E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Movie review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 7+

Spielberg's family classic is still one of the best.

PG 1982 115 minutes

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 78 reviews

Kids say

age 8+

Based on 186 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 2+

No swearing

age 6+

One of the All Time Bests

This is one of the most classic films your kids can watch, with themes dealing with love, space, family, friends and a bit of seeming magic. It is a very simple story about an alien (E.T.) who gets left on earth and wants to go home. To do so E.T. befriends a young boy and his siblings, who help contact and return E.T. to the ship. The story is fantastical in many ways, easily capturing kids imaginations about what an alien might be like, but also what its like to deal with a big situation without mom or dad. I'm not a stickler for swearing so I honestly didn't notice this. Of concern for me is whether it will give my children (4 & 7) nightmares or make them behave in ways that hurt others--it did not. Instead, they fell in love with the lovable E.T. who sees the world hilariously anew while also performing a few alien like abilities. Perhaps the only questionable scene for me is when E.T. finds beer in the fridge and mistakenly gets drunk, smashing into a few things. It is a funny scene but one that may require some explaining (but a good opportunity to learn). Another scary scene is when the authorities come to get E.T. and he becomes ill, dying because he is without his family. But the boy's love brings him back. I would question waiting until kids are 10 or 15 as some suggested. This film is full of movie magic that can capture the minds of young watchers in ways cartoons can never do, and is sure to be a memorable experience for them. Moreover, waiting until later years is sure to see the humor and more touching scenes fall flat. I suspect by that age they'll have seen enough that this will not be at all awe-inspiring. Of note, this was the closing film at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, where it made its premiere. It surpassed Star Wars as the highest grossing film of all time and was nominated for 9 academy awards, winning 4. It is without a doubt a timeless classic.

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