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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)



Average Rating: 8.7/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 2

Close Encounters' most iconic bits (the theme, the mashed-potato sculpture, etc.) have been so thoroughly absorbed into the culture that it's easy to forget that its treatment of aliens as peaceful beings rather than warmongering monsters was somewhat groundbreaking in 1977.


Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

Close Encounters' most iconic bits (the theme, the mashed-potato sculpture, etc.) have been so thoroughly absorbed into the culture that it's easy to forget that its treatment of aliens as peaceful beings rather than warmongering monsters was somewhat groundbreaking in 1977.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 138,400

My Rating

Movie Info

Steven Spielberg followed Jaws (1975), his first major box-office success, with this epic science fiction adventure about a disparate group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is an electrical lineman who, while sent out on emergency repairs, witnesses an unidentified flying object, and even has a "sunburn" from its bright lights to prove it. Neary's wife and children are at first skeptical, then concerned, and eventually fearful, as Roy refuses to

Nov 13, 2007

Sony Pictures Releasing

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All Critics (44) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (2) | DVD (41)

It must weather some bummy mid-passage exposition, but the movie survive its flaws triumphantly, evolving into a uniquely transporting filmgoing spectacle.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the great moviegoing experiences.

September 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (2)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is dopey Hollywood mysticism all right, but thanks to considerable craft and showmanship, it packs an undeniable punch.

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A daring film concept which in its special and technical effects has been superbly realized.

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The first film in years to give its audiences a tingle of shocked emotion that is not entirely based either on fear or on suspense.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The best -- the most elaborate -- 1950's science fiction movie ever made, a work that borrows its narrative shape and its concerns from those earlier films, but enhances them with what looks like the latest developments in movie and space technology.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The special effects are spectacular, John Williams's score is emotionally charged, nouvelle vague director François Truffaut makes an elegant UFO expert and it's impossible not to get caught up in the protracted climax.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Another classic from Spielberg's most fertile period.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

In Spielberg, the cosmic has dinner-table consequences.

April 19, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

A film of visual awe, but it's not much of a human story. Close Encounters is a terrific bit of imagineering, but ultimately is a minor work in the Spielberg filmography.

August 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune | Comments (2)
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

perhaps, my favourite alien movie ever

July 5, 2008 | Comment (1)

Though made the same year, Spielberg's awe-inspiring sci-fi fable has held much better than Star Wars due to his sublime crafstmanship, which benefits from sharp imagery and F/X, and engaging story and charcaters, well-acted by Richard Dreyfuss and others

November 11, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

It plays out as a film buff's idea of what a UFO sighting would be like if it could be a cross between a Disney theme park and a 1970s light show at a disco.

September 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (2)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Spielberg answers the "Are we alone?" question in fine form.

April 17, 2005

Not even Spielberg makes them as they used to.

December 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Has just not held up.

November 24, 2003 | Comments (23)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

What I could see of the special effects were wonderful, and they hold up over time, unlike many sci-fi movies. The landing scene at the end still fills you with wonder and amazement.

April 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Build a monolith, and they will come.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Viewing Close Encounters we are reduced to a childlike perception, overwhelmed by the luster and might of the vision before us.

November 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Definitive cut of director Steven Spielberg's masterpiece isn't just great science fiction: It's great art.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Audience Reviews for Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Though I understand how groundbreaking this film was for it's time, viewing it now had always been a little dull to me. The conclusion though is a breathtaking piece of filmmaking.
July 22, 2012
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

A man's life, indeed the whole world (even the French!), is changed when strange lights start appearing out in the desert. Spielberg's update on the classic B movie sci-fi from the 50's is cool for taking horror movie motifs and turning them into a source of wonder. Williams' score and loads of flashing lights do the rest and set the stage for modern sci-fi as we know it today. Independence Day is a direct descendant, as well as a direct response to Close Encounters.
June 4, 2012

Super Reviewer

I think this film is more known for introducing us to what would become Spielberg's style: foggy lighting and space-age stories. I found it to be rather disjointed, and that the climax was less exciting than I had hoped, but it's a movie full of dream-like sequences - many of them classics, now - that you can lose yourself in, putting plot second to pure scopophilic pleasure. It's outdated, but it's definitely a movie everyone should see once.
March 25, 2012

Super Reviewer

Close Encounters is a completely backwards film in the science fiction genre. It is a groundbreaking achievment because of it's strong character development in which we see a normal person become the alien on his own world as he grows obsessed. The music isn't that bad either and the aliens have become iconic in the genre and are amazing to finally see after the splendid setup Spielberg achieves to create.
March 1, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Roy Neary: You can't fool us by agreeing with us.
    – Submitted by Nick S (11 months ago)
    1. Toby Neary: Dad, after this can we throw dirt in MY window?
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. Farmer: [at press conference to discuss UFOs] I saw Bigfoot once! [everyone in thr room reacts. The Farmer stands up] 1951! It made a sound that I would not want to hear twice in my life. [sits down]
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. Jillian Guiler: [on the police inquiring about her missing son] They asked me if I'd seen any strangers in the neighborhood.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. David Laughlin: Who flies crates like these anymore?
    2. Project leader: No one. These planes were reported missing in 1945.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. Project leader: He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
View all quotes (12)

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Foreign Titles

  • Close Encounters of a Third Kind (UK)
  • Rencontres du 3ème type (FR)
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