Contact
Movie Quote Quiz

Palmer Joss: What are you studying up there?
Ellie Arroway: Oh, the usual. Nebulae, quasars, pulsars, stuff like that. What are you writing?
Palmer Joss: The usual. Nouns, adverbs, adjective here and there.

Panel member: If you were to meet these Vegans, and were permitted only one question to ask of them, what would it be?
Ellie Arroway: Well, I suppose it would be, how did you do it? How did you evolve, how did you survive this technological adolescence without destroying yourself?

Dr. Kent Clark: Dr. Arroway will be spending her precious telescope time listening for... uh... listening for.
Ellie Arroway: Little green men.

Jay Leno: So it turns out there's life on other planets. Boy, this is really going to change the Miss Universe contest, you know what I mean?

Ellie Arroway: Hydrogen times pi.

Ellie Arroway: They all travel here through that transit system that you built?
Alien: We didn't build it, we don't know who did. They were gone long before we ever got here. Maybe some day they'll come back.

Ellie Arroway: Occam's razor. You ever heard of it?
Palmer Joss: Hack-em's Razor. Sounds like some slasher movie.

Richard Rank: My coalition's phone lines have been flooded with calls from concerned families, wondering if this message signifies the end of the world or the advent of the rapture. We feel that U.S. policy in this matter wants to be extremely conservative - if there's any chance of danger or threat to our way of life perhaps the message and its contents should simply be disregarded.

Palmer Joss: By doing this, you're willing to give your life, you're willing to die for it. Why?
Ellie Arroway: For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for something, some reason why we're here. What are we doing here? Who are we? If this is a chance to find out even just a little part of that answer... I don't know, I think it's worth a human life. Don't you?

Ellie Arroway: Why did you do it?
Palmer Joss: Our job was to select someone to speak for everybody. And I just couldn't in good conscience vote for a person who doesn't believe in God. Someone who honestly thinks the other ninety five percent of us suffer from some form of mass delusion.
Ellie Arroway: I told the truth up there. And Drumlin told you exactly what you wanted to hear.

Ellie Arroway: So what's more likely? That an all-powerful, mysterious God created the Universe, and decided not to give any proof of his existence? Or, that He simply doesn't exist at all, and that we created Him, so that we wouldn't have to feel so small and alone?

Ellie Arroway: Mathematics is the only true universal language.

S.R. Hadden: The powers that be have been very busy lately, falling over each other to position themselves for the game of the millennium. Maybe I can help deal you back in.
Ellie Arroway: I didn't realise that I was out.
S.R. Hadden: Well, maybe not out... but certainly being handed your hat.

Ellie Arroway: I am OK to go.

Alien: You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.

Ellie Arroway: I work for a project called seti.
Palmer Joss: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence? Wow, that's out there.

Young Ellie: Dad, do you think there's people on other planets?
Ted Arroway: I don't know, Sparks. But I guess I'd say if it is just us... seems like an awful waste of space.

Ellie Arroway: Mrs. Constantine? May I have a word with you?
Rachel Constantine: Certainly.
Ellie Arroway: Um, I have a big problem.
Rachel Constantine: Yes?
Ellie Arroway: Uh, do you know where I can find like a really great dress?

Factual error: When Mr. Hadden reviews Ellie's life history on his airplane, he says she graduated from MIT 'magna cum laude'. This is impossible, as MIT does not award academic honors to graduates.

More mistakes in Contact

Trivia: Filmmakers George Miller and Francis Ford Coppola both sued Warner Bros. over Contact. George Miller sued for breach of contract (as he was the original director before being fired and replaced by Robert Zemeckis), while Coppola sued because he claimed that he and Carl Sagan (the writer of Contact) had already developed the premise for a TV show in the 1970's which was never produced, before Sagan later used the idea for Contact in 1985. Both suits failed - Miller's firing was within contract and perfectly reasonable, and Coppola was dismissed (twice) because he had taken far too long to sue the company (if he sued when Sagan began working in the 80's, he may have won, but he waited until after the film's release in 1997 to sue).

More trivia for Contact

Question: If you read the book version of Contact you know that the stuff about transcendental numbers and the Artist's Signature was left out of the movie. This makes no sense to me, since it's not only the real ending, it's the whole POINT of the story. Without this information, the story's fundamental question (does God exist?) is not answered in the movie. Does anyone know why this was left out?

Answer: If anything, I think the film's producers deliberately left godly topics unaddressed (and questions dangling, unanswered) because they didn't want to alienate any particular audience. However, we know the producers of "Contact" certainly did vilify religion through the sinister scenes with Joseph, the evangelical extremist. At the same time, the film created empathy for the president's glib theological adviser, Palmer Joss. So, I don't think the film was shying away from religious topics, and I think it was pretty fair to the religious viewpoint, for the most part. But this movie wasn't about religion; it was about a primitive, materialistic, self-centered and aggressive species (humanity) reluctantly acknowledging the existence of vastly more intelligent and even godlike entities throughout the cosmos. Even the first-contact entities, advanced as they are, acknowledge other entities much more ancient and much more advanced (the virtual architects of the space/time conduit). The implication was that we live in a universe that may be populated with many intelligent entities that answer every human criteria of godhood. Ellie's narrow-minded atheism was surely shaken to its foundation by her experience; and, while she didn't "convert" to archaic earthly religions, she was spiritually a different person upon her return. The film, however, is open-ended and fence-straddling and doesn't presume to definitively answer the question of the existence of god, leaving it up to the audience to decide.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: The film chooses to focus on Ellie's personal journey and how she deals with and comes to terms with what happens - it doesn't really involve God at all, other than the inclusion of Palmer Joss as a religious advocate, choosing to restrict itself to the much less theologically controversial theme of a straight first contact scenario, without the religious overtones. Given the depth of feeling on religious matters in the US, it's hardly surprising that the filmmakers preferred to leave this particular hot topic out. While Carl Sagan died during production of the film, he both co-produced and was involved in the story process, so he was clearly not concerned about this change.

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