Directed by Steven Spielberg • Written by Melissa Mathison • Starred Henry Thomas as Elliot • Starred Drew Barrymore as Gert • Starred Peter Coyote as Keys • Music by John Williams • $10,500,000 budget • ET primarily Animatronics but two dwarfs and a boy without legs occasionally filled costumes. • Spielberg, “ET was a friends who could be the brother I never had and a father that I didn’t feel I had anymore.”
Shot from the perspective of a child for most of the film. • Hence most of the adults cannot be seen from the waist up except the mother. • Spielberg related the story to Mathison during Raiders of the Lost Ark • Mathison wrote first draft in eight weeks which Spielberg considered to be perfect. • ET designed by Carlo Rambaldi • Combined the faces of Einstein, Carl Sandburg, and Ernest Hemmingway. • Spielberg, called ET “something only a mother could love.”
There were four heads and three bodies of ET made. • Filmed on location at Tujunga, Northridge, redwood forest in Crescent City, at a high school, and at a studio in Culver City. • Shot in 61 days. • Shooting title was “A Boys Life” • Shot in chronological order to get real reactions from the young cast. • When the older boy sees ET for the first time the reaction was real. • Pupeteers were ordered to stay off the set.
Spielberg, for the first time in his career, did not storyboard the film in order to preserve spontanaiety. • At the auditions Henry Thomas thought about the day his dog died. This made Spielberg cry and he got the part right away. • ET's communicator actually worked, and was constructed by Henry Feinberg • In the Halloween scene a child can be seen dressed as Yoda. • Reese's outbid M&M's for product placement • When it was test-screened at the Cannes Film Festival as an unofficial entry, it brought the house down, receiving a standing ovation that had eluded most of the official entries.
E.T. riding in the basket on Elliot's bicycle flying in front of the moon has become the trademark image of Amblin Entertainment • Michael Jackson owns one of the E.T. puppets • Spielberg reported to have spent $100,000 digitally removing guns from the 2002 20th Anniversary re-release of the movie • Elliot's last name is never mentioned • The young actors found the ET puppet's eyes too far apart to comfortably look ET in the eye when they had to act with it. • The actors solved the problem themselves by selecting a single eye to look at for every scene.
10% of the budget went on the alien creature puppets and related animatonics • Keys real name is never revealed • 20th Greatest Film of all time by Entertainment Weekly. • An original concept was for a much darker movie in which a family was terrorized in their house by aliens • "E.T. phone home." was voted as the #15 movie quote by the American Film Institute • Foley Artist John Roesch said he used a wet T-shirt crammed with jello to simulate the noise of E.T.'s waddling walk • Ranked #6 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time (2006).
Spielberg liked John Williams's music for the bicycle chase sequence so much that he actually changed the scenes to fit the music. This is rarely ever done as the music is always done to coincide with the scene.