In 1982, director Steven Spielberg solidified his reputation as a blockbuster filmmaker with the release of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. Two decades later, Spielberg revisited his film and made some digital adjustments to the story about a visitor from another world, and a boy named Eliot (Henry Thomas) who befriended him. While many of the edits were made to preserve the illusion of E.T. himself, the most infamous changes were the removal of the guns being held by the federal agents during E.T. and Eliot’s famous bike escape scene. Instead of guns, the edits placed walkie-talkies in the agents’ hands.
Although Spielberg has voiced his regrets about the changes before, he revisited the subject during his master class for the Time 100 Summit. And Spielberg spoke at length about why he believes that it was mistake to go back and edit the film in 2002.
“That was a mistake,” said Spielberg via Variety. “I never should have done that. E.T. is a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily, or being forced to peer through.”
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“E.T. was a film that I was sensitive to the fact that the federal agents were approaching kids with firearms exposed and I thought I would change the guns into walkie talkies,” added Spielberg. “Years went by and I changed my own views. I should have never messed with the archives of my own work, and I don’t recommend anyone do that.”
All our movies are a kind of a signpost of where we were when we made them, what the world was like and what the world was receiving when we got those stories out there,” continued Spielberg. “So I really regret having that out there.”
How do you feel about the edits that removed the guns from E.T.? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The Classic Illustrated Storybook
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