The Info List - E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Melissa Mathison. It features special effects by Carlo Rambaldi
Carlo Rambaldi
and Dennis Muren, and stars Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
and Pat Welsh. It tells the story of Elliott (Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help E.T. return to his home planet, while attempting to keep him hidden from their mother and the government. The concept was based on an imaginary friend Spielberg created after his parents' divorce in 1960. In 1980, Spielberg met Mathison and developed a new story from the stalled sci-fi horror film project Night Skies. It was filmed from September to December 1981 in California
on a budget of $10.5 million USD. Unlike most films, it was shot in rough chronological order, to facilitate convincing emotional performances from the young cast. Released on June 11, 1982, by Universal Pictures, E.T. was an immediate blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars
Star Wars
to become the highest-grossing film of all time—a record it held for eleven years until Jurassic Park, another Spielberg-directed film, surpassed it in 1993. It is the highest-grossing film of the 1980s. Considered one of the greatest films ever made,[4][5][6] it was widely acclaimed by critics as a timeless story of friendship, and it ranks as the greatest science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey. In 1994, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
National Film Registry
as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It was re-released in 1985, and then again in 2002, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with altered shots and additional scenes.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production

3.1 Development 3.2 Pre-production 3.3 Casting 3.4 Filming 3.5 Music 3.6 Allegations of plagiarism

4 Themes 5 Reception

5.1 Release and sales 5.2 Critical response 5.3 Accolades

6 20th anniversary version 7 Other portrayals 8 Cancelled sequel 9 See also 10 References 11 Bibliography 12 External links

Plot[edit] While visiting the earth at night, a group of alien botanists land in a spacecraft. When government agents appear on the scene, the aliens flee in their spaceship, leaving one of their own behind in their haste. At a suburban home, a ten-year-old boy named Elliott is spending time with his brother, Michael, and his friends. As he returns from picking up a pizza, he discovers that something is hiding in their tool shed. The alien promptly flees upon being discovered. Despite his family's disbelief, Elliott leaves Reese's Pieces
Reese's Pieces
candy to lure the alien to his house. Before going to sleep, Elliott realizes it is imitating his movements. He feigns illness the next morning to stay home from school and play with it. Later that day, Michael and their five-year-old sister, Gertie, meet it. They decide to keep it hidden from their mother, Mary. When they ask it about its origin, it levitates several balls to represent its planetary system and then demonstrates its powers by reviving dead chrysanthemums.

Makeshift communicator used by E.T. to phone home. Among its parts is a Speak & Spell, an umbrella lined with tinfoil, and a coffee can filled with other electronics.

At school the next day, Elliott begins to experience a psychic connection with the alien, including exhibiting signs of intoxication (because it is at his home, drinking beer), and he begins freeing all the frogs in his biology class. As the alien watches John Wayne
John Wayne
kiss Maureen O'Hara
Maureen O'Hara
in The Quiet Man
The Quiet Man
on television, Elliott then kisses a girl he likes in the same manner and is sent to the principal's office. The alien learns to speak English by repeating what Gertie says as she watches Sesame Street
Sesame Street
and, at Elliott's urging, dubs itself "E.T." E.T. reads a comic strip where Buck Rogers, stranded, calls for help by building a makeshift communication device and is inspired to try it himself. E.T. receives Elliott's help in building a device to "phone home" by using a Speak & Spell toy. Michael notices that E.T.'s health is declining and that Elliott is referring to himself as "we". On Halloween, Michael and Elliott dress E.T. as a ghost so they can sneak him out of the house. That night, Elliott and E.T. head through the forest, where they make a successful call home. The next day, Elliott wakes up in the field, only to find E.T. gone. Elliott returns home to his distressed family. Michael searches for and finds E.T. dying next to a culvert, being investigated by a raccoon. Michael takes E.T. home to Elliott, who is also dying. Mary becomes frightened when she discovers her son's illness and the dying alien, just as government agents invade the house. Scientists set up a hospital at the house, questioning Michael, Mary and Gertie while treating Elliott and E.T. Their connection disappears and E.T. then appears to die while Elliott recovers. A grief-stricken Elliott is left alone with the motionless E.T. when he notices a dead chrysanthemum, the plant E.T. had previously revived, coming back to life. E.T. reanimates and reveals that his people are returning. Elliott and Michael steal a van that E.T. had been loaded into and a chase ensues, with Michael's friends joining them as they attempt to evade the authorities by bicycles. Suddenly facing a police roadblock, they escape as E.T. uses telekinesis to lift them into the air and toward the forest, like he had done for Elliott before. Standing near the spaceship, E.T.'s heart glows as he prepares to return home. Mary, Gertie, and "Keys", a friendly government agent, show up. E.T. says goodbye to Michael and Gertie, as she presents him with the chrysanthemum that he had revived. Before boarding the spaceship, he tells Elliott "I'll be right here", pointing his glowing finger to Elliott's forehead. He then picks up the chrysanthemum, boards the spaceship, and it takes off, leaving a rainbow in the sky as everyone watches it leave. Cast[edit]

