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Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released simply as Star Wars, is an American 1977 space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the six film saga. Ground-breaking in its use of special effects, uncoventional editing, and sci-fi/fantasy storytelling, the original Star Wars is one of the most successful and influential films of all time.

Set long ago in a distant galaxy, the film follows a group of freedom fighters known as the Rebel Alliance who are plotting to destroy the Death Star space station, a powerful device created by the evil Galactic Empire. This conflict disrupts the sedentary life of farmboy Luke Skywalker when he inadvertently acquires the droids carrying the stolen Death Star plans. When the Empire begins a cruel and destructive search for the droids, Skywalker decides to accompany Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on a daring mission to rescue the owner of the droids, rebel leader Princess Leia Organa, and save the galaxy.

Produced with a budget of $11,000,000 and released on May 25, 1977, the film went on to earn $460 million in the United States and $337 million overseas, surpassing Jaws as the highest-grossing film of all time at the time. It also received several awards, including 10 Academy Award nominations, among them Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness and Best Picture. Lucas has re-released the film on several occasions, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions are the 1997 Special Edition and the 2004 DVD release, which have modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, and added scenes.

Plot

Luke Skywalker gazes upon the setting twin suns of Tatooine.
The galaxy is in a state of civil war. Spies for the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans to the Galactic Empire's Death Star: a space station capable of annihilating an entire planet. Rebel leader Princess Leia is in possession of the plans, but her ship is captured by Imperial forces under the command of Darth Vader. Before she is captured, Leia hides the plans in the memory of a droid named R2-D2, along with a holographic recording. The small droid escapes to the surface of the desert planet Tatooine with fellow droid C-3PO. The two droids are quickly captured by Jawa traders, who sell the pair to moisture farmer Owen Lars and his nephew, Luke Skywalker. While Luke is cleaning R2-D2, he accidentally triggers part of Leia's holographic message, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. The only "Kenobi" Luke knows of is an old hermit named Ben Kenobi who lives in the nearby hills; Owen, however, dismisses any connection, suggesting that Obi-Wan is dead.

During dinner, R2-D2 escapes to seek Obi-Wan. The next morning Luke and C-3PO go out after him and are met by Ben Kenobi, who reveals himself to be Obi-Wan and takes Luke and the droids back to his hut. He tells Luke of his days as a Jedi Knight and explains to Luke about a mysterious energy field called the Force. He also tells Luke about his association with Luke's father, also a Jedi, whom he claims to have been betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader, Obi-Wan's former pupil who turned to the Sith. Obi-Wan then views Leia's message, in which she begs him to take R2-D2 and the Death Star plans to her home planet of Alderaan, where her father will be able to retrieve and analyze them. Obi-Wan asks Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and to learn the ways of the Force. After initially refusing, Luke discovers that his home has been destroyed and his aunt and uncle killed by Imperial stormtroopers in search of the droids. Luke agrees to go with Obi-Wan to Alderaan, and the two hire smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to transport them on their ship, the Millennium Falcon.

Meanwhile, Leia has been imprisoned on the Death Star and has resisted giving the location of the secret Rebel base. Grand Moff Tarkin, the Death Star's commanding officer and Vader's superior, tries to coax information out of her by threatening to destroy Alderaan and proceeds to do so even after she appears to cooperate as a means of demonstrating the power of the Empire's new weapon. When the Falcon arrives at Alderaan's coordinates, they find themselves in a cloud of rubble. They follow a TIE fighter towards the Death Star and are captured by the station's tractor beam and brought into its hangar bay. The group takes refuge in a command room on the station while Obi-Wan goes off by himself to disable the tractor beam. While they are waiting, they discover that Princess Leia is onboard and is scheduled to be executed. Han, Luke, and Chewbacca stage a rescue and free the princess. Making their way back to the Millennium Falcon, their path is cleared by the spectacle of a lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. Obi-Wan allows himself to be struck down as the others race onto the ship and escape.

The Falcon journeys to the Rebel base at Yavin IV where the Death Star plans are analyzed by the Rebels and a potential weakness is found. The weakness will require the use of one-man fighters to slip past the Death Star's formidable defenses and attack a vulnerable exhaust port. Luke joins the assault team while Han collects his reward for the rescue and leaves, despite Luke's request for him to stay. The attack proceeds when the Death Star arrives in the system, with Darth Vader having placed a homing device on the Falcon. The Rebel fighters suffer heavy losses and, after several failed attack runs, Luke remains as one of the few surviving pilots. Vader appears with his own group of fighters and begins attacking the Rebel ships. Luke begins his attack run with Vader in pursuit as the Death Star approaches firing range of Yavin IV. As Vader is about to fire at Luke's ship, Han arrives in the Millennium Falcon and attacks Vader and his wingmen, sending Vader's ship careening off into space. Guided by Obi-Wan's voice telling him to use the Force, Luke fires a successful shot which destroys the Death Star seconds before it fires on the Rebel base. Later, at a grand ceremony, Princess Leia awards medals to Luke and Han for their heroism in the battle.

Cast

  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker: Skywalker is a young man who lives with his aunt and uncle on the remote world Tatooine and who dreams of something greater than his current position in life.
  • Harrison Ford as Han Solo: Solo is a self-absorbed smuggler whom Obi-Wan and Luke meet in a cantina and with whom they later travel. Solo, who owns the ship Millennium Falcon, is good friends with Chewbacca, the ship's co-pilot.
  • Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa: Organa is a member of the Imperial Senate and a leader of the Rebel Alliance. She plans to use the stolen Death Star plans to find the station's weakness.
  • Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi: Kenobi is an aging man who served as a Jedi Knight during the Clone Wars. Early in the film, Kenobi introduces Luke to the Force.
  • Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin: Tarkin is the commander of the Death Star and a Regional Governor. He leads the search for the Rebel Base, hoping to destroy it.
  • David Prowse as Darth Vader. Vader is a Dark Lord of the Sith, and a prominent figure in the Galactic Empire who hopes to destroy the Rebel Alliance. He was voiced by James Earl Jones.
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO: C-3PO is a protocol and interpreter droid who falls into the hands of Luke Skywalker. He is rarely without his counterpart droid, R2-D2.
  • Kenny Baker as R2-D2: R2-D2 is a mechanic droid who also falls into the hands of Luke. He is carrying a secret message for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Like C-3PO, through the First Trilogy he is characteristically found with his subsequent partner C-3PO.
  • Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca: Chewbacca is the Wookiee co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon and a close friend of Han Solo.
  • Denis Lawson as Wedge Antilles: Antilles is a starfighter pilot who fights alongside Luke in the Battle of Yavin. In the ending credits, Lawson's first name is misspelled "Dennis".


