Close encounters of the Beetle kind

A classic sci-fi movie containing 2 bugs and a hidden Star Wars character




Ray Bradbury called Close Encounters Of The Third Kind the best science fiction ever made. My Dad took me to see the film during its first week of release and I was mesmerised by the visuals and it remains one of my favourite films. A recent viewing of the Director's Cut revealed 2 Beetles amongst the dazzling effects and iconic set pieces.


The first is a toy car belonging to young Barry Guiler (Cary Guffey). Barry's toys are eerily brought to life by the aliens before they eventually abduct him. The second is the Guiler's car driven to a UFO viewing spot on a mountain road by Barry's bewildered mum Jillian (Melinda Dillon). This location was constructed in a disused airforce hangar alongside the biggest indoor set in film history - the landing site for the story's final scene.


One of Barry's toys is a red beetle - animated by the alien's presence.


Jillian and Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) meet on a mountain road frequented by UFO's. An iconic location with an iconic car!


Fun facts:

Spielberg contracted Industrial Light and Magic, owned by his good friend George Lucas to produce the film's special effects. As a nod to his mate's own spectacularly successful foray into science fiction - also released in 1977, R2-D2 can be spotted clinging upside down on the alien mothership as it makes its spectacular appearance.


This is not the drone you are looking for....


Speilberg turned to his JAWS actor Richard Dreyfuss after Steve McQueen, James Caan, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, and Gene Hackman all turned the part down. (Maybe Hoffman could have done a comparable job as Dreyfuss in portraying Roy's descent into madness, but I can't imagine the others in the role!) Before Terri Garr was cast to play Roy Neary's exasperated wife Ronnie, an unknown drama student called Meryl Streep tried out for the part.