It's discouraging to make a mistake, but it's humiliating when you find out you're so unimportant that nobody noticed it.Chuck Daly
- Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Written by James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg, based on the novel by Carl Sagan.
- [Young Ellie on a ham radio following her father's death] CQ... CQ... this is W9GFO, come back? Dad, do you read me?
- Mathematics is the only true universal language.
- [On why the message does not foreshadow an alien attack] We pose no threat to them. It would be like us going out of our way to destroy a few microbes on an ant hill in Africa.
- So what's more likely? That an all-powerful, mysterious God created the Universe, and decided not to give any proof of his existence? Or, that He simply doesn't exist at all, and that we created Him, so that we wouldn't have to feel so small and alone?
- Some celestial event. No - no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should have sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea.
- I... had an experience. I can't prove it, I can't even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real. I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever. A vision of the universe, that tells us undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how... rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone.
- Ok to go... Ok to go
- You could call me a man of the cloth, without the cloth.
- Ironically the thing that people are most hungry for, meaning, is the one thing that science hasn't been able to give them.
- I'm not against technology, doctor. I'm against the men who deify it at the expense of human truth.
- The reason I didn't vote for you to go Ellie, was a good reason but it wasn't the real one. I didn't vote for you to go, because I didn't want to lose you. Now you find your way home, alright?
- What I'm asking is... are we happier? Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web, and at the same time we feel emptier, lonelier, and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history...
- As a man of faith, I am bound by a different covenant than Dr. Arroway. But our goal is one and the same: the pursuit of truth. I for one believe her.
- They still want an American to go…Wanna take a ride?
- First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price?
- I've had a long time to make enemies, doctor. So many governments, business interests, even religious leaders that would like to see me depart this Earth. I'll grant them their wish soon enough. But before I do, I wish to make a small contribution. A final gesture of good will to the people of this little planet who have given—from whom I have taken—so much.
- Jay Leno: So it turns out there's life on other planets. Boy, this is really going to change the Miss Universe contest, you know what I mean?
- David Drumlin: Ellie, still waiting for E.T. to call?
- Ted Arroway: Small moves, Ellie, small moves.
- Alien: You're an interesting species, an interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.
- Young Ellie Arroway: Dad, do you think there's people on other planets?
- Ted Arroway: I don't know, Sparks. But I guess I'd say if it is just us... seems like an awful waste of space.
- Palmer Joss: What are you studying up there?
- Ellie Arroway: Oh, the usual. Nebulae, quasars, pulsars, stuff like that. What are you writing?
- Palmer Joss: The usual. Nouns, adverbs, adjective here and there.
- Dr. Kent Clark: Dr. Arroway will be spending her precious telescope time listening for... uh... listening for...
- Ellie Arroway: Little green men.
- Ellie Arroway: Occam's razor. You ever heard of it?
- Palmer Joss: Hack-em's Razor. Sounds like some slasher movie.
- Executive: We must confess that your proposal seems less like science and more like science fiction.
- Ellie Arroway: Science fiction. You're right, it's crazy. In fact, it's even worse than that, it's nuts. You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an airplane, you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it's ridiculous, right? And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon? Atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right? Look, all I'm asking is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history... of history.
- Michael Kitz: Your having sent this announcement all over the world may well constitute a breach of national security.
- Ellie Arroway: This isn't a person-to-person call. You can't possibly think that a civilization sending this kind of message would intend it just for Americans.
- Michael Kitz: I'm saying you might have consulted us; obviously, the contents of this message could be extremely sensitive.
- Ellie Arroway: You want to classify prime numbers?
- [Ellie challenges Palmer to prove the existence of God]
- Palmer Joss: Did you love your father?
- Ellie Arroway: What?
- Palmer Joss: Your dad. Did you love him?
- Ellie Arroway: Yes, very much.
- Palmer Joss: Prove it.
- Palmer Joss: By doing this, you're willing to give your life, you're willing to die for it. Why?
