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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Steven Spielberg
Kathleen Kennedy
Written by Melissa Mathison
Starring Henry Thomas
Dee Wallace
Robert MacNaughton
Drew Barrymore
Peter Coyote
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Allen Daviau
Editing by Carol Littleton
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) June 11, 1982
Running time 115 min. (1982)
119 min. (2002: 20th anniversary edition)
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$10,500,000 (estimated)[1]
Money made $792,910,554

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction movie. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison. It tells the story of Elliott, a lonely boy who makes friends with an extraterrestrial, called "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home. They have to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

E.T. was a very popular movie. It did better than Star Wars. The movie became the highest-grossing movie of all time, a record it held for ten years.


  • Henry Thomas as Elliott, a lonely ten-year-old boy. Elliott wants a good friend. He finds one in E.T., who was left behind on Earth. Elliott adopts the alien and they form a mental, physical, and emotional bond.
  • Robert MacNaughton as Michael, Elliott's football-playing sixteen-year-old brother who often makes fun of him.
  • Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Elliott's five-year-old sister. She is scared of E.T. at first, but grows to love the alien.
  • Dee Wallace as Mary, the children's mother, recently separated from her husband. She is mostly does not notice the alien's presence in her household.
  • Peter Coyote as "Keys", a government agent. His face is not shown until the second half of the movie. His name is never used. He is identified by the key rings that hang from his belt. He tells Elliott that he has waited to see an alien since the age of ten.
  • K. C. Martel, Sean Frye and C. Thomas Howell as Greg, Steve and Tyler, Michael's friends. They help Elliott and E.T. keep away from the authorities during the movie's end.
  • Erika Eleniak as the young girl Elliott kisses in class.

Having worked with Cary Guffey on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg felt confident in working with a cast of mostly child actors.[2]

The major voice work for E.T. was Pat Welsh, an elderly woman who lived in Marin County, California. Welsh smoked two packets of cigarettes a day, which gave her voice a quality that sound effects creator Ben Burtt liked. Burtt also recorded 16 other people and various animals to create E.T.'s "voice". These included Spielberg; Debra Winger; Burtt's sleeping wife, who had a cold; a burp from his USC movie professor; and raccoons, sea otters, and horses.[3][4]

Doctors working at the USC Medical Center were recruited to play the doctors who try to save E.T. Spielberg felt that actors in the roles, performing lines of medical talking, would come across as unnatural.[5]


The movie was first shown at the closing gala of the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.[6][7] It started in the United States on June 11, 1982. It opened at number one with a gross of $11 million. The movie was re-released in 1985 and 2002.

On September 17, 1982, the movie was shown at the United Nations, and Spielberg received the U.N. Peace Medal.[8]

The movie was nominated for nine Oscars at the 55th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It won four Academy Awards: Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.[9] At the Golden Globes, the movie 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 movie Best Picture, Best Director, and a "New Generation Award" for Melissa Mathison.[10] The movie 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 won Young Artist Awards. Composer John Williams won a Grammy and a BAFTA for the score. It was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay.

In 1994, E.T. was selected to keep in the U.S. National Film Registry.[11]


  1. * E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2008-04-04. Archived 25 November 2011 at WebCite
  2. Steve Daly (2002-03-22). "Starry Role". Entertainment Weekly.,,20036782_20037403_218829,00.html. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  3. "The Making of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial"--from the "E.T. Signature Collection LaserDisc", MCA/Universal Home Video, 1996
  4. Natalie Jamieson (2008-07-16). "The man who brings movies to life". Newsbeat. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  5. E.T. — The Reunion [DVD]. Universal, directed by Laurent Bouzereau.
  6. Roger Ebert (1985-08-09). "E.T.: The Second Coming". Movieline.
  7. "Festival de Cannes: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial". Retrieved 2009-06-13.
  8. "U.N. Finds E.T. O.K.". The Twilight Zone Magazine. February 1983.
  9. "The 55th Academy Awards (1983) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  10. "E.T. Awards". Allmovie. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  11. "Films Selected to The National Film Registry, Library of Congress 1989-2006". National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-02-15.

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