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Close Encounters of the Third Kind Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Miles Bethany

Anybody who has written him off because of his string of stinkers--or anybody who's too young to remember The Goodbye Girl--may be shocked at the accomplishment and nuance of Richard Dreyfuss's performance in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Here, he plays a man possessed; contacted by aliens, he (along with other members of the "chosen") is drawn toward the site of the incipient landing: Devil's Tower, in rural Wyoming. As in many Spielberg films, there are no personalized enemies; the struggle is between those who have been called and a scientific establishment that seeks to protect them by keeping them away from the arriving spacecraft. The ship, and the special effects in general, are every bit as jaw-dropping on the small screen as they were in the theater (well, almost). Released in 1977 as a cerebral alternative to the swashbuckling science fiction epics then in vogue, Close Encounters now seems almost wholesome in its representation of alien contact and interested less in philosophizing about extraterrestrials than it is in examining the nature of the inner "call." Ultimately a motion picture about the obsession of the driven artist or determined visionary, Close Encounters comes complete with the stock Spielberg wives and girlfriends who seek to tether the dreamy, possessed protagonists to the more mundane concerns of the everyday. So a spectacular, seminal motion picture indeed, but one with gender politics that are all too terrestrial.

Academy Awards

Close Encounters of the Third Kind received Academy Awards for Cinematography (Vilmos Zsigmond) and Special Achievement Awards (Frank E. Warner - Sound Effects Editing). Close Encounters of the Third Kind also received Academy Awards nominations for Supporting Actress (Melinda Dillon), Directing (Steven Spielberg), Art Direction/Set Decoration (Joe Alves - Art Direction, Dan Lomino - Art Direction, Phil Abramson - Set Decoration), Film Editing (Michael Kahn), Music Scoring Awards (Best Original Score; John Williams), Sound (Robert Knudson, Robert J. Glass, Don MacDougall, Gene S. Cantamessa), and Special Visual Effects (Roy Arbogast, Douglas Trumbull, Matthew Yuricich, Gregory Jein, Richard Yuricich)..

Share Your Memories!

Is Close Encounters of the Third Kind one of your favorite movies? What do you remember about it? Share your stories (or your reviews) with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

" I think Close Encounters came out just before my college Christmas break in '77. It was a first date for me with a girl that I would wind up dating for a couple of years. We had been drinking some before we saw the movie, which added to the mystic of the story and for me, made it a little more memorable.

There was something happy and uplifting in 'Encounters, a sort of naiveti that wasn't sappy or over the top which is the charm of most Spielberg movies. Of course behind it all was a Disney-Peter-Pan, motif. All in all I enjoyed the movie"


"They filmed Close Encounters in my neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama. I am in the movie washing a car with my brother.

The cool shorthand name of Close Encounters is CE3K."




Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from! (Click here!)Rated PGOn an American Film Institute 100 list (click here to learn more)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Cary Guffey, Bob Balaban

Released: November 16, 1977

Availability: DVD VHS CD

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