E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial


1h 55m 1982

Brief Synopsis

An extra-terrestrial is accidentally left behind on Earth and is befriended by a young boy and his brother and sister. As Elliot attempts to help his extra-terrestrial companion contact his home planet so that he might be rescued, the children must elude scientists and government agents determined to apprehend the alien for their own purposes...which results in an adventure greater than any of them could have imagined.

Film Details

Also Known As
E.T. L'extra-terrestre, E.T., l'extra-terrestre, the Extra-Terrestrial
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Family
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1982
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Synopsis

An extra-terrestrial is accidentally left behind on Earth and is befriended by a young boy and his brother and sister. As Elliot attempts to help his new friend contact his home planet, so that he might be rescued, the children must elude scientists and government agents determined to apprehend the alien for their own purposes...which results in an adventure greater than any of them could have imagined.

Crew

Dan Attias

Assistant Director

Robert Avila

Other

Charles Bailey

Visual Effects

David Berry

Other

Pat Billon

Other

James D. Bissell

Production Designer

Jesse Boberg

Visual Effects

Marty Brenneis

Visual Effects

Michael Burmeister

Associate Producer

Ben Burtt

Other

Richard Butler

Stunts

Richard L Calkins

Animal Trainer

Richard Calkins

Animal Trainer

Charles L Campbell

Sound Editor

Gene S Cantamessa

Sound

David Carlberg

Medic

Jackie J Carr

Set Decorator

Jim Carroll

Song Performer

Jim Carroll

Song

Bob Chrisoulis

Other

Mike Cochrain

Visual Effects

Samuel Comstock

Animation Supervisor

John J Connor

Camera Operator

Tim Cooney

Boom Operator

Elvis Costello

Song Performer

Elvis Costello

Song

Gary Crawford

Special Effects Assistant

Eugene Crum

Other

Samuel C Crutcher

Sound Effects Editor

Allen Daviau

Director Of Photography

Matthew Demeritt

Other

Tamara Detreaux

Other

Don Digirolamo

Sound

Bennie Dobbins

Stunts

Don Dow

Photography

Sue Dwiggins

Production Coordinator

Louis L Edemann

Sound Effects Editor

Robert Elswit

Photography

Katy M Emde

Assistant Director

Christopher Evans

Matte Painter

Henry Feinberg

Other

Jane Feinberg

Casting

Mike Fenton

Casting

John Fleckenstein

Camera Operator

Richard C Franklin

Sound Effects Editor

Warren Franklin

Production Coordinator

A Frazier

Song

Mike Fulmer

Visual Effects

Tim Geideman

Other

Robert W Glass

Sound

Russell Goble

Props

Ralph Gordon

Other

Ted Grossman

Stunts

Kenneth Hall

Sound Editor

J Harris

Song

Keith Harvey

Stunts

Karl Herrmann

Photography

Beverly Hoffman

Other

Jerry Jeffress

Other

Gene Kearney

Key Grip

Kathleen Kennedy

Producer

Robert Knudson

Sound

Nicholas Vincent Korda

Adr Editor

Kathleen Korth

Assistant Editor

Neil Krepela

Photography

Gary Leo

Visual Effects

Fred M. Lerner

Stunts

Marci Liroff

Casting Director

Carol Littleton

Editor

Nancy Maclean

Other

Frank Marshall

Production Supervisor

Scott Marshall

Visual Effects

Dale Martin

Special Effects Coordinator

Melissa Mathison

Associate Producer

Melissa Mathison

Screenplay

Michael J Mcalister

Photography

Bruce V. Mcbroom

Photography

Lola Mcnalley

Hair

Ralph Mcquarrie

Other

Peter Meisner

Song Performer

Andrew J Miller

Special Effects Assistant

Jack Mongovan

Animator

Dennis Muren

Visual Effects Supervisor

Duncan Myers

Other

Frank Ordaz

Matte Painter

Randy Ottenberg

Visual Effects

Ease Owyeung

Visual Effects

Tina Palmer

Other

Bob Parr

Song Performer

Suzanne Pastor

Visual Effects

David Pettijohn

Sound Effects Editor

Bobby Porter

Stunts

