E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (soundtrack)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Music from the Original Soundtrack
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (soundtrack).jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJune 11, 1982
RecordedMarch–April 1982
StudioMGM Scoring Stage
John Williams chronology
Raiders of the Lost Ark
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Music from the Original Soundtrack
Return of the Jedi

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Music from the Original Soundtrack is the film score to the 1982 film of the same name composed and conducted by John Williams. The score was released by MCA Records on June 11, 1982. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. The album was remastered and reissued by La-La Land Records on September 26, 2017.


The soundtrack for the film has actually been issued numerous times. The original issue was a recording of concert arrangements based on the film's music. Later issues contain the actual soundtrack cues as heard in the film, although most cues are alternates originally recorded for the film, but replaced by new cues.

The score was recorded at the MGM Scoring Stage in Culver City, California.

On the track "The Magic of Halloween," when E.T. sees a child wearing a Yoda costume, Williams includes a reference to "Yoda's Theme", which he had composed for The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. George Lucas made the final link when he included three E.T.s as a member of the senate in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (also composed by John Williams) and thereby semiconneting the two movies.

The music[edit]

There are almost 80 minutes of music excluding alternates and album arrangements recorded just for the film. In paper the total number of full score excluding instrument parts excess well over 500 pages. The music was first written on a sketch to later be handed to orchestrator Herbert W. Spencer who pensled out the full score during the period december 1981 to January 1982.

The orchestra consist of that of a usual standard orchestra with variations, e.g. the end credits consist of 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 3 bassoons, 4 horn in f, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, percussion section, 1 harp, 1 piano and string section. Other parts of the movie required additional instruments such as celeste and organ. During the recording several of the woodwind players also play doubles between their own instrument and piccolo flute, English horn, and Eb clarinet, and contra bassoon.

Several revisions to the music were made before the final film score was ready. Some of the original versions of the music would end up on the original soundtrack album along with new recordings while others would end up on either the 1996 or 2002 releases before La La Land Records finally released the original film score including all alternate versions of the cues were presented as bonus material.

One of the known anecdotes from the recording is that John Williams had problems with timing of the music during the recording of the finale chase which made Steven Spielberg shut the projector and asked John Williams to record the music as he wanted it. Spielberg later edited the scenes around the recorded music.

Track listing[edit]

1."Three Million Light Years from Home"2:57
2."Abandoned and Pursued"2:58
3."E.T. and Me"4:49
4."E.T.'s Halloween"4:07
6."E.T. Phone Home"4:18
7."Over the Moon"2:06
8."Adventure on Earth"15:06
Total length:39:41


The score was the fourth in history to accomplish the feat of winning the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Grammy, and BAFTA. (The previous two, Star Wars and Jaws, were also composed by Williams, who remains the only person to have won all awards for the same score more than once.)[1] To date, a total of only six scores have won all four awards.[1]

Dvořák's Dumky trio[edit]

Many observers have noted that the E.T. theme music sounds extremely similar to a passage near the end of Czech composer Antonín Dvořák's Dumky trio, leading some to accuse Williams of "stealing" the music.[2] However, others have pointed out that it is not an uncommon practice for contemporary composers to borrow from classical music.[3]


  1. ^ a b Lawson 2018, p. 92.
  2. ^ Tucker, Evan (2011-11-27). "Mein Blog: How John Williams Stole the ET Theme". Mein Blog. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  3. ^ "Patterico's Pontifications » John Williams, Thief Borrower: The Proof". Retrieved 2016-07-28.