Curiosities | ‘ET The Extraterrestrial’, Steven Spielberg’s classic, turns 40 in 2022!

One of the best-known and most beloved movies of all time is, without a doubt, the classic adventure. sci-fi ‘ET The Extraterrestrial’.

The production, launched in 1982 by the hands of legendary Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison, revolves around Elliott, a boy who befriends a being from another planet, who was left alone on Earth, protecting him in every way to prevent him from being captured and turned into a guinea pig. Gradually, a strong friendship develops between the two.

The film’s concept was based on an imaginary friend Spielberg created as a child, after his parents’ divorce – and it became an automatic critical and box office success, grossing over US$790 million worldwide and being acclaimed by experts, who characterize it as one of the best productions of all time. Nominated for nine Oscar categories, the project brought names such as Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore and others to the cast.

In 2022, the work completes no less than 40 years of age and, to celebrate its imminent anniversary, we have prepared a brief special article separating some backstage trivia.

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  • Spielberg shot most of the film at a child’s eye level, to provide even more connections between Elliott and ET.
  • To this day, the end of the film was one of the most significant musical experiences of the composer’s career. John Williams. After several attempts to build the film’s score, Spielberg took the film off the screens and encouraged Williams to conduct the orchestra in the same way he would at a concert. He did so and Spielberg re-edited the film to match the music – something quite unexpected within the film industry. The result secured Williams the Oscar for Best Original Soundtrack in 1983.


  • At one point, Gertie looks at ET and says, “I don’t like their feet.” This line, in fact, was improvised by Barrymore and referred to the grouping of wires coming out of the puppet of the titular character. She also improvised the line “Give me a break!” after Elliott says only little kids can see ET
  • During a certain period of filming, Barrymore was consistently forgetting lines, irritating Spielberg to the point where the director yelled at her. Soon after, he discovered that she had come to the set with a high fever. Feeling guilty, he hugged her and apologized as she cried. He then sent her home with a note from the headmaster himself.
  • Much of the script was written during the filming of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, also by Spielberg, amid the pauses. The filmmaker dictated the story to Mathison, who was there with her then-boyfriend and future husband. Harrison Ford.


  • During the auditions, Thomas thought about the day his dog had died to express sadness. The audition went so well that Spielberg cried and offered him the role of Elliott right away.
  • Ford had filmed an appearance in the film as the principal of Elliott’s school, but the scene was scrapped from the final cut.
  • In June 1982, Spielberg gave a personal screening of the film at the White House, for the president. Ronald Reagan and the first lady Nancy Reagan.


  • The producers had asked for M&Ms were used to attract ET, but the company denied the request, fearing that the character’s characterization would scare children. the sweets Reese’s Pieces were used in place and, as a direct result, sales of the products escalated exponentially. Because of this, more and more companies started asking for their products to be used in movies – a common practice that had already been done with the franchise. ‘007’.
  • Spielberg worked simultaneously on ‘ET The Extraterrestrial’ and in terror ‘Poltergeist: The Phenomenon’ (which was directed by Tobe Hooper, but produced by Spielberg). Both were created to complement each other: ‘ET’ represented suburban dreams, while ‘Poltergeits’the suburban nightmares.

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