Henry Thomas as Elliott Robert MacNaughton
Robert MacNaughton
as Michael Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
as Gertie Dee Wallace
Dee Wallace
as Mary Peter Coyote
Peter Coyote
as "Keys" K. C. Martel as Greg Sean Frye as Steve C. Thomas Howell
C. Thomas Howell
as Tyler Erika Eleniak
Erika Eleniak
as the girl Elliott kisses Pat Welsh as the voice of E.T.

Production[edit] Development[edit] After his parents' divorce in 1960, Spielberg filled the void with an imaginary alien companion. He said that the imaginary alien was "a friend who could be the brother [he] never had and a father that [he] didn't feel [he] had anymore".[7] During 1978, he announced he would shoot a film entitled Growing Up, which he would film in 28 days. The project was set aside because of delays on 1941, but the concept of making a small autobiographical film about childhood would stay with him.[8] He also thought about a follow-up to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and began to develop a darker project he had planned with John Sayles
John Sayles
called Night Skies in which malevolent aliens terrorize a family.[8] Filming Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark
in Tunisia
left Spielberg bored, and memories of his childhood creation resurfaced.[9] He told screenwriter Melissa Mathison
Melissa Mathison
about Night Skies, and developed a subplot from the failed project, in which Buddy, the only friendly alien, befriends an autistic child. His abandonment on Earth in the script's final scene inspired the E.T. concept.[9] She wrote a first draft titled E.T. and Me in eight weeks,[9] which he considered perfect.[10] The script went through two more drafts, which deleted an "Eddie Haskell"–esque friend of Elliott. The chase sequence was also created, and he also suggested having the scene where E.T. got drunk.[8] In early summer 1981, while Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark
was being promoted, Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
met with Spielberg to discuss the script, after having to develop Night Skies with the director as the intended sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, the head of Columbia Pictures' marketing and research development, Marvin Atonowsky, concluded that it had a limited commercial potential, believing that it would appeal to mostly young kids.[11] The President of Columbia's worldwide productions, John Veitch, also felt that the script was not good or scary enough to draw enough crowd. On the advice of Atonowsky and Veitch, Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
CEO Frank Price passed on the project, calling it "a wimpy Walt Disney
Walt Disney
movie" and thus putting it in a turnaround, so Spielberg approached the more receptive Sid Sheinberg, president of MCA, the then-parent company of Universal Studios.[12][11] Spielberg told Sheinberg to acquire the E.T. script from Columbia Pictures, which he did for $1 million and struck a deal with Price in which Columbia would retain 5% of the film's net profits. Veitch later recalled that "I think [in 1982] we made more on that picture than we did on any of our films."[11] Pre-production[edit]

Italian special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi
Carlo Rambaldi
created E.T.'s design.

