George Lucas comes up with an era-defining smash, followed by a fantastic sequel and then, er, Return of the Jedi.
Culture-shifting, money-making, audience-astounding franchise changes the cinematic experience for a generation (and then some). From its first big-screen debut, Star Wars is a sensation, after which the world is never quite the same again.
A space opera with groundbreaking special effects, a cascade of iconic imagery, resonant characters and (Oh no!) Ewoks, the original Star Wars trilogy also goes on to make its creator, George Lucas, a very wealthy man indeed and a toy franchise kingpin in the process.
Before he almost destroys the magic years later by tinkering with, re-editing, and generally messing up the pacing of his original movies in an attempt to bring them in line with his infuriating and infinitely inferior prequels.
So, let’s begin the original Star Wars journey in a galaxy far, far away…
THAT TRANSLATES INTO?
Star Wars (Episode IV - A New Hope) (1977)
Big, brash and showy from the very first frame, Star Wars is a cinematic phenomenon that arrives apparently out of nowhere to prompt the dropping of jaws around the world.
George Lucas labours for years to bring his creative vision to the big screen, but when he finally does so (and proves his critics wrong in the process), Oh boy, is it loud, spectacular and audience-pleasing.
Those critics (particularly on the movie's original release) are more sniffy, but who cares about them when cinema-goers are queueing around the block to get in?
Taking the audience across a universe in a battle essentially between space Nazi and the Rebel Alliance, Star Wars is all shoot em’ up and glowing, fast-paced sci-fi visuals, matched perfectly to John Williams’ thumping orchestral soundtrack.
Guess which side wins (and how)?
Now such a central part of pop culture, it is difficult to believe it is this movie that introduces the world to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, RD-D2 and C-3PEO.
All of which would have sounded like gibberish before 1977, when Star Wars was first projected onto a cinema screen, but afterwards these characters would become much loved as pop icons in their own right.
The highest-grossing movie from the original trilogy at $775 million.*
"The force is strong with this one," etc.
The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back) (1980)