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Ideas & Info: 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' - Supplemental Cuts


This film might have a storied history of alternative cuts, but there are two additional versions that I think might make for interesting viewing and projects.

The first, and simpler version, is a cut described on the IMDb page as being screen at the American Cinematheque. It seems credible enough of a version to have existed at some point. Essentially, it is a variation of the 1980 Special Edition but with the most regrettable aspects of that version reversed. The scene of Roy tearing up his yard for his sculpture and then entering his house through the kitchen window are both retained in this version, while the footage from the inside of the Mothership is excised. Essentially, it is a precursor to the 1998 Director’s Cut with a few of the trims and audio differences included in the 1980 cut. It is also easy to assume that the cutting around the Mothership interior is handled in a similar way to the 1998 version, without the extra footage of the original 1977 release (the shot of François Truffaut after Roy enters the ship is ever so slightly longer in the 1977 cut). This comparison explains it very well:

The running time of this version would likely be close if not identical to the original 1977 cut’s 135 minutes.

The second version is actually a precursor to the above, but would likely require a lot more effort (and in some cases, conjecture). This is a desire of mine to replicate the 1977 Dallas preview version before the last few trims were made for the initial 1977 first run version. I believe this version had John Williams’ score laid over it (and I use it for some of my conjectures here). All I can say for certain about this version at this point is this:

  • About 7-8 minutes longer than the first run version’s 135 minutes.
  • A small extension to the opening scene where LaComb outlines Laughlin’s job as a translator to him.
  • A potential extra shot or two during Roy’s driving scene (based on the soundtrack; there’s a small music jump in the final version).
  • Potentially the scene at the cookout where Roy sees the mountain shape in a jello salad. This scene is much further along in the edit than many other scenes on the Blu-Ray supplements, and notably included in the “Making of Close Encounters” documentary.
  • Roy’s star gazing on the deck built on the roof of his house. This scene has music to go along with it; it might be situated in between the army trucks being deployed, supported by a hard music cut in the official versions.
  • The infamous ‘Pinocchio’ ending. This wasn’t in every version of this cut, but I think it would be a necessary inclusion to give this version its own identity.

This might be impossible to create based on if there’s any footage that would have been included in this version that hasn’t been released. What I would like to know is if there is any information on this preview cut that might be missing from my list. There has been a great deal of writing on this film, and I recognize I could be missing any number of things.

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.


I just watched the scene of Roy getting directions at the Dairy Queen again… The sound mix seems almost final. It makes sense to me that Spielberg may have wanted to pare down the driving a fair bit. What are the thoughts about this being in the Dallas preview?

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.


I don’t know much about the film in terms of what was in and what was changed.

The original working title was called “Watch the Skies” though although I kind of think that would not work changing the title of the film.

I have the 25th Anniversary Blu Ray with all the versions a nice set to be sure.


Dear Tack,

I am a new member to this forum and am fascinated with Steven Speilberg’s 1970’s masterpiece (actually virtually every movie he makes is a masterpiece).

I was wondering, would it be possible to combine all of the deleted scenes with the new 4K Blu-ray movie to create a massive [nearly] 3-hour epic.

From what I understand, there are 11 deleted scenes:
In the Desert (where Flight 19 was found)
Roy at the Power Plant (where he is assigned to go out in a truck)
Roy gets directions (from locals in the rural regions of Indiana)
Air East 31 (where the passengers have their cameras and films confiscated)
At the Police Station (where the Sheriff berates his deputies for their reports on the UFOs)
At the barbeque (where Roy stares at a plate of jello)
English lessons (where Claude Lacombe listens to his interpreter)
On the Roof (where Roy is seen looking up at the sky)
Leaving Town (where Roy is confronted by Carl Weathers)
At the Gas Station (where Roy and Jillian are spotted by a helicopter)
In the spaceship (the brilliant scene from the 1980 Special Edition)

If you do combine all of these deleted scenes, I would definately by interested in getting a copy (even paying for it via Paypal if necessary - although that would probably violate the copyright laws).

I eagerly await your reply.

Yours sincerely,
David Brown (member name: davbro02).