Ever since Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope was first released in May of 1977, it has been the gift that keeps on giving. Eight more main movies, to date – two anthology films, even two Ewok movies, a litany of TV shows, toys, games, name the product and slap a droid’s face on it. Not to mention any and every filmmaker inspired by Star Wars to set forth and make their own mark – how many of those talents would be here without George Lucas’ seminal film?
While over the years, a lot of fans have migrated to the more adult Empire Strikes Back or more kid-friendly Return Of The Jedi but as far as the original trilogy goes, it’s hard to surpass the feeling a lot of fans had when they first saw the movie. No matter how far the vitriol sometimes goes, fans haven’t forgotten how they first felt. Prequels, sequels, Disney, Lucas, Star Wars is one of the few brands that can transcend all of the detractors and it’s in no small part to the first film.
10 Best – It’s Star Wars!
Why is A New Hope still the best Star Wars movie? Because it’s fricking’ Star Wars that’s why! You don’t get anything else from the Star Wars Universe without this fun first movie. No Ewoks, no Rey, no video games, no Disney ride, heck, no Empire Strikes Back without the original Star Wars. The feeling of elation you’re having right now? That’s because you’re remembering how cool it was to watch the Rebel assault on the Death Star.
9 Not – Vader Vs. Obi-Wan
With all of the updates and changes George Lucas made to the original Star Wars, and he couldn’t fix this scene?! Especially after watching Jedi and Sith of all ages and sizes flip, flop, and fly around the world fighting one another and he couldn’t put some more oomph into the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Vader?!
A couple months ago, a fan-made update of this scene surfaced – someone tell Disney to put that into film instead of watching two guys just kind of stand there and wave a wand at each other.
8 Best – There’s A Character For Everyone
It’s no secret that Lucas researched all kinds of myths and legends when he was plotting the course of the Star Wars Saga. The original Star Wars movie literally had something for everyone – for kids, they could idolize wild-eyed Luke; brash teens and young adults had he space pirates Han and Chewie; and tough as nails Princess Leia was one of the first female role models for a new generation. Older moviegoers had Alec Guinness to root for, and just about everyone was mesmerized by Darth Vader.
7 Not – Luke’s A Whiney Brat
Who would have ever thought that Mark Hamill’s line read of “but I was going to go Tosche Station to pick up some power converters” have so much impact on the Stat Wars Saga. Apparently being a whiney brat is sort of a prerequisite to head towards the Dark Side. While Luke never falls throughout his journey, he also stopped complaining about things for the most part after this movie. His dad? Not so much, all Anakin did when he wasn’t fighting was whine about Obi-Wan, the Jedi Council, and sand.
6 Best – Lightsabers
Without A New Hope, were never introduced to one of the coolest weapons in all of cinema. Lightsabers have been a part of every Star Wars movie, except Solo. What kid hasn’t swung a stick around making humming noises.
In fact, Lucas had to tell several of his Prequel Jedi actors to stop making the humming noises – “they do that in post.”
5 Not – The Special Edition
In 1997, to celebrate twenty years of Star Wars, George Lucas went back and updated all three of the original movies with new scenes and new effects, cleaning up the films to look more like his original visions. The entire idea seemed amazing, until the movies came out. A New Hope is probably the most egregious of the new cuts. Mostly for Han no longer shooting first. Not only does it change the character that Han Solo was at that point in the story, the effect itself looked terrible, making the scene feel even more wrong.
4 Best – Luke And The Twin Suns
For such a simple shot, it has also become one of the most iconic shots in Hollywood history. Luke, a young farm boy comes out of his kitchen, kicking up some sand a little frustrated at the hand he’s been dealt. He stares out into the twin suns of Tatooine and John Williams’ amazing score cues up – it’s all anyone needs to understand how desperately, Luke, and in some ways a lot of us just want to fly away towards adventure.
3 Not – Pacing
For such a concise plot, the original Star Wars moves at a snail’s pace. Now back when the film was released perhaps that wasn’t the case. But compared to the rest of the movies and the countless other movies it’s inspired; the film takes a long while to finally get going. It’s a testament to how watchable the film despite it moving a little slow, but it might not be the best one to show your kids first anymore.
2 Best – The Opening Shot
Conversely to the pacing of the film, opening shot of the Rebel Blockade Runner being hunted down by a Star Destroyer immediately pulls you in, the Rebels head for cover, knowing that a battalion of Stormtroopers are on their way.
Before knowing anything about Star Wars, fans knew immediately how dire the situation was, especially when that ominous breathing was heard, accompanying the arrival of Darth Vader.
1 Not – No Medal For Chewbacca
Chewbacca did just as much for the rescue of Princess Leia as Luke and Han did. He’s also probably the reason that Han turned the Falcon around to help Luke and the Rebellion take out the Death Star. Plus, he did it all without hitting on the Princess, unlike the other two scoundrels. But why doesn’t he get a medal?! This needs to be fixed somehow, someday.
NEXT: 10 Great Things About The Star Wars Prequels