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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: The 20th Anniversary Edition
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2004
The finale to this piece is so emotionally charged and moving, I cannot recall another movie soundtrack fitting so completely congruently, especially with the final events of the movie itself. What is that magical, secret ingredient that Williams captures so well within the main E.T. theme, that leaves such an indelible impression? A truly magnificent, timeless and powerfully moving composition - in an instant reminding the listener of the desperately sad and tear-jerking farewell scene as our beloved alien leaves to return home.

Gosh, cinematic goodbyes have never been so powerful, before or since. Williams was born to write for the screen.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2002
John Williams has created literally dozens of great movie scores in his time, but few have been as emotionally amazing as the one he composed for Steven Spielberg's 1982 sci-fi/fantasy masterpiece E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL. The score has been expanded for the film's twentieth anniversary release this year, and the results do not fail to satisfy.
This compact disc release contains excerpts (such as the witty "Frogs" cue) that had not been available on previous CD or LP versions of the soundtrack. The same familiar cues that accompany E.T. and Elliott's flight across the face of the Moon, the climactic bike ride, and E.T.'s farewell all remain, only now they have been remastered for maximum audio and emotional impact.
Even if you've had old LP or CD recordings of the score, this new version, which now probably stands as the official COMPLETE version, as did the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS score, is worth getting for your collection. It is Williams, the greatest living composer of film music today, at his very frequent best. Grab it!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Besides being the film that Walt Disney would've made had he been alive, "E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial" is one of those genuine "great" films that works on all levels. Without one of its strengths lies in the superb scoring of John Williams. He has fashioned music that is endearing, lush, thrilling, illuminating, frightening, and heavenly.
It is the end where the score really gets emotional. The final medley ("Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye) is a triumph of Williams' genius. As the ship closes, taking the little alien back to his world as the boy looks on, Williams delivers an emotional punch that literally "knocks" the listener on his/her feet. The familiar "E.T. Theme" is played again, but this time the skies open and all who listen feel the bond so shared by Elliott and the little creature.
Like I said, when I heard this in the theater, I jumped up and applauded, like everyone else this little tale so wondrously told in sight and sound.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2002
E.T. is a rare gem. And one of John Williams best masterpieces. This new edition of the sountrack is really good. The only thing I miss from the new one that was on the old one is a track called "Flying".(I don't own the old one, but my parents owned a cassette of it and I use to listen to it) But other than that this one is really good. And it has some new music that was left out of the old release.
The best tracks on this album are Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye, Far From Home/E.T. alone, E.T.'s Powers, The Magic of Halloween, and End Credits. Of course, all of the music is great. But that's some of the best parts of the score. Especially Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye. This is such a great cue, and if you don't know. Williams couldn't pull this cue off to fit the movie so Spielberg cut the movie to fit the music. Good job Steven. And good job Williams!
This is a must have for any soundtrack fan.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Whether you love or hate John Williams, you have to admit that he is probably the most successful film composer in movie history. I cannot recall any movie scores before the Williams era (beginning in 1975 with JAWS), that became infused in the popular paradigm. For instance, every time somebody talks about sharks, the theme from JAWS is bound to be playing in people's minds.
One of Williams all time best movie scores is this soundtrack from E.T. Unlike some of Williams work that is more memorable than the films they were written for, the music for E.T. is an integral part of the film. The movie and the music cannot be separated and if they were, both would lose something. One can't help but remembering scenes from the film when listening to the sounds here or at least be taken back to a time of youth and innocence in one's own life.
I love the music of John Williams and this is one of my favorite Williams albums. It's great to listen to on an evening with a full moon in the fall.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2009
When I first saw E.T. I hid in the crook of my aunt's elbow for the first 15 minutes and John Williams was a large part of it. The terror that was instilled in my little 5 year old heart was beyond my rationale as these faceless men chased E.T. with a cacophonous orchestra cranking up the intensity along with the chase. It wasn't until the much later VHS release that I could recall what happened in that scene visually, because I had my eyes closed. But I couldn't close my ears and the music said everything; "You are supposed to be scared. You should be running." Oh how I wanted to run.