Carlo Rambaldi, who designed the aliens for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was hired to design the animatronics of E.T. Rambaldi's own painting Women of Delta led him to give the creature a unique, extendable neck.[10] Its face was inspired by those of Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
and Ernest Hemingway.[13] Producer Kathleen Kennedy visited the Jules Stein Eye Institute to study real and glass eyes. She hired Institute staffers to create E.T.'s eyes, which she felt were particularly important in engaging the audience.[14] Four heads were created for filming, one as the main animatronic and the others for facial expressions, as well as a costume.[13] Two dwarfs, Tamara De Treaux and Pat Bilon,[8] as well as 12-year-old Matthew DeMeritt, who was born without legs,[15] took turns wearing the costume, depending on what scene was being filmed. DeMeritt actually walked on his hands and played all scenes where he walked awkwardly or fell over. The head was placed above that of the actors, and the actors could see through slits in its chest.[10] Caprice Roth, a professional mime, filled prosthetics to play E.T.'s hands.[14] The puppet was created in three months at the cost of $1.5 million.[16] Spielberg declared it was "something that only a mother could love".[10] Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated
refused to allow M&M's to be used in the film, believing E.T. would frighten children. After Mars said "No", The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company
was asked if Reese's Pieces
Reese's Pieces
could be used, and it agreed; this product placement resulted in a large increase in Reese's Pieces
Reese's Pieces
sales.[17] Science and technology educator Henry Feinberg created E.T.'s communicator device.[18][19] Casting[edit] Having worked with Cary Guffey on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg felt confident in working with a cast composed mostly of child actors.[14] For the role of Elliott, he auditioned hundreds of boys[20] before Jack Fisk
Jack Fisk
suggested Henry Thomas for the role because Henry had played the part of Harry in the film Raggedy Man which Jack Fisk had directed.[21] Thomas, who auditioned in an Indiana Jones costume, did not perform well in the formal testing, but got the filmmakers' attention in an improvised scene.[14] Thoughts of his dead dog inspired his convincing tears.[22] Robert MacNaughton
Robert MacNaughton
auditioned eight times to play Michael, sometimes with boys auditioning for Elliott. Spielberg felt Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
had the right imagination for mischievous Gertie after she impressed him with a story that she led a punk rock band.[10] He enjoyed working with the children, and he later said that the experience made him feel ready to be a father.[23] The major voice work of E.T. for the film was performed by Pat Welsh. She smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, which gave her voice a quality that sound effects creator Ben Burtt
Ben Burtt
liked. She spent nine-and-a-half hours recording her part, and was paid $380 by Burtt for her services.[8] He also recorded 16 other people and various animals to create E.T.'s "voice". These included Spielberg, Debra Winger, his sleeping wife, who had a cold, a burp from his USC film professor, raccoons, otters, and horses.[24][25] Doctors working at the USC Medical Center were recruited to play the ones who try to save E.T. after government agents take over Elliott's house. Spielberg felt that actors in the roles, performing lines of technical medical dialogue, would come across as unnatural.[23] During post-production, he decided to cut a scene featuring Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
