Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr
Tag line: "We Are Not Alone"
Trivia: SFX man Douglas Trumbull created the cloud effects by injecting white paint into tanks of salt and fresh water
There you are, alone in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly, and without warning, you're face-to-face (face-to-headlight?) with an unidentified flying object. A UFO. Visitors from another planet. What thoughts race through your mind? Are you afraid? Curious? Excited? In one thrilling sequence from Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where repairman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), sitting in his work truck, has an encounter he cannot explain, we learn the typical reaction may be all of the above.
This extraordinary run-in with beings from another world occurred while Roy was out one evening making emergency repairs. His wife, Ronnie (Teri Garr) doesn't believe his story, and begins to worry when Roy's behavior shifts from merely confused to highly erratic. There were others who saw it, like single mother Julian (Melinda Dillon), who's just as perplexed as Roy is. What neither of them realizes is the U.S. Government has also gotten involved, and, with the help of French researcher Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaut), are trying to determine the meaning of this visitation. While the bureaucrats keep busy by denying everything, Roy and Julian’s fascination grows, leading them to think and act in ways they would have never dreamed possible.
There’s certainly excitement in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, including one of the most unusual chases ever committed to film, not to mention intrigue, with government cover-ups and military operations designed to pull the wool over an unsuspecting public's eyes. Then, of course, there’s the drama, the families torn apart by events they can't understand. Yet, above all, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is about the wonder, and how regular, everyday people like you and I might react when faced with the unbelievable. Before his encounter, Richard Dreyfuss’ Roy was an everyman. He planned family outings, argued with his wife, and had a hard time getting his kids to go to bed. In a single night, Roy became a different person, and the experience stirred within him, whether consciously or subconsciously, a desire to know more. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is his journey, and all the turmoil, all the special effects wizardry, even the magnificent musical score of John Williams, is there to tell his story. He is the common man who will, for all intents and purposes, never be common again.
Astonishment, confusion, elation; these are a few of the endearing characteristics of Steven Spielberg's films. Whether taking us through the air on a boy’s bicycle, opening the Lost Ark of the Covenant, or walking with dinosaurs, Spielberg has shown us, time and again, that not only is the amazing possible, but it can happen to just about anybody.