Movie where a man builds a dirt mountain in his house and contacts a spacecraft that plays musical notes.

  • 15
    This is Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
    – DavidW
    Jun 10, 2023 at 2:05
  • 4
    dirt? dirt? mashed potatos!! - this is iconic - youtube.com/watch?v=cdkS0TgEG30
    – davidbak
    Jun 10, 2023 at 2:48
  • 2
    @davidbak Oh, he fumbled with mashed potatoes and other mediums, but eventually he went hardcore and did an amazing mock-up of dirt (and other materials) that filled his living room.
    – Blaze
    Jun 10, 2023 at 3:15
  • 4
    Heavy sigh... reminds me of "Movie about a boy, two men, a robot and a war." Jun 10, 2023 at 16:21
  • 3
    @JK. - relevant xkcd
    – fez
    Jun 11, 2023 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


Since I didn't find a question for this to be duplicate of, I'm going to post this as an answer. The movie you're looking for is the Spielberg classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

Quoting parts of the plot summary on Wikipedia:

At a rural home outside Muncie, Indiana, three-year-old Barry Guiler wakes to find his toys operating on their own. He starts to follow something outside, forcing his mother, Jillian, to chase after him. Large-scale power outages begin rolling through the area, forcing electrician Roy Neary to investigate. While he gets his bearings, Roy experiences a close encounter with a UFO, and when it flies over his truck, it lightly burns the side of his face with its lights. The UFO takes off with three others in the sky, as Roy and three police cars give chase. The spacecraft fly off into the night sky but the metaphysical experience leaves Roy mesmerized. He becomes fascinated by UFOs to the dismay of his wife, Ronnie. He obsesses over subliminal images of a mountain shape, often making models of it. Jillian meanwhile also becomes obsessed, sketching the unique mountain image. Soon after, she is terrorized in her home by a UFO which descends from the clouds. She fights off violent attempts by the UFO and unseen beings to enter the home, but in the chaos, Barry is abducted.

Lacombe, Laughlin, and a group of United Nations experts continue to investigate increasing UFO activity and strange, related occurrences. Witnesses in Dharamsala, Northern India report that the UFOs make distinctive sounds: a five-tone musical phrase in a pentatonic scale. Scientists broadcast the phrase to outer space, but are mystified by the response. This is a seemingly meaningless series of numbers (104 44 30 40 36 10) repeated until Laughlin, with his background in cartography, recognizes it as a set of geographical coordinates, which point to Devils Tower near Moorcroft, Wyoming. Lacombe and the U.S. military converge on Wyoming. The United States Army evacuates the area, planting false reports in the media that a train wreck has spilled a toxic nerve gas, while actually preparing a secret landing zone for the UFOs and their occupants.

  • 1
    I'm amazed no-one has asked this before, bit then it is a very well known movie and quite easily searchable.
    – bob1
    Jun 10, 2023 at 22:28
  • 7
    @bob1 That is completely true. It was also 45 years ago, so there are a lot of people who may never have seen it.
    – DavidW
    Jun 10, 2023 at 22:55
  • The amazing part about this sequence is that it's meant to look like they're playing some kind of synthesizer, but the synthesizers available in the 70's weren't up to the task, so they just used regular old acoustic instruments, I believe an oboe and a tuba? Jun 12, 2023 at 13:53
  • @DavidW "It was also 45 years ago, so there are a lot of people who may never have seen it" I work with people - grown adults! - who have never seen or even heard of "The Blues Brothers" or "Gremlins". They call themselves "adults" but they simply haven't lived.
    – Spratty
    Jun 12, 2023 at 13:56

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