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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope More at IMDbPro »Star Wars (original title)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Author: sharky_55 from Australia
25 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Star Wars begins not with opening credits, as the guild would enforce in those days, but with a scrawl that has become legendary. Back then, it was a few lines of yellow text scrolling across a lengthy screen that would be photographed on the backdrop of an infinite star- field, losing itself in a vanishing point far, far away. A modest effect, yet those words instantly paint a picture so incredibly vivid that it would kick-start a hugely popular and successful franchise. And it is nothing without its iconic fanfare by John Williams. Take a listen to Holst's Mars movement and see how Williams transforms all the heroism, all the grandiosity and glory into one of the most recognisable themes of all time. And then we pan down and observe a little ship being pursued by a gigantic one, something so immediately identifiable, and we already are entranced.

It is a film that is at once lifted and tainted by Lucas' love for it. We see an entire world envisioned, and the production design so effortlessly ushering us into this aged future. When we crash land in the desert planet Tatooine, we recognise the arid setting, before just a hint of alien and droid life instantly transports our minds to millions of stars and galaxies away. Something so simple as adding an extra sun bathes the horizon for miles and miles with an air of mystery and other worldliness. When we encounter civilisation of sorts, Lucas gently pushes in an intergalactic band, a sleazy bar, aliens and creatures of all sizes - the usual alcoholic suspects. And when we need to take to the skies, the matte painted backgrounds do much of the work; hordes of stormtrooper minions, a grimy and worn Millennium Falcon, the great big grey walls of the Death Star buzzing with machinery and lights. Lucas would later insert his own little (or not so) CGI creations not because of any real need, but because the technology was now available, but this only highlights how perfect the world-building was in the first place. The new digitally rendered beasts look impressive yet noticeable shiny and over- expressive in the worn and dusty Mos Eisley, and sometimes the camera will linger unnecessarily as if to say "Look at what we can do now!" But we had been long immersed before that.

The story is of course a familiar one. It has roots in Joseph Campbell's Hero and Flash Gordon and even Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress; a story with mythic origins. And there are tell-tale signs of Lucas own American Graffiti a few years back. But Star Wars has evolved beyond those and becomes a treasure in its own right. The original created a world beyond the imaginable scope of that time, a sci-fi universe so living and breathing that people flocked again and again to experience it in theatres. Little details and mistakes become cultish and infamous themselves; the stormtrooper who bumps his head on the roof, Solo's comment about his ship's speed, and when a character's characterisation is marred, fans respond; Han shot first.

Looking back on it years gone by, it is inescapable to notice the ageing special effects. That is simply a fact of changing technologies. Yet I still marvel on how impeccably and competently Star Wars is crafted. The sound design is alien and fantastically so; simple acts of pulling on steel cable and microphone interference create these iconic noises, and of course the bright and noisy hum of the lightsabers. Years on we had incoherent and frenetically choreographed battles that seem more like acrobatic dance recitals, and the blades of light flashed at a hundred miles an hour, but here we have Guinness characterised in these simple but powerful strokes, the intent on his face, the recognition of an old pupil, the concentration of a chess match as they probe for a weakness. The space-fight scenes are edited like a dogfight from WW2 with precision by Marcia Lucas (a remarkable presence you don't notice until her absence), and the simply act of placing these fighter pilots on the backdrop of a whizzing and laser filled backdrop is thrilling. As the motion control photography soars through the space and trenches of the death star, these miniatures and models looks immense and engaging.

A gigantic bear-like creature and a small white droid speak not a word, but become fan favourites anyway. There is Darth Vader, who becomes even more menacing when comparing the original voice before the iconic wheezing of James Earl Jones was brought in. There is the plucky young hero, who's fate is only hinted at here, and it takes another two films for the story to become more mature, and his circle to complete. The roguish Han Solo is likewise expanded further in the sequels, as is his relationship with the Princess Leia as they continue to bicker. But is is here in this special film that it all began. The magic of Star Wars is that it takes place in a galaxy so far, far away, but it has become so close over the years, and so familiar.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This film holds up

Author: Cinesational from United States
26 October 2013

When I was 12, I went to see Star Wars in the theater 32 times. This is the film that made me want to make films. Star wars is a classic in my mind, full of fun, and campy lines.. The story is about a farm boy named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who discovers that the used robot recently purchased by his family plays back a message from one Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), begging for help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke asks his father's friend Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness) about this, and he discovers that Ben and Obi-Wan are one and the same. Kenobi tells Luke of the battle of the rebels against the ruling Empire and the spiritual energy called "The Force." Soon Luke, Kenobi, and a mercenary named Han Solo (Harrison Ford) join forces to rescue Princess Leia from the Empire's mammoth warship, the Death Star, controlled by evil genius Darth Vader (David Prowse, with the voice of James Earl Jones).