as the principal at Elliott's school. It featured his character reprimanding Elliott for his behavior in biology class and warning of the dangers of underage drinking. He is then taken aback as Elliott's chair rises from the floor, while E.T. is levitating his "phone" equipment up the stairs with Gertie.[10] Filming[edit] The film began shooting in September 1981.[26] The project was filmed under the cover name A Boy's Life, as Spielberg did not want anyone to discover and plagiarize the plot. The actors had to read the script behind closed doors, and everyone on set had to wear an ID card.[14] The shoot began with two days at a high school in Culver City, and the crew spent the next 11 days moving between locations at Northridge and Tujunga.[8] The next 42 days were spent at Culver City's Laird International Studios, for the interiors of Elliott's home. The crew shot at a redwood forest near Crescent City for the production's last six days.[8][9] The exterior Halloween
scene and the "flying bicycle" chase scenes were filmed in Porter Ranch.[27] Spielberg shot the film in roughly chronological order to achieve convincingly emotional performances from his cast. In the scene in which Michael first encounters E.T., his appearance caused MacNaughton to jump back and knock down the shelves behind him. The chronological shoot gave the young actors an emotional experience as they bonded with E.T., making the quarantine sequences more moving.[23] Spielberg ensured the puppeteers were kept away from the set to maintain the illusion of a real alien. For the first time in his career, he did not storyboard most of the film, in order to facilitate spontaneity in the performances.[26] The film was shot so adults, except for Dee Wallace, are never seen from the waist up in its first half, as a tribute to Tex Avery's cartoons.[10] The shoot was completed in 61 days, four days ahead of schedule.[9] According to Spielberg, the memorable scene where E.T. disguises himself as a stuffed toy in Elliott's closet was suggested by colleague Robert Zemeckis, after he read a draft of the screenplay that Spielberg had sent him.[28] Music[edit] Main article: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
(soundtrack) Longtime Spielberg collaborator John Williams, who composed the film's musical score, described the challenge of creating one that would generate sympathy for such an odd-looking creature. As with their previous collaborations, Spielberg liked every theme Williams composed and had it included. Spielberg loved the music for the final chase so much that he edited the sequence to suit it.[29] Williams took a modernist approach, especially with his use of polytonality, which refers to the sound of two different keys played simultaneously. The Lydian mode
Lydian mode
can also be used in a polytonal way. Williams combined polytonality and the Lydian mode
Lydian mode
to express a mystic, dreamlike and heroic quality. His theme—emphasizing coloristic instruments such as the harp, piano, celesta, and other keyboards, as well as percussion—suggests E.T.'s childlike nature and his "machine".[30] Allegations of plagiarism[edit] There were allegations that the film was plagiarized from a 1967 script, The Alien, by Indian Bengali director Satyajit Ray. He stated, "E.T. would not have been possible without my script of The Alien being available throughout the United States in mimeographed copies." Spielberg denied this claim, stating, "I was a kid in high school when his script was circulating in Hollywood."[31] Director and Spielberg's friend, Martin Scorsese, has also alleged the film was influenced by Ray's script.[32] No legal action was taken, as Ray did not want to show himself as having a "vindictive" mindset against Spielberg and acknowledged that he "has made good films and he is a good director."[33] In 1984, a federal appeals court ruled against playwright Lisa Litchfield, who sued Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
in a $750 million lawsuit claiming he used her one-act musical play 'Lokey from Maldemar' as the basis for the movie E.T. She lost the case, with the court panel stating "No reasonable jury could conclude that Lokey and E.T. were substantially similar in their ideas and expression." "Any similarities in plot exist only at the general level for which (Ms. Litchfield) cannot claim copyright protection."[34] Themes[edit]

