24:20)

Correction: This is consistent with the UFO affecting the electrics of his vehicle, such as it stalling when the UFO first came close, and the lights flashing on and off when nearby. Not a mistake.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the abducted Earthlings are released from the alien mothership, the pilots of the TBF/TBM Avenger torpedo bombers all give their ranks as "captain." However, a Navy captain is equivalent to an Army/Marine Corps/Air Force colonel and the pilots are way, way too young to have attained this rank. Based on the insignia on their uniforms, they were really Navy lieutenants. (02:02:45)

Correction: Actually, only one returnee (Harry Ward Craig) identifies himself as a captain and he is notably older than the others.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: When Barry is being kidnapped by the aliens, the persons who pulls him outside the house by the dog's entrance in the door is his real mother. You can see her hands - not very alien-like.

Dr Wilson

Correction: Even by freeze framing, you can't see any hands pulling the boy, human or alien.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: In the scene where Roy joins the rest of the potential travelers, they all wear jumpsuit uniforms. Each suit has an American flag displayed on the right shoulder sleeve with the stars on the left upper quadrant of the flag. By tradition, this is the way the flag is displayed on the left shoulder sleeve; on the right sleeve the stars should be in the right upper quadrant to represent the way the flag would appear if the wearer was moving forward, not retreating.

Correction: There are no uniform traditions for interstellar travelers, American or otherwise.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: Only the pilots reported in and Avenger bombers also had two enlisted men as crew members: the radio operator and the ball-turret gunner.

Correction: There were at least dozens of people coming off the ship. We didn't witness everyone reporting in.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: When Richard Dreyfuss first sees the UFO at the railroad tracks,he leans out of his window,to look up at the craft. His right side is facing up, so it should be that side of his face that's burned, however his left side is the burnt side. (00:21:15)

Correction: We see that he covers his right side with his hand, but not his left side, so only his left side is exposed to the light and gets burned.

Corrected entry: The Richard Dreyfus character, having seen flying saucers, is haunted by this vision of a rock (Devil's Tower in North-eastern Wyoming). Then he sees it on TV and has to go there - he jumps into the family station wagon, roars out of the driveway, and we get a close up of the Indiana license plate. Next we see him in Wyoming south of Devil's Tower supposedly having driven straight through, yet he seems to have stopped off long enough to pick up Wyoming license plates.

Correction: When Dreyfus sees Devil's Rock in the news, his wife has already left him and taken the kids away using the family station wagon (roaring out of the driveway). At that point he doesn't have his car anymore. When Neary looks up from the map and nearly crashes into cars evacuating from the "toxic area", he ignores the soldier telling him he's going the wrong way. The soldier in frustration kicks the passing car. Neary says "it's a rental"

Corrected entry: At the end of the film, when those people dressed in red leave the 'church' on their way to the spaceship, watch the blonde woman just in front of Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss). She is not wearing any sunglasses, but after a shot of a walking Roy you see the group walking again, and now she's wearing sunglasses, just like the rest of the group. (02:09:44)

Correction: We don't see the woman the entire time. She could have put on her sunglasses when she didn't have them on previously.

Corrected entry: As Ronnie backs out of the driveway, she knocks a Big Wheel across the road. She takes off as Roy falls off the hood and lands beside it. It disappears after he stands up and the angle changes.

Movie Nut

Correction: Actually the tricycle is in the shot at 1:14:55 - 1:14:56. It is behind a tree to the very left of the screen and you can see the right rear tire and the back of the seat.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Roy is building the tower in his house, the TV shows Days of Our Lives, then an ABC News break. Days of Our Lives was an NBC soap.

Correction: There's a subtle time cut when the shot switches from Roy back to the TV. You can see Roy's cleaned up the beer can and casserole dish from the top of the television. If you listen carefully to the Budweiser jingle, you can hear where two different audio tracks were spliced together. So we're hearing the first part of the Budweiser ad during "Days of Our Lives"; and then the second part of the same ad, but airing on ABC.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: When Richard Dreyfuss and his family are having breakfast, there is a milk carton from "Giant Food" on the table. "Giant Food" is a regional Washington D.C. area chain. The milk would have had to been shipped in to appear on the table. (01:01:15)

Correction: And so it was shipped. While Giant Foods is a regional mid-Atlantic grocery chain, it's also a dairy supplier to a wider area.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: When the little boy is sleeping and he gets awakened by the strong wind, his toy monkey turns on, and then his toy record player turns on and then his remote control cars turn on. If his house was hit by an electromagnetic disturbance, wouldn't ALL of his electronic toys turn on at once, instead of one toy turning on right after another?


Correction: Since the phenomenon is never explained, it can happen any way the filmmakers decide. And it's consistent throughout the movie - Roy in the car: flashlight, car and radio don't turn off/on at once; Jillian and Barry in the house: lights, vacuum, mixer, stove don't all operate at once.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: In the desert at the landing site, I noticed that when the big alien ship comes and everyone screams and runs for cover, you can hear a bunch of women's voices shrieking and screaming. But there are no women there - except the one that came to get her little son, and SHE doesn't scream at all.

Correction: Only one person runs for cover and there is no screaming or shrieking (female or otherwise) when the mothership appears.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: When Roy and Jillian are driving to Devil's Tower, they see all the downed animals on the side of the road. In the shot where you see the cars' tires passing by the animals, you can see the ear of one of the animals move. (Technically, the animals aren't dead, they have been gassed with a heavy sleep agent. But it breaks the illusion of the animals supposed to be appearing dead). (01:25:15)

Correction: 1)Since the animals are not dead, any slight movement they have is not considered a mistake. 2) In this shot, the camera angle is from the bottom of the car, so the main characters wouldn't have seen this, and slight movement from a moving vehicle would be hard to spot anyways. 3) When the car is driving by the animal in question, the tires pass close to it, so it could even be the wind from the vehicle that caused the flap of the ear to move. At best this is a character mistake due to the military's poor choice in selecting an effective enough sleep agent.