Nowadays, being much older and much braver, E.T. is among my 10 favorite movies of all time and the score is in my top 5. John Williams gives us a score that swells with emotion to the bursting point. The whimsy (particularly with the nod to John's earlier work in Empire Strikes Back), the literally soaring beauty of the Flying Theme, and the 20th Century tension that follows the government as they try to track down our little hero.

The highlight of the score is the 15 minute plus "Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye". I firmly believe that it's a gutsy move for a composer to introduce a new major theme in the last 15 minutes and expect the listener to respond to it, but it works. The 11 note motif is my favorite theme and it's what drives us from the children's escape with E.T. to the end of the movie. Every time I listen to it, I stop what I'm doing and devote myself fully to the music. If I'm particularly invested, when the goodbyes are all said and done and E.T. stands nobely at the entrance of his spacecraft, the ramp raising up, the iris door closing in on his fully restored beating heartlight, I have been known to get more than just a bit misty eyed.

Everyone should own this soundtrack. Even if you've never seen the movie, or have and didn't like it for some heartless reason, the music is inspirational, exciting, terrifying and downright fun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2007
27 years ago right after I saw this film in 1982, I went out and bought the original motion picture soundtrack; MCA-6109. Since then, it has been my preferred musical experience for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Yes, in the ensuing years that followed, I purchased both of the expanded scores because I am a fan of John Williams. I feel that this oscar winning score is his best work and I wanted to get as much music from the film as possible no matter what it was. While I enjoyed each of the expanded scores, MCA-6109 remains the best E.T. experience for fans in my humble opinion. Even though it is only 40 minutes in length, it has just the right mix of material to give you the feel of the film as a whole and it is really all that you need; unless you are a die-hard fan like myself. In fact, I listen to MCA-6109 more than the other expanded releases.
My reasons for placing the original release over the others is that I feel that the concert pieces John scored for this album are arranged better. Yes it is a different feel but for me they are glorious. Not to take away from what appeared in the actual film of course but thematically the original album is a better listening experience. The lengthy expanded versions while great I think are a bit slow going and too repetitive in some material and in at least one instance, there is a spot in a track that did not appear in the film version. I am speaking of the escape and goodbye sequence at the end of the film. On the original MCA-6109, you are getting a complete presentation of that sequence. The track is called, "Adventure On Earth". On the expanded versions during the goodbye cue, they have placed an alternate cue there that was not in the film. Compare the DVD version with the expanded version, and you'll hear the difference. In the film version, it works. In the expanded, it just doesn't. I was very disappointed with that because that cue is probably the most touching cue in the film. Why they did not give us the actual cue as heard in the film is beyond my comprehension! The cue however is intact on the original MCA-6109. That is a pretty big reason for me to prefer it over the expanded but overall the entire original album is a must! It sums up thematically the entire film in 40 minutes and is wonderful. The track list:

1. Three Million Light Years From Home
2. Abandoned And Pursued
3. E.T. And Me
4. E.T.'s Halloween
5. Flying
6. E.T. Phone Home
7. Over The Moon
8. Adventure On Earth