Lucas shared a joint casting session with long-time friend Brian De Palma, who was casting his own film Carrie. As a result, Carrie Fisher and Sissy Spacek auditioned for both films in each other's respective roles. Lucas favored casting young actors without long-time experience. While reading for Luke Skywalker (then known as "Luke Starkiller"), Hamill found the dialogue to be extremely odd because of its universe-embedded concepts. He chose to simply read it sincerely and was selected instead of William Katt, who was subsequently cast in Carrie. Lucas initially rejected the idea of using Harrison Ford, as he had previously worked with him on American Graffiti, and instead asked Ford to assist in the auditions by reading lines with the other actors and explaining the concepts and history behind the scenes that they were reading. Lucas was eventually won over by Ford's portrayal and cast him instead of Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Billy Dee Williams (who would play Lando Calrissian in the sequel), and Perry King, who wound up playing Solo in the radio plays. Virtually every young actress in Hollywood auditioned for the role of Princess Leia, including Terri Nunn, Jodie Foster, and Cindy Williams. Carrie Fisher was cast under the condition that she lose 10 pounds of weight for the role. Aware that the studio disagreed with his refusal to cast big-name stars, Lucas signed veteran stage and screen actor Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi.Additional casting took place in Londonmarker, where Mayhew was cast as Chewbacca after he stood up to greet Lucas. Lucas immediately turned to Gary Kurtz, and requested that Mayhew be cast. Daniels auditioned for and was cast as C-3PO after he saw a McQuarrie drawing of the character; struck by the vulnerability in the robot's face, he instantly wanted to help to bring the character to life.

History

Writing

Elements of the history of Star Wars are commonly disputed, as Lucas frequently makes statements about it that have changed over time. George Lucas completed directing his first full-length feature, THX 1138, in 1971. He has said that it was around this time that he first had the idea for Star Wars, though he has also claimed to have had the idea long before then. One of the most influential works on Lucas's early concepts was the Flash Gordon space adventure comics and serials. Lucas even made an attempt to purchase the rights to remake Flash Gordon at one point, but could not afford them.

Following the completion of THX 1138, Lucas was granted a two-film development deal with United Artists at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker in May of that year for American Graffiti, and an idea for a space opera he called The Star Wars. He showed United Artists the script for American Graffiti, but they passed on the film. Universal Studios picked the film up, and Lucas spent the next two years completing it. Only then did he turn his attention to The Star Wars. He began writing the treatment in January 1973, unsure what would come of Graffiti, and still very much in debt.

Lucas began his creation process by taking small notes, inventing odd names and assigning them possible characterizations. Lucas would discard many of these by the time the final script was written, but he included several names and places in the final script or its sequels (such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo). He revisited some decades later when he wrote his prequel trilogy (such as Mace Windy, renamed Windu). He used these intial names and ideas to compile a two-page synopsis titled "The Journal of the Whills", which bore little resemblance to the final story. The Journal told the tale of the son of a famous pilot who is trained as a "padawaan" apprentice of a revered "Jedi-Bendu". Frustrated after being told that his story was too difficult to understand, Lucas started again on a completely new outline, this time borrowing heavily from Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, so much so that he at one time considered buying the rights to the film. He relied on a plot synopsis from Donald Richie's book The Films of Akira Kurosawa and wrote a 14-page draft that paralleled The Hidden Fortress, with names and settings reminiscent of the science fiction genre.

Both United Artists and Universal passed on their options for the film later that year, citing the risk involved in the project's potentially high budget. Lucas pursued Alan Ladd, Jr., the head of 20th Century Fox, and in June 1973 closed a deal to write and direct the film. Although Ladd did not grasp the technical side of the project, he believed that Lucas was talented. Lucas later stated that Ladd "invested in me, he did not invest in the movie." The deal afforded Lucas $150,000 to write and direct.

Later that year, Lucas began writing a full script of his synopsis, which he would complete in May 1974. In this script he reintroduced the Jedi, which had been absent in his previous treatment, as well as their enemies, the Sith. He changed the protagonist, who had been a mature General in the treatment, to an adolescent boy, and he shifted the General into a supporting role as a member of a family of dwarf. Lucas envisioned the Corellian smuggler, Han Solo, as a large, green-skinned monster with gills. He based Chewbacca on his Alaskan malamute dog, Indiana, who often acted as the director's "co-pilot" by sitting in the passenger seat of his car.

Many of the final elements in the film began to take shape, though the plot, was still far removed from the final script. It did, however, begin to diverge from The Hidden Fortress and take on the general story elements that would comprise the final film. Lucas began researching the science fiction genre, both watching films and reading books and comics. His first script incorporated ideas from many new sources. The script would also introduce the concept of a Jedi master father and his son, training to be a Jedi under the father's Jedi friend, which would ultimately form the basis for the film and even the trilogy. However, in this draft, the father is a hero who is still alive at the start of the film. The script was also the first time Darth Vader appeared in the story, though other than being a villain, he bore little resemblance to the final character.

Lucas grew distracted by other projects, but he would return to complete a second draft of The Star Wars by January 1975; while still having some differences in the characters and relationships. For example, the protagonist Luke (Starkiller in this draft) had several brothers, as well as his father who appears in a minor role at the end of the film. The script became more of a fairy tale quest as opposed to the more grounded action-adventure of the previous versions. This version ended with another text crawl which previewed the next story in the series. This draft was also the first to introduce the concept of a Jedi turning to the dark side; a historical Jedi that became the first to ever fall to the dark side, and then trained the Sith to use it. Lucas hired conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie to create paintings of certain scenes around this time. When Lucas delivered his screenplay to the studio, he included several of McQuarrie's paintings.

