Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1976) was a mind-blowing science-fiction back in the 70s. The movie was a trail-blazer for its superb special effect, with director Stephen Spielberg who cut his teeth in “Jaws” four years earlier.
It was a long-time pet project for Spielberg after he had cut a deal with Columbia Pictures in 1973 to explicitly develop a script for a brand new sci-fi film.
Dubbed by noted science fiction writer Ray Bradbury as the greatest science fiction movie ever made, it starred Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary, a blue-collar worker in Indiana whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind was the second collaboration between Steven Spielberg and John Williams, a collaboration that began with Jaws (1975), and later again with Jurassic Park (1993).
John Williams’s prolific fingerprints are all over the movie and very noticeable, as the film deals with the fear of being abducted by aliens, but also the wonder of interacting with a new and superior species, the music accompanying both varieties of scenes exudes these emotions perfectly.
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you likely know the music. It’s just a few notes, but it’s part of humanity’s effort to communicate with an alien species.
We all get to learn that while light-years and galaxies may separate humble humankind and extraterrestrial life, the universal language of music can transcend such differences.
With major pieces of the history of music and our culture in the west brought about by film and film music; John Williams and Stephen Spielberg have truly contributed to that history.