Spielberg admitted this scene triggered speculation as to whether the film was a spiritual parable.[35]

Spielberg drew the story of the film from his parents' divorce;[36] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
called it "essentially a spiritual autobiography, a portrait of the filmmaker as a typical suburban kid set apart by an uncommonly fervent, mystical imagination".[37] References to his childhood occur throughout: Elliott fakes illness by holding a thermometer to the bulb in his lamp while covering his face with a heating pad, a trick frequently employed by the young Spielberg.[38] Michael picking on Elliott echoes Spielberg's teasing of his younger sisters,[10] and Michael's evolution from tormentor to protector reflects how Spielberg had to take care of his sisters after their father left.[23] Critics have focused on the parallels between E.T.'s life and Elliott, who is "alienated" by the loss of his father.[39][40] A.O. Scott
A.O. Scott
of The New York Times
The New York Times
wrote that while E.T. "is the more obvious and desperate foundling", Elliott "suffers in his own way from the want of a home".[41] E.T. is the first and last letter of Elliott's name.[42] At the film's heart is the theme of growing up. Critic Henry Sheehan described the film as a retelling of Peter Pan
Peter Pan
from the perspective of a Lost Boy (Elliott): E.T. cannot survive physically on Earth, as Pan could not survive emotionally in Neverland; government scientists take the place of Neverland's pirates.[43] Vincent Canby
Vincent Canby
of The New York Times similarly observed that the film "freely recycles elements from [...] Peter Pan
Peter Pan
and The Wizard of Oz".[44] Some critics have suggested that Spielberg's portrayal of suburbia is very dark, contrary to popular belief. According to A.O. Scott, "The suburban milieu, with its unsupervised children and unhappy parents, its broken toys and brand-name junk food, could have come out of a Raymond Carver story."[41] Charles Taylor of Salon.com wrote, "Spielberg's movies, despite the way they're often characterized, are not Hollywood idealizations of families and the suburbs. The homes here bear what the cultural critic Karal Ann Marling called 'the marks of hard use'."[36] Other critics found religious parallels between E.T. and Jesus.[45][46] Andrew Nigels described E.T.'s story as "crucifixion by military science" and "resurrection by love and faith".[47] According to Spielberg biographer Joseph McBride, Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
appealed directly to the Christian market, with a poster reminiscent of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam
The Creation of Adam
and a logo reading "Peace".[9] Spielberg answered that he did not intend the film to be a religious parable, joking, "If I ever went to my mother and said, 'Mom, I've made this movie that's a Christian parable,' what do you think she'd say? She has a Kosher restaurant on Pico and Doheny in Los Angeles."[35] As a substantial body of film criticism has built up around the film, numerous writers have analyzed it in other ways as well. It has been interpreted as a modern fairy tale[48] and in psychoanalytic terms.[40][48] Producer Kathleen Kennedy noted that an important theme of E.T. is tolerance, which would be central to future Spielberg films such as Schindler's List.[10] Having been a loner as a teenager, Spielberg described it as "a minority story".[49] Spielberg's characteristic theme of communication is partnered with the ideal of mutual understanding: he has suggested that the story's central alien-human friendship is an analogy for how real-world adversaries can learn to overcome their differences.[50] Reception[edit] Release and sales[edit] The film was previewed in Houston, Texas, where it received high marks from viewers.[9] It premiered at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival's closing gala,[51][52] and was released in the United States on June 11, 1982. It opened at number one with a gross of $11 million, and stayed at the top of the box office for six weeks; it then fluctuated between the first and second positions until October, before returning to the top spot for the final time in December.[53] In 1983, E.T. surpassed Star Wars
Star Wars
as the highest-grossing film of all-time,[54] and by the end of its theatrical run it had grossed $359 million in North America and $619 million worldwide.[3][55] Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo
estimates that the film sold more than 120 million tickets in the US in its initial theatrical run.[56] Spielberg earned $500,000 a day from his share of the profits,[57][58] while The Hershey Company's profits rose 65% due to its prominent use of Reese's Pieces.[17] The "Official E.T. Fan Club" offered photographs, a newsletter that let readers "relive the film's unforgettable moments [and] favorite scenes", and a phonographic record with "phone home" and other sound clips.[59] The film was re-released in 1985 and 2002, earning another $60 million and $68 million respectively,[60][61] for a worldwide total of $792 million with North America accounting for $435 million.[3] It held the global record until it was surpassed by Jurassic Park—another Spielberg-directed film—in 1993,[62] although it managed to hold on to the domestic record for a further four years, where a Star Wars
Star Wars
reissue reclaimed it.[63] It was eventually released on VHS
and laserdisc on October 27, 1988; to combat piracy, the tapeguards and tape hubs on the videocassettes were colored green, the tape itself was affixed with a small, holographic sticker of the 1963 Universal logo (much like the holograms on a credit card), and encoded with Macrovision.[22] In North America alone, VHS
sales came to $75 million.[64] In 1991, Sears
began selling E.T. videocassettes exclusively at their stores as part of a holiday promotion.[65] It was reissued on VHS
and Laserdisc
again in 1996. The Laserdisc
included a 90-minute documentary. Produced and directed by Laurent Bouzereau, it included interviews with Spielberg, producer Kathleen Kennedy, composer John Williams
John Williams
and other cast and crew members. It also included two theatrical trailers, an isolated music score, deleted scenes, and still galleries. The VHS
included a 10-minute version of the same documentary from the Laserdisc.[66] Critical response[edit]

Empire called Elliott and E.T.'s flight to the forest "the most magical moment in cinema history".[67] The image of them encircled by the moon is now the symbol for Spielberg's company Amblin Entertainment. This scene is a tribute to Vittorio De Sica's movie Miracle in Milan, one of Spielberg's favorite films.[68]

