Close Encounters of the Third Kind Image
Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Power repairman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) has an extraordinary encounter with a strange spacecraft while out on a call. Recurring visions of a mountain fuel an increasing obsession that drives him to an emotional breaking point. Desperate to understand what he has experienced, he finds anPower repairman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) has an extraordinary encounter with a strange spacecraft while out on a call. Recurring visions of a mountain fuel an increasing obsession that drives him to an emotional breaking point. Desperate to understand what he has experienced, he finds an ally in Jillian (Melinda Dillon), a single mother who believes her son has been abducted by the aliens. Meanwhile an international group of scientists led by French expert Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaut) search for a breakthrough in human-alien communication. Their collective quest culminates in a remote Wyoming rendezvous and an event of unequalled importance in all of human history. [Sony Pictures] Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Jun 1, 2016
    100
    Steven Spielberg proves decisively that a special effects-dependent film need not be cold, mechanistic, or simpleminded.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 10, 2013
    100
    It's one of the great moviegoing experiences.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jun 10, 2013
    100
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind is unquestionably a great movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Jun 10, 2013
    90
    Steven Spielberg's giant, spectacular Close Encounters of the Third Kind...is 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Gary Arnold
    Jun 10, 2013
    90
    It must weather some bummy mid-passage exposition, but the movie survives its flaws triumphantly, evolving into a uniquely transporting filmgoing spectacle.
  6. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: Jack Kroll
    Jun 10, 2013
    80
    A genuine work of the popular imagination. It's the first true populist science-fiction film, a blend of the most startling, far-out special effects with the most ordinary human material of the American Heartland. [21 Nov 1977, p.88]
  7. Reviewed by: A.D. Murphy
    Jun 10, 2013
    70
    Steven Spielberg's film climaxes in final 35 minutes with an almost ethereal confrontation with life forms from another world; the first 100 minutes, however, are somewhat redundant in exposition and irritating in tone.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 3 out of 10
  1. Nov 29, 2015
    10
    This was one of the first high budget sci-fi movies from way back. Well done and well acted, a good story line, many twists and turns alongThis was one of the first high budget sci-fi movies from way back. Well done and well acted, a good story line, many twists and turns along the way to keep you interested, especially the government cover-ups so popular in the 70's. There are a lot of different versions of this movie, the Director's cut is the best one and the one I have in my collection. Expand
  2. May 12, 2014
    10
    " If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon... play the five tones."

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind is marvelous piece of
    " If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon... play the five tones."

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind is marvelous piece of Science fiction wonder, and is my second favorite sci-fi film of all time right behind 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is for sure one of Steven Spielberg greatest film making achievements. Having two feature films under his belt before making Close Encounters one being "The Sugarland Express" a crime/comedy movie and the other "Jaws" a thriller/horror film. Having done this film a sci-fi/drama it shows that even then a young Spielberg was showing off his directing talents.

    The films follows Roy Neary(Richard Dreyfuss) a normal guy with a family living a normal life and while on a drive to investigate a blackout occurring around his town and nearby towns. He stops to find out where he is and this is when strange things start to happen around him the mailboxes on the side of the road by him start shaking back and forth, his flashlight turns off, and his car stops working. He even gets burned on one side of his face by the rays of light shinning down on him from the UFO.

    From here we see him struggle with what has happened to him as it takes a tole on him and his family to a point to were he might be losing his mind so his wife takes their kids and leaves him. Ill be honest here and say that this does slow the movie down but without leaving a negative effect on it. It is essential to see the breakdown as he tries to figure out what the extraterrestrials left in his mind and why he cant get the shape of a mountain out of his head. Richard Dreyfuss did an amazing performance and i just realized that him and Spielberg have done quite a bit of films together.

    The special effects looked stunning and still to this day all the little lights on the UFO's are a wonder to look at. I love that we got different shapes for the UFO and not just the same typical flying saucer type. Some look like cones, some like spheres, and some that look like a little dot also the mothership had a whole city within it i don't think that was done before this but im not 100% on that. Whats even better is that the amazing score by John Williams ties into the special effects especially there at the end were no matter what i always sit in amazement despite having seen it many of times.

