Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind movie poster.

Movie (1977)

Richard Dreyfus (Roy Neary)
François Truffaut (Claude Lacombe)
Teri Garr (Ronnie Neary)
Melinda Dillon (Jillian Guiler)
Bob Balaban (David Laughlin)
J. Patrick McNamara (Project Leader)

French scientist Claude Lacombe and a team of government experts finds the infamous Flight 19 in the middle of the Mexican desert. They're unable to account for how they got there. Lacombe suspects something big is on the horizon. In the US, single mother Jillian Guiler suffers her worst nightmare when her young son is taken in the night by an unseen force. At the same time, telephone line repairman Roy Neary, investigating a series of strange power outages, has a close encounter with what appears to be an alien spacecraft. All three people - Lacombe, Jollian and Roy - don't realize it yet, but their destines are intertwined, and they, and others, find themselves inexplicably drawn to Devil's Tower.

Grumman TBF-3 Avenger

Lacombe's team find these World War II era airplanes in the Mexican desert. A Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber. Supposedly the infamous Flight 19, reported missing in 1945.


Bell 206B JetRanger III

Seen several times in the film in use by the US Army, notably in a sequence set in Mongolia which was only included in the director's cut. Army JetRangers are seen at Devil's Tower in Wyoming in all versions of the film, however.

Registration N2774L, later N230CA (also seen in other movies at IMPDb: Frequently Seen Aircraft).

Bell 214

Used by the US Army at Devil's Tower. One is used to transport trespassers away from the mountain. Several pursue Roy, Jillian and Larry after they escape.

Notice the unusually large exhaust distinguishing it as a 214 variant.


  • Although the film depicts the return of the five missing Grumman TBF-3's and their fourteen pilots, no mention is ever made of the PBM-5 Mariner and its thirteen-person crew which in real life also disappeared whilst searching for the Grummans.

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