Star WarsAFI Rank: #15
Year Released: 1977
Director: George Lucas
Actors:Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Star Wars isn't just a movie. It's a force of nature. There are so many sly references to Star Wars plot lines in modern movies, books, tv shows and even news commentary that it's almost a must-watch for any adult who wants to be able to comprehend modern culture. The voyages of Luke, Han, Leia and their friends transcend a movie experience and have become part of our vocabulary.
When I reached my 1,000th review on Amazon, I gave a lot of thought as to which item I wanted to be in that 1,000th spot. After all, I spent many years writing all of these reviews! Finally, I decided the spot should belong to Star Wars. This movie is one that literally affected the vocabulary of the world, and has become a cultural touchstone decades later. You can point out many books, movies, TV shows and even documentaries and news stories that refer to plot situations and characters from this very first Star Wars film.
I was a child when the first Star Wars came out, and I literally went to see the show over 10 times in the theater. It was that powerful for me. There was a princess who stood up for herself - who grabbed the gun and defended herself, who helped plan the escapes and attacks. But on the other hand this wasn't a war movie - there were characters who talked about how the universe was interconnected and how every person in it could make a difference. People of all shapes, sizes and colors were accepted here. There were infinite worlds and infinite options. I adored this movie.
While I appreciate the "improvements" made to this over the years, I really feel strongly that the original story was powerful because of the way it was written. It was the story that mattered - not high-flying special effects. I liked that Han shot first when he was in trouble. I liked that Mos Eisley was a desolate, quiet town - and that to Luke, this was a "big city". It really showed the relative value we all place on community. I think the *only* thing in the first movie that seemed a bit odd was when Han and Chewie were chasing after the stormtroopers on the Death Star - and fled because there were suddenly more than two. I do agree that that one change was probably necessary, but given that they were able to have "lots of people" (real or fake) in the final medal-presenting scene, I would have thought Lucas could have pulled that off here as well.
In any case, I think there is a huge value in seeing the actual movie, as it was released, without any trickery or post-movie additions. I also think, if you've somehow never seen this movie at all, that you should really watch it at least once. With all the many subtle references to this movie that pop up in our culture every day, it's good to have that grounding and be able to understand the references properly.
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