E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (or simply E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison. The film tells the story of Elliott, a boy who befriends an extraterrestrial dubbed E.T., who is stranded on Earth. Along with his friends and family, Elliott must find a way to help E.T. return home while avoiding the government. The film stars Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, and Drew Barrymore.
The film's concept was based on an imaginary friend that Spielberg created after his parents' divorce. In 1980, Spielberg met Mathison and developed a new story from the unrealized project Night Skies. In less than two months, Mathison wrote the first draft of the script, titled E.T. and Me, which went through two rewrites. The project was rejected by Columbia Pictures, who doubted its commercial potential. Universal Pictures eventually purchased the script for $1 million. Filming took place from September to December 1981 on a budget of $10.5 million. Unlike most films, E.T. was shot in rough chronological order to facilitate convincing emotional performances from the young cast. The animatronics for the film were designed by Carlo Rambaldi.
E.T. premiered as the closing film of the Cannes Film Festival on May 26, 1982, and was released in the United States on June 11, 1982. The film was an immediate blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars to become the highest-grossing film of all time, a record it held for eleven years until Spielberg's own Jurassic Park surpassed it in 1993. E.T. was widely acclaimed by critics, and is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. It received nine nominations at the 55th Academy Awards, winning Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Editing, and also won five Saturn Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. The film was re-released in 1985 and again in 2002 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with altered shots, visual effects and additional scenes. In 1994, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, who deemed it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."