For me, there isn't a poor track on this at all. For all of you out there, I recommend that you pick this up simply to augment your experience; even if you already own one of the expanded versions this is more than worth it and you will get the original goodbye cue that was composed for the film. I had read that really nobody gave a review for MCA-6109 so I thought it was about time for one. Hopefully this was enough information for you. If not, simply leave a comment and ask a question and I will be happy to answer it to the best of my ability. :)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 1998
Some of John Williams' best work, including the fabulous "Losing E.T." which Spielberg apparently edited around Williams' music!
This second release, however, is not as "concertized" as the initial and, as a CD, tends to ramble a bit more. It is even missing one of the best tracks from the original, "E.T. and Me;" I often wish I had my original LP with me just so I could go back and hear it again.
Still, it is beautiful music and well worth its place in anyone's soundtrack collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 1999
The first time I listened to this CD all the way through, I cried-- and kept on getting chills down my back! This score completely tells the entire narrative of the film. I believe this has some of Williams' most finest suites ever recorded. He plays with different themes throughout the entire album, and only in the last song does the listener understand what he was working to achieve during the socre. The entire score works up to the last song, and when you have listened to the soundtrack, not only do you feel exhilerated, but you feel hopeful. A truly uplifting score!! John Williams fans must have a few certain scores, the S.W. Trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman and of course. . . E.T. This is a much better expanded CD than the other E.T. that is out. But I do suggest buying both, the original if not only for it's sweeping piano rendition of "Over the Moon"-- simply my most favorite piece in E.T., and definately one of my favorite Williams!
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2004
It's hard to argue against those who would lobby to hear every film cue that John Williams has ever written, as each is a masterwork -- be it a miniature gem or a lengthy, multi-thematic suite -- which deserves to be appreciated. It's also hard to believe that a fair-to-middling jazz pianist who cut a couple of very forgettable recordings for EmArcy during the late 1950s under his full name of "John Towner Williams" would one day come to be regarded as the greatest film composer of the latter half of the 20th century (and my personal favorite of them all), churning out memorable themes like a gumball machine over a ten year period, while lesser composers would starve themselves for just one such idea during a lifetime.
What is also hard to argue is the fact that soundtracks serve, in the end, the very utilitarian purpose of augmenting the images on the screen (although in the case of Williams' efforts, "augment" is too mild a word for what takes place in the souls of theatergoers upon having his music wash over them). For this reason, in the days of the 12" vinyl LP (which by the early 1980s held at best about 55 minutes) the composer selected those movements of his score which most represented the entire film thematically, and re-recorded them in suite form so as to make a more "listenable" overall package.
On the one hand, some may say that this was a cold commercial calculation which cherry-picked from an abundance of worthy material and shoe-horned what would fit into an allotted space. I would say that since John Williams himself wrote, arranged, conducted, and chose what material would appear on the LP, this is a farcical argument -- but I won't deny that it exists among purists who wish to hear the actual cues used IN the movie AS used in the movie. (I got my first distaste for this practice upon hearing the Cantina Band song on the expanded "Star Wars" reissue just END -- whereas on the original double-LP it faded out nicely.)
On the other hand is my opinion that MCA 6109 (the label and catalog # of the original 1982 LP) is, on the whole, a more coherent, more pleasurable, and more deeply emotional experience than any of the subsequent CD reissues available, including the widely-expanded release in question here. Granted, not even the new SACD mastering can match the majestic full-frequency output of vinyl ("E.T" was, after all, digitally recorded and mixed from the beginning, yet is still only overpowering on LP), and I am also coming at the subject as an 8-year-old boy who played his record countless times until it simply wore away. So, sprinkle the prejudices of childhood sentiment and the sensibilities of a modern audiophile into what I'm saying here.
Despite those biases, however, and despite my satisfaction in knowing that John Williams' full original recordings are now being made available on expanded CD reissues to document his greatest achievements in their entirety, I cannot bring myself to prefer them over the original vinyl issues. Perhaps it has something to do with the "concert arrangements" on LP which sound more like the progression of a musical work rather than the lumping of a bunch of unrelated cues together in the approximate order of the film's chronology of scenes. Or maybe it is the nagging suspicion that Mr. Williams' selections for re-recording and inclusion on the LPs were as carefully chosen as were his themes, and that the 45 minutes or so on the album really does encapsulate the music and the movie so beautifully that further cues are neither needed nor yearned for. And as for re-recorded "concert arrangements," is there anyone who really believes that the world-class musicians who performed Williams' scores couldn't play them EXACTLY the same way 50 times in a row, if they wanted to? Aside from the smoother integration of cues on the re-recordings, there is scarcely any discernable difference between them and the actual film cues. If anything, the re-recorded suites may well be more powerful, being un-beholden to the ever-changing series of images on the screen to which the tempos and dynamics must conform.
Of course, if you're a John Williams archivist then this expanded issue (along with those from his other Lucas/Spielberg associations) are indispensable, and probably every Williams fan should at least hear the vault material once. But when it comes right down to it, I still find myself spinning MCA 6109 (a new copy, not the beat one!) more often than I do this CD. Although it lacks almost 30 minutes of music that are present on the CD, to me the LP recording sounds more "complete" by virtue of its arrangement. Maybe that arrangement is all in my 8-year-old mind and won't let go, but seeing as how the same sentiment is reflected in other reviews, I don't know...maybe less really IS more.
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