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“The Emotional Resonance of John Williams’ Iconic E.T. Soundtrack”

The Emotional Resonance of the E.T. Soundtrack


It has been nearly four decades since the release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and yet its impact on our emotions has not diminished in the slightest. One aspect of the movie that contributes to its emotional resonance is the iconic soundtrack. Composed by John Williams, the E.T. soundtrack emotional impact is undeniable and unforgettable. In this article, we take a closer look at the music of E.T. and the role it plays in our emotional connection to the film.

Background on John Williams

John Williams is one of the most renowned and successful film composers in history, with numerous awards and accolades to his name. Among his many notable works is the score for E.T., which he composed in 1982. Williams has a gift for creating music that perfectly complements the images and emotions on screen, and the E.T. soundtrack is a prime example of this talent.

The Power of the E.T. Soundtrack

The emotional impact of the E.T. soundtrack begins with the opening notes of “Three Million Light Years From Home,” the first track on the album. The gentle, mysterious melody sets the tone for the movie and creates a sense of wonder and awe. The music is soulful and poignant, with soaring strings and haunting woodwinds.

As the movie progresses, the music continues to enhance the emotional impact of the story. For example, in the scene where E.T. and Elliott fly on their bikes, the music swells with the thrill of adventure and the joy of friendship.

Perhaps the most famous piece of music from the soundtrack is “The Flying Theme.” In this iconic scene, E.T. and Elliott soar into the sky on their bikes, and the music captures the exhilaration and magic of the moment. The melody is uplifting and joyful, with a sense of wonder and possibility. It’s impossible to hear this music and not feel a surge of emotion.

Another standout track on the soundtrack is “Escape/Chase/Saying Goodbye,” which plays during the climactic chase scene and the heartbreaking goodbye between E.T. and Elliott. The music perfectly captures the tension and excitement of the chase, as well as the sadness and loss of the farewell. The strings are particularly effective here, conveying a sense of longing and sorrow.

The Legacy of the E.T. Soundtrack

The E.T. soundtrack emotional impact has had a lasting effect on popular culture. The music has been used in countless other movies and TV shows, as well as in commercials and parodies. The “Flying Theme” in particular has become synonymous with adventure and excitement. Even people who have never seen the movie can recognize the music and its emotional power.

Moreover, the legacy of the E.T. soundtrack extends beyond its use in media. The music has inspired countless musicians and composers, who have sought to capture the same sense of wonder and emotion in their own works. The influence of John Williams and the E.T. soundtrack can be heard in everything from orchestral pieces to video game music.


In conclusion, the E.T. soundtrack emotional impact is a testament to the power of music in film. John Williams’ beautiful and moving score enhances every moment of the movie, creating a deep emotional connection between the audience and the story. Even after all these years, the music remains a beloved and iconic part of popular culture. So, the next time you hear the “Flying Theme” or any other piece from the E.T. soundtrack, take a moment to appreciate its incredible emotional resonance.