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Happy Birthday E.T

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When stranded alien ET leaves Earth at the end of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster, the child actors’ tears are as real as those shed by the film’s millions of enchanted viewers. Spielberg took the decision to shoot the film in sequence in order to get a genuine emotional response from them and he also used real doctors in ET’s death scene as he thought they would look more convincing than actors.

As well as fascinating trivia like this, this documentary marking ET’s 30th anniversary includes an interview with Henry Thomas (who played Elliott), who reveals that at his audition, he made everyone cry. The film itself precedes this documentary.


More than 30 years ago, ET: the Extra-Terrestrial broke box-office records and has captivated audiences ever since. This documentary provides an insight into the making of Steven Spielberg's classic fantasy film, revealing how Matthew De Meritt, who was born without legs, played the alien in some scenes, and why real doctors were brought in, instead of actors, to film the moment where ET is seen dying. Henry Thomas, who starred as lonely boy Elliott, revisits the suburban Californian house where much of the movie was made, and there are also contributions from Dee Wallace and Robert MacNaughton.

Cast & Crew

Contributor Henry Thomas
Contributor Robert MacNaughton
Contributor Dee Wallace
Director John Piper
Executive Producer Mark Robinson
Producer John Piper
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Documentary Arts

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