- Ellie Arroway: For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for something, some reason why we're here. What are we doing here? Who are we? If this is a chance to find out even just a little part of that answer... I don't know, I think it's worth a human life. Don't you?
- Ellie Arroway: Why did you do it?
- Palmer Joss: Our job was to select someone to speak for everybody. And I just couldn't in good conscience vote for a person who doesn't believe in God. Someone who honestly thinks the other ninety five percent of us suffer from some form of mass delusion.
- Ellie Arroway: I told the truth up there. And Drumlin told you exactly what you wanted to hear.
- David Drumlin: I know you must think this is all very unfair. Maybe that's an understatement. What you don't know is I agree. I wish the world was a place where fair was the bottom line, where the kind of idealism you showed at the hearing was rewarded, not taken advantage of. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world.
- Ellie Arroway: Funny, I've always believed that the world is what we make of it.
- Rachel Constantine: I assume you read the confidential findings report from the investigating committee.
- Michael Kitz: I flipped through it.
- Rachel Constantine: I was especially interested in the section on Arroway's video unit. The one that recorded the static?
- Michael Kitz: Continue.
- Rachel Constantine: The fact that it recorded static isn't what interests me.
- Michael Kitz: [pauses] Continue...
- Rachel Constantine: What interests me is that it recorded approximately eighteen hours of it.
- Michael Kitz: That is interesting, isn't it?
- Rachel Constantine: [about Adolf Hitler] Twenty million people died defeating that son of a bitch, and he's our first ambassador to outer space?
- Ellie Arroway: Actually the Hitler broadcast from the...
- David Drumlin: [interrupting] '36 olympics was the first television transmission of any power that went in to space. That they recorded it, and sent it back, is simply a way of saying "hello, we heard you."
- Michael Kitz: Or, "Sieg Heil, you're our kind of people."
- [asked what her one question to an alien race would be]
- Ellie Arroway: How did you do it? How did you evolve, how did you survive this technological adolescence without destroying yourself?
- [Ellie Arroway sees a suspicious man inside the walkway leading to the transport machine, then turns a security camera with a joystick so it faces him.]
- Ellie Arroway: We've got a security problem here!
- Security official: Are you sure?
- Ellie Arroway: Yeah. That man? [points to suspicious man on-screen] I know him! He's not supposed to be there!
- [Ellie Arroway puts on a headset with a microphone attached to it.]
- Ellie Arroway: [speaking to a technician] Get me Drumlin on a secure loop please.
- Ellie Arroway: [speaking to David Drumlin] David, can you hear me?
- David Drumlin: Yeah, I hear.
- Ellie Arroway: We have a security breach.
- Senator: You come to us with no evidence, no record, no artifacts. Only a story that, to put it mildly, strains credibility... Are you really going to sit there and tell us that we should just take this all on faith?
- Ellie Arroway: Is it possible that it didn't happen? Yes. . . . As a scientist I must concede that. I must volunteer that.
- Kitz: Then why don't you simply withdraw your testimony and admit that this journey to the center of the galaxy, in fact, never took place?
- Arroway: Because I can't. I had an experience. I can't prove it. I can't just explain it. But everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real. I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever: a vision of the universe that tells us undeniably how tiny and insignificant and how rare and precious we all are. A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are not - that none of us is alone. I wish I could share that emotion, that everyone, if even for one moment, could feel that awe and humility and that hope that I felt, but... that continues to be my wish.
- A message from deep space. Who will be the first to go? A journey to the heart of the universe.
- If it's just us, it seems like an awful waste of space.
- Get ready for humans' biggest discovery ever!
- Jodie Foster - Eleanor Arroway
- Matthew McConaughey - Palmer Joss
- John Hurt - S.R. Hadden
- Tom Skerritt - David Drumlin
- Jena Malone - Young Ellie
- David Morse - Ted Arroway
- William Fichtner - Kent
- James Woods - Michael Kitz
- Angela Bassett - Rachel Constantine
- Rob Lowe - Richard Rank