Not only that, but when you're asleep, you still move/twitch. Same for animals.

Corrected entry: In the Gobi Desert scene the camels are Dromedarys (one humped) from Arabia not Bactrian (two humped) from the Gobi Desert region.

Correction: It is surely possible for nomadic tribes to have camels from other regions. There are Arabian horses nowhere near Arabia, German Shepherds nowhere near Germany, etc. Domesticated animals tend to move around and be sold a lot.

Corrected entry: Just before Lacombe is introduced to the committee, they play the audio tape where they recorded the large group of men singing the five tones. But the notes they're singing on that tape are a full step lower than the original singing.


Correction: The recording was cleaned up and enhanced for clarity and it might have changed because of this.

Correction: If the octave the 5 notes are in is too high for their vocal range, they'd have to pitch it lower to be able to sing it.

Corrected entry: When the scientists decode the pulses broadcast by the aliens, Mr. Lacombe puts on a set of headphones and starts to play the notes on the piano in front of him. Numbers are written on the keys, ranging from 1 - 5, so he knows in which order he must play them. (00:46:35)

Correction: Since LaCombe probably wasn't a piano player, they obviously setup the piano so anyone could play the signal tune.

William Bergquist

Other mistake: One visual that has always bothered me that I could not find in your list were the scenes when the mother ship first appears. It's enormous scale appears to dwarf Devil's Tower and the whole surrounding area actually, but when it moves over to the "landing strip" area and begins to rotate 180° (right-side up?), it suddenly seems to shrink to a much smaller size and mass during the slow revolution. On its originally-seen scale above/behind the tower, one would think that either the great ship's outer prongs would have been torn off, or more likely the impromptu landing site and most of Devil's Tower would have been destroyed as the huge craft rotated itself. The visual scales just do not stay consistent throughout the film's climactic final act.

More mistakes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind

David Laughlin: Have you recently had a close encounter?

More quotes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Trivia: After this movie, young Cary Guffey got to play the part of an alien himself - in the Italian movies "Uno Sceriffo extraterrestre - poco extra e molto terrestre" (English title: "The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid", 1979) and its sequel "Chissà perché. capitano tutte a me" ("Everything Happens To Me", 1980); both with the Italian actor Bud Spencer.

More trivia for Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Question: I would really like some insight on a burning question I have had since seeing this movie as a child in 1978, when it came back around in theaters in eastern Canada, where I grew up. Not knowing much about American history in school, I didn't know at the time that there even was a Devil's Tower, or that it had been made the first US National Monument in 1906, and as such would have been famous to all American citizens. I still remember loving the psychic element in the film where our heroes agonize internally about the strange mound shape seen only in their heads, to be finally rewarded and deeply relieved with news footage later in the film which solidified their visions into something tangible and concrete (igneous rock actually!) Thus, as a boy knowing nothing about the tower in Wyoming, this part of the film played perfectly into the fantasy for me-it sold me all the way. But why or how did this work for Americans at the time the film was new? In the film, we are to believe that our adult heroes knew nothing of the tower before their initial close encounters, and were shocked to discover that it actually existed. Again, for me, Devil's Tower was an absolutely incredible and awesome choice, and made me love the film all the more for it. But I would like to know how Americans felt about it during the film's 1977 and later 1980 re-release? Was it just as awe-inspiring for them as well, or was it more like: "Duh-you're driving your family crazy making models of a natural rock formation everyone knows is less than 90 miles away from Mount Rushmore?" I would really appreciate an answer, because for me, the tower's news-footage "reveal" was a huge moment in the film, and really does provide the kick-start that launches the entire third act of the film. For American audiences, why was it not the same as if Roy had struggled to attach a garden hose under a hastily-built plywood model with a hole in the middle, because the aliens implanted a vision of "Old Faithful" in his head?

Answer: Devil's Tower really is out in the middle of nowhere, and in one of the least populated states (it's "only" 90 miles away from Mt. Rushmore, but it's an incredibly boring 90 miles of mostly empty plains) so it didn't make for a convenient tourist attraction like other landmarks and thus didn't garner as much fame (it's actually much more famous nowadays, thanks to this movie). That said, the movie seems to have cleverly provided two separate "reveals" for this plot turn: those familiar with Devil's Tower will recognize it when Richard Dreyfuss knocks the top off his sculpture, giving it the distinctive "flat top" shape; then, only minutes later the rest of the audience will discover it along with the characters during the news broadcast. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this was set up deliberately keeping in mind the landmark's status of "kind of famous but not really THAT famous."

TonyPH Premium member

Your explanation (and the other answer) helps makes the overall plot more understandable. The French scientist, Lacombe, mentions that there were probably hundreds of people who were implanted with the Devil's Tower image in their minds. As pointed out, it is not a particularly recognizable landmark, which would explain why many never made the connection to it.

raywest Premium member

Answer: "Devil's Tower" is, indeed, a national landmark. However, it isn't one of the most famous, nor most iconic. It isn't nearly as widely known as, say, the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River, Niagara Falls, or the landmarks you mentioned - Mount Rushmore and Old Faithful Geyser. But, as you stated, its imposing form does fit so nicely into the aura of the film's alien encounter. Devil's Tower isn't something everyone knows by shape. And for those of us who do, it doesn't require much suspension of disbelief to posit that the characters in the film wouldn't have put it together prior to the news footage.

Michael Albert

More questions & answers from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.