1979 Won BAFTA Film Award – Best Production Design / Art Direction Joe Alves
1979 Nominated Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music John Williams
1979 Nominated BAFTA Film Award – Best Cinematography Vilmos Zsigmond
1979 Nominated BAFTA Film Award – Best Direction Steven Spielberg
1979 Nominated BAFTA Film Award – Best Film
1979 Nominated BAFTA Film Award – Best Film Editing Michael Kahn
1979 Nominated BAFTA Film Award – Best Screenplay Steven Spielberg
1979 Nominated BAFTA Film Award – Best Sound Gene S. Cantamessa, Robert Knudson, Don MacDougall, Robert Glass, Stephen Katz, Frank E. Warner, Richard Oswald, David M. Horton, Sam Gemette, Gary S. Gerlich, Chester Slomka & Neil Burrow
1979 Nominated BAFTA Film Award – Best Supporting Actor François Truffaut
David di Donatello Awards
1978 Won David – Best Foreign Film ((Miglior Film Straniero) Julia Phillips & Michael Phillips – Producers
Directors Guild of America, USA
1978 Nominated DGA Award – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Steven Spielberg
The sightings of UFO’s (unidentified flying objects) was not a new phenomenon. Sightings began appearing with regularity following the Second World War, when people's eyes were focused skyward, looking for enemy aircraft that might at any minute rain down death and destruction. Whether due to mass hysteria or some unexplained mystery, there was definitely something being seen, and even the U.S. Air Force began keeping files on reported sightings. During that time, the term "close encounter" was coined to describe the degree to which the sighting was experienced. And although Steven Spielberg originally wanted to call his movie on the subject Watch the Skies, he eventually settled on the more technical title of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There had been a spate of "alien encounter" films during the '50s, when UFO sightings were at their zenith. In many ways, CE3K (as the film is frequently abbreviated) was somewhat derivative of those movies: a touch of The Day the Earth Stood Still, a little War of the Worlds, a tiny bit of Earth Versus the Flying Saucers, It Came from Outer Space, and so on. But unlike the latter two "B" movies, CE3K was done with a big budget, technical advice, lavish special effects and a fantastic script written by the director himself, Steven Spielberg.
Like Star Wars, CE3K was a technical marvel. Doug Trumbull, the FX genius behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, worked his spells on this Spielberg production, converting his 13.500-square-foot building into a complete movie studio, with special rooms for developing, optical printing, and editing, "dolly" tracks for camera passes at the models of space ships (expertly crafted by another fine talent, Greg Jein), construction shops, paint shops and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of special equipment much of it designed by Trumbull as the need arose.
The live action was shot in various worldwide locations. The crowd sequences in India took weeks and thousands of extras - DeMille himself couldn't have done better. And the largest indoor set ever used in a film was built in a dirigible hangar in Mobile, Alabama it was equal to six limes the size of the largest sound-stage in Hollywood. Here they shot the movie's climax when the chandelier-like Mothership arrives.
Wyoming's Devil's Tower, a unique mountain setting in a desolate area near Huelot, Wyoming, also saw weeks of camera crews trudging through the wilderness. Columbia originally wanted Spielberg to film this on a Burbank sound stage, but the director insisted on authentic location backgrounds.
In 1980, Steven Spielberg did the unheard of, he re-edited his already successful picture, cutting scenes that he felt slowed down the film (e.g., the shots of Richard Dreyfuss obsessively digging up the yard) and adding others, including an all-new ending in which we are actually treated to a look inside the Mothership. The feature was even given a new title: Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Special Edition. Box office earnings again soared. And for Columbia and Spielberg (as well as the audience), it was indeed special.
Project Leader: He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.
Scientist 1: Einstein was right!...Team Leader: Einstein was probably one of them!
Project Leader: If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon... play the five tones.
GOOFS AND BLUNDERS
The shadow of the camera can be seen on the screen door of the farm.
When Roy and Ronnie are arguing in their bedroom and just before he closes the door, you can faintly hear Steven Spielberg saying, "Close the door now."
During the ABC newscast, the reporter states that the Devil's Tower National Monument was created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1915. Roosevelt was President from 1901 to 1909 and the Monument was created in 1906.
Steven Spielberg's giant, spectacular Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which opened at the Ziegfeid Theater yesterday, is the best—the most elaborate—1950's science fiction movie ever made, a work that borrows its narrative shape and its concerns from those earlier films, but enhances them with what looks like the latest developments in movie and space technology. If, indeed, we are not alone, it would be fun to believe that the creatures who may one day visit us are of the order that Mr. Spielberg has conceived—with, I should add, a certain amount of courage and an entirely straight face. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby of The New York Times.
Close Encounters is one of those rare films that works equally as well for children and for adults. Kids see this film as a promise of what might be out there and an unthreatening look at the possibilities that the universe holds. How many UFO believers today began their fascination with alien life after seeing this movie as a child? Adults, even skeptics, see Close Encounters as an accomplished fairy tale. Whether UFOs are real or not, this movie beautifully postulates the best of all alternatives - that the government cares about first contact and about the welfare of its citizens, that the aliens are benevolent, and that we can take comfort from the fact that "we are not alone". Remarkably, a film like Close Encounters speaks to the adult in the child and the child in the adult. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli of Reel Views.
Close Encounters is really such a simple movie that it doesn't warrant a helluva lot of discussion. Were it not able to hit our cultural pressure points so well, it probably would have faded off the of cinematic map -- but Spielberg is nothing if not adept at punching our buttons and making us puppets in his hands, and Close Encounters is no exception. While, story wise and on film making levels, Close Encounters might not be the greatest film ever, I'll be damned if when you're watching the aliens communicate through music, you don't feel like it is. Reviewed by: James Brundage of Film Critic.
Parents need to know that this ultimately uplifting and optimistic story has many scary and spooky moments before the exact nature of the aliens is revealed. To a mother’s horror, her toddler son disappears and is a captive of unknown villains. The earth is enveloped by strange events: electrical storms, unexplained shaking, and unidentified flying objects (UFOs). A house is attacked by mysterious forces; dead animals appear on quiet country roads. A loving father is faced with losing his family because of his conviction. There are scattered curse words including "hell," "s--t," and "bastard." Members of the military are mostly portrayed as unsympathetic and authoritarian. Reviewed by: Common Sense Media.