Star Wars (1977)

USA, 1977
121m, 125m [special edition]
35mm, 70mm [blow-up], Panavision [anamorphic], Technicolor, 2.35:1
Dolby System, 70mm 6-Track [70mm prints], Dolby Digital [special edition], DTS 70mm (European special edition 70mm prints), DTS [special edition], SDDS [special edition], English

An American science fiction film directed by George Lucas. It has spawned several sequels and prequels, a number of television series and a huge range of spin-off films, television shows and merchandising. It is arguably the most successful and influential science fiction film ever made. Lucas has made a number of changes to the film on subsequent re-issues, most notably 1997’s special edition and the 2004 DVD release which incorporated further changes to the visual effects and dialogue. As early as 1981, the title of the film was being tinkered with – after the release of the first sequel, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars was re-issued with the new title Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the title that has appeared on all subsequent releases.

Plot Summary

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… An evil Empire maintains an iron grip on the galaxy. But a rebel alliance has formed to fight them and is massing against the Empire’s latest secret weapon, the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker becomes involved with the alliance and finds himself drawn into the war against the Empire and their agent, the evil Darth Vader.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: George Lucas
© 1977 by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
A Lucasfilm Limited production
Produced by: Gary Kurtz
Written by: George Lucas
Director of Photography: Gilbert Taylor
Film Editors: Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas, Richard Chew; George Lucas *
Music by: John Williams
Production Sound Mixer: Derek Ball
Costume Designer: John Mollo
Make Up Supervisor: Stuart Freeborn
Special Production & Mechanical Effects Supervisor: John Stears
Special Photographic Effects Supervisor: John Dykstra
Production Designer: John Barry
Photographed in Tunisia, Tikal National Park, Guatemala, Death Valley National Monument, California and at Emi Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, England

Cast
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)
Harrison Ford (Han Solo)
Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa)
Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin)
Alec Guinness (Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi)
Anthony Daniels (See Threepio (C-3PO))
Kenny Baker (Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2))
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
David Prowse (Lord Darth Vader)
Jack Purvis (chief Jawa)
Eddie Byrne (Commander Willard)
Phil Brown (Uncle Owen)
Shelagh Fraser (Aunt Beru)
Alex McCrindle (General Dodonna)
Drewe Henley (Red Leader)
Dennis Lawson (Red Two (Wedge))
Garrick Hagon (Red Three (Biggs))
Jack Klaff (Red Four (John “D”))
William Hootkins (Red Six (Porkins))
Angus McInnes (Gold Leader)
Jeremy Sinden (Gold Two)
Graham Ashley (Gold Five)
Don Henderson (General Taggi)
Richard LeParmentier (Admiral Motti)
Leslie Schofield (commander #1)

Alternative Titles

The Adventures of Star Killer – working title
Guerre stellari – Italy
Krieg der Sterne – German title
The Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – reissue title

Sequels
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Prequels
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

See also
Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
American Masters Special: George Lucas – Heroes, Myth and Magic (1993)
Cabaret Sin (1987)
Death Star Repairmen (2003)
Dogma (1999)
Droid Gunner (1995)
Droids (1985)
Flash Gordon (1980)
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
Galaxy Quest (1999)
George Lucas in Love (1999)
Hardware Wars (1977)
History of the World Part I (1981)
Kung Fu Kenobi (1997)
Muppets From Space (1999)
Spaced (1999-2001)
Spaceballs (1987)
Star Tours (1987)
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Star Wars: Making the Magic (no date)
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996)
StarCraft (1998)
Starcrash (1979)
Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle (1999)
Os Trapalhões na Guerra dos Planetas (1978)
Troops (1998)
Uchu daisenso (1959)
Uchu kaijû Gamera (1980)
Uchu kara no messeji (1978)
Wakusei daisenso (1977)

Extracts included in
100 Years at the Movies (1994)
AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies (1998)
The Android Prophecy (2001)
Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western (1997)
Brave New Worlds: The Science Fiction Phenomenon (1993)
Clapperboard: Star Wars (1977)
Clapperboard: Star Wars and Its Predecessors (1978)
Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam (1982)
My Science Fiction Life (2006)
Peter Cushing: A One-Way Ticket to Hollywood (1989)
Precious Images (1986)
Special Effects: Anything Can Happen (1996)
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction: Space (2014)
Wow! (1990)

Production Notes

Others

On Saturday 17 February 2024, an incomplete and unbound copy of the script dated 15 March 1976 and left behind in a London flat by Harrison Ford was sold at auction by Excalibur Auctions for £10,795. A collection of shooting schedules, a call sheet and notes also left behind by Ford sold at the same auction for £4,826. 1The Guardian website, dated 17 February 2024

References

Periodicals

  • DVD Monthly June 2001 pp.18-19 – illustrated article (Star Wars)
  • Fantastic Films vol.1 no.3 (August 1978) pp.6-27; 45-47, 50-53; 54-55; 57-59 – illustrated interview with Douglas Trumbull (Douglas Trumbull by James Delson); illustrated interview with John Dykstra (John Dykstra by James Burns); illustrated interview with Kenny Baker (A short conversation with Kenny Baker); illustrated article (The weapons of Star Wars by Clyde Jones and John Penn)
  • Screen International no.120 (7 January 1978) p.1 – illustrated note (Star Wars’ blasts into Britain)
  • Starburst vol.1 no.1 (January 1978) pp.12-19 – illustrated synopsis (Star Wars: Buccaneers of space – by Sam Deli)
  • TV Times (Yorkshire region) 23-29 October 1982 pp.4-5; 6, 9; 10; 11; 37 – illustrated article (Once upon a galaxy… illustrated by Martin Abury); illustrated interviews with Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels (Unveiled: the most famous faceless men of films by Jan Etherington); illustrated competition (Are you brave enough to accept our Darth Vader challenge?); illustrated interview with Carrie Fisher (‘I’m a female Woody,’ says Princess Carrie by Leslie Salisbury); review (Films by David Quinlan)

Newspapers

  • The Guide [The Guardian] South 15-21 March 1997 pp.4-5; 7; 8 – illustrated article (Wartime Romance by Kevin Smith); illustrated articles (Was Star Wars made in Japan? by Andrew Pulver; Use the foam by Ross Jones; The steamy side of the Force by Mark Hooper; Star Wars: a reality check by Siân Pattenden)

Books

  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) pp.336, 337 – illustrated credits, review
  • BFI Screen Guides: 100 Science Fiction Films by Barry Keith Grant pp.147-148 – illustrated credits, review
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.355
  • Film Review 1978-1979 by F. Maurice Speed p.161 – credits, review
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis 371-372 – credits, review
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films III by Donald C. Willis p.254-255 – credits, review
  • Lexikon des phantatischen Films 2 by Rolf Giesen pp.223-235 – credits, review
  • Peter Cushing: The Gentle Man of Horror and His 91 Films by Deborah Del Vecchio and Tom Johnson pp.386-393 – illustrated notes
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.452-454 – credits, review
  • Science Fiction Films of the Seventies by Craig W. Anderson pp.158-164 – credits, review
  • The Stop-motion Filmography by Neil Pettigrew pp.659-661 – credits, review
  • Trick Cinematography by R.M. Hayes pp.225-228 – credits, review