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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

A movie directed by Steven Spielberg

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Friendship and Symbiosis

  • Dec 19, 2008
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is in all likelihood the most personal film that Steven Spielberg has directed. It gives insight into the director's life experiences and his childhood in particular. For the most part the film is shown through the eyes of a child. It captures a certain sense of innocence and wonderment that was rare in films of the early 1980s. It's also startlingly honest in its portrayal of children growing up in contemporary America. Rarely do films give a truthful account of what the social behavior of children is really like. These children playfully torment one another, they swear and most importantly they aren't always good to each other. As a child, I recognized this and I still find it intriguing that one of the most accurate views of childhood should be found within a science fiction film. No wonder the story still touches people today.
The unforgettable ride...

The story concerns an alien (who happens to be a botanist) that is stranded on Earth. Government agents pursue him so he retreats into the vast forests of Northern California. One night a ten-year-old boy named Elliott sees him. Soon the two become friends and a symbiotic bond is formed. E.T., as the alien is dubbed, comes from a distant planet where his species experience reality through a collective conscious. Without his species he cannot emote, maintain physical health and therefore his life is endangered. But miraculously a link is formed between E.T. and Elliott, and this keeps him alive. E.T. feels Elliott's pain and distress, both emotional and physical, and responds to it. Now Elliott shares E.T.'s emotions, which further complicates his life. In one memorable sequence, E.T. discovers beer and becomes drunk causing Elliott to act in an intoxicated manner while at school. Soon the link between them strengthens and neither of them can sustain themselves. In order for either of them to survive E.T. must be reunited with his own species. All during this time the only other people to have seen E.T. are Elliott's siblings and a mysterious man who is only known as Keys. Elliott must learn to rely on his older brother, Michael and his younger sister, Gertie to keep his secret. On Halloween night, they manage to sneak E.T. out of the house, and Elliott and E.T. embark on an amazing journey through the forest. Deep within the forest, E.T. constructs a communication device out of mundane household items and attempts to contact the other aliens. When Elliott wakes up the following morning E.T. has vanished. Elliott returns home to find his mother panicked about his disappearance. His older brother, Michael searches for E.T. and finds him, half dead in the river and proceeds to bring him back home. Only then do the children reveal E.T.'s presence to their mother. But before she can absorb the shock government agents, dressed in space suits and armed with guns, break into their home. Meanwhile E.T. and Elliott grow weaker. And the only hope for their mutual survival is for E.T. to return to his home planet.

The film is something of an emotional roller coaster ride and its climactic bicycle chase is breathtaking. By the time the end credits have started you'll either have tears in your eyes or you'll be too exhausted to absorb the film's impact.
The bicycle chase...
Much has already been said about the film's artistic and technical merits, so I won't go into great detail about the brilliance of the acting, the production design, John William's wonderful score, Melissa Mathison's script or Spielberg's direction. But I will say that they all deserve credit for this wonderful film. E.T. is truly a modern classic!
Going home...

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October 25, 2010
Who doesn't love this one? Great review.
February 17, 2009
I used to watch this movie obsessively when I was younger (along with The Sound of Music and Beethovan ... I was a strange kid.. I know). I completely forgot about this movie - and you are so on point... it was an emotional roller coaster and I cried almost every time! Do they have this on DVD now? I'm sure they must right?? Need to get a copy of this...great review!
More E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial reviews
Quick Tip by . October 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
This movie was a favorite of mine during my childhood and even after watching it for the first time in ten years, it's just as great as I remembered it to be.  One of the best family films of the 80's and one of the landmark films of American cinema, E.T. combined strong special effects with a brilliant soundtrack and believable characters.  Like any good movie, it does a good job at changing tones, as there's scenes that made me laugh my ass off (like E.T. getting drunk) …
Quick Tip by . August 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of a kind movie in general. Another great children's movie.
Quick Tip by . August 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Just about the most wonderful family film Spielberg has made. Only someone without a heart won't enjoy it.
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Breathtaking......One of the great Sci-Fi movies of the past 50 years.
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What can I say. I mean how can you go wrong when a kid meets a young A.L.F.(Alien Life Form). Then become friends and soon they start to get ill I mean come on now I do not think for one second that all that would happen so this is the best rate I could give and that is that.
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Best Movie of all Time from Steven! I love this movie and it makes me cry
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I went through just about every emotion while watching this movie.
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
still makes me cry like a baby.
Quick Tip by . December 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Personally, I could have done without the new scenes, special effects, & editing. I love this movie dearly and hate to see anyone alter it.
review by . November 15, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
This review was originally written by my husband, Daniel Aeschliman, who has given me permission to repost it:    As a child of the '80s, I must begin by stating that E.T. is, in my opinion, one of the truly great movies that has been released in my lifetime. When I began acquiring DVD's, I was truly saddened to find that E.T. was not available. After Steven Spielberg reissued the movie to theaters in early 2002, I eagerly awaited the impending DVD release.    The …
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About this movie


E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL is Steven Spielberg's warmhearted classic delight for both children and adults. It tells the story of an alien creature, E.T., mistakenly left behind on Earth. When a young boy, Elliott (Henry Thomas), finds E.T. and hides him in his home, both their worlds are changed forever. E.T. teaches Elliott and his two siblings (Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton), whose parents have recently separated, about caring and love while the children protect E.T. from the malevolent world of grown-ups. Elliott and E.T. become so close that they share emotions; as E.T. becomes ill, so does Elliott. The children end up going on a fabulous adventure trying to help E.T. find a way back to his home planet. The movie was originally going to be based on a story idea by director John Sayles, but after he removed himsel...
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Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Family, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: June 11, 1982
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 1hr 55min
Studio: Universal Studios
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