American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Contact" (1997)


Eleanor Arroway Testifies About Her Experience


Audio mp3 of Address delivered by Jodie Foster


  Senator: Dr. 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 were spent. Dozens of lives were lost. Are you really going to sit there and tell us we should just take this all on faith?

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: 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 than ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone.

I wish I could share that.

I wish that everyone, if even for one moment, could feel that awe and humility and the hope.


That continues to be my wish.

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American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.