Star Wars (1977)

“The force will be with you, always.”

Star Wars Poster

Synopsis:
In a galaxy far, far away, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) joins the rebellion against the Empire by teaming up with Jedi master Obi-Wan Kanobi (Alec Guinness) and rogue pilot Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to rescue kidnapped Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from the clutches of evil Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, writer-director George Lucas’s Star Wars — which borrows liberally from countless other films (including Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress and The Wizard of Oz) and pop culture references (serials such as “Flash Gordon” and “Buck Rogers”) — is “arguably the most influential film ever made, although one can legitimately question whether its profound effect on future movie product [design], in Hollywood and worldwide, has been positive”, given that we’ve all “overdosed on special effects, toys, and intergalactic wars”. Peary (ever the ’70s liberal!) accurately argues that the film unfortunately “makes war look like fun”, and that the characters are, regrettably, designed to be shallow — Mark Hamill is particularly annoying as callow, whiny Luke Skywalker (though it could be argued that he’s well-suited for the role). Sophisticated modern viewers seeing Star Wars for the first time may actually wonder what all the fuss is about, given that much of it comes across today as either campy (i.e., the infamous “cantina scene”) or dated, and the special effects — while revolutionary at the time, and still largely impressive — have since been surpassed.

With that said, the film is, as Peary notes, both “craftily made”, and (with the possible exception of Hamill as Skywalker) “brilliantly cast”, effectively balancing veteran and young actors. It deservedly won a passel of Oscars: for special effects (the final battle sequence — while it goes on for too long — is especially well done), costume design, sound effects, art direction, editing, and best original score (by John Williams). Harrison Ford is hunky and memorable in his breakthrough role as Han Solo; Carrie Fisher (only 17 years old!) is effectively spunky as Princess Leia (those buns!); and Alec Guinness couldn’t have been better cast as the “wise and noble Jedi warrior Ben ‘Obi-Wan’ Kenobi”. Film fanatics, regardless of their personal connection with the movie, will doubtless agree that its “tremendous spirit, sense of fun and adventure, excitement, hip humor, imaginative characters, and fast-paced, uncomplicated story” deservedly “touched a universal nerve”, and that Star Wars remains indispensable “must see” viewing.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Harrison Ford as Han Solo
    Star Wars Harrison Ford
  • Alec Guinness as Obi Wan
    Star Wars Guinness
  • Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
    Star Wars Carrie Fisher
  • C3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2D2 (Kenny Baker)
    Star Wars C3PO R2D2
  • Memorable sets
    Star Wars Sets
  • Groundbreaking special effects
    Star Wars Special Effects
  • John Williams’ rousing score

Must See?
Of course.

Categories

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

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One Response to “Star Wars (1977)”

  1. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    The first and best of all of the many SW films thus far if not the most dramatically dark (The Empire Strikes Back, Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One). It’s just so fresh and thrilling with great characters and performances, a good script and story and Lucas directors with a firm hand. John Williams’ score and ILM’s SPFX are topnotch.

    The Empire Strikes Back (1980) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Return of the Jedi (1983) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    The Phantom Menace (1999) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Attack of the Clones (2002) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Revenge of the Sith (2005) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    The Force Awakens (2015) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Rogue One (2016) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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