Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg and features actors Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO).
Close Encounters was a long-cherished project for Spielberg. In late 1973, he developed a deal with Columbia Pictures for a science fiction film. Though Spielberg received sole credit for the script, he was assisted by Paul Schrader, John Hill, David Giler, Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins, and Jerry Belson, all of whom contributed to the screenplay in varying degrees. The title is derived from ufologist J. Allen Hynek's classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the third kind denotes human observations of actual aliens or "animate beings". Douglas Trumbull served as the visual effects supervisor, while Carlo Rambaldi designed the aliens.
Made on a production budget of $20 million, Close Encounters was released in November 1977 to critical and financial success, eventually grossing over $337,700,000 worldwide.
The film was reissued
in 1980 as Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Special Edition
, which featured additional scenes. A third cut of the film was released to home video and laserdisc in 1998 (and later DVD and Blu-ray). The film received numerous awards and nominations at the 50th Academy Awards
, 32nd British Academy Film Awards
, the 35th Golden Globe Awards
, the Saturn Awards
and has been widely acclaimed by the American Film Institute
. In December 2007, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry
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