Ask 10 random people what the greatest science fiction movie of all time is, and you’re likely to get nine different answers. Why not 10? Because E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL would get two endorsements.
Much has been written about this 1982 story of a boy, the plant-resurrecting alien he befriends and rescues, and the very real bond they shared. Yes, E.T. was semi-autobiographical for director Steven Spielberg, held the modern-day record for longest time as the highest grossing movie ever made (Its profit? 75 times its budget at the box office alone), and helped define the power of product placement in film. But its biggest achievement is the breadth of emotion that it lures out of viewers as Elliott, Gertie and Michael endeavor to save a tiny, ugly and seemingly helpless being amid authoritative intervention and the skeptical homogeneity of suburbia. Only Spielberg’s palpable and golden storytelling touch made that possible – to the point where for most of the film, most forget that it’s fundamentally another close encounter of the third kind.
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL is the ultimate sci-fi film for people that don’t like sci-fi. It makes eight-year-olds and 80-year-olds cheer, fear and weep with equal verve. It also resonates with themes of abandonment, friendship, belonging, tolerance, and (ahem) alienation that resonate throughout the same age span. E.T. is trans-generational family cinema at its crest – a film for the ages, for all ages.
Steven Spielberg is the most influential filmmaker of our time. He’s won Best Director Oscars for SCHINDLER’S LIST and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (and been nominated for four others) and broken box office records with JAWS, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL and JURASSIC PARK. Before its sale in 2006, his movie studio, DreamWorks, produced three Best Picture Oscar winners in a row from 1999-2001: AMERICAN BEAUTY, GLADIATOR, and A BEAUTIFUL MIND. He’s also produced many successful animated features, television shows, and video games.