A third draft, dated August 1, 1975, was titled The Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller which now had most of the elements of the final plot, with only some differences in the characters and settings. Luke was again an only child, and his father was, for the first time, written as dead. This script would be re-written for the fourth and final draft, dated January 1, 1976 as The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills. Saga I: Star Wars. Lucas worked with his friends Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck to revise the fourth draft into the final pre-production script. 20th Century Fox approved a budget of $8,250,000; American Graffiti, having been released in 1973 to positive reviews, allowed Lucas to renegotiate his deal with Alan Ladd, Jr. and request the sequel rights to the film. For Lucas, this deal protected Star Wars' unwritten segments and most of the merchandising profits.{{cite web | work=Allmovie | title=Star Wars (Film Series) | url=http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:72309| accessdate=2006-10-01}} Lucas would continue to tweak the script during shooting, most notably adding the death of Kenobi after realizing he served no purpose in the ending of the film.{{cite web |url=http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/7330268/the_force_behind_star_wars |title=The Force Behind Star Wars, ''Rolling Stone''|accessdate=2008-09-10 |month=August | year=1977}}''Star Wars'' Definitive Edition laserdisc interview, 1993. "In the process of re-writing [''Star Wars''], and thinking of it as only a movie and not a whole trilogy, I decided that Ben Kenobi really didn't serve any useful function after the point he fights with Darth Vader... I said, 'you know, he just stands around for the last twenty-five percent of the film, watching this air battle go on.'" ====Lucas's claims==== Lucas has often alleged that the entire original trilogy was written as one film; that the ''Star Wars'' script was too long, so he split it into three films.{{cite news |title=George Lucas: Mapping the mythology |accessdate=2008-05-26 |url=http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Movies/05/07/ca.s02.george.lucas/ |date= 2002-05-08 |publisher=CNN}}{{cite web | work=Starwars.com|author=|date=2005-04-19 | title=Thank the Maker: George Lucas|url=http://www.starwars.com/community/event/celebration/f20050419/indexp17.html|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20061112131535/http://starwars.com/community/event/celebration/f20050419/indexp17.html|archivedate=2006-11-12| accessdate=2006-10-01}} However, none of Lucas's drafts had more pages or scenes than his final draft. Lucas's second draft is usually cited as the script he is referring to with these comments.{{citation|title=The Secret History of Star Wars|edition=3.0|last=Kaminski|first=Michael |year=2008|url=http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/book.html|accessdate=2008-05-21|page=73}} Michael Kaminski argues in his work ''The Secret History of Star Wars'' that this draft is structurally very similar to the final film in plot arrangement, and that the only elements from it that were saved for the sequels were an asteroid field space chase (moved to ''The Empire Strikes Back'') and a forest battle involving Wookiees (moved to ''Return of the Jedi'', with [[Ewok]]s in place of Wookiees), and that none of the major plotlines of the sequels are present. Lucas himself has actually occasionally admitted this.{{cite book |last=Worrell |first=Denise |title=Icons: Intimate Portraits |page=185 |quote=There was never a script complete that had the entire story as it exists now [1983]... As the stories unfolded, I would take certain ideas and save them[...] I kept taking out all the good parts, and I just kept telling myself I would make other movies someday.}} ===Production=== In 1975, Lucas founded the visual effects company [[Industrial Light & Magic]] (ILM) after discovering that 20th Century Fox's visual effects department had been disbanded. ILM began its work on ''Star Wars'' in a warehouse in [[Van Nuys, California]]. Most of the visual effects used [[motion control photography]], which creates the illusion of size by employing small models and slowly moving cameras. Model spaceships were constructed on the basis of drawings by [[Joe Johnston]], input from Lucas, and paintings by McQuarrie. Lucas opted to abandon the traditional sleekness of science fiction by creating a "used universe" in which all devices, ships, and buildings looked aged and dirty.{{cite web | work=Starwars.com | title=Star Wars Biography: Industrial Light & Magic | url=http://www.starwars.com/bio/industriallightmagic.html | archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060822121213/http://www.starwars.com/bio/industriallightmagic.html | archivedate=2006-08-22| accessdate=2006-10-01}} [[Image:Hotel Sidi Driss-underground view only.jpg|left|thumb|220px|A traditional underground building in [[Matmâta]], [[Tunisia]], was used as a set for Luke's home on Tatooine.]] When filming began on March 22, 1976 in the [[Tunisia]]n desert for the scenes on the planet [[Tatooine]],{{cite web | work=IMDB | title=Business Data for Star Wars (1977) | url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/business| accessdate=2006-10-02}} the project faced several problems.{{cite web | work=IMDB | title=Filming Locations for Star Wars (1977) | url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/locations| accessdate=2006-10-02}} Lucas fell behind schedule in the first week of shooting due to a rare Tunisian rainstorm, malfunctioning props, and electronic breakdowns.{{cite web | work=AmericanHeritage.com | title= How Star Wars Surprised the World | url=http://www.americanheritage.com/entertainment/articles/web/20060525-star-wars-george-lucas-movies-hollywood-luke-skywalker-darth-vader-american-graffiti-science-fiction-special-effects.shtml| accessdate=2006-10-02}} When actor [[Anthony Daniels]] wore the [[C-3PO]] outfit for the first time, the left leg piece shattered down through the plastic covering his left foot, stabbing him. After completing filming in Tunisia, production moved into the more controlled environment of [[Elstree Studios]], near London. However, significant problems, such as a [[Film crew|crew]] that had little interest in the film, still arose. Most of the crew considered the project a "children's film," rarely took their work seriously, and often found it unintentionally humorous.[http://www.history.com/minisites/starwarslegacy/ Star Wars - The Legacy Revealed]. [[The History Channel]]. May, 2007 Actor [[Kenny Baker]] later confessed that he thought the film would be a failure. [[Harrison Ford]] found the film "weird" in that there was a Princess with buns for hair and what he called a "giant in a monkey suit" named Chewbacca. Ford also found the dialogue difficult, saying "You can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it".