Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope  (1977)


IMDB Rating 8.7/10  121 min - Rated U Fantasy | Adventure

Stars:            Mark Hamill,  Harrison Ford,  Carrie Fisher    Director:      George Lucas

A naive young farm boy (Hamill), a mystical old sage (Guinness), and a smuggler (Ford) get caught up in an intergalactic rebellion.  After directing Tr-D(1138 and the hugely successful American Graffiti, George Lucas found himself in great demand in 1974. Apocalypse Now looked to be next on his slate, having been prepped by collaborator Francis Ford Coppola, and suitably in keeping with the young director's previous mature and intelligent work. Instead, he surprised everyone by heading off to England to make a Flash Gordon movie with tin robots, space wizards and a seven-foot dog.  The film's success at the box office (and in exploiting its promotional and merchanclizing potential) is now legendary. If you adjust for inflation, the worldwide gross stands at nearly $2 billion, and that doesn't include revenue from sequels, video games and merchandize. Nor does it reflect the large proportion of the populace who consider the film an abomination. Quite why it remains so divisive is hard to understand. There are certainly flaws, particularly in the dialogue and performances, but these are generally no more relevant to the film's critics than to its fans, detractors preferring to cite vague concerns over the film's influence on Hollywood's increasing commercialism. But that is to miss the point entirely. It is inevitable that success will bring about change in any industry; we should be grateful the film which became the medium's most popular offspring is one of such charm, innocence and all round quality. The score is one of the greatest ever recorded, the effects are photo-real, the production design is timeless and the whole thing is stuck together with a masterly ability for storytelling.  For most of the generation lucky enough to discover Star Wars before its formula was imitated and diluted, it remains the shared, innocent and fantastical experience we remember from childhood, and nothing can change that.


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