Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

63 mistakes - chronological order

(4 votes)

Revealing mistake: In the scene where Ronnie cuts out a newspaper article about the UFO sightings, the night after Roy's first glimpse of the UFOs, two identical articles on Star Wars (1977) are on either side of the UFO article.

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Suggested correction: The articles aren't identical, they are continuous. I read them. Only the title, "wars" is identical.

Revealing mistake: When the UN team arrives in the Gobi desert, there's one shot where the helicopters and trucks are parked. They're supposed to be moving, but you can tell from the way the flags are moving that the wind is only coming from the helicopters.

Dr Wilson

Character mistake: When Ronnie is cutting the article about Roy's encounter out of the newspaper, the title of the article begins with "UFO's...", the apostrophe making it possessive. It correctly should have been "UFOs...", with no apostrophe making it plural as intended.

Kit Sullivan

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Suggested correction: You are incorrect. The article is actually correct. It is used as a contraction, not a possessive. http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/apostrophe.html.

It's not a contraction. A plural acronym is simply "s" added to the acronym. An apostrophe never indicates plurality.

Charles Austin Miller

Suggested correction: There is no standard on how to pluralize initialisms or acronyms and either way is acceptable, depending on a person's preference. An apostrophe does not automatically make something possessive, such as using apostrophes in contractions to replace missing letters.

Bishop73

Nope. In contractions joining two words, apostrophes only replace vowels (typically the letter "o," such as in "hasn't" or "wouldn't" or "isn't," and most obviously with "it's" replacing the letter "i" in "it is"). In this case, the acronym "UFOs" stands for "Unidentified Flying Objects," and there is no vowel to replace between the "t" and the "s" (in fact, an apostrophe wouldn't replace any letter at all). So, the contraction argument is invalid. Using an apostrophe for "UFO's" makes the acronym singular possessive (such as in "The UFO's movements were erratic").

Charles Austin Miller

It seems you missed the point of my comment. What you're stating is an opinion on how to pluralize initialisms and acronyms. While many lean towards just adding an "s", many real life publications back in the 70's did in fact use and "apostrophe s" for initialisms and acronyms. (Notice how 70's isn't possessive or a contraction. But many prefer using "70s.").

Bishop73

"Many publications" were wrong (especially in the late 1970s) and followed poor literary and journalistic standards. No, it's not a "matter of opinion"; throwing in apostrophes where they are not appropriate is a matter of poor education in the English language.

Charles Austin Miller

The question is not whether using the apostrophe is "correct" or "appropriate." It's whether it was used by publications in the '70s. It was, therefore it is not a mistake.

You should be more educated when stating opinions then, because it wasn't about being wrong. It was about no set standard. For example "The Chicago Manual of Style" would recommend UFOs while "The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage" would recommend UFO's. Of course, both would recommend using the apostrophe when making single letters plural "A's" or p's and q's."

Bishop73

The New York Times manual of style is predictably bogus. I'm a professor of Journalism (Southwest Texas State University 1979 to 1987). I know what is proper.

Charles Austin Miller

Character mistake: "Cosmic Kidnapping" is spelled incorrectly with a missing P in a newspaper article at the press conference where he breaks his pencil while drawing.

Factual error: When Barry first appears in the middle of the road, you can see the constellation Orion in the upper right of the scene. From mid-northern latitudes, Orion is visible in the evening from October to early January and in the morning from late July to November. The scene looks like a summer evening and if it was the morning Orion would not be that high in the sky.

Revealing mistake: The morning after Ronnie and Roy's big fight, Roy starts cleaning up his clay "sculpture." Before he pulls its upper portion off, you can see the pre-made seam (which is poorly disguised by the clay) where the top is attached to the bottom. When he tears it off, the lower portion is perfectly smooth and flat on top (simulating Devil's Tower) where it was obviously pre-cut.

raywest Premium member

Factual error: When Roy discovers that he has built a model of Devil's Tower as a result of an ABC news broadcast by Howard K. Smith, the remote reporter on site refers back to the anchor as "Walter" (Cronkite, as proved during Roy's interrogation), who worked for CBS, not ABC. (CBS did not allow Spielberg to cast Cronkite, and the dialogue was not redone to account for Smith).

Continuity mistake: Roy is stalled in his truck at the railroad track. We see the mailboxes behind him burst open and all the mail comes flying out. Next shot, from inside the truck, the mailboxes are closed. Then another outside view shows them open again.

Jean G

Continuity mistake: While Roy watches Barry make the mud mountain, its top is flat, but a frame later it's taller and peaked.

Sacha Premium member

Factual error: Parts of the scene where the brightly lit alien mothership passes directly over Devil's Tower are shot with the camera looking almost directly up, as would be the view from the people below. In these scenes, Devil's Tower remains totally dark despite having this huge light source directly above. The mothership is so huge that a shadow cannot explain this darkness.

