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The 1977 movie -'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' is truly iconic and one of my all time favorites, but there is one thing I am curious about. During the climax we see the aliens returning many people to the earth. Most of them look like they are from a time far behind. Also the other things that the aliens return during the movie are all very old things (taken a long time ago) eg.- Airplanes in mexico, Ship in Mongolia. However there is one exception - the 3 year old kid - Barry, who is taken away by the aliens and returned back soon thereafter (at the end of the movie).

How did this happen? What could be the reason for this exceptional behavior of aliens?

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To me, this makes perfect sense. Given that we never know where the Aliens come from, how long the trip takes, or what happens to the people on the ship, I assume that the return of missing vehicles and such corresponds with the overall plot of the film. The aliens are returning stuff in an attempt to progress contact with humans. It is all stuff they took in an inquisitive manner (or maybe just to show they could). The reason Barry is returned so soon is that his abduction corresponds close in time with that final interaction. If nothing came of all that interaction, I would assume child Barry would show up years later during the next attempted contact. But this is all just speculation and opinion. Realistically, it is probably just an emotional tie that Spielberg wanted.

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