Original release: 1977
Running length: 138 minutes
Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experience a close encounter of the first kind – witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky. After this life-changing event, the inexplicable vision of a strange, mountain-like formation haunts him. He becomes obsessed with discovering what it represents, much to the dismay of hi wife and family. Meanwhile, bizarre occurrences are happening around the world. Government agents have close encounters of the second kind – discovering physical evidence of extraterrestrial visitors in the form of a lost fighter aircraft from World War II and a stranded military ship that disappeared decades earlier only to suddenly reappear in unusual places. Roy continues to chase his vision to a remote area where he and the agents follow the clues that have drawn them to reach a site where they will have a close encounter of the third kind – contact.
In 1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind became Steven Spielberg‘s second blockbuster confirming his skills at creating visually spectacular popular entertainment. Blending his reverence for the power of movies with a science fiction UFO tale, Spielberg turned an average man’s “close encounter” with an extra-terrestrial into an uplifting excursion into fantastic sights. Unlike in Cold War 1950s UFO stories that posit a threat from outside, Spielberg turns the unknown from an initially menacing force that imperils normality into a universal ambassador of transcendent goodwill, providing an escapist note of cinematic hope during the late ’70s cultural malaise.