Star Wars (retroactively known as Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope since its 1981 re-release) is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first installment of the original Star Wars trilogy, the first film in the franchise to be produced, and the fourth chronological installment of the main Star Wars saga.
The Imperial Forces under orders from the cruel Darth Vader hold Princess Leia hostage in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Moisture farmer Luke Skywalker, Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi and smuggler Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the companionable droid duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance and restore freedom and justice to the galaxy.
Why It Rocks
- The special effects are visually stunning by late '70s standards.
- The action scenes are awesome by late '70s standards as well.
- The film opens up a world of possibilities of what may be creative worlds outside of ours.
- The opening theme music is unforgettable.
- Iconic heroes all around.
- Princess Leia is a fearsome warrior and textbook strong female character, and also the film's only human female character (besides Luke's aunt Beru, but she doesn't get much development).
- Han Solo is a rebellious criminal with a hidden heart of gold.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi is a wise Jedi master who knew Luke's father (Anakin Skywalker) and teaches Luke on how to use the Force.
- C-3P0 and R2-D2 are hilarious and often useful comic relief characters.
- And of course, Luke Skywalker himself, who evolves from a whiny brat to an adventurous hero as the film progresses.
- The lead actors (Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Alec Guinness) all do great performances.
- It has a good mix of action, adventure, drama and humor.
- The concept of the movie is quite impressive.
- Obi-Wan's sacrifice and the destruction of Alderaan are very emotional and touching moments.
- Iconic dialogue such as "The force is strong with this one" and "But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!".
- Memorable quotes like:
- "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope."
- "I have a bad feeling about this."
- "Good luck, and may the force be with you."
- It pays as a homage to various others films made before this one.
- Metropolis has a fringe element desperately at odds against a ruling class, and Maschinenmensch, the iconic female robot who looks eerily similar to C-3PO.
- Triumph of the Will has a scene where the protagonists are paraded through a room full of soldiers and given medals for their heroism, which Star Wars would later parody for the ending of the their film.
- Flash Gordon was George Lucas' first idea before creating Star Wars. When he couldn't license it, he borrowed a lot from the serials. Flash Gordon features the prince and Flash disguising themselves as enemy soldiers to enter the evil Emperor's fortress, while Star Wars has Han and Luke dressed as Stormtroopers at one point. Also, Darth Vader and the Death Star are partially based on Ming the Merciless and his planet Mongo. Both films also have an attractive space princess, a big, hairy humanoid alien, a sky city run by an ally with dubious loyalty, space dogfights and even an opening text crawl.
- The Adventures of Robin Hood
- The Wizard of Oz
- The Searchers has a scene where the main hero returns to his main home, only to find it in ruins and his family dead from an attack from the main antagonistic force. This is similar to Luke returning home to find that Stormtroopers have killed his aunt and uncle.
- The Hidden Fortress has a pair of peasants that are awfully similar to C-3PO and R2-D2 escaping a battle. They both have battle-hardened generals who work with a princess in a rebellion (Obi-Wan for Star Wars and Rokurota Makabe for The Hidden Fortress). Both generals also have to fight against an old rival from their past, and there's constant horizontal wipe transitions.
- Lawrence of Arabia
- 2001: A Space Odyssey is another sci-fi film which focuses on life beyond our own.
- Symbolism all around.
- The Force is meant to be a power that requires faith.
- The ethos of the Jedi is similar to real-world religions such as Taoism.
- The Empire, contrasted to the Rebels, puts their faith in the Death Star and depends on Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin.
- The Empire's generals also wears clothing similar to the German Empire from World War I, which represents the Empire as basically Nazis in space.
- Furthering this point, they also use a lot of black and red, and the Stormtroopers are basically bodyguards for the troop leader.
- Color's also an important factor in this film. Vader and the Empire's highest members wear black, Luke and Leia wear white, and Han wears a combination of black and white since he's a anti-hero with a rebellious side. The Stormtroopers may wear white on the outside, but you can see the black underneath their shell, hinting they may be hiding something underneath their façade.
- The poster became one of the most iconic posters in sci-fi history.
- In 1997, George Lucas created the Star Wars "Special Editions", which included unnecessary additions and alterations to the original cuts of the movies, most notably an excess amount of CGI. Lucas kept making more changes to them until Disney bought out Lucasfilm in 2012, although one last change was added by Lucas in the 2019 Disney+ version. Since then, they never officially re-released the original versions of the films on DVD, Blu-ray or digitally, except for the bonus discs for a 2006 DVD release, which were sourced from 1993 Laserdisc masters.
- The ending is quite abrupt.
- Some aspects of the movie haven't aged well, such as the effects, models and sets, which are one of the main reasons George created the "Special Editions".
- One scene features Obi-Wan saying that the Stormtroopers have super-precise aiming, but they actually can't even hit the broad side of a barn unless the plot demands it.
- For Prequel Fans, the story can get boring comparing it to Revenge Of The Sith.
- The original 1977 theatrical release of Star Wars featured neither the episode number nor the subtitle: A New Hope.
- In 1973 – while developing Star Wars – George Lucas described his ambitious work-in-progress as a combination of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the James Bond films and Lawrence of Arabia.
- Chewbacca the Wookiee was based on George Lucas' dog, a large Alaskan malamute who would sit in the passenger seat while Lucas drove around town.
- Luke Skywalker was initially named "Luke Starkiller".
- Star Wars was named one of the 50 Greatest American Films by the American Film Institute as part of AFI's 10th anniversary celebration. That was in 1977 – while the film was still in theaters.
Star Wars is hailed by critics and fans as one of the greatest science-fiction movies of all time. It has a 92% critic rating and a 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 90% critic rating and an 8.8/10 audience rating on Metacritic, a 4.3/5 on Letterboxd and an 8.6/10 on IMDb.