Close Encounters of the Third Kind


“We are not alone.” Spielberg’s thrilling, suspenseful and somehow very human speculation on the possibility of alien contact with mankind was one of the most surprising blockbusters of the 1970s, an awe-inspiring melding of suburban angst and sci-fi magic. Richard Dreyfuss (having survived his very close encounter with Spielberg’s Jaws) effectively anchors the film as an unhappily married Everyman named Roy Neary who’s suddenly possessed – along with hundreds of others – with visions of a strange tower rising up from the ground. And then the colored lights start appearing in the night sky. As he becomes more and more obsessed with the idea of otherworldly beings, he scares away his skeptical family (led by wife Terri Garr) and embarks on a perilous journey to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, along with scores of other UFO enthusiasts all hoping to have their very own Close Encounter. Something of a “poetic interstellar action film,” Close Encounters’ stunning passages of the massive alien ships appearing over the desert – told almost entirely without dialogue – are among the most radiantly beautiful images in all of Spielberg’s career. (Dir. by Steven Spielberg, 1977, USA, 137 min., Rated PG) 35mm