{{cite web | work=HarrisonFordWeb.com | title=Harrison Ford quote | url=http://www.harrisonfordweb.com/quotes/ | archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060821065729/http://www.harrisonfordweb.com/quotes/ | archivedate=2006-08-21| accessdate=2006-09-15}} Lucas clashed with cinematographer [[Gilbert Taylor]], whom producer [[Gary Kurtz]] called "old-school" and "crotchety". Moreover, with a background in [[independent film]]making, Lucas was accustomed to creating most of the elements of the film himself. His camera suggestions were rejected by an offended Taylor, who felt that Lucas was over-stepping his boundaries by giving specific instructions. Lucas eventually became frustrated that the costumes, sets and other elements were not living up to his original vision of ''Star Wars''. He rarely spoke to the actors, who felt that he expected too much of them while providing little direction. His directions to the actors usually consisted of the words "faster" and "more intense". Ladd offered Lucas some of the only support from the studio; he dealt with scrutiny from [[board of directors|board]] members over the rising budget and complex screenplay drafts. After production fell two weeks behind schedule, Ladd told Lucas that he had to finish production within a week or he would be forced to shut down production. The crew split into three units, led by Lucas, Kurtz and production supervisor [[Robert Watts]]. Under the new system, the project met the studio's deadline. [[File:Star Wars in Guatemala 3.jpg|thumb|220px|Mayan ruins at [[Tikal]], [[Guatemala]], which were used in the film as the rebel base.]] During production, the cast attempted to make Lucas laugh or smile as he often appeared depressed. At one point, the project became so demanding that Lucas was diagnosed with [[hypertension]] and exhaustion and was warned to reduce his stress level. [[Post-production]] was equally stressful due to increasing pressure from 20th Century Fox. Moreover, [[Mark Hamill]]'s car accident left his face visibly scarred, which suppressed re-shoots. ''Star Wars'' was originally slated for release in [[Christmas]] 1976; however, delays pushed the film's release to summer 1977. Already anxious about meeting his deadline, Lucas was shocked when his editor's first cut of the film was a "complete disaster." After attempting to persuade the original editor to cut the film his way, Lucas replaced the editor with [[Paul Hirsch (film editor)|Paul Hirsch]] and Richard Chew. He also allowed his then-wife [[Marcia Lucas]] to aid the editing process while she was cutting the film ''[[New York, New York (film)|New York, New York]]'' with Lucas's friend [[Martin Scorsese]]. Richard Chew found the film had an unenergetic pace; it had been cut in a by-the-book manner: scenes were played out in [[master shot]]s that flowed into [[close-up]] coverage. He found that the pace was dictated by the actors instead of the cuts. Hirsch and Chew worked on two reels simultaneously; whoever finished first moved on to the next. Meanwhile, [[Industrial Light & Magic]] was struggling to achieve unprecedented special effects. The company had spent half of its budget on four shots that Lucas deemed unacceptable. Moreover, theories surfaced that the workers at ILM lacked discipline, forcing Lucas to intervene frequently to ensure that they were on schedule. With hundreds of uncompleted shots remaining, ILM was forced to finish a year's work in six months. Lucas inspired ILM by editing together aerial [[dogfight]]s from old war films, which enhanced the pacing of the scenes. During the chaos of production and post-production, the team made decisions about character voicing and [[sound effect]]s. Sound designer [[Ben Burtt]] had created a library of sounds that Lucas referred to as an "organic soundtrack". Blaster sounds were a modified recording of a steel cable, under tension, being struck. For Chewbacca's growls, Burtt recorded and combined sounds made by dogs, bears, lions, tigers and walruses to create phrases and sentences. Lucas and Burtt created the robotic voice of [[R2-D2]] by filtering their voices through an electronic synthesizer. [[Darth Vader]]'s breathing was achieved by Burtt breathing through the mask of a [[scuba set|scuba]] tank implanted with a microphone.{{cite web | work=Silicon Valley Radio | title= Interview with Ben Burtt | url=http://www.transmitmedia.com/svr/burtt/index.html| accessdate=2006-10-03}} Lucas never intended to use the voice of [[David Prowse]], who portrayed Darth Vader in costume, because of Prowse's English [[West Country]] accent. He originally wanted [[Orson Welles]] to speak for Darth Vader. However, he felt that Welles' voice would be too recognizable, so he cast the lesser-known [[James Earl Jones]].{{cite web | work=Premiere Magazine | title= The Force Wasn't With Them| url=http://www.premiere.com/features/2164/the-force-wasnt-with-them.html| accessdate=2007-02-16}} Nor did Lucas intend to use Anthony Daniels' voice for C-3PO. Thirty well-established voice actors, such as [[Stan Freberg]], read for the voice of the droid. According to Daniels, one of the major voice actors, believed by some sources to be [[Stan Freberg]], recommended Daniels' voice for the role. When Lucas screened an early cut of the film for his friends, among them directors [[Brian De Palma]], [[John Milius]] and [[Steven Spielberg]], their reactions were disappointing. Spielberg, who claimed to have been the only person in the audience to have enjoyed the film, believed that the lack of enthusiasm was due to the absence of finished special effects. Lucas later said that the group was honest and seemed bemused by the film. In contrast, Alan Ladd, Jr. and the rest of 20th Century Fox loved the film: one of the executives, Gareth Wigan, told Lucas, "This is the greatest film I've ever seen", and cried during the screening. Lucas found the experience shocking and rewarding, having never gained any approval from studio executives before. Although the delays increased the budget from $8 million to $11 million, the film was still the least expensive of the ''Star Wars'' saga. == Cinematic and literary allusions == {{See also|Star Wars sources and analogues}} According to Lucas, the film was inspired by numerous sources, such as [[Beowulf]] and [[King Arthur]] for the origins of myth and world religions. Lucas originally wanted to rely heavily on the 1930s ''[[Flash Gordon]]'' film serials; however, Lucas resorted to [[Akira Kurosawa]]'s film ''[[The Hidden Fortress]]'' and [[Joseph Campbell]]'s ''[[The Hero With a Thousand Faces]]'' because of copyright issues with ''Flash Gordon''.{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=How did George Lucas create Star Wars?|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/index.html| dateformat=dmy | accessdate=15 August 2006}}{{cite web | work= Muriel Verbeeck| title= Campbell, Star Wars and the Myth |url=http://sw-anthropo.ibelgique.com/txt/camptexteanglais.html| accessdate=2006-10-02}} ''Star Wars'' features several parallels to ''Buck Rogers'' and ''Flash Gordon'', such as the conflict between Rebels and Imperial Forces, the "[[wipe (transition)|wipes]]" between scenes, and the famous [[Star Wars opening crawl|opening crawl]] that begins each film. A concept borrowed from ''Flash Gordon''—a fusion of futuristic technology and traditional magic—was originally developed by one of the founders of [[science fiction]], [[H. G. Wells]]. Wells believed the Industrial Revolution had quietly destroyed the idea that fairy-tale magic might be real. Thus, he found that plausibility was required to allow myth to work properly, and substituted elements of the Industrial Era: time machines instead of magic carpets, Martians instead of dragons, and scientists instead of wizards. Wells called his new genre "[[science fantasy|scientific fantasia]]."