Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope is the original of the Star Wars movie franchise which includes a total of six films. The last three films are actually what is known as prequels and take place in a time before the original three occurred. The film opened in 1977 and is known as what is called a “space opera film”. Although special effects were somewhat limited in 1977 when compared to present-day, this first film in the Star Wars saga used top of the line and groundbreaking special effects. It is also known as one of the most successful movies of all time and perhaps one of the most influential as well.
Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope is the first film in the saga but not the earliest events. The origin of the story takes place in Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) which are prequels to the first three films. The films are set in the long ago past, yet very futuristic, perhaps since they take place in a galaxy far, far away. The saga revolves around a group of freedom fighters, known as the Rebel Alliance, and their plot to overthrow the Galactic Empire.
In Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope we see the struggle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. The Empire seeks to make its power absolute and has just completed work on the most powerful weapon ever known – the Death Star. The Death Star is a planet or moon-sized space station meant for battle and is capable of destroying entire planets in one shot. The film opens with the introduction of Princess Leia, Rebel Leader, as she attempts to transport plans of the Death Star, and her capture by the Imperial forces. It is during these scenes that we meet R2-D2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader. We later meet the rest of the important characters including Luke Skywalker, who will become known as one of the last Jedi to survive, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
This film, when released, drew crowds around the buildings waiting in line for admission tickets. The phenomenon surrounding the Star Wars franchise has not been weakened in the last decades. In fact, like the Star Trek franchise, has an elite and cultish following where some people dedicate their lives to the stories. This all began in 1974 when George Lucas began work on Star Wars. When watching Episode IV you can see from where Lucas drew inspiration – things like the Flash Gordon serials, various works by Joseph Campbell, and even Akira Kurosawa samurai films. And his work was not in vain, the budget of $11 million was quickly recouped when the film made $307 million in the United States alone.