‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ Star Henry Thomas Reflects on Classic Movie 40 Years Later

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

It might be hard to believe but 40 years ago, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial hit movie theaters, and Henry Thomas is offering a look back. Thomas, of course, played Elliott Taylor in the 1982 movie. While the movie hits its 40th-anniversary mark, Thomas, 51, said he’s “very proud” to have been part of the movie. The actor talked about his time with Steven Spielberg and the cast in an interview with Good Morning America.

“I think it has a universal theme of compassion and friendship and nurturing of those things, so I think it speaks to our very human nature,” Thomas said. He also noted that the movie, well, “it’s a very personal story” for each person who sees it, Fox News reports. As you might recall, Elliott, 10 years old at the time, befriends “E.T.” It is an alien who becomes stranded on Earth. Well, thanks to Elliott’s friends and family members, he helps E.T. escape from the government and head home.

‘E.T.’ Actor Henry Thomas Didn’t See Sudden Fame Coming His Way

E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial was a big hit at the box office when it premiered in June 1982. The movie would become the highest-grossing movie that year. It also got nine Academy Awards nominations and won four Oscars. Thomas talked with GMA about having overnight fame. He said that at a young age, it was a “strange feeling.”

“I didn’t see it coming, and then suddenly you’re famous and you’re not anonymous anymore,” Henry Thomas said. “I don’t think I really knew how to deal with it very well.” Thomas said that the following few years were, in his words, “pretty overwhelming.” For a time, Thoams felt like he was only known for playing Elliott.

Thomas, who is from Texas, starred in other movies like Legends of the Fall, All the Pretty Horses, and Gangs of New York. He also is probably a pretty familiar face for those who have Netflix. On the streaming platform, Thomas has been in shows like The Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass.  

The actor would come to truly appreciate the movie’s ability to hang around for all these years. Thomas tried to distance himself from it for a period of time. He also said his three children were pretty underwhelmed when they saw their dad in the movie for the first time. “I thought that they would be much more impressed. I guess I had built it up in my mind, but the reality was that they were just watching it like anything else,” Henry Thomas said. “I’m famous to them as an adult, not as a kid.”