{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=Star Wars Origins - Flash Gordon|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/flash.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}}{{cite web | work=U. Arizona | title=Wells on The Time Machine |url=http://www.u.arizona.edu/~gmcmilla/oral.html| accessdate=2006-10-02}} ''Star Wars'' was influenced by the 1958 Kurosawa film ''[[The Hidden Fortress]]''; for instance, the two bickering peasants evolved into C-3PO and R2-D2, and a Japanese family crest seen in the film is similar to the Imperial Crest. Star Wars borrows heavily from another Kurosawa film, ''[[Yojimbo (film)|Yojimbo]]''. In both films, several men threaten the hero, bragging how wanted they are by authorities. The situation ends with an arm being cut off by a blade. Mifune is offered "twenty-five ryo now, twenty-five when you complete the mission", whereas Han Solo is offered "Two thousand now, plus fifteen when we reach Alderaan." Lucas's affection for Kurosawa may have influenced his decision to visit Japan in the early 1970s, leading some to believe he borrowed the name "Jedi" from ''[[jidaigeki]]'' (which in English means "period dramas," and refers to films typically featuring [[samurai]]).{{cite web | work=Starwars.com | title= Before A New Hope: THX 1138 |url=http://www.starwars.com/episode-iv/bts/article/f20040810/index.html |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060910191058/http://www.starwars.com/episode-iv/bts/article/f20040810/index.html |archivedate=2006-09-10| accessdate=2006-09-03}}{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=Star Wars Origins - Akira Kurosawa|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/kurosawa.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}} Tatooine is similar to [[Arrakis]] from [[Frank Herbert]]'s book ''[[Dune (novel)|Dune]]''. Arrakis is the only known source of a longevity drug called the [[Melange (fictional drug)|Spice Melange]]; [[Han Solo]] is a spice smuggler who has been through the spice mines of [[List of Star Wars planets (K-L)#Kessel|Kessel]]. Lucas's original concept of the film dealt heavily with the transport of spice, although the nature of the material remained unexplored. In the conversation at Obi-Wan Kenobi's home between Obi-Wan and Luke, Luke expresses a belief that his father was a navigator on a spice freighter. Other similarities include those between Princess Leia and Princess Alia ({{pronEng|əˈliːə}}), and between [[Jedi mind trick]]s and "The Voice," a controlling ability used by [[Bene Gesserit]]. In passing, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru are "Moisture Farmers"; in ''Dune'', Dew Collectors are used by Fremen to "provide a small but reliable source of water."{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=Star Wars Origins - Frank Herbert's Dune|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/dune.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}}{{cite web | work=D. A. Houdek | title=Star Wars is Dune|url=http://www.dahoudek.com/pages/starwarsdune.htm| accessdate=2006-10-01}} Frank Herbert reported that, "David [[David Lynch|Lynch]], [director of 1984 film ''[[Dune (film)|Dune]]''] had trouble with the fact that ''Star Wars'' used up so much of ''[[Dune (film)|Dune]]''." The pair found "sixteen points of identity" and they calculated that, "the odds against coincidence produced a number larger than the number of stars in the universe."[[Frank Herbert|Herbert, Frank]] (1985). ''Eye'', Byron Preiss Publications, p. 13 The Death Star assault scene was modeled after the film ''[[The Dam Busters (film)|The Dam Busters]]'' (1955), in which [[Royal Air Force]] [[Avro Lancaster|Lancaster bombers]] fly along heavily defended reservoirs and aim "[[bouncing bomb]]s" at their man-made dams to cripple the heavy industry of the [[Ruhr]]. Some of the dialogue in ''The Dam Busters'' is repeated in the ''Star Wars'' climax; [[Gilbert Taylor]] also filmed the special effects sequences in ''The Dam Busters''.{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=Star Wars Origins - Miscellaneous Influences|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/other.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}} In addition, the sequence was partially inspired by the climax of the film ''[[633 Squadron]]'' (1964) directed by [[Walter Grauman]],{{cite web | work=Film, Music on the Web | title=Summer 2005 Film Music CD Reviews|url=http://www.musicweb-international.com/film/2005/Sum05/633sqdrn.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}} in which RAF [[De Havilland Mosquito|Mosquitos]] attack a German heavy water plant by flying down a narrow fiord to drop special bombs at a precise point while avoiding anti-aircraft guns and German fighters. Clips from both films were included in Lucas's temporary dogfight footage version of the sequence. The opening shot of ''Star Wars'', in which a detailed spaceship fills the screen overhead, is a nod to the scene introducing the interplanetary spacecraft ''[[Discovery One]]'' in [[Stanley Kubrick]]'s seminal [[1968 in film|1968 film]] ''[[2001: A Space Odyssey (film)|2001: A Space Odyssey]]''. The earlier big-budget science fiction film influenced the look of ''Star Wars'' in many other ways, including the use of [[extra-vehicular activity|EVA]] pods, hexagonal corridors, and primitive computer graphics. The Death Star has a docking bay reminiscent of the one on the orbiting space station in ''2001''.{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=Star Wars Origins - 2001 A Space Odyssey|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/2001.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}} The film also draws on ''[[The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)|The Wizard of Oz]]'' (1939): similarities exist between Jawas and [[Munchkins]]; the main characters disguise themselves as enemy soldiers; and when Obi-Wan dies, he leaves only his empty robe, similar to the melting of the [[Wicked Witch of the West]].{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=Star Wars Origins - The Wizard of Oz|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/oz.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}}{{cite web | work=Elisa Kay Sparks | title=Female Hero in Wizard of Oz Compared to Male Hero in Star Wars |url=http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/dial/oz/femoztax.html| accessdate=2006-09-03}} Although golden and male, C-3PO is inspired by the robot Maria from [[Fritz Lang]]'s 1927 film ''[[Metropolis (film)|Metropolis]]''. His whirring sounds were speculated to be inspired by the clanking noises of the [[Tin Woodsman]] in ''The Wizard of Oz''.