Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Trivia: If you have a trained eye you can see Darth Vader's ship and R2D2 from Star Wars, and several other bits of Spielberg-Lucas memorabilia.

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.

Trivia: Spielberg wanted to use the music When You Wish Upon A Star from Disney. It can be barely heard in the original film score in 1977. John Williams later put a very clear version in the closing credits in the Special Edition version and in the current DVD and CD.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: The aliens that come out of the ship at the end of the movie were played by 7 year old girls and the scene had to keep being re-shot because their fake alien heads weighed 5 pounds each.

Leonard Hassen

Trivia: Bright lights were used during the scene where little aliens were standing outside the mothership. This was because Spielberg wasn't too happy about the alien heads the children were wearing, because they did look fake and they sort of looked like Casper the friendly ghost.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: When the aliens release the humans from the mothership, we see a man walking towards it wearing a goatee and pipe. He is Dr. J Allen Hynek. He coined the term Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Hynek also worked for the Air Force debunking UFO reports.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: The only close-up of all the aliens in CE3K was a mechanical one called "Puck." Puck can be seen smiling at one point. Steven Spielberg was handling the hydraulics to create the smile.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: Richard Dreyfuss was paid a million dollars to reprise his character in the 1980 "Special Edition" where you can see him standing inside the spaceship. In the current DVD edition, that scene was cut.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: When Barry is being kidnapped by the aliens, somebody pulls him out of the house by the dog's entrance in the door. The person who pulls him is his real mother.

Dr Wilson

Trivia: The base station next to Devil's Tower was shot in Mobile Alabama.

Larry Koehn

Trivia: This was the only film Francois Truffaut acted in without also directing.

Cubs Fan

Trivia: When the mother ship arrives at Devil's Tower, an upside down R2 D2 can be seen on the rim of the ship as it appears in front of Gillian. This is confirmed by Douglas Trumbull who did the special photographic effects.

Trivia: Real air traffic controllers were used in the opening sequence.

hifijohn

Trivia: Holds the record for most cinematographers on a production.

hifijohn

Trivia: The last scene to be filmed was the opening scene in the desert.

hifijohn

Continuity mistake: Before Roy takes the top of the clay-mountain off, the model has smooth sides. When he is about to tear it, it swaps to striped sides.

Sacha Premium member

More mistakes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind

David Laughlin: We didn't choose this place! We didn't choose these people! They were invited!
Claude Lacombe: They belong here more than we.

More quotes from 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

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