E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial


Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Moira Macdonald
    Jun 2, 2016
    Yes, the film does strum the heartstrings a bit too emphatically toward the end, by cranking up Williams' music and giving us perhaps one tear too many, but that's a minor quibble. When Elliott and his friends soar on their bicycles, like flying Peter Pans who must soon grow up, it's as touching and note-perfect a moment as any in the movies. [2002 re-release]
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Jun 2, 2016
    From the pitch-perfect characterisation to John Williams’ soaring score to the magical effects, it’s every bit as good as you remember. [2002 re-release]
  3. 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 that an alien knocking around the garage is not really such an unusual occurrence. [2002 re-release]
  4. It's one modern film worthy of being called a contemporary classic. [2002 re-release]
  5. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Music for the eyes. That's why it has become a treasured classic. That's why we'll see it again and again. [2002 re-release]
  6. 100
    Spielberg wrote a poem. And all the best movies are poems. [2002 re-release]
  7. E.T. is ultimately a tale of love, and the film becomes a cathartic leap into pure feeling. [2002 re-release]
  8. 100
    It’s no news to anyone that “E.T.” is one of the loveliest and happiest of American movie entertainments. It’s also a greater picture than we could have known. [2002 re-release]
  9. If we approach the unfamiliar with fear and apprehension, we will be met with fear and apprehension. But if we approach with sympathy and curiosity, we will be rewarded with same. And our souls, not to mention our bicycles, will soar to the heavens. [2002 re-release]
  10. 100
    Seeing E.T. again reminds us of how much we've remained the same, how gratified we still are by a film that connects so beautifully to our sense of wonder and joy. [2002 re-release]
  11. 100
    We now have the distance to see just how close to a flawless and utterly timeless a film Steven Spielberg and his collaborators crafted – one that transcended genres (sci-fi and kids’ movies) to become of one of the greatest and most durable of American movies. [2002 re-release]
  12. 100
    Spielberg has always demonstrated extraordinary aptitude for filmmaking, but "E.T." is far and away his most satisfying work to date. He knows how to transform the raw material of his childhood into an appealing popular fable. There are sequences that touch you to the quick in mysteriously casual ways
  13. Just as moving, uplifting and funny as ever in its slightly modified form. [2002 re-release]
  14. 100
    E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a reminder of what movies are for. Most movies are not for any one thing, of course. Some are to make us think, some to make us feel, some to take us away from our problems, some to help us examine them. What is enchanting about "E.T." is that, in some measure, it does all of those things. [2002 re-release]
  15. 100
    The movie is emotionally tumultuous and evenhanded and serene. It celebrates the odd pockets of imagination and individuality that can be nurtured in middle-class suburbia. [2002 re-release]
  16. 100
    I have written elsewhere that love stories seem to be in short supply these days, as they have been in the last decade of American movies. . . . But the hunger for love on the screen is there, and director Spielberg gives it to us in "E.T.," and because the lovers are a little boy and a little creature, we accept it. Of such simple concepts, timeless entertainments are made.
  17. 90
    The film's real power to move flows from its low, childlike angles, which, rather than infantalize its audience, bring it down to where the hurt and fear, and hence the comfort, loom larger. [2002 re-release]
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    There are some unsatisfactory elements–slow spots occur during the middle stretch, the mild anti-establishment stance is getting to be a bit cliche and one never knows whether E.T.’s mortal illness is physical or psychological in nature, or both. But, as with “Close Encounters,” the truly lovely and moving ending more than makes up for everything. Chalk up another smash for Spielberg.
  19. "E.T." is as contemporary as laser-beam technology, but it's full of the timeless longings expressed in children's literature of all eras.
  20. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Kim Morgan
    It's a fascinating look into what Spielberg truly loves, but it's not so much a masterpiece as a nice milestone. [2002 re-release]
  21. Though the story feels standard, the fun comes from the meticulously realized details that director Steven Spielberg and associate producer-writer Melissa Mathison have injected into the material.
  22. 80
    When E.T. debuts on DVD, you can choose between the new version, which better matches E.T.'s words to his lips, and the sweetly clunky, digitally deprived version redolent of penis breath. I don't need to phone home to know which one I'm buying. [2002 re-release]
  23. New Times (L.A.)
    Reviewed by: Gregory Weinkauf
    We're told that this new version is tweaked and enhanced, with the E.T. puppet digitally smoothed out, and the guns in the meanies' hands removed (silly, but bravo). [2002 re-release]
  24. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jun 2, 2016
    Spielberg has always shown a penchant for overt manipulation, but nowhere is this more obvious than in E.T., where he pulls out all the stops in an effort to bleed tears from the eyes of every audience member. It doesn't take a cynical nature to recognize what the director is doing. [2002 re-release]
  25. Doesn't make it a masterpiece, but it's fun. [2002 re-release]
  26. Spielberg's sledgehammer way with emotional moments, never more obvious than here, kills some of the pleasure for adults and robs the movie of the ultimate laurel -- classic status. [2002 re-release]
  27. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    Jun 2, 2016
    Though marred by Spielberg's usual carelessness with narrative points, the film alternates sweetness and sarcasm with enough rhetorical sophistication to be fairly irresistible.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 355 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 64
  2. Negative: 9 out of 64
  1. Oct 20, 2010
    E.T. is an heartwarming family hit and it will cherrish moviegoers of all ages.
  2. DeanK.
    Jan 25, 2006
    Despite the movies great effects for the time this over the top smaltz factory from the man obsessed by 6 year old heroes himself (mr Despite the movies great effects for the time this over the top smaltz factory from the man obsessed by 6 year old heroes himself (mr spielberg) is the most over rated bag of salmon sick I have ever watched. ET go home? I wish he'd never bothered to come here in the first place. Full Review »
  3. zeyadk
    Mar 28, 2010
    An excellent film directed by a master.