Bruce Trestrail

Continuity mistake: After Roy makes a mountain with the mashed potato, the bowl has food coming out. Two seconds later, after Roy talks to his family, the food is gone, despite no one having touched the bowl.

Sacha Premium member

Plot hole: The aliens provide coordinates for a place to make a rendezvous with humans but do not specify a time. It's possible they're monitoring and will arrive when they see enough humans gathering at Devil's Tower, but the humans seem to expect the aliens to come more or less exactly when they actually do, somehow.

TonyPH Premium member

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Suggested correction: Scientists were prepared for the aliens and knew when and where they would arrive, as seen by the extensive complex built at Devil's Tower. However, as Claude Lacombe, the French scientist, speculates towards the end, hundreds of humans may have had the Devil's Tower image recently implanted in their minds, saying they were "invited" but never made the connection. Neery figured it out and was compelled to go there at that time. Neery was then allowed to join a group of trained volunteers that were already prepared to go on the ship, while the previous "abductees" were being returned to Earth.

raywest Premium member

The aliens had not given a time to meet. The scientists may be taking it on faith that the aliens will know that they've arrived at Devil's Tower and are ready, but the way the subject of timing is left unaddressed on screen feels like an oversight.

TonyPH Premium member

We don't know for certain if the scientists were given a specific time, but it appears they were, or at least a general window. The long-lost objects, like the ship and the military aircraft, suddenly showing up in the desert, is an indication the process has started. If humans were given the precise location where the alien ship would arrive (Devil's Tower), then, logically, the aliens would also communicate when. The scientists were communicating with the aliens using tonal sounds. Early on, the scientists received map coordinates through dish satellites as repeating pulses. They would likely receive time information the same way. As often happens in movies, this info may be something that got edited out of the film, causing an inconsistency.

raywest Premium member

This might be one of those edge cases. Under most circumstances I'd agree we could assume arrangements were made off-screen by virtue of the fact that the rendezvous occurs successfully in the first place; but in the context of this movie, in which any and all forms of contact with the aliens is treated as profound and significant, leaving it unaddressed (not even with a line of dialogue) comes off like a plot hole. I suppose we'll just have to let our fellow website readers decide.

TonyPH Premium member

Factual error: Roy has the TV on during the creation of the Devil's Tower model. The show Days of Our Lives is on. When it cuts away, a Budweiser commercial comes on. Beer commercials are never on during daytime weekday soap operas. Then the news comes on and it's ABC news. Days of Our Lives is on NBC and always has been.

Continuity mistake: In the alien departure scene at the very end of the film, a solitary alien exits the mothership and approaches Francois Truffaut, who extends his right hand directly towards the alien and makes the Five Tones hand gesture. The camera cuts to another angle half-way through the gesture, and we see that Truffaut is now looking sharply to his right, over his extended arm, and smiling broadly at the alien as he completes the hand gesture. Apparently, Truffaut's body and extended arm pivoted 90° away from the alien mid-way through the 2-second gesture.

Charles Austin Miller

Revealing mistake: When the gigantic mother ship appears and sweeps over the rendezvous base at Devil's Tower, the camera cuts to look straight up at the advancing craft as it blocks out the starry night sky. Watch carefully to see some stars passing right through the leading edge of the mother ship, revealing a flaw in the traveling matte effect.

Charles Austin Miller

Continuity mistake: While Roy and a crowd are gathering on the side of the road waiting for the aliens, a group of old men play cards on a table packed with food and drinks. When the angle changes (when Jillian meets Roy) one of the men has vanished and the table is empty.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: In Sonora, a man introduces himself as a cartographer and walks 5 meters away from a crowd. When the angle changes he's barely half a meter away from the crowd.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: While being blinded by the UFO, Roy grabs his flashlight from the round part next to the ligh bulb. Half a second later he is grabbing it from several centimeters below.

Sacha Premium member

Revealing mistake: The huge UFO opens its door and a brilliant light comes out, but from the opposite angle, the reflection on the people's glasses is a black landscape and a tiny spot of light.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: During the meeting between people and the Government the stuff on the table keeps moving between shots: the bowls that the guy slides trough the table, the tray with a glass bottle, and the book in front of Roy.

Sacha Premium member

Project Leader: If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon... play the five tones.

More quotes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Trivia: If you have a trained eye you can see Darth Vader's ship and R2D2 from Star Wars, and several other bits of Spielberg-Lucas memorabilia.

More trivia for Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Question: Did anyone else see the reflection of an alien's face in the window of the pickup truck as Dreyfus puts up a map against the window right before all the electrical stuff goes out in the car?

KINGOFNY

Chosen answer: I own the original (not special edition) DVD and I can always freeze the film and point out to people where the alien is and they see it too, but I can never see it when it's on TV or on my friends VHS copy, maybe it's just a 'gift' for the DVD owners?

More questions & answers from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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