{{cite web | work=Star Wars Origins | title=Star Wars Origins - The Droids|url=http://www.spookybug.com/origins/droids.html| accessdate=2006-09-05}}{{cite web | work=Starwars.com | title=Star Wars Databank: C-3PO|url=http://www.starwars.com/databank/droid/c3po/?id=bts| accessdate=2006-10-03}} ==Soundtrack== {{Main|Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (soundtrack)}} On the recommendation of his friend [[Steven Spielberg]], Lucas hired composer [[John Williams]], who had worked with Spielberg on the film ''[[Jaws (film)|Jaws]]'', for which he won an [[Academy Award]]. Lucas felt that the film would portray visually foreign worlds, but that the musical score would give the audience an emotional familiarity. In March 1977, Williams conducted the London Symphony Orchestra to record the ''Star Wars'' soundtrack in twelve days. ''Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy'' Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary, [2005] Lucas wanted a grand musical sound for ''Star Wars'', with [[leitmotif]]s to provide distinction. Therefore, he assembled his favorite orchestral pieces for the soundtrack, until John Williams convinced him that an original score would be unique and more unified. However, a few of Williams' pieces were influenced by the tracks given to him by Lucas. The "Main Title Theme" was inspired by the theme from the 1942 film ''[[Kings Row]]'', scored by [[Erich Wolfgang Korngold]], and the track "Dune Sea of Tatooine" drew from the soundtrack from ''[[Bicycle Thieves]]'', scored by Alessandro Cicognini. The American Film Institute's list of best scores lists the ''Star Wars'' soundtrack at number one. ==Releases== Charles Lippincott was hired by Lucas's production company, [[Lucasfilm|Lucasfilm Ltd.]], as marketing director for ''Star Wars''. As 20th Century Fox gave little support for marketing beyond licensing T-shirts and posters, Lippincott was forced to look elsewhere. He secured deals with [[Stan Lee]], [[Roy Thomas]] and [[Marvel Comics]] for a comic book adaptation and with [[Del Rey Books]] for a novelization. Wary that ''Star Wars'' would be beaten out by other summer films, such as ''[[Smokey and the Bandit]]'', 20th Century Fox moved the release date to Wednesday before [[Memorial Day]]: May 25, 1977. However, few theaters ordered the film to be shown. In response, 20th Century Fox demanded that theaters order ''Star Wars'' if they wanted an eagerly anticipated film based on a best-selling novel titled ''[[The Other Side of Midnight (film)|The Other Side of Midnight]]''. Star Wars had been so popular that some cinemas continuously screened the film for more than a year: some of them received a rare "birthday" poster.http://www.cinemasterpieces.com/swbdayproofjune07.jpg The film became an instant success; within three weeks of the film's release, 20th Century Fox's stock price doubled to a record high. Before 1977, 20th Century Fox's greatest annual profits were $37,000,000; in 1977, the company earned $79,000,000. Although the film's cultural neutrality helped it to gain international success, Ladd became anxious during the premiere in Japan. After the screening, the audience was silent, leading Ladd, Jr. to fear that the film would be unsuccessful. He was later told that, in Japan, silence was the greatest honor to a film.{{cite video |year2=2004 |title=Empire of Dreams: The Story of the ''Star Wars'' Trilogy |time= 1 Hour 22 Minutes 10 Seconds |medium = DVD |publisher=[[20th century Fox]]}} Meanwhile, thousands of people attended the ceremony at [[Grauman's Chinese Theatre]], where C-3PO, R2-D2, and Darth Vader placed their footprints in the theater's forecourt. Although ''Star Wars'' merchandise was available to enthusiastic children upon release, only [[Kenner Toys]]—who believed that the film would be unsuccessful—had accepted Lippincott's licensing offers. Kenner responded to the sudden demand for toys by selling boxed vouchers in its "empty box" Christmas campaign; these vouchers could be redeemed for the toys in March 1978. In 1978, at the height of the film's popularity, Smith-Hemion Productions approached Lucas with the idea of ''[[The Star Wars Holiday Special]]''. The end result is often considered a failure; Lucas himself disowned it.{{cite web | work=TV Party| title= Star Wars on TV|url=http://www.tvparty.com/70starwars.html| accessdate=2006-09-02}} Lucas entered into a wager with long-time friend [[Steven Spielberg]] during the production of ''[[Close Encounters of the Third Kind]].'' Lucas was sure ''Close Encounters'' would outperform the yet-to-be-released ''Star Wars'' at the box office and bet 2.5% of the proceeds of each film against each other. Lucas lost the bet and to this day Spielberg is still receiving proceeds from the first of the ''Star Wars'' movies.{{cite web |url=http://www.dailyindia.com/show/152442.php/Spielberg-still-reaping-profits-from-Star-Wars-bet-with-Lucas |title=Spielberg still reaping profits from Star Wars bet with Lucas |author=Dailyindia.com |accessdate=2007-08-02 |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20070629232756/http://www.dailyindia.com/show/152442.php/Spielberg-still-reaping-profits-from-Star-Wars-bet-with-Lucas |archivedate=2007-06-29}} The film was originally released as ''Star Wars'', without ''Episode IV'' or the subtitle ''A New Hope''. The 1980 sequel, ''[[Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back]]'', featured an episode number and subtitle in the opening crawl. When the original film was re-released in 1981, ''Episode IV: A New Hope'' was added above the original opening crawl. Although Lucas claims that only six films were ever planned, representatives of Lucasfilm discussed plans for nine or twelve possible films in early interviews.[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,915986,00.html ''Time''] - March 6, 1978; "George Lucas' Galactic Empire — Get ready for Star Wars II, III, IV, V ..." The film was re-released theatrically in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, and with additional scenes and enhanced special effects in 1997. [[CBS]] was host to the film's world broadcast premiere in 1984. ===Special Edition=== After ILM used [[computer-generated imagery|computer generated effects]] for Steven Spielberg's ''[[Jurassic Park (film)|Jurassic Park]]'', Lucas concluded that digital technology had caught up to his original vision for ''Star Wars''. As part of ''Star Wars''' 20th Anniversary celebration in 1997, A New Hope was digitally remastered and re-released to theatres, along with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, under the campaign title The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition. The Special Edition versions contained visual shots and scenes that were unachievable in the original release due to financial, technological, and time restraints; one such scene involved a meeting between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt. The process of creating the new visual effects for A New Hope was featured in the Academy Award-nominated IMAX documentary film, Special Effects: Anything Can Happen, directed by veteran Star Wars sound designer, Ben Burtt. Although most changes were minor or cosmetic in nature, some fans believe that Lucas degraded the movie with the additions. For instance, a particularly controversial change in which a bounty hunter named Greedo shoots first when confronting Han Solo has inspired T-shirts brandishing the phrase "Han Shot First."