Carlo Rambaldi

Other

Glenn Randall

Stunts

Craig Reardon

Consultant

John Roesch

Foley

Caprice Rothe

Other

Joan Rowe

Foley

Hank Salerno

Adr Editor

Frank Schepler

Other

Robert W Scholler

Medic

Norman B Schwartz

Adr/Dialogue Editor

Deborah Scott

Costumes

Joe Scrima

Song Performer

Robert Short

Other

Robert Sidell

Makeup

Felix Silla

Stunts

Jenifer Smith

Song

Jenifer Smith

Song Performer

Kenneth Smith

Photography

Tom Smith

Production Manager

Herbert Spencer

Original Music

Steven Spielberg

Producer

Tom St Amand

Other

Michael Steffe

Visual Effects

Howard Stein

Editor

Mitch Suskin

Effects Coordinator

William J Teegarden

Set Designer

Peggy Tonkonogy

Animator

Bob Townsend

Other

Steven Curtis Townsend

Technical Supervisor

Richard Vane

Other

Laurie Vermont

Production Coordinator

Edward S Verreaux

Production

Esther Vivante

Script Supervisor

Garry Waller

Animator

Chuck Waters

Stunts

C White

Song

John Williams

Music

Steve Willis

Other

T Wilson Jr.

Song

Terry Windell

Animator

Wallace Worsley

Production Manager

Bob Worthington

Special Effects Assistant

Allan Wyatt

Stunts

Pam Ybarra

Other

Lance Young

Associate Producer

Richard Zarro

Other

Ronald Zarro

Other

Film Details

Also Known As
E.T. L'extra-terrestre, E.T., l'extra-terrestre, the Extra-Terrestrial
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Family
Fantasy
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1982
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Award Wins

Best Score

1982

Best Sound

1982

Best Sound Effects Sound Editing

1982

Best Visual Effects

1982

Award Nominations

Best Cinematography

1982

Best Director

1982
Steven Spielberg

Best Editing

1982

Best Original Screenplay

1982

Best Picture

1982

Articles

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Thursday, June 28 at dusk in Atlanta's Piedmont Park for "Screen on the Green" 2007


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is more than a movie – it is one of those rare cinematic occurrences that strikes at exactly the right time and place, revealing the cultural zeitgeist of the moment. The film sparked an immediate pop culture frenzy when it was released in 1982; it turned the precocious, young Drew Barrymore into a household name, led to a 65% increase in the sale of Reese's Pieces and had kids, and even adults, everywhere saying, "E.T. phone home." The movie grossed $700 million worldwide, making it the top-grossing movie of the 1980s and the 4th highest U.S. box office of all time. Variety called E.T. "the best Disney movie Walt Disney never made." And Rolling Stone raved that Steven Spielberg was "the most successful movie director in Hollywood, America, the Occident, the planet Earth, the solar system and the galaxy." But E.T. was never intended to be such a phenomenon.

After his success with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Spielberg had instead set out to make a smaller, more personal film. "E.T. was about the divorce of my parents, how I felt after my parents broke up," Spielberg admitted. "[It was] the first movie I ever made for myself." The idea for E.T began to form while the director was on location in Tunisia for Raiders. A lonely Spielberg started picturing something of an imaginary friend. "It was like when you were a kid and had grown out of dolls or teddy bears," he recalled. "You just wanted a little voice in your mind to talk to. I began concocting this imaginary creature, partially from the guys who stepped out of the Mother Ship for ninety seconds in Close Encounters [1977]." He shared the idea with Melissa Mathison, Harrison Ford's screenwriter girlfriend who had already penned two family films The Black Stallion (1979) and The Escape Artist (1982). Together Spielberg and Mathison fleshed out the story.

