In the movie Contact (1997) everything is revealed in the court hearing.

Specifically, everything is setup by S.R. Hadden (John Hurt's character) and there are no aliens, as expected.

But what's the reason of the last scene where it is shown that the tape recorded hours of nothing?!

Is it just because the director wants to say something religious, or did they want to leave the film open ended?

  • 1
    I didn't watch the film, but as you describe the ending, it matches that of the source book. So your question should be directed to Sagan, not the director. In the book, there are aliens, and the tape is wiped as well, but the ending is pretty definitive. Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:06
  • 2
    It already has, kinda - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/78589/…
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


The ending of Contact isn't really open ended but it does have a religious component.

Your assumption that "everything is done by [John Hurt]" is wrong. It is just said in court because nobody believes her. Jodie Fosters character Ellie is an atheist and has troubling handling people with religious views as there is no scientific proof for a god. Now that there is no scientific proof for her report she finds herself in the same position as religious people she talked before (like Matthew McConaugheys character).

However, the destroyed seat in the capsule and the hours of tape (the amount of hours taped actually match the estimated mission time from Ellies report) are undeniable proof for her report being correct. But this proof is withheld by the intelligence guys.

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