DVD releases

A New Hope was released on DVD on September 21, 2004 in a box set with The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and a bonus disc of supplementary material. The movies were digitally restored and remastered, and more changes were made by George Lucas.

The DVD features a commentary track from George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher. The bonus disc contains the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, three featurettes, teaser and theatrical trailers, TV spots, still galleries, an exclusive preview of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a playable Xbox demo of the LucasArts game Star Wars Battlefront, and a "Making Of" documentary on the Episode III video game. The set was reissued in December 2005 as part of a three-disc "limited edition" boxed set without the bonus disc.

The trilogy was re-released on separate two-disc Limited Edition DVD sets from September 12 to December 31, 2006 and again in a box set on November 4, 2008; the original versions of the films were added as bonus material. The version included wasn't completely unedited. When Greedo assaulted Han, the subtitles that translates what he was saying were removed and were featured on a separate subtitle track that automatically plays when the movie starts (this change was also made on Episodes I, II, & VI). Controversy surrounded the release because the unaltered versions were from the 1993 non-anamorphic Laserdisc masters, and were not retransferred with modern video standards.

Lost scenes

Lucas was disappointed with editor John Jympson's leaden, lifeless first cut of Star Wars, so he eliminated many scenes in subsequent iterations. Lucas main aim was to improve the film's pacing, and also, as he put, "to get that [American] Graffiti feel out of it." These scenes have never been included on any VHS or DVD release, and are only available on the 1998 "Behind the Magic" CD-ROM-disc, and some pre-release publicity photographs.These scenes are:
  • Luke repairing a moisture vaporator at the Skywalker farm, assisted by a treadwell droid, when he notices shining objects in the sky. With his macrobinoculars Luke sees two ships engaged in combat beyond the atmosphere (Tantive IV chased by Darth Vader). Luke jumps in his landspeeder off into the desert to find his friends. The malfunctioning Treadwell blows a fuse and is unable to follow. Before this scene was cut, this was the audience's first sight of the young Luke Skywalker, much earlier than in the final cut. George Lucas had originally written the scenes and shot them at the suggestion of his industry friends who thought that audiences wouldn't understand the story. Upon realizing that the story was really about the droids adventures and it was them leading things to Luke and Obi-Wan, Lucas took the footage out. It has no sound and very little color, being degraded by poor film storage conditions over the years, although audio does exist via Star Wars Radio Dramas.


  • Luke storming into the Tosche Station at Anchorhead to tell his friends, Deak, Windy, Camie, Fixer and Biggs Darklighter about the space battle he witnessed. The battle appears to have ended and Luke's friends ridicule him for making it all up. After Lucas's first screening of the rough cut of Star Wars, a fellow film-maker jokingly accused him of producing "American Graffiti in space". This was a deciding factor for Lucas to cut all the scenes set in Anchorhead. Note that the radio play also has this scene.


  • Biggs' extended goodbye scene. Biggs talks about his assignment to work on the starship Rand Ecliptic. Luke's envy of Biggs's success conflicts with his duty to his uncle and his reasons for remaining on Tatooine. Biggs quietly tells Luke that he has decided to join the Rebellion against the Empire. It also includes some close-ups of the droids that are later seen in the Jawa Sandcrawler scene. The scene was meant to illustrate the close friendship of Luke and Biggs, probably cut for pacing reasons. The radio play also includes this scene.


  • Extended cantina-scene, including a scene with Han kissing a woman. This scene is yet missing the soundtrack and voice-overs, and is in poor quality.


  • Darth Vader and Chief Bast scene, in which they walk along a corridor on the Death Star. Bast reports that the search for the missing droids has extended to Mos Eisley spaceport. Vader observes that Princess Leia is resisting interrogation, and Bast boldly criticizes Tarkin's plan to break her as "foolish". Also in the Star Wars Holiday Special (the "Life On Tatooine" segment).


  • The Search for R2-D2 scene. Early in the morning, Luke and C-3PO rush off in the landspeeder to search for R2-D2 who has absconded from his new master Luke. While C3-PO drives the landspeeder, they talk about Ben Kenobi and how angry Uncle Owen is going to be. This landspeeder cockpit sequence had to be filmed against a rear-projection screen, and was likely dropped due to poor quality.


Reaction

Star Wars debuted on May 25, 1977, in 32 theaters and proceeded to break house records, effectively becoming one of the first blockbuster films. It remains one of the most financially successful films of all time. Some of the cast and crew noted lines of people stretching around theaters as they drove by. Even technical crew members, such as model makers, were asked for autographs, and cast members became instant household names. The film's original total U.S. and Canada gross came to $307,263,857, and it earned $6,806,951 during its first weekend in wide release. Lucas claimed that he had spent most of the release day in a sound studio in Los Angeles. When he went out for lunch with his then-wife Marcia, they encountered a long queue of people along the sidewalks leading to Mann's Chinese Theatremarker, waiting to see Star Wars. The film became the highest-grossing film of 1977 and the highest-grossing film of all time until E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial broke that record in 1982. (With subsequent rereleases, Star Wars reclaimed the title, but lost it again to James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster Titanic.) The film earned $775,398,007 worldwide, making it the first film to reach the $300, $400, $500, $600 and $700 million mark. Adjusted for inflation, it is the second highest grossing movie of all time in the United States, behind Gone with the Wind (1939).

The film received a largely positive critical reception. In his 1977 review, Roger Ebert called the film "an out-of-body experience," compared its special effects to those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and opined that the true strength of the film was its "pure narrative." Vincent Canby called the film "the movie that's going to entertain a lot of contemporary folk who have a soft spot for the virtually ritualized manners of comic-book adventure."However, there were a few negative responses. Pauline Kael of The New Yorker criticized the film, stating that "there's no breather in the picture, no lyricism," and that it had no "emotional grip." Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader stated, "None of these characters has any depth, and they're all treated like the fanciful props and settings." Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix said "Star Wars is a junkyard of cinematic gimcracks not unlike the Jawa' heap of purloined, discarded, barely functioning droids." Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic also responded negatively, noting, "His work here seems less inventive than in THX 1138." According to Rotten Tomatoes, of the 61 current critical reviews of the film provided on that site, 57 responded favorably (93% of the reviewers), stating in consensus that "the action and special effects are first rate."