Mathison would receive sole screenwriting credit on E.T. even though there was a significant second influence on Spielberg's story. John Sayles had a script in development at Columbia called Night Skies. Spielberg had done some work on the project and was considering directing it. Sayles' story revolved around malevolent aliens who terrorize a farmhouse. The aliens could kill just by touching a victim with a long, bony finger. Night Skies also featured a friendly alien - "Buddy" - who forms a friendship with a child. And in the last scene, Buddy is marooned on earth, left behind by his people. Given the similarities between E.T.'s set up and Night Skies' ending, Spielberg offered Sayles and Columbia first refusal on his new benevolent alien angle. Sayles declined and did not pursue screen credit. The studio also passed on E.T., but they retained 5% of the profits – enough to make E.T., a film produced by Universal, Columbia's most profitable film of the year.

Spielberg was given a $10.5 million budget for E.T. -- not a huge amount considering Raiders estimated $20 million price tag. The E.T. puppet alone cost $1.5 million. It was designed by special effects wizard Carlo Rambaldi and made use of two control systems; the first allowed E.T.'s movements to be controlled by puppeteers and the second, an electronic system, created E.T.'s mannerisms, like wrinkling his nose. In all, E.T. was capable of 85 movements, had 35 facial expressions and stood three feet tall. There were three versions of the puppet with four interchangeable heads. In long shots, when E.T. was walking, little people in an E.T. suit took over the part.

Along with a smaller-than-usual Spielberg budget, the director took a chance with his normal production process, forgoing his need to storyboard every scene. For E.T. Spielberg mainly sketched just the effects shots. "I had the feeling the boards might force the child actors into stiff unnatural attitudes and I didn't want that," explained Spielberg. E.T. was shot over 61 days in the fall of 1981. Several exterior locations around Southern California were used, as well as interiors filmed at Culver City High School. The bulk of the film was shot at Laird International Studios in Culver City. Spielberg chose Laird to keep E.T. off the Universal lot. He was greatly concerned with secrecy during the production. All the cast and crew were required to sign confidentiality agreements. Even Spielberg's dog Willie was issued an ID badge while visiting.

E.T. grossed $11.8 million its opening weekend; Spielberg himself was said to be making half a million dollars a day during the first week of E.T.'s release. He was also guaranteed 10% of all licensed E.T. products (as well as product approval) on everything from pajamas to lunchboxes and alarm clocks to bubble gum. Universal spent $2 million filing suit against non-licensed merchandise. It was a small price to pay as E.T. set a new standard for movie merchandising. It took in an additional $1 billion in merchandise revenue. But home video profits were put on hold. Spielberg felt that E.T. should only be viewed on the big screen. The film was finally released on video in 1988. Again, in a brilliant bit of foresight, Spielberg was contractually guaranteed 50% of video profits.

With the film's success came the inevitable complaints and lawsuits. Melissa Mathison cited her screenplay's description of the alien as proof that she created E.T.'s likeness and the Writers' Guild agreed. Arbitration was settled in her favor, granting Mathison a piece of the merchandising profits. Several other writers made claims that their work had been plagiarized by E.T., but these suits were all thrown out. The allegation that probably concerned Spielberg the most was made by Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, who asserted similarities (down to specific scenes) between E.T. and an unproduced screenplay of Ray's called The Alien which had been circulated in Hollywood. Eventually Ray was persuaded to withdraw the claim.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning four: Best Score (John Williams), Best Visual Effects, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing. E.T. lost out to Gandhi in the other five categories which were Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography and Editing.

A few final notes of interest about E.T.:
- In Sweden, Finland and Norway, children under 12 were banned from seeing the film because of the "portrayal of adults as the enemies of children."
- The week E.T. opened, Spielberg used some of his half-million dollar-a-day profits to buy the original Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane (1941) for $65,000 at auction at Sotheby's.
- Reese's Pieces will forever be associated with E.T. but the candy selected for the film was originally supposed to be M&M's. Allegedly, Mars declined to be involved, saying the subject matter was unsuitable and would frighten children.

Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Melissa Mathison
Cinematography: Allen Daviau
Production Design: James D. Bissell
Music: John Williams
Film Editing: Carol Littleton
Cast: Henry Thomas (Elliott), Dee Wallace (Mary), Robert MacNaughton (Michael), Gertie (Drew Barrymore), Keys (Peter Coytote), K.C. Martel (Greg), Sean Frye (Steve), C. Thomas Howell (Tyler).
C-115m.

by Stephanie Thames
E.t. The Extra-Terrestrial
Thursday, June 28 At Dusk In Atlanta's Piedmont Park For "screen On The Green" 2007

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Thursday, June 28 at dusk in Atlanta's Piedmont Park for "Screen on the Green" 2007

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is more than a movie – it is one of those rare cinematic occurrences that strikes at exactly the right time and place, revealing the cultural zeitgeist of the moment. The film sparked an immediate pop culture frenzy when it was released in 1982; it turned the precocious, young Drew Barrymore into a household name, led to a 65% increase in the sale of Reese's Pieces and had kids, and even adults, everywhere saying, "E.T. phone home." The movie grossed $700 million worldwide, making it the top-grossing movie of the 1980s and the 4th highest U.S. box office of all time. Variety called E.T. "the best Disney movie Walt Disney never made." And Rolling Stone raved that Steven Spielberg was "the most successful movie director in Hollywood, America, the Occident, the planet Earth, the solar system and the galaxy." But E.T. was never intended to be such a phenomenon. After his success with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Spielberg had instead set out to make a smaller, more personal film. "E.T. was about the divorce of my parents, how I felt after my parents broke up," Spielberg admitted. "[It was] the first movie I ever made for myself." The idea for E.T began to form while the director was on location in Tunisia for Raiders. A lonely Spielberg started picturing something of an imaginary friend. "It was like when you were a kid and had grown out of dolls or teddy bears," he recalled. "You just wanted a little voice in your mind to talk to. I began concocting this imaginary creature, partially from the guys who stepped out of the Mother Ship for ninety seconds in Close Encounters [1977]." He shared the idea with Melissa Mathison, Harrison Ford's screenwriter girlfriend who had already penned two family films The Black Stallion (1979) and The Escape Artist (1982). Together Spielberg and Mathison fleshed out the story. Mathison would receive sole screenwriting credit on E.T. even though there was a significant second influence on Spielberg's story. John Sayles had a script in development at Columbia called Night Skies. Spielberg had done some work on the project and was considering directing it. Sayles' story revolved around malevolent aliens who terrorize a farmhouse. The aliens could kill just by touching a victim with a long, bony finger. Night Skies also featured a friendly alien - "Buddy" - who forms a friendship with a child. And in the last scene, Buddy is marooned on earth, left behind by his people. Given the similarities between E.T.'s set up and Night Skies' ending, Spielberg offered Sayles and Columbia first refusal on his new benevolent alien angle. Sayles declined and did not pursue screen credit. The studio also passed on E.T., but they retained 5% of the profits – enough to make E.T., a film produced by Universal, Columbia's most profitable film of the year. Spielberg was given a $10.5 million budget for E.T. -- not a huge amount considering Raiders estimated $20 million price tag. The E.T. puppet alone cost $1.5 million. It was designed by special effects wizard Carlo Rambaldi and made use of two control systems; the first allowed E.T.'s movements to be controlled by puppeteers and the second, an electronic system, created E.T.'s mannerisms, like wrinkling his nose. In all, E.T. was capable of 85 movements, had 35 facial expressions and stood three feet tall. There were three versions of the puppet with four interchangeable heads. In long shots, when E.T. was walking, little people in an E.T. suit took over the part. Along with a smaller-than-usual Spielberg budget, the director took a chance with his normal production process, forgoing his need to storyboard every scene. For E.T. Spielberg mainly sketched just the effects shots. "I had the feeling the boards might