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Luke Skywalker joins the Force to fight against Darth Vader and the evil empire in order to bring peace in the universe.

Author: alex milonas from Greece
29 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Luke Skywalker is raised by his uncle in planet Totooine. One day, he buys two droids, R2 and C-3PO, to serve him. Accidentally, while cleaning R2, he discovers a message coming from princess Leia which has to be deleverd to an ex- Jedi, Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. When Luke finds him and tells him about the message, Obi Wan suggests him to become a Jedi knight. Luke accepts and these two together meet a pilot called Han Solo who is paid so as to fly them to the Death Star where princess Leia is kept prisoner by Darth Vader and the evil empire. After they rescue her, Luke , Han Solo and princess Leia travel to meet Rebel Alliance, princess Leia's team, and hand them the plans which will help them destroy the Death Star. Luke together with Rebel Alliance destroy it and escape. The "Empire strikes back" and "Return of the Jedi" come next and the epic tales continue. Τhe fantasy galaxy George Lucas invented, along with the different languages and technological creations (light saber, droids) are far beyond our imagination, but if all these existed, we would definitely die to pay a visit.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Fairy Tale Set In Space

Author: DJ Zurn from United States
3 May 2013

May the fourth be with you everybody! Today, on Star Wars day, I figure it only fitting to review the film that started the whole starry craze, Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress! Nah, just kidding, it's Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope of course. It has been said countless times that Star Wars was based upon the Kurosawa samurai films as well as the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s and 40s, but in my eyes, it's an all around fairy tale in space. Think about it, you've got the dashing, optimistic hero in Luke Skywalker, the wise, old mentor and hermit in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the damsel in distress mistress in Princess Leia, and the terrifying wizard with black attire in Darth Vader. It's like a Brothers Grimm tale or a tale written by L. Frank Baum, who you all know as the mind behind The Wizard of Oz. But what makes Star Wars great is something I can't sum up in one single review, but I'll certainly give it a try for your sake. This is 1977's Star Wars, the film that changed cinema forever.

I can relate to this film on so many levels. I see a lot of myself in the characters of Luke Skywalker, C-3P0 and even the cocky Han Solo, a rebellious lad with a devil may care point of view. I can also look up to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has become a lot like his master Qui-Gon Jinn by this episode. He has gone from a brash, outspoken padawan who viewed many creatures as useless to a wise old man who saw the potential in all creatures. I love Obi-Wan's wisdom and it's wisdom I live by every minute of everyday of my life. My favorite line of his is "Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?" He has such a rich perspective of everything and his knowledge of the Force can give you the push you need to go about even the deadliest of tasks. It's his guidance that finally allows Luke to demolish the Death Star at the film's finale and it's probably something that will carry onto mentor Luke in the upcoming Star Wars Episode 7. Obi-Wan is the kind mentor we all wish we could get knowledge from so we could become wiser souls.

Darth Vader is a menacing entity and is up there with the Wicked Witch of the West as one of film's greatest foes. The emotionless mask and deep dark voice of James Earl Jones really makes him ever more terrifying than he already is, but if you saw what he once was in Episodes 1,2 and 3, you tend to fear him less and less. It's hard to believe that underneath that breathing helmet is the charred face of Hayden Christensen, a once proud hero with a charming charisma. Little did we know that it would take him two more films until he finally reached his redemption and even than, it was before his untimely demise. Darth Vader is a motion picture icon, not only because of his wickedness and evilness, but because of his tragic past and his fight to gain back what he lost all those years ago. That's what makes an incredible villain, a villain that never wanted to be bad, but was thrust into badness because of one fatal decision.