The film received universal acclaim. Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
gave the film four stars and wrote, "This is not simply a good movie. It is one of those movies that brush away our cautions and win our hearts."[51] He later added it to his Great Movies list, structuring the essay as a letter to his grandchildren about the first time they watched it.[69] Michael Sragow of Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
called Spielberg "a space age Jean Renoir.... for the first time, [he] has put his breathtaking technical skills at the service of his deepest feelings".[70] Derek Malcolm of The Guardian wrote that "E.T. is a superlative piece of popular cinema ... a dream of childhood, brilliantly orchestrated to involve not only children but anyone able to remember being one".[71] Leonard Maltin would include it in his list of "100 Must-See Films of the 20th Century" as one of only two movies from the 1980s.[72] George Will
George Will
was one of the few to pan the film, feeling it spread subversive notions about childhood and science.[73] The film holds a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 120 reviews, and an average rating of 9.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old."[74] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 91/100, based on 30 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[75] In addition to the many impressed critics, President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
and First Lady Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
were moved by it after a screening at the White House
White House
on June 27, 1982.[58] Princess Diana was in tears after watching it.[10] On September 17, 1982, it was screened at the United Nations, and Spielberg received a UN Peace Medal.[76] CinemaScore
reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade.[77] Accolades[edit] The film was nominated for nine Oscars at the 55th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Gandhi won that award, but its director, Richard Attenborough, declared, "I was certain that not only would E.T. win, but that it should win. It was inventive, powerful, [and] wonderful. I make more mundane movies."[78] It won four Academy Awards: Best Original Score, Best Sound (Robert Knudson, Robert Glass, Don Digirolamo and Gene Cantamessa), Best Sound Effects Editing (Charles L. Campbell and Ben Burtt), and Best Visual Effects (Carlo Rambaldi, Dennis Muren
Dennis Muren
and Kenneth F. Smith).[79] At the 40th Golden Globe Awards, the film won Best Picture in the Drama category and Best Score; it was also nominated for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best New Male Star for Henry Thomas. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded the film Best Picture, Best Director, and a "New Generation Award" for Melissa Mathison.[80] The film won Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Writing, Best Special
Effects, Best Music, and Best Poster Art, while Henry Thomas, Robert McNaughton, and Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
won Young Artist Awards. In addition to his Golden Globe and Saturn, composer John Williams won two Grammy Awards and a BAFTA
for the score. It was also honored abroad: it won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Blue Ribbon Awards in Japan, Cinema Writers Circle Awards in Spain, César Awards in France, and David di Donatello
David di Donatello
in Italy.[81] In American Film Institute
American Film Institute
polls, the film has been voted the 24th greatest film of all time,[82] the 44th most heart-pounding,[83] and the sixth most inspiring.[84] Other AFI polls rated it as having the 14th greatest music score[85] and as the third greatest science-fiction one.[86] The line "E.T. phone home" was ranked 15th on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes list,[87] and 48th on Premiere's top movie quote list.[88] In 2005, it topped a Channel 4
Channel 4
poll of the 100 greatest family films,[89] and was also listed by Time as one of the 100 best movies ever made.[90] In 2003, Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
called the film the eighth most "tear-jerking";[91] in 2007, in a survey of both films and television series, the magazine declared it the seventh greatest work of science-fiction media in the past 25 years.[92] The Times
The Times
also named it as their ninth favorite alien in a film, calling it "one of the best-loved non-humans in popular culture".[93] It is among the top ten in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14. In 1994, it was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[94] In 2011, ABC aired Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time, revealing the results of a poll of fans conducted by ABC and People magazine: it was selected as the fifth best film of all time and the second best science fiction film.[95] On October 22, 2012, Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds
unveiled wax likenesses of E.T. at six of its international locations.[96] 20th anniversary version[edit]

The 20th anniversary version of the film replaces the guns used by the federal agents with walkie-talkies.

An extended version of the film, including altered special effects, was released on March 22, 2002. Certain shots of E.T. had bothered Spielberg since 1982, as he did not have enough time to perfect the animatronics. Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery
(CGI), provided by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), was used to modify several shots, including ones of E.T. running in the opening sequence and being spotted in the cornfield. The spaceship's design was also altered to include more lights. Scenes shot for but not included in the original version were introduced. These included E.T. taking a bath, and Gertie telling Mary that Elliott went to the forest on Halloween. Spielberg did not add the scene featuring Harrison Ford, feeling that would reshape the film too drastically. He became more sensitive about the scene where gun-wielding federal agents confront Elliott and his escaping friends and had them digitally replaced with walkie-talkies.[10] At the premiere, John Williams
John Williams
conducted a live performance of the score.[97] The new release grossed $68 million in total, with $35 million coming from Canada and the United States.[61] The changes to it, particularly the escape scene, were criticized as political correctness. Peter Travers
Peter Travers
of Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
wondered, "Remember those guns the feds carried? Thanks to the miracle of digital, they're now brandishing walkie-talkies.... Is this what two decades have done to free speech?"[98] Chris Hewitt of Empire wrote, "The changes are surprisingly low-key...while ILM's CGI E.T. is used sparingly as a complement to Carlo Rambaldi's extraordinary puppet."[99] South Park
South Park
ridiculed many of the changes in the 2002 episode "Free Hat".[100] The two-disc DVD release which followed in October 22, 2002, contained the original theatrical and 20th Anniversary extended versions of the film. Spielberg personally demanded the release feature both versions.[101] The features on disc one included an introduction with Steven Spielberg, a 20th Anniversary premiere featurette, John Williams' performance at the 2002 premiere and a Space Exploration game. Disc two included a 24-minute documentary about the 20th Anniversary edition changes, a "Reunion" featurette, a trailer, cast and filmmaker bios, production notes, and the still galleries ported from the 1996 LaserDisc set. The two-disc edition, as well as a three-disc collector's edition containing a "making of" book, a certificate of authenticity, a film cell, and special features that were unavailable on the two-disc edition,[102] were placed in moratorium on December 31, 2002. Later, it was re-released on DVD as a single-disc re-issue in 2005, featuring only the 20th Anniversary version. In a June 2011, interview, Spielberg said that in the future

