By a beautiful night, in the around forest of a small American city, a spaceship lands. Little beings are discovering this new world and begin to collect foreign plants surrounding the landing spot. But the arrival of residents searching for the visitors provokes the emergency departure of the spacecraft leaving a little scared poor alien without defense who had distanced a bit more than the others.
The creature finds refuge in the discount of a house in the suburbs of the city. When Elliott, a ten years old little boy discovers it, both are taken with a great fright. Little by little, the boy gets attract it in his bedroom thanks to some candies. The following day, Elliott presents E.T. (the name given to his new friend coming from the stars) to Michael, his older brother and his little sister Gertie. Together, they promise to keep the secret of this unexpected visit and hide the creature to their mother.
Elliott and his new friend he names E.T. the extra-terrestrial, link friendship. Strangely all what E.T. feels, Elliott feels it. It is as if the boy and
the alien had created a privileged psychic link. When E.T. drinks a beer, it is Elliott who is drunk. Thanks to the apprenticeship of Gertie, E.T. gets rapidly pronounce his first words. When he says « phone home », Elliott understands that the little being wants to send a signal to his people in order that they come to take him back. The creature gifted with telekinésia gets dabble a transmitter from several heterogeneous objects that were not destined for the usage. But inquirers of the government, who work on the appearance of the mysterious UFO, progress in their investigations that drive them to the Elliott's home.
But E.T.'s organism is not size to resist any longer to the terrestrial atmosphere. It is necessary now he enters in contact as quickly as possible with his people. During Halloween celebrations, Elliott escapes from his mother and drives his new friend in the forest. The archaic emission mechanism functions perfectly all the night long. When Elliott wakes up in the morning, E.T. has disappeared. Despondent, the little boy returns home to announce the news. Michael immediately throws at his research and finds back the being coming from the stars in agony in a brook.
E.T. is dying. Without other alternative Elliott, Mike and Gertie unveil their secret to their mother. Hardly she thinks to distance the unknown creature that the government invests the house. All medical means are put to attempt to come in assistance to the alien. The analysis of the brain shows a coherence of the cerebral activity of the two subjects. When this activity stop synchronising, Elliott understands that E.T. is on the way to die. The child and the creature are separated. E.T. dies and he is put into the ice. « Looks what they did » Elliott says.
As Elliott is on the way to leave E.T. to his fate, he notices that flowers, witnessing the alien's health state, suddenly resume all their vitality. E.T. comes to receive the confirmation that his people are coming to take him back…
Spoiler ! the end of the story is revealed below…
Mike and Elliott divert the truck that imprisons E.T.'s coffin. With all their friends, they straddle their bicycles, well decided to bring the alien back on the appointment place. Thanks to the telepathic authorities of the creature, the small platoon escape barely the different barrages of police and escape by the air. The spaceship lands. After a long and painful farewell, E.T. points his finger on the Elliott's head and says : « I'm always there ».