The other characters are also worthy of mention. Mark Hamill prevails as the adventurous, yet good hearted Luke Skywalker who would become the galaxy's most acclaimed hero towards the film's conclusion. Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia is a lot like Dorothy Gale or Alice in Lewis Carroll's classic Wonderland stories. Sure, she gets captured, but she's perfectly capable of defending herself and even defending her companions. She's a fearless woman who is not even afraid of kissing her long lost brother straight on the lips. Harrison Ford's Han Solo is probably the film's most memorable human character and with his headstrong and hipster attitude, he was what a lot of children wanted to be like when they first saw Star Wars back in 77. He's the ideal punk, but he's also the gallant hero and tough guy who's not scared to shoot down some green aliens (Who cares who shot first!) or stormtroopers.

Personally, I became more fascinated with the non human characters like Chewbacca (Why didn't he get a medal!), R2-D2 and C-3P0, for like the humans, they were always trying to get the spotlight and give their share to the story. I feel like C-3PO is the most underrated character in all of Star Wars, for he is often seen as a symbol of homosexuality and annoyance. But Star Wars has a timeless story first and for most and this story gets better and better every time you experience it. Every time you experience it, you spot things you never spotted beforehand and that adds to the film's overall charm and magic. Even though it was made in the 70s, it still has the touch of a story that will last forever and never wear out. With all it's grand special effects (no matter what version of the film it is) and alien lifeforms, Star Wars is a storybook with a grand scale and a powerful, prudent moral that all creatures have a force flowing through them, allowing them to reach out and achieve the impossible.

I'm not quite sure but I think that's why we love it so much. That's the reason I love it at least.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Another experience I delayed far, far too long

Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
23 March 2013

George Lucas' Star Wars is a project unlike one I've seen before, as cliché and as empty as that statement might sound. It's a monumental achievement in the cinematic world, arguably the biggest one ever, that pioneered special effects work and accommodated for other science-fiction projects to follow in the next decades. When released in 1977, with sufficient hype and outstanding reviews, it was a movie-going experience; thousands of showings were sold out (something you never hear about anymore), universal audiences were captivated, cultists and enthusiasts were born, and the eye-popping technology was cherished and admired by many.

Watching Star Wars today (now called Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope with the release of the three prequels), there is still a uniquely affecting vibe that it sends with its compelling visuals and wonderfully articulated characters. It's over thirty years old, but it effectively holds the torch that makes it timeless. No matter how far technology progresses, and even with the onset of computer-animation and a heavy reliance on digital cinema, the look and beauty of Star Wars will likely never die out.

Since it appears that everyone has seen the Star Wars movies except for myself, I will spare you the boredom of hearing the plot reiterated for the umpteenth time. Besides, I'm not sure if I could explain it accurately. The film is fast-paced, dynamic, and just works so competently, that after a while, I began to dissolve any questions I had about the plot and just go along for the ride. Consistent readers know what I think of constant cinematic evaluations, and that I find them to often be without a reward and potentially lethal to the likability of a film. Things happen in Star Wars; crazy things, logical things, smart things, frightening things, but above all, enthralling things.

Speaking of enthralling things, I must admit how often I felt tension build and suspense become prevalent during the course of this film. For one thing, it's blatantly obvious to people who haven't even seen the series that these characters will make it (hence the two sequels). Yet, during several sequences, I found myself tense and extremely worried for these characters (most notably the scene in the trash chute). When a film can make you fear when you know the outcome is when you know true filmmaking tactics are at hand.

Something I have notice happen with older science-fiction films is that one of their downsides is their length due to their special effects showcase. Let me explain; Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a visual marvel when it first came out, but its story was extended out about twenty-five minutes longer than it needed to be because they were showcasing the technology, which was breathtaking at the time. It appears, too, that many fans even recall this fact with a bit of sourness, which is why when people refer to the "original trilogy" of the Star Trek films, they usually mean the second film through the fourth one. Star Wars doesn't bear that same quality; it doesn't need to turn the story into a methodical plod just to show off its creative design and visuals. It doesn't feel like a showcase. We get a perfect feel for the environment without having to stare at for an upwards of five minutes.