In 1989, the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congressmarker selected the film as a "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" film. In 2006, Lucas's original screenplay was selected by the Writers Guild of America as the 68th greatest of all time. The American Film Institute (or AFI) listed it 15th on a list of the top 100 films of the 20th century; in the UK, a poll created by Channel 4 named A New Hope (together with its successor, The Empire Strikes Back) the greatest film of all time. The American Film Institute has named Star Wars and specific elements of it to several of its "top 100 lists" of American cinema, compiled as a part of the Institute's 100th anniversary celebration. These include the 27th most thrilling American film of all time; the thirty-ninth most inspirational American film of all-time; Han Solo as the fourteenth greatest American film hero of all time and Obi-Wan Kenobi thirty-seventh on the same list. The often repeated line "May the Force be with you" was ranked as the eighth greatest quote in American film history. John Williams' score was ranked as the greatest American film score of all time.

Awards

Star Wars won seven Academy Awards, including Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, which went to John Barry, Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley and Roger Christian. Best Costume Design was awarded to John Mollo; Best Film Editing went to Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas and Richard Chew; John Stears, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Grant McCune and Robert Blalack all received awards for Best Effects, Visual Effects. John Williams was awarded his third Oscar for Best Music, Original Score; the Best Sound went to Don MacDougall, Ray West, Bob Minkler and Derek Ball; and a Special Achievement for Sound Effects went to Ben Burtt. Additional nominations included Alec Guinness for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, George Lucas for Best Screenplay and Best Director, although it did not win Best Picture, which went to Annie Hall. At the Golden Globe awards, the film was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness), and Best Score. It only won the award for Best Score. It received six BAFTA nominations: Best Film, Best Editing, Best Costume, Best Production/Art Design, Best Sound, and Best Score; the film won in the latter two categories. John Williams' soundtrack album won the Grammy award for Best Album of an original score for a motion picture or television program, and the film was awarded the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. In 1997, the MTV Movie Awards awarded Chewbacca the lifetime achievement award for his work in the Star Wars trilogy.

Cinematic influence

Star Wars has influenced many films and filmmakers since its release. It began a new generation of special effects and high-energy motion pictures. The film was one of the first films to link genres—such as space opera and soap opera—together to invent a new, high-concept genre for filmmakers to build upon. Finally, along with Steven Spielberg's Jaws it shifted the film industry's focus away from personal filmmaking of the 1970s and towards fast-paced big-budget blockbuster for younger audiences.

After seeing Star Wars, director James Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry. Other filmmakers who have said to have been influenced by Star Wars include Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Kevin Smith and John Singleton. Scott was influenced by the "used future" (where vehicles and culture are obviously dated) and extended the concept for his science fiction horror film Alien and science fiction noir film Blade Runner (which also starred Harrison Ford). Jackson used the concept for his production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to add a sense of realism and believability.

Some critics have blamed Star Wars and also Jaws for ruining Hollywood by shifting its focus from sophisticated and relevant films such as The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and Annie Hall to films about spectacle and juvenile fantasy. Peter Biskind complained for the same reason: "When all was said and done, Lucas and Spielberg returned the 1970s audience, grown sophisticated on a diet of European and New Hollywood films, to the simplicities of the pre-1960s Golden Age of movies… They marched backward through the looking-glass."

In an opposing view, Tom Shone wrote that through Star Wars and Jaws, Lucas and Spielberg "didn't betray cinema at all: they plugged it back into the grid, returning the medium to its roots as a carnival sideshow, a magic act, one big special effect", which was "a kind of rebirth".

Star Wars has also been the subject of many parodies, including those in Robot Chicken, South Park, and Family Guy, and especially Mel Brooks' movie Spaceballs.

Current rankings

In 2002, Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back were voted as the greatest films ever made on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Films poll.

American Film Institute recognition:

Marketing

Novelization

The novelization of the film was published in December 1976, six months before the film was released. The credited author was George Lucas, but the book was revealed to have been ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, who later wrote the first Expanded Universe novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The book was first published as Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker; later editions were titled simply Star Wars (1995) and, later, Star Wars: A New Hope (1997), to reflect the retitling of the film. Certain scenes deleted from the film (and later restored or archived in DVD bonus features) were always present in the novel (since it had been based on the screenplay), such as Luke at Tosche Station with Biggs and the encounter between Han and Jabba (referred to as "Jabba the Hut") in Docking Bay 94. Other deleted scenes from the movie, such as a close-up of a stormtrooper riding on a Dewback, were included in a photo insert added to later printings of the book.

Smaller details were also different from the film version; for example, in the Death Star assault, Luke's callsign is Blue Five instead of Red Five as in the film. Also Obi-Wan does not sacrifice himself; Vader actually defeats and executes him in the lightsaber duel. Charles Lippincott secured the deal with Del Rey Books to publish the novelization in November 1976. By February 1977, a half million copies had been sold.

Radio drama

A radio drama adaptation of the film was written by Brian Daley, directed by John Madden, and produced for and broadcast on the American National Public Radio network in 1981. The adaptation received cooperation from George Lucas, who donated the rights to NPR. John Williams' music and Ben Burtt's sound design were retained for the show; Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) reprised their roles as well. The radio drama featured scenes not seen in the final cut of the film, such as Luke Skywalker's observation of the space battle above Tatooine through binoculars, a skyhopper race, and Darth Vader's interrogation of Princess Leia. In terms of Star Wars canon, the radio drama is given the highest designation (like the screenplay and novelization), G-canon.

Notes

References

  • Rinzler, J. W. (2007) The Making of Star Wars. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 9780345494764
  • Pollock, Dale (1999) Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306809044


Further reading

  • Bailey, T.J. (2005) Devising a Dream: A Book of Star Wars Facts and Production Timeline, Wasteland Press. ISBN 1933265558
  • Blackman, W. Haden (2004) The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology, Revised Edition (Star Wars), Del Rey. ISBN 0345449037
  • Bouzereau, Laurent (1997) Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, Del Rey. ISBN 0345409817
  • Sansweet, Stephen (1992) Star Wars - From Concept to Screen to Collectible, Chronicle Books. ISBN 0811801012


External links




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