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E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and EthicsE.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics


E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)


Famous for...

  • Its box office success – the fourth most popular film ever  after 1st.Gone with the Wind; 2nd. Star Wars; and 3rd. The Sound of Music.
  • Not getting the best film Oscar when everybody expected it to (Gandhi won). E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics
  • Star Wars star, Drew Barrymore’s first film as the five-year-old Gertie (pictured right).



Steven Spielberg (pictuired right below) whose other great films include:E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

  • Jaws.
  • Jurassic Park.



Four (but not best film or director)E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

Schindler’s List was Spielberg’s first director Oscar and Saving Private Ryan his second.


Key characters

E.T., an alien creature - pictured right.

Elliott (Henry Thomas), his ten-year-old friend.


The story

A group of alien botanists collect vegetation samples in a Californian forest. They flee into their spaceship on seeing American government agents, but one of them (E.T.) is left behind.E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

E.T. is found by a lonely ten-year-old boy (Elliott) at home where he lives with his:

  • recently separated mother (Mary, pictured right).
  • older brother (Michael).
  • five-year-old sister (Gertie). E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

E.T. and Elliott (pictured right) share the same feelings and experiences. E.T. gets drunk and similarly Elliott burps and falls onto his classroom floor in a drunken stupor.

Elliott returns home and tells off Gertie for dressing E.T. up in girls’ clothes. After learning to speak, E.T. points his long finger to the heavens and says “E.T. home phone”.

After flying in the air on a bicycle, Elliott and E.T. arrive at the forest where E.T. tries out his hand built transmitter to contact home but fails to get a reply. They are both beginning to feel ill. Elliott falls asleep but E.T. has gone when he wakes up.

The next day Elliott persuades Michael (pictured right) to look for E.T. in the forest. Government officials E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethicshave been searching for E.T. and follow Michael who:

  • finds E.T. dying (from air pollution).
  • brings him home.
  • discovers that Elliott is also very ill.

They are both put on life support equipment, when Elliott:E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

  • loses his telepathic connection to E.T.
  • instantly recovers.

Scientists are now in the house, and the nicest of them (Keys, pictured right) tells Elliott that E.T. is dead and will be taken away in a coffin.

But Elliott’s loving farewell message resurrects E.T. who says repeatedly “E.T. phone home”. Elliott tells an overjoyed Michael who hides E.T. in Elliott’s bicycle basket.E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

They (and Michael’s friends) race off on their bicycles to the forest, where E.T. has arranged a rendezvous with his spaceship to return home. But they are chased by policemen and government officials, who trap the cyclists with an armed roadblock.

E.T. magically makes the bicycles fly (pictured right) so they can get to the spaceship. They are joined by Elliott’s mother and Keys, the scientist.

After a sad and emotional farewell, E.T. gets on the spaceship and goes home.


Lessons for love and ethics

 E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

1. We need friends

E.T. is a loving friend for the lonely Elliott who (like the film’s director, Steven Spielberg) suffered from the break-up of his parents’ marriage.

Despite their painful farewell, E.T. tells Elliott that their friendship will never die, because he will always be in his mind (saying “I’ll be right here” with a glowing fingertip, pointing to his head, pictured right).


2. Be sensitive

Before meeting E.T., Elliott insensitively mentions his father’s romantic holiday to his mother.

But E.T. makes him empathetic and understanding, and they both feel each other’s feelings.

E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics 

3. Love licks looks

E.T.’s heart of gold makes him beautiful, despite his physical ugliness.

The confectionery company, Mars, unwisely thought him so ugly and frightening that it didn’t allow M&M’s in the film (used by Elliott to lure E.T. back to his home).

Hershey’s Reece’s Pieces were used instead and its sales rose 65%!


4. Stand up for what you believe inE.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

Elliott courageously defends E.T. against:

  • capture by the government.
  • his family’s initial disbelief.
  • taunts from Michael’s friends.

 E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

5. Learning is lovely

Super-intelligent E.T. learns to:

  • speak extremely quickly.
  • build a transmitter to contact his alien world.

Elliott learns from his:E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

  • wisdom.
  • compassion.
  • the value of closely scrutinizing everything.

“How do you explain school to higher intelligence?”, Elliott asks his brother, Michael.

 E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

6. Treat people with dignity

On discovering that Gertie has been dressing up E.T. in girls’ clothes, Elliott tells her:

“You should give him his dignity”.

 E.T. , The Extra-Terrestrial - Love and Ethics

7. Protect the planet

E.T. is nearly killed by air pollution.


Key quotes on love

E.T. phone home, E.T.

I’ll believe in you all my life, every day, E.T. I love you, Elliott’s words that resurrect E.T.

I’ll be right here, E.T. (touching Elliott’s forehead).


Key quotes on ethics

Be good, E.T.'s last words to Gertie


Two film websites to recommend

1. filmsite.org (run by Tim Dirks).

2. aveleyman.com (run by Tony Sullivan)

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