There's going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct.... When people ask me which E.T. they should look at, I always tell them to look at the original 1982 E.T. If you notice, when we did put out E.T. we put out two E.T.s. We put out the digitally enhanced version with the additional scenes and for no extra money, in the same package, we put out the original '82 version. I always tell people to go back to the '82 version.[103]

Other portrayals[edit]

Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Atari, Inc.
Atari, Inc.
made a video game based on the film for the Atari 2600. Released in 1982, it was widely considered to be one of the worst video games ever made.[104] William Kotzwinkle, author of the film's novelization, wrote a sequel, E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet, which was published in 1985. In the novel, E.T. returns home to the planet Brodo Asogi, but is subsequently demoted and sent into exile. He then attempts to return to Earth by effectively breaking all of Brodo Asogi's laws.[105] E.T. Adventure, a theme park ride, debuted at Universal Studios Florida in June 7, 1990. The $40 million attraction features the title character saying goodbye to visitors by name.[9] In 1998, E.T. was licensed to appear in television public service announcements produced by the Progressive Corporation. The announcements featured his voice reminding drivers to "buckle up" their seat belts. Traffic signs depicting a stylized E.T. wearing one were installed on selected roads around the United States.[106] The following year, British Telecommunications launched the "Stay in Touch" campaign, with him as the star of various advertisements. The campaign's slogan was "B.T. has E.T.", with "E.T." also taken to mean "extra technology".[107] At Spielberg's suggestion, George Lucas
George Lucas
included members of E.T.'s species as background characters in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.[108] E.T. was one of the franchises featured in the 2016 crossover games Lego Dimensions. E.T. appears as one of the playable characters, and a world based off the movie where players can receive side quests from the characters is available.[109][110] Cancelled sequel[edit] In July 1982, during the film's first theatrical run, Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison
Melissa Mathison
wrote a treatment for a sequel to be titled E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears.[111] It would have shown Elliott and his friends getting kidnapped by evil aliens and follow their attempts to contact E.T. for help. Spielberg decided against pursuing it, feeling it "would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity".[112][113] See also[edit]

List of films featuring extraterrestrials


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Brode, Douglas (1995). The Films of Steven Spielberg. Carol Publishing. ISBN 0-8065-1951-7.  Kotzwinkle, William (1985). E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet. Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-07642-3.  McBride, Joseph (1997). Steven Spielberg: A Biography. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80900-1.  Rubin, Susan Goldman (2001). Steven Spielberg. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-4492-8.  Shay, Don; Duncan, Jody (1993). The Making of Jurassic Park: An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making. Boxtree. ISBN 1-85283-774-8.  Worsley, Sue Dwiggins (1997). From Oz to E.T.: Wally Worsley's Half-Century in Hollywood. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3277-1. 

