Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine.

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.
[last lines]
Ellie Arroway: [to a group of children] I'll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It's bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it's just us... seems like an awful waste of space. Right?
Young Ellie: 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.
Panel member: Doctor Arroway, you come to us with no evidence, no record, no artifacts. Only a story that to put it mildly strains credibility. Over half a trillion dollars was spent, dozens of lives were lost. Are you really going to sit there and tell us we should just take this all... on faith?
[pause, Ellie looks at Palmer]
Michael Kitz: Please answer the question, doctor.
Ellie Arroway: Is it possible that it didn't happen? Yes. As a scientist, I must concede that, I must volunteer that.
Michael Kitz: Wait a minute, let me get this straight. You admit that you have absolutely no physical evidence to back up your story.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that you very well may have hallucinated this whole thing.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that if you were in our position, you would respond with exactly the same degree of incredulity and skepticism!
Ellie Arroway: Yes!
Michael Kitz: [standing, angrily] Then why don't you simply withdraw your testimony, and concede that this "journey to the center of the galaxy," in fact, never took place!
Ellie Arroway: Because I can't. 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! I wish... I... could share that... I wish, that everyone, if only for one... moment, could feel... that awe, and humility, and hope. But... That continues to be my wish.
Palmer Joss: Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web... at the same time, we feel emptier, lonelier and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history...
[the message becomes audible]
Palmer Joss: [Ellie challenges Palmer to prove the existence of God] 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: 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.
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.
Ellie Arroway: You know, there are four hundred billion stars out there, just in our galaxy alone. If only one out of a million of those had planets, and just of out of a million of those had life, and just one out of a million of those had intelligent life; there would be literally millions of civilizations out there.
Palmer Joss: [looking the night sky] Well, if there wasn't, it'll be an awful waste of space.
Ellie Arroway: [looking him] Amen.
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.
Ellie Arroway: Mathematics is the only true universal language.
News Reporters: Reverend Joss! Reverend Joss, what do you believe? What do you believe?
Palmer Joss: [pause] As a person of faith I'm bound by a different covenant than Doctor Arroway. But our goal is one and the same: the pursuit of Truth. I for one believe her.
Executive: We must confess that your proposal seems less like science and more like science fiction.
Ellie Arroway: Science fiction. Well you're right, it's crazy. In fact, it's even worse than that, nuts.
[angrily slams down her briefcase and marches up to the desk]
Ellie Arroway: 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, or 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.
S.R. Hadden: [over video feed from Mir space station] I wanna show you something.
[shows satellite feed to Ellie]
S.R. Hadden: Hokkaido Island.
Ellie Arroway: The systems integration site.
S.R. Hadden: Look closer.
[zooms satellite feed to reveal second machine]
S.R. Hadden: First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price? Only, this one can be kept secret. Controlled by Americans, built by the Japanese subcontractors. Who, also, happen to be, recently acquired, wholly-owned subsidiaries...
S.R. Hadden: [speaks with Hadden] ... of Hadden industries.
S.R. Hadden: They still want an American to go, Doctor. Wanna take a ride?
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: [leans forward so he is looking directly in the camera] That is interesting, isn't it?
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 now?
Ellie Arroway: [Witnessing a celestial light show up close] Some celestial event. No - no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea.
Ellie Arroway: 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?
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 their way of saying "hello, we heard you."
Michael Kitz: Or, "Sieg Heil, you're our kind of people."
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?
Panel member: If you were to meet these Vegans, and were permitted only one question to ask of them, what would it be?
Ellie Arroway: Well, I suppose it would be, how did you do it? How did you evolve, how did you survive this technological adolescence without destroying yourself?
Young Ellie: [after the funeral] CQ, this is W9GFO, do you copy?
Young Ellie: Dad, this is Ellie, come back?... This is Eleanor Arroway, transmitting on 14.2 megahertz.
Young Ellie: Dad, are you there? Come back? Dad, are you there? Dad, this is Ellie...
Willie: Who are we going to call now?
Ellie Arroway: Everybody.
Palmer Joss: I'm not against technology, doctor. I'm against the men who deify it at the expense of human truth.
Dr. Kent Clark: [Kent is blind] Nice to smell you again, Mr. Kitz.
Michael Kitz: You too.
Dr. Kent Clark: [aside] Wouldn't have pegged him as a Polo man.
