Star Wars: A New Hope, later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, is a 1977 epic science fiction film written and directed by George Lucas and was produced by Gary Kurtz. Star Wars is the first instalment in the original Star Wars trilogy, the first of the franchise to be produced and the fourth episode of the Star Wars saga. The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew.
The storyline focuses on the Rebel Alliance, led by Princess Leia, and its attempt to destroy the Galactic Empire’s space station, the Death Star. This conflict disrupts the isolated life of farmhand Luke Skywalker who inadvertently acquires a pair of droids that possess stolen architectural plans for the Death Star. When the Empire begins a destructive search for the missing droids, Skywalker accompanies Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on a mission to return the plans to the Rebel Alliance and rescue Leia from her imprisonment by the Empire.
George Lucas orignially had the idea for the film in 1971, after he had completed directing his first full-length feature, THX 1138. He believed that the bleak tone of THX 1138 had led to its poor reception, therefore chose to make Star Wars more optimistic; this is what led to its fun and adventurous tone. Before developing Star Wars, George Lucas had wanted to adapt the comics from the space adventure Flash Gordon into his own films, having been fascinated by them since he was young.
When designing Star Wars George Lucas had recruited many conceptual designers, including Colin Cantwell, who worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 and Alex Tavoularis to create the preliminary conceptual storyboard sketches of early scripts with Ralph McQuarrie to visualise the characters, costumes, props and scenery. George Lucas had ambitious plans for the film as he wanted to create fresh prop prototypes and sets that had never been realised before in science fiction films.
When principal photography began on 22nd March 1976, in the Tunisian desert (the scenes used for Tatooine), the project faced several problems. The filming schedule fell behind in its first week due to malfunctioning props and electronic breakdowns along with a rare Tunisian rainstorm that struck the country, further disrupting filming. After filming had completed in Tunisia, the production moved to Elstree Studios, near London, United Kingdom. Star Wars had originally been scheduled for release over the Christmas period in 1976; however, with the production delays it pushed the film’s release to mid-1977.
When Star Wars was released it received critical acclaim from the critics and audiences alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a rating of 92% with the general consensus being, “A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same”. Roger Ebert called the film “an out-of-body experience,” compared its special effects to those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and opined that the true strength of the film was its “pure narrative”. He awarded Star War a full four out of four star rating.
Commercially, Star Wars was a huge box office success and remains one of the most financially successful films of all time. Produced on an estimated production budget of $11 million and earned $2,556,418 in its first six days of release. Star Wars replaced Jaws as the highest-earning film in the USA just six months into release and held htat record until the release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. It on to earn over $220 million during its initial release in the USA and earned $410 million in worldwide box office receipts. When Star Wars box office reciepts are adjusted for inflation, it is the second-highest-grossing film in USA, and the third-highest-grossing film in the world.
Star Wars gathered numerous accolades after its release. At the Academy Awards it won Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects. At the Golden Globes, it was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Alec Guinness, and it won the award for Best Score. At the British Academy Film Awards it recieved six nominations: Best Film, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Production/Art Design, Best Sound, and Best Score; with the film winning the latter two. John Williams’s soundtrack album won the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score for a Motion Picture or Television Program.
Today, it is often regarded as one of the best films of all time, as well as one of the most important films in the history of motion pictures. It also launched an industry of media tie-in products, including spinoff TV series, novels, comic books, and video games, as well as various other merchandise, such as toys, games, clothing, and other paraphernalia.
The film’s massive success led to the production of two sequels: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983, both of which became critically and commercially successful. Since 1977, Star Wars was subsequently reissued multiple times at Lucas’ behest, incorporating many changes including modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, re-edited shots, remixed soundtracks, and added scenes. A prequel trilogy was later released between 1999 and 2005, followed by a sequel trilogy which began in 2015.
Year of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Alec Guinness
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
Budget: $11,000,000 (Estimated)
Opening Weekend: $1,554,475 (USA)
Gross: $775,000,000 (Worldwide)
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