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Steven Spielberg

Filmography Awards and nominations

Films directed

Firelight (1964) Slipstream (1967) Amblin'
(1968) Night Gallery ("Eyes" segment, 1969) L.A. 2017 (1971) Duel (1971) Something Evil
Something Evil
(1972) Savage (1973) The Sugarland Express
The Sugarland Express
(1974, also wrote) Jaws (1975) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(1977, also wrote) 1941 (1979) Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark
(1981) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
(1982) Twilight Zone: The Movie ("Kick the Can" segment, 1983) Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
and the Temple of Doom (1984) The Color Purple (1985) Empire of the Sun (1987) Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade (1989) Always (1989) Hook (1991) Jurassic Park (1993) Schindler's List
Schindler's List
(1993) The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) Amistad (1997) Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
(1998) A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
(2001, also wrote) Minority Report (2002) Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
(2002) The Terminal
The Terminal
(2004) War of the Worlds (2005) Munich (2005) Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) The Adventures of Tintin (2011) War Horse (2011) Lincoln (2012) Bridge of Spies (2015) The BFG (2016) The Post (2017) Ready Player One (2018)

Films written

Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies
Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies
(1973) Poltergeist (1982, also produced) The Goonies
The Goonies

Films produced

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) Flags of Our Fathers (2006) Letters from Iwo Jima
Letters from Iwo Jima
(2006) Super 8 (2011) The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)


Amazing Stories (1985–87) High Incident
High Incident
(1996–97) Invasion America
Invasion America

See also

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
bibliography Amblin Partners

Amblin Entertainment Amblin Television


Amblimation DreamWorks

USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education

v t e

Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama


The Song of Bernadette (1943) Going My Way
Going My Way
(1944) The Lost Weekend (1945) The Best Years of Our Lives
The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946) Gentleman's Agreement (1947) Johnny Belinda / The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) All the King's Men (1949)


Sunset Boulevard (1950) A Place in the Sun (1951) The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront
(1954) East of Eden (1955) Around the World in 80 Days (1956) The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai
(1957) The Defiant Ones (1958) Ben-Hur (1959)


Spartacus (1960) The Guns of Navarone (1961) Lawrence of Arabia (1962) The Cardinal
The Cardinal
(1963) Becket (1964) Doctor Zhivago (1965) A Man for All Seasons (1966) In the Heat of the Night (1967) The Lion in Winter (1968) Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)


Love Story (1970) The French Connection (1971) The Godfather
The Godfather
(1972) The Exorcist (1973) Chinatown (1974) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Rocky
(1976) The Turning Point (1977) Midnight Express (1978) Kramer vs. Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer


Ordinary People
Ordinary People
(1980) On Golden Pond (1981) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
(1982) Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment
(1983) Amadeus (1984) Out of Africa (1985) Platoon (1986) The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor
(1987) Rain Man
Rain Man
(1988) Born on the Fourth of July (1989)


Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves
(1990) Bugsy
(1991) Scent of a Woman (1992) Schindler's List
Schindler's List
(1993) Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump
(1994) Sense and Sensibility (1995) The English Patient (1996) Titanic (1997) Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
(1998) American Beauty (1999)


Gladiator (2000) A Beautiful Mind (2001) The Hours (2002) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) The Aviator (2004) Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain
(2005) Babel (2006) Atonement (2007) Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire
(2008) Avatar (2009)


The Social Network
The Social Network
(2010) The Descendants
The Descendants
(2011) Argo (2012) 12 Years a Slave (2013) Boyhood (2014) The Revenant (2015) Moonlight (2016) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

v t e

Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film

Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) Soylent Green
Soylent Green
(1973) Rollerball (1974/1975) Logan's Run (1976) Star Wars
Star Wars
(1977) Superman (1978) Alien (1979) The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back
(1980) Superman II
Superman II
(1981) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
(1982) Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi
(1983) The Terminator
The Terminator
(1984) Back to the Future
Back to the Future
(1985) Aliens (1986) RoboCop
(1987) Alien Nation (1988) Total Recall (1989/1990) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1992) Jurassic Park (1993) Stargate (1994) 12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys
(1995) Independence Day (1996) Men in Black (1997) Armageddon/Dark City (1998) The Matrix
The Matrix
(1999) X-Men (2000) A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
(2001) Minority Report (2002) X2: X-Men United (2003) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) Children of Men
Children of Men
(2006) Cloverfield
(2007) Iron Man (2008) Avatar (2009) Inception
(2010) Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
(2011) The Avengers (2012) Gravity (2013) Interstellar (2014) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Rogue One: A Star Wars
Star Wars
Story (2016)

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