Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Plot: After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott. Bringing the extraterrestrial into his suburban California house, Elliott introduces E.T., as the alien is dubbed, to his brother and his little sister, Gertie, and the children decide to keep its existence a secret. Soon, however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliott and the alien.
Most of the full-body puppetry was performed by a 2' 10 tall stuntman, but the scenes in the kitchen were done using a 12-year old boy who was born without legs but was an expert on walking on his hands.
Steven Spielberg shot most of the film from the eye-level of a child to further connect with Elliott and E.T.
In the Halloween scene where E.T. sees a child in a Yoda costume and seems to recognize him suggest that they are from the same Galaxy. In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), in the galactic senate scene where all the senators are on their feet shouting, you can see in the lower right corner E.T. species among the senate pods.
Steven Spielberg stated in an interview that E.T. was a plant-like creature, and neither male nor female.
At one point during filming, Drew Barrymore was consistently forgetting her lines, annoying Steven Spielberg to the point where he actually yelled at her. He later found out that she had reported to work with a very high fever. Feeling guilty, he hugged her and apologized repeatedly as she cried and cried. He then sent her home - with a note from her director.
ET's face was modeled after poet Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein and a pug dog.
At the auditions, Henry Thomas thought about the day his dog died to express sadness. Director Steven Spielberg cried, and offered him the role of Elliott on the spot.
ET's communicator actually worked, and was constructed by Henry Feinberg, an expert in science and technology interpretation for the public.
With the exception of Elliott's mother Mary, no adults' faces are shown until the last 30 minutes of the film.
The filmmakers had requested that M&M's be used to lure E.T., The Mars company denied their request fearing that E.T. was so ugly that he would frighten children and so Reese's Pieces were used instead. As a direct result, Reese's Pieces sales skyrocketed.
The doctors and nurses that work on E.T. are all real emergency room technicians. They were told to treat E.T. the same way they would treat a real patient so that their dialogue and actions would seem real.
E.T. riding in the basket on Elliott's bicycle flying in front of the moon is the trademark image of Amblin Entertainment.
Debra Winger not only provided the temp voice for E.T. but also played one of the ghouls in the Halloween sequence. She is wearing a monster mask and a lab coat and carries a poodle.
World-renowned Indian director Satyajit Ray claimed that this film plagiarized a script he wrote in 1967 entitled "The Alien." After Ray wrote the script, he sought the help of science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke in having the script produce in the United States. Clarke introduced Ray to his friend Mike Wilson, who helped promote the film to Columbia Pictures. Columbia signed on to the project and sought to cast Marlon Brando and Peter Sellers in the lead roles. However, a series of events led to the project being canceled. First, when Ray went to copyright his script, he was surprised to find that the script had already been copyrighted by Wilson as a co-written work, the authors being officially credited as "Mike Wilson and Satyajit Ray," in that order. According to Ray, Wilson's only contribution to the script was his suggestion of the word "broad" instead of "chick" at one place in the script. Later, Brando dropped out of the project and, although an attempt was made to bring James Coburn in his place, Ray said he was disillusioned with Hollywood machinations and returned to Calcutta. The project was abandoned at that time and, although Columbia was interested in reviving the project in the 1970s and 1980s, nothing came of it. When "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" was released in 1982, many, including Arthur C. Clarke, saw striking similarities in the film to Ray's earlier script. Ray said that Steven Spielberg's movie "would not have been possible without my script of 'The Alien' being available throughout America in mimeographed copies." Spielberg denied this by saying, "I was a kid in high school when this script was circulating in Hollywood." (Spielberg actually graduated high school in 1965 and released his first film in 1968.)
Harrison Ford had a cameo as Elliot's principal, but his scene was cut.
Steven Spielberg shot the film in chronological order to invoke a real response from the actors (mainly the children) when E.T. departed at the end. All emotional responses from that last scene are real.
Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison came up with the concept of a sequel called "Nocturnal Fears", where Elliott and his friends are kidnapped by aliens and E.T. would help them out. E.T.'s name would be Zreck, and his species was at war with the other aliens. This concept, however, never bore fruit.
The highest grossing film of 1982. It became the most successful movie in film history until Steven Spielberg beat that record with Jurassic Park (1993), released on the same date 11 years later, June 11. In a strange coincidence, the next film to snatch that title was Titanic (1997), only for James Cameron to also outdistance himself with Avatar (2009).
The concept of the movie was based on an imaginary friend Spielberg created after his parents' divorce in 1960.
Atari, Inc. made a video game based on the film for the Atari 2600. Released in 1982, it was widely considered to be one of the worst video games ever made