"For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for 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 think it's worth a human life,
Ellie Arroway (JODIE FOSTER) has been looking for answers all of her life.
As a young girl, she would leave her bed at night to sit at her short-wave
radio, seeking other voices to answer her own. Following the death of her
father, Ellie devoted herself to science, the one thing in her life she thought
could bring her the absolute explanations she longed for.
In college, her unanswered questions drove her to look for voices from even more distant sources, and she chose the search for intelligent extraterrestrial messages as her discipline. Her ambition propelled her to the top of her class and ignited a promising career. Despite scorn from most of the scientific community and overwhelming odds to the contrary, she fought for just a few hours of satellite time a week to sweep distant space for evidence of other intelligent life. Through it all, Ellie maintained an unswerving conviction that there is something more in the universe.
Then, one morning in the desert, something arrives to vindicate Ellie's belief.
From the distant star Vega, a radio message comes to Earth and Ellie receives
it. As the countries of the world unite in an effort to decode the
transmission, the planet faces the message with equal parts hope and fear, for
contained within it are blueprints for a machine of intergalactic travel
capable of transporting its passenger to deep space. It could mean the dawning
of an astounding new era -- or certain Armageddon.
Amid the worldwide tumult, Ellie becomes a lightning rod of controversy. Fighting for her rightful place as leader of the scientific investigation, she turns to her one potential ally among those wielding influence on the world stage: Palmer Joss (MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY), a respected religious scholar and top-level government advisor. Years earlier, Ellie and Palmer had shared a brief and passionate relationship that ended because of Ellie's single-minded pursuit of her career. Now, estranged by time and their divergent beliefs, but brought together by their joint passion for understanding the message, the scientist and the spiritual leader find themselves struggling with their renewed mutual attraction.
As the world wrestles with the questions raised by the message, and humanity
warily approaches the brink of a new millennium, Ellie vies to be selected as
the single representative who will leave the Earth to explore the galaxies,
seeking the unknown extraterrestrial source -- and becoming the first person to
But her personal voyage will take her beyond theory, beyond knowledge, beyond
experience, to the realization that true vision is ultimately the union of fact
Jodie Foster, whose poignant work in "The Accused" and riveting performance in "The Silence of the Lambs" earned her two Best Actress Academy Awards, stars as the headstrong visionary astronomer in "Contact," a drama of discovery, based on the best-selling 1985 novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted astronomer CARL SAGAN and directed by Academy Award-winner ROBERT ZEMECKIS.
With such successes as the "Back to the Future" trilogy, "Who Framed Roger
Rabbit?" and "Romancing the Stone," Zemeckis has proven himself a director
whose films are embraced by critics and audiences alike. Zemeckis now returns
to directing for the first time since winning the Best Director Oscar for
"Forrest Gump," a film that was also named Best Picture and that became the
biggest box-office film of 1994.
Starring with Foster is Matthew McConaughey, who certified his position at the
forefront of exciting young actors with his commanding lead performance in
Warner Bros.' "A Time to Kill." Joining Foster and McConaughey is an ensemble
cast portraying the kaleidoscopic range of figures involved in the
international drama. Among them, JAMES WOODS co-stars as National Security
Advisor Michael Kitz along with JOHN HURT as influential and enigmatic
billionaire S.R. Hadden. TOM SKERRITT plays David Drumlin, Ellie's former
mentor who becomes her competitor in the selection of the planet's single
representative. WILLIAM FICHTNER is Ellie's longtime colleague and supporter,
Dr. Kent Clark, while DAVID MORSE portrays Ellie's father, Ted, who inspires
her love of astronomy as a young girl. ANGELA BASSETT plays Rachel
Constantine, a high-ranking presidential advisor who recognizes the fire that motivates Ellie, and ROB LOWE appears as Richard Rank, the leader of a powerful conservative religious coalition.
"Contact" is produced by Zemeckis and STEVE STARKEY, also an Oscar winner for
"Forrest Gump." The screenplay is by MICHAEL GOLDENBERG, based on the novel by
Carl Sagan and its story by Sagan and ANN DRUYAN. The executive producers are
JOAN BRADSHAW and LYNDA OBST. Sagan and Druyan also serve as co-producers. Warner Bros. will distribute "Contact" worldwide.
©1997 Warner Bros.