force the child actors into stiff unnatural attitudes and I didn't want that," explained Spielberg. E.T. was shot over 61 days in the fall of 1981. Several exterior locations around Southern California were used, as well as interiors filmed at Culver City High School. The bulk of the film was shot at Laird International Studios in Culver City. Spielberg chose Laird to keep E.T. off the Universal lot. He was greatly concerned with secrecy during the production. All the cast and crew were required to sign confidentiality agreements. Even Spielberg's dog Willie was issued an ID badge while visiting. E.T. grossed $11.8 million its opening weekend; Spielberg himself was said to be making half a million dollars a day during the first week of E.T.'s release. He was also guaranteed 10% of all licensed E.T. products (as well as product approval) on everything from pajamas to lunchboxes and alarm clocks to bubble gum. Universal spent $2 million filing suit against non-licensed merchandise. It was a small price to pay as E.T. set a new standard for movie merchandising. It took in an additional $1 billion in merchandise revenue. But home video profits were put on hold. Spielberg felt that E.T. should only be viewed on the big screen. The film was finally released on video in 1988. Again, in a brilliant bit of foresight, Spielberg was contractually guaranteed 50% of video profits. With the film's success came the inevitable complaints and lawsuits. Melissa Mathison cited her screenplay's description of the alien as proof that she created E.T.'s likeness and the Writers' Guild agreed. Arbitration was settled in her favor, granting Mathison a piece of the merchandising profits. Several other writers made claims that their work had been plagiarized by E.T., but these suits were all thrown out. The allegation that probably concerned Spielberg the most was made by Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, who asserted similarities (down to specific scenes) between E.T. and an unproduced screenplay of Ray's called The Alien which had been circulated in Hollywood. Eventually Ray was persuaded to withdraw the claim. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning four: Best Score (John Williams), Best Visual Effects, Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing. E.T. lost out to Gandhi in the other five categories which were Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography and Editing. A few final notes of interest about E.T.: - In Sweden, Finland and Norway, children under 12 were banned from seeing the film because of the "portrayal of adults as the enemies of children." - The week E.T. opened, Spielberg used some of his half-million dollar-a-day profits to buy the original Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane (1941) for $65,000 at auction at Sotheby's. - Reese's Pieces will forever be associated with E.T. but the candy selected for the film was originally supposed to be M&M's. Allegedly, Mars declined to be involved, saying the subject matter was unsuitable and would frighten children. Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg Director: Steven Spielberg Screenplay: Melissa Mathison Cinematography: Allen Daviau Production Design: James D. Bissell Music: John Williams Film Editing: Carol Littleton Cast: Henry Thomas (Elliott), Dee Wallace (Mary), Robert MacNaughton (Michael), Gertie (Drew Barrymore), Keys (Peter Coytote), K.C. Martel (Greg), Sean Frye (Steve), C. Thomas Howell (Tyler). C-115m. by Stephanie Thames

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 11, 1982

Re-released in United States July 19, 1985

Re-released in United States March 22, 2002

Released in United States on Video October 27, 1988

Re-released in United States on Video October 1, 1996

Re-released in United States on Video October 29, 2013

Broadcast premiere in USA on CBS November 28, 1991.

The 2002 re-release will include new footage, a remixed soundtrack and CGI enhancements.

Released in United States Summer June 11, 1982

Re-released in United States July 19, 1985

Re-released in United States March 22, 2002

Released in United States on Video October 27, 1988

Selected in 1994 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Re-released in United States on Video October 1, 1996

Re-released in United States on Video October 29, 2013

Steven Spielberg was nominated for outstanding directorial achievement by the Directors Guild of America.