E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)



Critic Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.

Movie Info

Both a classic movie for kids and a remarkable portrait of childhood, E.T. is a sci-fi adventure that captures that strange moment in youth when the world is a place of mysterious possibilities (some wonderful, some awful), and the universe seems somehow separate from the one inhabited by grown-ups. Henry Thomas plays Elliott, a young boy living with his single mother (Dee Wallace), his older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton), and his younger sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore). Elliott often seems lonely and out of sorts, lost in his own world. One day, while looking for something in the back yard, he senses something mysterious in the woods watching him. And he's right: an alien spacecraft on a scientific mission mistakenly left behind an aging botanist who isn't sure how to get home. Eventually Elliott puts his fears aside and makes contact with the "little squashy guy," perhaps the least threatening alien invader ever to hit a movie screen. As Elliott tries to keep the alien under wraps and help him figure out a way to get home, he discovers that the creature can communicate with him telepathically. Soon they begin to learn from each other, and Elliott becomes braver and less threatened by life. E.T. rigs up a communication device from junk he finds around the house, but no one knows if he'll be rescued before a group of government scientists gets hold of him. In 2002, Steven Spielberg re-released E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in a revised edition, with several deleted scenes restored and digitally refurbished special effects. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: PG (for language and mild thematic elements)
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Kids & Family
Directed By:
Written By: Melissa Mathison
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 22, 2002
Universal Pictures - Official Site


Henry Thomas
as Elliott
Debra Winger
as E.T. [uncredited]
Sean Frye
as Steve
Erika Eleniak
as Pretty girl
David O'Dell
as Schoolboy
Richard Swingler
as Science teacher
Frank Toth
as Policeman
Robert Barton
as Ultra sound man
David Berkson
as Medical Unit Member
David Carlberg
as Medical Unit Member
Rhoda Makoff
as Medical Unit Member
Robert Murphy
as Medical Unit Member
Richard Pesavento
as Medical Unit Member
Tom Sherry
as Medical Unit Member
Susan Cameron
as Medical Unit Member
Mary Stein
as Medical Unit Member
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Critic Reviews for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (28)

E.T. is essentially a spiritual autobiography, a portrait of the filmmaker as a typical suburban kid set apart by an uncommonly fervent, mystical imagination. It comes out disarmingly funny, spontaneous, bighearted.

Full Review… | July 21, 2015
Washington Post
Top Critic

Captivating, endearingly optimistic and magical at times, Steven Spielberg's fantasy about a stranded alien from outer space protected by three kids until it can arrange for passage home is certain to capture the imagination of the world's youth.

Full Review… | June 29, 2015
Top Critic

What's perhaps most amazing about E.T., what distinguishes it from many of the other fantasy films of its era, is its ability to put an audience under a spell of childlike wonderment without infantilizing it.

Full Review… | June 29, 2015
Top Critic

Spielberg's direction and Melissa Mathison's script never lose sight of the realistic, low center of gravity world of childhood, in which such marvelous adventures happen every day.

Full Review… | June 29, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

It holds up beautifully.

Full Review… | June 29, 2015
Associated Press
Top Critic

Though marred by Spielberg's usual carelessness with narrative points, the film alternates sweetness and sarcasm with enough rhetorical sophistication to be fairly irresistible.

Full Review… | June 19, 2015
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Steven Spielberg is one of the most famous directors in the world and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is one of his most beloved films, which is remarkable considering he has made films like Jaws, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and the Indiana Jones series.

In a Californian town, Elliot (Henry Thomas) is a lonely 10-year-old who lives with his single mother (Dee Wallace), teenage brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton) and younger sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore). Elliot is picked on by his brother but one night he finds a strangled alien in his back garden. Quickly Elliot befriends the alien who he calls E.T. and the trio of children both teach and aid E.T. who has telekinetic and healing powers. Soon Elliot and E.T. share a psychic link, but the longer E.T. stays on Earth the more ill he becomes, effecting Elliot. Added to the mix is a mystery government agency is hunting for E.T.

Spielberg knows how to manipulate emotions and he certainly does it with E.T. . You feel for both the alien and the children. The characters are well defined, Elliot is the character most children can relate as he is a normal middle child who has intelligence, missing his father and is picked on by his brother. He is decently played by a young Henry Thomas and none of the acting was terrible. I personally like how Michael was portrayed: he is a bully, gets his younger brother to act as a slave and makes fun of him, but he is also protective and when it manners will come good for his younger siblings.

The animatronic used for E.T. were top of the range at the time for time and looked really effective, giving E.T. emotion and physicality. I saw the 20th Anniversary DVD version which clearly added some CGI touch ups to E.T. and has the notorious scene where two guns are swapped for walkie-talkies: but it is hardly game breaker because the film is so great. John Williams also gives us another excellent film score, including a very famous signature we all know and love.

E.T. is a touching film for good reason and it is a great film for whole family. 9-20-2004

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


SO WONDERFUL! It's even sadder and more heartfelt watching this as an adult! The bikes flying is so triumphant, and the sibling loyalty is touching. Henry Thomas is hella amazing, in all his shrieky terror and drunken stupors. I'm surprised he didn't get nominated for an Oscar!

Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

Excellent movie about a boy who finds an alien and tries to help him get home. I cry every time I watch this movie. My favourite scene is the iconic bicycle ride by moonlight. Amazing!

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Quotes

E.T. [uncredited]: E.T. phone home.
– Submitted by Dutch E (3 years ago)
E.T. [uncredited]: I'll be right here.
Elliott: [tearfully] Bye.
– Submitted by Brandon M (3 years ago)
Michael: Did you explain school to him?
Elliott: How do you explain school to higher intelligence?
Michael: Maybe he's not that smart. Maybe he's like a worker bee who only knows how to push buttons or something.
Elliott: He is too smart.
Michael: Okay, I just hope we don't wake up on Mars or something surrounded by millions of little squashy guys.
– Submitted by Typhon Q (3 years ago)
Gertie: I'm not fearing any man! I may not get there with you...
– Submitted by Jesse K (3 years ago)

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