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

PG   |    |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy


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

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.

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8.6/10
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  • David Prowse and Leslie Schofield in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
  • Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
  • Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
  • Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
  • "Star Wars" Dir. George Lucas & Prod. Gary Kurtz 1977 Lucas Films
  • Kenny Baker in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

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Reviews & Commentary

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31 March 2003 | mentalcritic
The original version was brilliant...
I was actually born about a year after this film first premiered, but being a member of a family that was the first on the block to get such things as the VCR and the proper Hi-Fi system allowed me to catch this film in a number of different formats in the years ranging from 1982 to 1997. I think it is safe to say that without this film, I would have had no idea how truly evil a thing Pan And Scan is, or why multi-channel audio is such a damned important thing to have in the home theatre environment.

Of course, I also knew that the film wasn't perfect. I could see a number of small problems where Lucas' budget just didn't quite go far enough, or where there just wasn't enough time to accomplish what was wanted. So when the announcement was made that in 1997, each film would be presented with improved special effects and footage that could not be integrated in the original cut for reasons of budget or practicality, I was excited.

For the most part, I was overjoyed to see the new footage or effects. Mos Eisley now looks like a real city or port of commerce, without the viewer's sense of disbelief at the seemingly deserted streets needing to be suspended. The flight of the X-Wings towards the Death Star in its original form was very good, a marvel of its time, but when George finally got to show it the way he wanted to, it was almost the equivalent of watching the helicopters of Apocalypse Now decimating the village to the tune of Ride Of The Valkyries. The wonderfully composed tracking shots especially made the battle look almost as if it really happened and Lucas was just there to take pictures. And Jabba? Well, he doesn't look all that real, granted, but it was just nice to have that one piece of footage in order to make the appearance of Boba Fett in Episode V and the entire prologue of Episode VI make a bit more sense, especially to dullards.

Unfortunately, there are a number of times when Lucas just goes too far in his quest to improve his work. Sometimes you can only do so much to anything before it starts to look overdone. Of course, I am talking about the scene between Han and Greedo in the cantina. In the original version, we are led to believe Han is a scoundrel who only cares about himself, giving us one of the best character arcs in the whole trilogy. It is also a great tribute to Sergio Leone, a nice reference to when Tuco shoots a potential assassin from his bathtub and tells the corpse "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk!". Modifying this scene so it looks like Greedo shot first is an insult on a few levels. It insults Greedo as a character, making him look like one of the most incompetent bounty hunters in the galaxy. It insults the audience, who even at the age of six should no that you'd have to be blind, drunk, brain-damaged, or all three, to miss from that distance. Lastly, it insults the character of Han Solo by destroying a vital piece of said character arc. Watching Han go from scum to a leader of men, a space-age version of King Aragorn even, was one of the best things about the original Star Wars trilogy.

The story itself is the stuff of classics in that it shows the most unlikely of heroes doing things that everyone else claims to be impossible. What Lucas got right in terms of pacing and plot here is exactly where he went wrong in the prequels, in that he makes the jump from location to location seem important to the plot and totally natural, rather than forced and choppy. The story and sense of adventure makes one forget that there are really only three major locations other than the inside of a space ship.

Overall, the original Star Wars rates an eight out of ten. If Lucas had applied some common sense in conjunction with his rampant desire for revisionism, I would give it a ten, but as one critic who is famous for his negativity once said about Episode II, when was the last time anyone told George Lucas no? Still, this is a classic that should be shown to future generations as an example of how an imagination and enough literacy to realise it will open doors for you when nothing else will.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first movie in the franchise to be given the "U" rating in the United Kingdom. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) were also rated "U". But Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) was the last movie in the franchise to be given the "U" rating in the U.K., and was later given the PG rating when it was released on DVD. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) was also rated PG. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) were given the "12A" rating.


Quotes

C-3PO: Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor. We'll be destroyed for sure. This is madness.


Goofs

When Obi-Wan and Vader's sabers hit each other, you can see dust coming from the poles they are using that are serving as the sabers. This is most noticeable in the Blu-ray release.


Crazy Credits

The film's opening prologue: It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Emperor's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Emperor's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy ....


Alternate Versions

The German "marketing film" released 10 months after the cinema start in West Germany a cut version on Super-8 on two reels in 4:3/color/sound. Reel #1 is running 17 minutes (120 meters), reel #2 is running 9 minutes. This two reels are fitting together and are showing the story from the beginning of the movie to the end of the fight between the Falcon and the TIE fighters right after the escape from the Death Star. The assault on the Death Star didn't make it in this Super-8 version. The beginning shows not the opening crawl, the cut version starts in space over Tatooine with the star destroyer attack on Princess Leias's blockade runner while a speaker summarizes the opening crawl. Almost three years later the German "UFA" released a 17 minutes long version including parts of the final battle against the Death Star and the throne room ceremony. Additional this version includes a lot of sequences not shown in the "marketing film" version: cantina scenes, Tusken raider scenes, the destruction of Alderaan, the Death Star approach of the Falcon after entering the Alderaan system. By editing this three reels together the viewer got a complete overview of the story. But Obi-Wans death is not shown. The 17 minutes US "Ken Films" version (F48) provides two scenes not included in the German version: Vaders conversation on the blockade runner and a part of Luke and Leias swing across the abyss. Editing this two scenes - copying the German audio track - into the "marketing/UFA"-3-reel-version provided the longest available cut version of STAR WARS: 43 minutes.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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