One thing that disheartens me greatly about this series is how controversial it has become. With numerous releases on DVD, and a new one on Blu-Ray, to my knowledge, the only original cuts of the Star Wars films you can see are on the Laserdisc/VHS versions. Because of this, fans have found themselves lambasting decisions made by Lucas, criticizing all the changes he has made to the series on the new releases of the DVDs, his re-releases of the movies in theaters, and lucrative branding/licensing of the figures in the money that, in 2013, continue to flood the store aisles of a Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us near you. I believe that's one of the contributing reasons to why I never saw or even felt like seeing the original films until now; I felt alienated and bullied, with the series seemingly shoving itself down my throat.

On a final note, another impressive element is the charisma and talent of a young Mark Hamill, portraying no one else but Luke Skywalker. Hamill seems like the kind of guy who, after breaking out in Lucas' trilogy of films, would have gone on to do unprecedented projects, but alas, no. Hamill has only acted in either small roles or cameos in films, and hasn't really worked on any other mainstream picture aside from the Star Wars trilogy. While this fact is slightly depressing, as one can only imagine what he could've done, it's fortunate we weren't burdened of seeing him in anything atrocious.

Star Wars is, in short, an incorruptible masterpiece on film. A film that launched the genre of science fiction, propelling films about outer space to unheard of heights. It's just incredibly unfortunate to see what dismal treatment it, and its fans, have had to endure since its release.

Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Directed by: George Lucas.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Greatest Film series of all time.

Author: Ryan Bateman-Lowe from United Kingdom
21 February 2012

I've seen this film so many times,in fact I grew up with the Prequel trilogy and still love this one.Actually the only prequel I liked was the Revenge of the Sith,although the Lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn,Obi Wan and Darth Maul is very entertaining but the thing I love about the originals is too hard to describe in one word,I love the story,the character,the sets are incredible,the acting is very good,and of course.......Darth Vader himself.This was when George Lucas wasn't a money grabbing idiot,when he actually wanted to make a good film,I just bought the Blu-Ray,I'm not exactly keen on the CGI filled changes Lucas put in there,but the picture quality and sound makes the experience even better.

A Great movie that will NEVER get old. 10/10

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Simply The Best Of It's Kind

Author: Ryan Neil from United States
5 February 2012

Since its release way back in 1977, George Lucas' epic masterpiece "Star Wars" has gone on to become quite possibly the most popular franchise in motion picture history, with one of the biggest fan followings imaginable. But no matter how much money this franchise makes, or how many people see it, no matter how many sequels or prequels or re-releases or remasters it endures, the original classic still remains to be a very personal film. Despite the success it has undergone since its release, the production of "Star Wars" was a highly troubled one, many people expecting it to not even get completed at all. The hard work and dedication that Lucas and his cast and crew went through to get this thing made definitely shows through, and that makes the movie all the more endearing to watch. Quite simply, it's an incredible achievement in movie-making.

Now, these films have been discussed to death, but I feel like I'd like to give my own two cents on the subject, and my thoughts could easily be summed up in five words: "Star Wars" is absolutely amazing. Everything about it, from the acting, the effects, the story, the mythos, the music, the incredible intrigue that has keep this series alive for so long, it all started here, and it's great. I don't feel like I need to go too in-depth with a plot summary, because this is one of the most iconic films in history, but basically, "Star Wars" follows a simple farm boy living on a desert planet named Luke Skywalker, who yearns to fight with the Rebel Alliance against the evil Galactic Empire. Before he knows it, he's thrust into an intergalactic adventure, along with an inventive cast of characters, as he tries to help rescue a princess and destroy the Empire's newest weapon: a space station with the power to destroy planets, called the Death Star.

As I said, this movie is awesome. The acting is fantastic all around, each one giving a perfect performance in these incredibly iconic, and unforgettable roles. The inventive special effects are some of the best of their time, and the action sequences are gripping and fantastic, never allowing a dull moment to come through. The story is incredibly fascinating, managing to blend science fiction through the space travel, droids, and aliens, with fantasy through the mystical Force, a defining trait of the Jedi Knights. The intrigue levels are really high here, and it's that intriguing quality that allows viewers to really get invested and really talk in depth about this movie.