    Also another great thing that was cool about the movie is that while Dreyfuss is dealing with figuring out the where to go and what to do we see strange things happening around the world like the old planes of flight 19 showing up in the Sonoran Desert and the lost ship the SS Cotopaxi showing up in the Gobi Desert.

    Overall i give it a solid 10 Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a Science Fiction masterpiece and is not to be missed by anyone with a ounce of love for its genre or for films in general.
    Expand
  3. May 22, 2014
    9
    Close Enncounters is one of the most ambitious science fiction films ever done. It's special effects were years ahead of their time, theClose Enncounters is one of the most ambitious science fiction films ever done. It's special effects were years ahead of their time, the characters react believably to their situations, and Spielberg's direction is perfect. Expand
  4. Apr 27, 2016
    9
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind shows how we should be able to take something related to the UFOs and their side of the story and make itClose Encounters of the Third Kind shows how we should be able to take something related to the UFOs and their side of the story and make it sound so realistic and epic. Expand
  5. Jul 1, 2014
    8
    A truly great achievement. The special effects are absolutely stunning, they are extravagent and perfectly executed. It is amazing to thinkA truly great achievement. The special effects are absolutely stunning, they are extravagent and perfectly executed. It is amazing to think this film came out in 1977 with effects like these. In terms of special effects, it is hard to think of too many films that have better ones than Close Encounters of the Third Kind does. On top of that, the film is extremely fun and thrilling to watch. Around every turn is another thrill ride that does not stop until the film is over. The sense of wonder as you watch what unfolds and then the sense of wonder in all of the characters makes this a truly magical experience. With this one, Spielberg truly proves his skill when it comes to science fiction, as well as making his films a ton of fun. His direction of this one is impeccable and I am still struggling to wrap my head around the fact that this film is almost 40 years old with effects like these. A true cinematic achievement. Expand
  6. Mar 6, 2016
    8
    In this age of "special editions," it can be a maddening ordeal to sort out precisely what people mean when they say they've seen Blade RunnerIn this age of "special editions," it can be a maddening ordeal to sort out precisely what people mean when they say they've seen Blade Runner (narrator or no narrator? director's cut or final cut?) or The 40-Year-Old Virgin. (The 116-minute theatrical cut, or the 133-minute "unrated" version?) Sometimes the changes are substantial, other times merely cosmetic, but nowadays, no cuts are final, and hammering out the differences between one version and the next is just another part of the discussion. Credit Steven Spielberg and the producers of the new 30th-anniversary DVD edition of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind for at least giving viewers a choice; unlike with, say, George Lucas' hideous Star Wars trilogy facelifts, no one version has been banished for the sake of another. Even though Spielberg rightly disavows the tacked-on sequence inside the spaceship, which he included on the 1980 "Special Edition" reissue, it's still there for those who would prefer their imagination be supplanted by a laser-light spectacular.

    The new DVD includes all three cuts of Close Encounters—the original 1977 theatrical cut, the "Special Edition," and the 1998 "Director's Cut"—and better still, a mini-poster-sized map detailing what scene are changed, extended, or missing from each version. Of those, the one that plays best is the most recent cut, which includes the amped-up family melodrama added to the 1980 version, while removing all those insidious shots inside the ship. The film now seems just as awe-inspiring for its scenes of domestic turmoil as it does for its wholehearted embrace of the idea that we aren't alone in the universe. Does Richard Dreyfuss' Everyman hero obsess about UFOs because of a shared psychic vision, or because he can't stand to be around his family any more?

    At the time, Spielberg insisted the film wasn't science fiction, but "science speculation," and he believed that unexplained cosmic phenomena had occurred in the 20th century, and that the government was perhaps active in covering it up. Though he's since retreated into skepticism, Close Encounters benefits from the awestruck vision of a true believer; the pie-eyed reaction shots alone suggest depths of curiosity and wonder that no special effect could ever muster.
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See all 10 User Reviews

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