Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

63 mistakes - chronological order

(4 votes)

Continuity mistake: When Roy wakes up his wife to tell her about the UFOs, the pink tissue paper in the box behind swaps from lying flat to standing up between shots.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: In Sonora, the scientist walks towards some Mexican officers standing by a stone wall, and a wooden fence is ahead. A frame later, they're standing next to an iron spring and a wicker basket that have appeared out of nowhere.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Ronnie rescues Roy from the bathtub, a rope next to him disappears between one frame and the other.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Roy is driving to Devil's Tower he is about to crash against two cars. From the opposite angle the cars are different.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: Roy meets Jillian and then walks away to look after Barry. In the next shots with the kid, Roy's hair is longer and messed up.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: In India, Claude asks the Guru where the sounds came from, while a huge crowd walks along the desert. When a man in blue addresses the crowd to ask them, the crowd on the right side is gone, and the ones on the left aren't walking but standing perfectly formed like an army.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: In Jillian's house, when the aliens launch the floor vent it lies on the right side, half a meter away from the hole. A frame later it's lying skewed on the hole. Should the aliens have moved it, a sound would've been heard.

Sacha Premium member

Audio problem: In the scene just as Roy, Gillian, and Larry take off for Devil's Tower, the army officer is on his car phone speaking to his superior. When his superior tells him if they don't get Roy and company off the mountain in one hour, to use EZ4. Lacombe, who was talking to David at the time, looks at the officer and says, "What's EZ4?". Lacombe should not have known what was said over the phone, as only the officer and we, the audience, knew what was being said. It wasn't a speaker-phone. [The army officer was using a VRC(vehicle radio console.) Not a cellular phone. The radio has a speaker mounted on the front of the console in addition to the speaker in the handset. So everyone would be able to hear the conversation on the radio. ].

Continuity mistake: When Roy is shoveling dirt through the window he leaves his shovel on the wheelbarrow. When he comes back three seconds later, the shovel is in a different position.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: Roy's first encounter is with a ship that comes up behind, goes overhead and briefly reappears in front. When it's glimpsed passing above, it's moving towards him as if it came from ahead.

Dristarg

Continuity mistake: Barry is leaving his house, going towards the trees. Jillian looks out her upstairs window and Barry as well as the immediate area surrounding him are drenched in bright direct light, as if from a spotlight mounted on the side of the house. However, from an outside angle of the scene he is not bathed in light, and neither is the area he is in.

Kit Sullivan

Character mistake: When Roy is heading toward Devil's Tower in his car, you can hear a radio report. The man says something about the Tetons and then mentions the town of Meteetsee. He says "Meh-test-ie." That's the incorrect pronunciation.

manthabeat Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Barry is taken from the house, just before that happens we see a grate get blown out of the floor and it lands on its side. In the next scene the grate is back in the hole, but at an impossible angle, even if it fell in.

Continuity mistake: When Jillian's kitchen goes wild, the heater's lids fly off and reveal some red foam which ends up breaking and making a hole. A frame later from a new angle the foam is fixed.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: Roy is about to run Barry over with his truck and stops on the side of the road. The position of the papers on the dashboard changes between shots.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: Ronnie says "It's one of those things" and Roy follows her with his hand filled with shaving foam. In the next angle the amount of foam on the right hand is bigger.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Roy and Jillian meet, the redness on Roy's face keeps darkening or lightening randomly between shots.

Sacha Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Barry walks outside the house and his mother calls him, from the shots inside she is surrounded by curtains moved by strong air. From the opposite angle the curtains are gone.

Sacha Premium member

Project Leader: He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.

More quotes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Trivia: Spielberg wanted to use the music When You Wish Upon A Star from Disney. It can be barely heard in the original film score in 1977. John Williams later put a very clear version in the closing credits in the Special Edition version and in the current DVD and CD.

Larry Koehn

More trivia for Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Question: I would really like some insight on a burning question I have had since seeing this movie as a child in 1978, when it came back around in theaters in eastern Canada, where I grew up. Not knowing much about American history in school, I didn't know at the time that there even was a Devil's Tower, or that it had been made the first US National Monument in 1906, and as such would have been famous to all American citizens. I still remember loving the psychic element in the film where our heroes agonize internally about the strange mound shape seen only in their heads, to be finally rewarded and deeply relieved with news footage later in the film which solidified their visions into something tangible and concrete (igneous rock actually!) Thus, as a boy knowing nothing about the tower in Wyoming, this part of the film played perfectly into the fantasy for me-it sold me all the way. But why or how did this work for Americans at the time the film was new? In the film, we are to believe that our adult heroes knew nothing of the tower before their initial close encounters, and were shocked to discover that it actually existed. Again, for me, Devil's Tower was an absolutely incredible and awesome choice, and made me love the film all the more for it. But I would like to know how Americans felt about it during the film's 1977 and later 1980 re-release? Was it just as awe-inspiring for them as well, or was it more like: "Duh-you're driving your family crazy making models of a natural rock formation everyone knows is less than 90 miles away from Mount Rushmore?" I would really appreciate an answer, because for me, the tower's news-footage "reveal" was a huge moment in the film, and really does provide the kick-start that launches the entire third act of the film. For American audiences, why was it not the same as if Roy had struggled to attach a garden hose under a hastily-built plywood model with a hole in the middle, because the aliens implanted a vision of "Old Faithful" in his head?

Answer: Devil's Tower really is out in the middle of nowhere, and in one of the least populated states (it's "only" 90 miles away from Mt. Rushmore, but it's an incredibly boring 90 miles of mostly empty plains) so it didn't make for a convenient tourist attraction like other landmarks and thus didn't garner as much fame (it's actually much more famous nowadays, thanks to this movie). That said, the movie seems to have cleverly provided two separate "reveals" for this plot turn: those familiar with Devil's Tower will recognize it when Richard Dreyfuss knocks the top off his sculpture, giving it the distinctive "flat top" shape; then, only minutes later the rest of the audience will discover it along with the characters during the news broadcast. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this was set up deliberately keeping in mind the landmark's status of "kind of famous but not really THAT famous."

TonyPH Premium member

Your explanation (and the other answer) helps makes the overall plot more understandable. The French scientist, Lacombe, mentions that there were probably hundreds of people who were implanted with the Devil's Tower image in their minds. As pointed out, it is not a particularly recognizable landmark, which would explain why many never made the connection to it.

raywest Premium member

Answer: "Devil's Tower" is, indeed, a national landmark. However, it isn't one of the most famous, nor most iconic. It isn't nearly as widely known as, say, the Grand Canyon, the Mississippi River, Niagara Falls, or the landmarks you mentioned - Mount Rushmore and Old Faithful Geyser. But, as you stated, its imposing form does fit so nicely into the aura of the film's alien encounter. Devil's Tower isn't something everyone knows by shape. And for those of us who do, it doesn't require much suspension of disbelief to posit that the characters in the film wouldn't have put it together prior to the news footage.

Michael Albert

More questions & answers from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.