E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. is an iconic movie that many people know, even if they’ve never seen it. It’s filled with childlike wonder, a bit of suspense, and a lot of love. E.T. illustrates just how beautiful connections can be, even if both individuals don’t understand each other fully. If nothing else, it’s where renowned actress Drew Barrymore got her start as Gertie, a young girl in the film.
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One night, near a suburban neighborhood, a group of aliens lands in a forested area with a plan to do research and collect specimens. During that time, one of the aliens wanders off and is startled by unknown lights and men walking towards him with keys jingling. After a quick foot chase from the men, the alien ends up in the yard of someone’s house, taking refuge in their shed.
Inside the house, a family is playing games and ordering pizza. One of the sons, Elliot, is told to go out and get the pizza, but when he heads back into the house, he hears a strange rustling noise coming from the shed. He’s a bit scared so he throws a baseball bat inside the shed, which, to his surprise, is hurled back out somehow. He runs inside to get the rest of his family, but when they get back to the shed, they find nothing except some strange prints on the ground.
The next day, Elliot takes a bike ride into the forest, but he sees a man with jingling keys, gets spooked, and rides quickly back home, dropping some Reece’s Pieces on the way. Later in the evening, Elliot goes back out and stays for a longer amount of time. During his adventure, a small creature walks right up to him, bringing some of the Reese’s Pieces he had dropped earlier.
Elliot decides to fake sick the following day so he can stay home and spend the day with the creature. He realizes the creature has powers when he is able to make items levitate and bring a plant back to life. His siblings, Michael and Gertie, meet the alien but promise to keep his existence a secret.
Elliot can’t skip school again so he hides the creature in his closet and leaves, but at school, he realizes that the creature has some sort of mental connection to him. Meanwhile, the alien is back at home raiding the fridge and exploring the house. After school, Elliot decides to name the alien “E.T.” and E.T. explains that he is trying to build a machine to contact his planet.
After Halloween, Elliot and E.T. head into the forest to try the communication machine. While E.T. was hard at work, Elliot fell asleep. When he woke up the next morning, E.T. was missing. Michael later finds the alien pale and barely breathing; he rushes him back home and the children tell their mother everything.
Soon, a team of government officials in space suits enters the home. They try to help E.T., but eventually, he disconnects from Elliot and dies. When saying his goodbyes, Elliot tells E.T. that he loves him, and E.T. comes back to life. Secretly, Elliot and Michael take E.T. to the woods and he gets on his spaceship that has come down to rescue him. Although E.T. wants Elliot to come with him, the pair must say goodbye. E.T. says his goodbyes to all the children and walks off into the night, with a fully alive plant in his hand.
E.T. – The Cast
Pat Welsh – E.T. (the voice)
Dee Wallace – Mary Taylor
Henry Thomas – Elliott Taylor
Peter Coyote – Keys
Robert MacNaughton – Michael Taylor
Drew Barrymore – Gertie Taylor
K.C. Martel – Greg
C. Thomas Howell – Tyler
Sean Frye – Steve
Erika Eleniak – Pretty Girl
Anne Lockhart – Nurse and Woman
Directed by Steven Speilberg
Movie Fun Facts
- In a sequel that never came to fruition, it is revealed that E.T.’s real name is Zrek.
- Drew Barrymore got her role as Gertie after auditioning for a different movie, “Poltergeist.”
- The child actors were only paid minimum wage for their work on set, though they still get residual checks today.
- All the doctors and nurses in the medical scenes were real medical professionals. Steven Spielberg wanted those scenes to be as authentic as possible.
- The screenplay was written by Melissa Mathison
- ET surpassed Star Wars at the box office but was overtaken in 1993 by another Spielberg film “Jurassic Park”
- The film receive 9 Oscar nominations
- Spielberg told screenwriter Melissa Mathison about an imaginary alien friend he concocted to mask the pain he felt when his parents split up in 1960. After much discussion, the idea for ET was born
- Pat Welsh, who did the voice of ET was a heavy smoker, thus adding that raspy sound to the character
- -E.T. was played by a little person in a special suit named Matthew DeMeritt, who was on his knees for the entire filming process.
- -The sound of E.T.’s voice was developed by combining recordings of actor Pat Welsh’s smoking cough and a burp from Spielberg.
- -The movie was originally supposed to be a horror film called “Night Skies,” but Spielberg decided to make a more family-friendly film instead.
- -Drew Barrymore, who plays Gertie, had to audition for the role multiple times because Spielberg was afraid she would be too shy.