Film Lists

Close Encounters of the Nice Kind: friendly ET’s in movies

Tony Black, as Close Encounters returns to our screens, looks at the friendlier ET's in movies...

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)

In one of the earliest, classic 1950’s B-pictures which evolved out of the darkness of the Second World War, and the growing craze of flying saucers in popular culture, The Day the Earth Stood Still saw the arrival of Klaatu, an alien who looks suspiciously human, who lands in Washington DC in his ship with his tall, alien robot Gort, and imparts a crucial message to humanity: if you carry on as you have done, with global conflict and the threat of atomic war, you are doomed to destruction. Like many 50’s sci-fi movies, a strong anti-Cold War message ran at the heart of Robert Wise’s seminal film, and many have drawn significant parallels between Klaatu and one Mr Jesus Christ subsequently. Intentional? Well he uses the pseudonym ‘John Carpenter’. Go figure.

Remade incidentally in 2008 with Keanu Reeves as Klaatu. It was unsurprisingly a critical flop, even if frankly Keanu sometimes makes a more convincing alien than he does human.

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