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Close Encounters of the Third Kind$
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Jon Towlson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325079

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325079.001.0001

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Close Encounters: Cultural Impact

Close Encounters: Cultural Impact

(p.125) 4. Close Encounters: Cultural Impact
Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Jon Towlson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter reflects on the cultural impact of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). During the filming of Close Encounters, a rumour spread that the film was being secretly sponsored by an American government agency as part of its acclimation programme to ready humankind for imminent first contact with extraterrestrials. In some ways, there is a sense — conspiracy theories aside — that Spielberg may have achieved something along those lines. As such, the cosmic outlook of Close Encounters has influenced not only subsequent science-fiction films but also the continuing fascination with extraterrestrial life and a whole UFO subculture. Even if the film itself is all but forgotten in certain quarters, its impact can still be felt keenly on popular culture and in the SETI/ufology community at large.

Keywords:   Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, conspiracy theories, science-fiction films, extraterrestrial life, UFO subculture, popular culture, ufology

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