9 Children’s Films That Broke The Mould

E.T: The Extraterrestrial (1982)


When Steven Spielberg released his film about a lonely young boy befriending an alien stranded on Earth, he could little have known the size of the cultural impact that creative endeavour was about to make. With an Academy Award nominated script by Melissa Mathison, and an extraordinary cast led by Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, the film broke new ground simply by being a film for children largely filmed from a child’s perspective. Keeping his shots low to the ground for most of the scenes, Spielberg created a visual narrative that generated an instant emotional connection to the characters and action – and the result was extraordinary.

Aside from being a deeply satisfying viewing experience for all concerned, E.T. surpassed Star Wars in box office terms to become the highest-grossing film of all time – a title it held for ten years, making it also the highest-grossing film of the 1980s. Such was its appeal and popularity, E.T: The Extra-terrestrial was also the first major film to be affected by video piracy, after some viewers – frustrated at delays in distribution – allegedly bribed a projectionist and created an illegal duplicate of it. Its iconic status in film history has led to the release of special anniversary editions and re-mastered versions that have again proved highly profitable, and re-invigorated interest in the friendly alien to such an extent that members of his species were included as background characters in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.