Thirty Facts for Thirty Years

In honor of the 30th Anniversary Edition of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, I wanted to share with you thirty fun facts about the film. Be sure to check out my full review over on the Eighty MPH Mom website.

  1. E.T.’s face was modeled after Albert Einstein (inventor), Earnest Hemingway (author), Carl Sandburg (poet), and the pug breed of canine.
  2. The guns were removed in the 2002 version of the film and replaced with walkie talkies. This was a change that Spielberg grew to regret.
  3. E.T. was originally penned as a horror movie with a working title of Night Skies.
  4. Spielberg held a personal screening of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for, then president, Ronald Reagan.
  5. The majority of the film was shot from a child’s eye level.
  6. Elliot’s last name is never mentioned in the movie.
  7. With the exception of Elliot’s mom (played by Dee Wallace), no adults are pictured until more than half way through the film.
  8. Spielberg has never clarified whether E.T. was male or female.
  9. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is the 4th highest grossing movie of all time.
  10. Spielberg produced E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Poltergeist simultaneously stating that E.T. represented suburban dreams and the Poltergeist, suburban nightmares.
  11. M&Ms were the original candy of choice for the movie but after being denied use from the Mars Company, Reece’s Pieces were used instead. This helped launch product placement in films.
  12. All of the doctors and nurses in the movie were actual emergency room staff, including Spielberg’s physician. Doing this made the scenes more real.
  13. Drew Barrymore’s tears during E.T.’s resuscitation were real because she thought the doctors were hurting him with the paddles.
  14. In his audition, Henry Thomas thought about the day that his dog died in order to express sadness. Spielberg cried and hired Thomas on the spot.
  15. Spielberg is Drew Barrymore’s godfather and credits her for preparing him for parenthood.
  16. When filming the scene where Barrymore’s character disguised E.T. as a woman, Spielberg did the same on set dressing himself as a grandmother for the day.
  17. E.T. was given glass eyes for a more realistic look.
  18. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was Spielberg’s response to a, then, “stalled space program.”
  19. The little girl that Elliot kisses in the film grew up and became a Baywatch babe.
  20. E.T. only drinks beer.
  21. Steven Spielberg plays a cameo role as one of the doctors.
  22. Gertie’s line “I don’t like his feet” was not written into the script but, rather, just something that Barrymore said and Spielberg decided to keep.
  23. Harrison Ford played the principal of Elliot’s school but his scenes were later cut from the film.
  24. The entire movie was shot in sequence so that the director could get an honest reaction from Elliot when E.T. finally left for home.
  25. The song request at the beginning of the film was for Papa Oom Mow Mow by The Beach Boys.
  26. The movie received a standing ovation when entered in the Cannes Film Festival as an unofficial entry – it drew a greater response than any of the official entries.
  27. During the Halloween scene, E.T. walks past Yoda and we can hear a of composer John Williams’ Yoda theme song.
  28. E.T. riding in the basket of Elliot’s bike silhouetted by the moon has become the trademark image of Amblin Entertainment.
  29. Columbia passed on the film allowing it to be picked up by Universal Pictures.
  30. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was originally set to be titled “A Boy’s Life.”
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