Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Corrected entry: There are many flaws in the logic and details of the aliens sending coordinates as a longitude and latitude in degrees, minutes and seconds. Firstly the units - 90 degrees in a right angle with 60 subdivisions and 60 sub-subdivisions is arbitrary and how would the aliens know that humans often divide angles like that? If they were being mathematically pure it would be natural to use units of radians. Secondly the origin of the coordinates - for latitude there is a natural choice of the origin, being the equator, so that makes sense, however for the longitude there is no natural choice of origin, and how would the aliens know that humans arbitrary choose the observatory in Greenwich, London, England as the zero meridian? Thirdly the order of the components of the coordinates - if the aliens knew so much about the way we do things to know about the above two points, why did they give the longitude as the first part and the latitude as the second part, when the human convention is to do the opposite? Fourthly the direction of the angle from the origin - why did everyone assume that the longitude was West and the latitude was North? Those coordinates could equally correspond to three other points on the globe.

Correction: Haven't you forgotten something? The aliens have had humans with them since 1945 (perhaps earlier) when they captured the pilots of Flight 19 over the Bermuda Triangle. These men were skilled and experienced Air Force pilots and navigators and they'd be able to tell ET and his mates everything they need to know about latitude, longitude, zero degrees going through Greenwich and so on. They made a couple of mistakes, sure, but it's new technology to them. It'd be surprising if they got it right first time.

Corrected entry: When Roy and Jillian are driving along the dirt track to Devil's Tower, they pass dead animals by the roadside, but we do not see any in the fields.

Correction: They had been placed there by the feds (and may have been merely unconscious) to fool people into thinking there had been a hazmat spill so that the area could be evacuated.

Corrected entry: In the final showdown, earth people are rightly amazed by their first confrontation with the alien spaceships and finally their passengers as well. But since they have (probably for years) prepared and trained a group of astronauts ready to attend the first alien/human space-voyage in history, why do they look so surprised every time a new "wave" of alien ships appear? Aren't they expecting or at least hoping that one of them would land?


Correction: They are surprised and amazed at the number and diversity of the different types of spaceships. They are also a little 'surprised' that they are actually seeing what they hoped they would find.

Vernon Gilmore

Corrected entry: In the scene where the couple is arguing in their home about seeing a movie, there is a boy in the crib trying to break a doll or something. That kid looks at least 4 years old. Isn't a 4 year old a little old to be in a crib? And you can easily tell that the kid would not be able to lay down completely in the crib even if he tried.


Correction: That is the little girl's crib, not the boys. He climbed into the crib by himself to be a pest. If you look after Richard Dreyfus yells at 'Toby' he stops breaking the doll and climbs out of the crib by himself.

Vernon Gilmore

Corrected entry: At the end of the film, when those people dressed in red leave the 'church' on their way to the spaceship, watch the blonde woman just in front of Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss). She is not wearing any sunglasses, but after a shot of a walking Roy you see the group walking again, and now she's wearing sunglasses, just like the rest of the group. (02:09:44)

Correction: We don't see the woman the entire time. She could have put on her sunglasses when she didn't have them on previously.

Corrected entry: When Richard Dreyfuss throws in the plants for his sculpture of Devil's Tower, he breaks the kitchen window. After his wife and children have driven away, he closes the window, which now is not broken. (01:15:35)

Correction: The kitchen window over the sink is open the whole time. There is a plant in a vase on the windowsill that is broken when Dreyfuss starts throwing in plants.

Corrected entry: The headline of the newspaper article spells Kidnapping as Kidnaping. (00:58:25)

Correction: My Unabridged Dictionary shows both spellings to be acceptable. See also

Bob Blumenfeld Premium member

Corrected entry: When Richard Dreyfuss first sees the UFO at the railroad tracks,he leans out of his window,to look up at the craft. His right side is facing up, so it should be that side of his face that's burned, however his left side is the burnt side. (00:21:15)

Correction: We see that he covers his right side with his hand, but not his left side, so only his left side is exposed to the light and gets burned.

Corrected entry: The Richard Dreyfus character, having seen flying saucers, is haunted by this vision of a rock (Devil's Tower in North-eastern Wyoming). Then he sees it on TV and has to go there - he jumps into the family station wagon, roars out of the driveway, and we get a close up of the Indiana license plate. Next we see him in Wyoming south of Devil's Tower supposedly having driven straight through, yet he seems to have stopped off long enough to pick up Wyoming license plates.

Correction: When Dreyfus sees Devil's Rock in the news, his wife has already left him and taken the kids away using the family station wagon (roaring out of the driveway). At that point he doesn't have his car anymore. When Neary looks up from the map and nearly crashes into cars evacuating from the "toxic area", he ignores the soldier telling him he's going the wrong way. The soldier in frustration kicks the passing car. Neary says "it's a rental"

Factual error: The aliens broadcast a series of pulses which are decoded by the scientists to be a longitude and latitude. In degrees:minutes:seconds, the longitude is 104:44:30 and the latitude is 40:36:10. These numbers are what the computer display shows and are what the scientists say (except for one slip-up in the hallway early in the scene where 104:40:30 is said). The scientists grab a globe and declare these coordinates are in Wyoming. Everybody and his brother (and the aliens) then proceed to show up at Devils Tower, Wyoming. However, Devils Tower is at around longitude 104 deg 44 min and latitude *44* deg 36min, not the *40* deg 36 min pulsed out by the aliens. If everyone had gone to 40 deg 36 min, they would have ended up in Colorado, more than a couple hundred miles south of Devils Tower, Wyoming. (00:46:23)

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