100 Movies to See Before You Die- “Star Wars” (A.K.A. “A New Hope”)

Trying to describe this movie is a bit like trying to describe Raiders of The Lost Ark. It’s a cultural icon. Even those who haven’t seen the series know the basic story line, characters, moments, and iconic lines (“Luke, I am your father.” “May the force be with you.” etc.). The movie was a true box office smash and created a universe that spawned sequels, prequels, books, video games, action figures, and just about anything else you can imagine. There are very few movies, if any, that have had the cultural impact of Star Wars. So does the 1977 brainchild of George Lucas really deserve the lofty pedestal it calls home?

As a side note, I had to hunt around but I found a copy of the non-Special Edition 1977 release of “Star Wars.” That is what I watched and reviewed. It did not have the best audio and picture quality, but I wanted to watch the original theatrical release that so many millions fell in love with.

Should this film be considered a classic? Most definitely. This film has become such a part of the public consciousness precisely because it is so good. It’s the kind of film you want to watch over and over again and then to sit down and watch it with your kids so that they can experience it too. It tells the universal story of good and evil. The underdog Rebel Alliance with it’s ragtag group soldiers going up against the crushing might and technological superiority of Darth Vader’s Empire. It has memorable characters in Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader. The story is full of heart, wonderful set pieces, and great dialogue. It introduces us to lightsabers, Jedi, the X-Wing fighter, Millennium Falcon, and the Death Star. I could go on and on with the memorable things.

Ultimately, this film is a classic because it tells a universal story in an enduring and creative way. It is the rare film that appeals to both kids and adults and is not a lesser film for doing so.

Would I own this film? Let’s just say I’m waiting anxiously for the Blu-Ray release which will ship later this week. I know it is the Special Edition releases and they have a few more changes even on top of the SE changes, but I’m still looking forward to it. I would like to see Lucas release a restored version of the theatrical cuts in HD, but I’m not holding my breath. I still enjoy the SE versions and am not ashamed to say that I’m looking forward to getting my Blu-Ray copies. That said, the first version I want my kids to know is the original ones. There is something to be said for seeing these films in the form that endeared them to a generation of movie goers. The original, theatrical release of Star Wars is a true classic and even though I enjoy the Special Editions too, it is ultimately the original release that will endure in the hearts and minds of people and rightfully so. Star Wars is awfully close to being the perfect SciFi/Adventure film.


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