Palmer Joss: 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 don't want to lose you. Now you find your way home, all right?
S.R. Hadden: [to Arroway in the tone of Hannibal Lecter] Clever girl.
Ellie Arroway: I'm okay to go! I'm okay to go! I'm okay to go...
Ellie Arroway: [listening to the message] Those are primes! 2,3,5,7, those are all prime numbers and there's no way that's a natural phenomenon!
Ellie Arroway: Occam's razor. You ever heard of it?
Palmer Joss: Hack-em's Razor. Sounds like some slasher movie.
Ellie Arroway: Hydrogen times pi!
David Drumlin: Ellie, still waiting for E.T. to call?
Ellie Arroway: Mrs. Constantine? May I have a word with you?
Rachel Constantine: Certainly.
Ellie Arroway: Um, I have a big problem.
Rachel Constantine: Yes?
Ellie Arroway: Uh, do you know where I can find like a really great dress?
Ellie Arroway: I read your book.
Palmer Joss: Here we go.
Ellie Arroway: You want me to quote you? "Ironically, the thing people are most hungry for - meaning - is the one thing science hasn't been able to give them."
Palmer Joss: Yeah.
Ellie Arroway: [humorously] Come on! It's like you're saying that science killed God. What if science simply revealed that He never existed in the first place?
Palmer Joss: I think we're gonna need to get some air.
Ellie Arroway: Oh?
Palmer Joss: [takes two champagne glasses] And a few more of these...
S.R. Hadden: The powers that be have been very busy lately, falling over each other to position themselves for the game of the millennium. Maybe I can help deal you back in.
Ellie Arroway: I didn't realize that I was out.
S.R. Hadden: Well, maybe not out... but certainly being handed your hat.
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?
Dr. Kent Clark: Dr. Arroway will be spending her precious telescope time listening for... uh... listening for...
Ellie Arroway: Little green men.
Young Ellie: I'm going to need a bigger antenna.
[first lines]
Young Ellie: CQ, this is W9GFO. CQ, this is W9GFO here. Come back?
Ellie Arroway: Is this some test?
Alien: No, no tests...
[alien disguised as her father holds Ellie's hand]
Alien: you have your mother's hands... You're an interesting species, an interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares. You fell so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we found that makes the emptiness bearable, each other.
Ellie Arroway: What happens now?
Alien: [he stands up] Now, you go home.
Ellie Arroway: [she stands up] Home? But I have so many questions, do we get to come back?
Alien: This was just a first step. In time you'll take another.
Ellie Arroway: But other people need to see what I've seen, they need to see...
Alien: This is the way it's been done for billions of years. Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.
David Drumlin: One... there is intelligent life out there, but you'll never contact it in your lifetime, and two... TWO! There's nothing out there but noble gases and carbon compounds, and you're wasting your time. In the meantime, you won't be published, you won't be taken seriously and your career will be over before it's begun!
Ellie Arroway: So what? It's my life!
Richard Rank: My coalition's phone lines have been flooded with calls from concerned families, wondering if this message signifies the end of the world or the advent of the rapture. We feel that U.S. policy in this matter wants to be extremely conservative - if there's any chance of danger or threat to our way of life perhaps the message and its contents should simply be disregarded.
Young Ellie: [on HAM Radio] CQ, CQ, this is W9GFO. Is anybody out there?
Palmer Joss: You could call me a man of the cloth, without the cloth.
Ellie Arroway: You're not real. None of this is real.
Alien: [disguised as her father] That's my scientist.
Ellie Arroway: [looking the beach around you] When I was unconscious, you downloaded my thoughts, my memories, even Pensacola.
Alien: We thought this might make things easier for you.
Palmer Joss: [during the IMC's candidates selection] Do you believe in God, Dr. Arroway?
Ellie Arroway: [sticking a thumbtack into a start chart] One down, couple of billion to go.
Ellie Arroway: I work for a project called SETI.
Palmer Joss: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence? Wow, that's out there.
Voice of NASA: [When the first Machine starts on] We have begun the full scale test of Earth's first system built by the sharing of knowledge with a neighbour in our Universe.
Ellie Arroway: I am OK to go.
Ellie Arroway: They all travel here through that transit system that you built?
Alien: We didn't build it, we don't know who did. They were gone long before we ever got here. Maybe some day they'll come back.
Ted Arroway: Hi, Sparks.
Ellie Arroway: Dad?

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