This film defined a generation. To this day, people still talk about it, and I doubt that it will ever stop being discussed. "Star Wars" is one of the best sci-fi fantasy epics ever made, and will always be a binding Force of cinema for the rest of time.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This will be a day long remembered - a review 33 years in the making

Author: cosmorados from United Kingdom
17 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker encounters two eccentric droids, gets attacked by sand people and is then saved by an old wizard by the name of Ben Kenobi. After a brief chat the farm boy discovers that Ben and Luke's father used to protect the universe as Jedi Knights until his father was killed by the evil Darth Vader. After his aunt and uncle are killed Luke realises his destiny has been chosen for him and he and Ben are going to have to take on the empire, and from this point movie history will never be the same again.

Much has been said about this movie and it almost feels redundant to discuss it, but, as it was the first film I saw at the pictures I feel almost duty bound to add my two penneth to the mix and so I will. This film was groundbreaking in terms of effects, but what we have learnt since Star Wars is that all the good effects in the world can't save a poor movie. The thing that makes this movie as damned good as it is, is the mixture of urgent direction, wonderful performances, a damned good script, that often gets blasted as being terrible, (If it was the film would also be terrible isn't, ergo sum ...), a pioneering use of sound effects that really reinforce the more alien characters with a real sense of emotion (specifically Chewbacca and R2-D2) but of course the last big star of the movie is John Williams sweeping epic score, which even today is probably one of the greatest pieces of movie music ever.

These days I understand why a film like "Casablanca" and "Citizen Kane" cannot be appreciated by a modern audience because they are so hailed for their enormity on their first appearance that it often cannot be re-experienced by viewers after that. The first time we watch Star Wars we don't actually know that there is anything but Jawas on Tatooine, or that Obi-Wan Kenobi (That wizard's just a crazy old man) is a secret bad-@ss or that Han Solo, good for nothing mercenary, is seen right through by Jedi Knight Ben Kenobi. We who experienced it the first time will always feel it again, but the modern audience, who know so much about the film, cannot.

The film is full of classic moments, from Ben Kenobi's reveal, R2-D2's fall, Luke switching off his targeting computer, Han's constant irreverent humour, Ben's "that's no moon", and a dozen more, but even after all these years my favourite moment is that knowing look that Ben gives Luke at the end of his duel with Vader. His wry smile and the blend of music and performance by both Hamill and Guiness is sensational and still gives me goose bumps now. Amazing.

Since then the impact of the original three may have been watered down by the prequels, but as much as you can't polish a turd, you also cannot dim the brightest star. Which is why the term "May the force be with you" will always mean so much to so many.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Star Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!

Author: griffolyon12 from United States
13 October 2007

Star Wars, now known as Episode IV: A New Hope, is the perfect showcase of everything that makes a movie great. It is one of those occasions where everything in the film seems to of perfectly fell in place(although if you know the story behind the making of it, it wasn't so smooth). The acting, directing, writing, production design, special effects, and anything else I've forgotten, is simply top-notch. This movie did so many things for film, most notably the special effects, but it also gave us three of the greatest young actors of the late 70s and 80s, Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Then the film also created the blockbuster, and is the definition of what a blockbuster should be(humor, emotion, action, heart). On the last point the action is probably the most exhilarating and exciting action I've ever seen on film, the Death Star Trench Run is the definite highlight of the film. This film is just simply superb and is picture perfect, and is definitely one of the greatest and most memorable films of all-time. It's hard to believe that this all sprung from one man's imagination, George Lucas(writer/director of the film). STAR WARS!!!!!!!!!

Rating: A picture perfect 10 out of 10!!!!!!!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

What can you say...pure greatness

Author: cinemafan1996 from United States
1 August 2007

Star Wars changed everyone's lives when it came out in 1977, including mine. I can still remember the anticipation as a little kid waiting in line to see this amazing movie I kept reading about.

It definitely lived up to every bit of hype I had heard up to that point. I got my popcorn and my soda, sat down with my cousin and we watched in awe at everything we saw on the screen.

I am definitely a Star Wars kid, and feel very lucky to have actually seen the original in the theater, something that today's kids can never experience because all big event films are all children of Star Wars after all. But there will never be anything like this first movie, the greatest film of all time! If you haven't seen it yet, see it!

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