James Stewart stars as a railroad man hired to secretly carry a payroll despite his suspected connections to outlaws
George Lucas serves up his own homage to the Saturday morning adventure serials he loved as a kid, in the process creating one of the most revered and successful films ever
Daydreaming farm boy Luke Skywalker (Hamill) longs for a life of adventure and finds it when two droids, one carrying a distress signal from the beautiful Princess Leia, turn up on his farm. Seeking out "crazy old wizard" Ben 'Obi-Wan' Kenobi (Guiness), Luke embarks on his quest to rescue Leia, enlisting the help of cynical Corellian space pirate Han Solo (Ford), his Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca (Mayhew) and the Millennium Falcon ("the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs") along the way.
Made on a relatively low budget ($11m), Star Wars (or Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to give it its full franchise title) is a relentlessly inventive film. The attention to minute details gives it a rich texture; there are some fantastic set-pieces (Leia's rescue from the Death Star, the X-Wing dogfights), and Lucas binds the whole film together with a hokey religion (The Force) and fatalistic story lifted from Greek mythology. While Ford famously dismissed the script (complaining that, "You can type this shit, but you can't say it"), Lucas manages to get away with it by making everyone take it seriously - although Ford can often be seen smirking his way through some of the more clunky lines. Then there's the rousing score by John Williams.
So, is this the best film of all time? Certainly not. But it definitely is one of the most enduring, and it's hard not to be seduced.
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