U.S., 1977, 121 min, DCP, Dir. George Lucas, Rated PG, Disney

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Sunday, July 30

Star Wars will undoubtedly emerge as one of the true classics in the genre of science fiction/fantasy films.”
—Ron Pennington, The Hollywood Reporter

“George Lucas set out to make the biggest possible adventure fantasy out of his memories of serials and older action epics, and he succeeded brilliantly.”
—A.D. Murphy, Variety

Star Wars is like getting a box of Cracker Jack which is all prizes.”
—Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

Selected by Steven Krams

Restless young farm boy Luke Skywalker is pulled into the struggle against the tyrannical Galactic Empire when his unsuspecting uncle purchases a droid carrying secret plans that could turn the tide of war in the Rebel Alliance's favor. With the Empire on their trail, Luke and the droid meet Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi Knight who has lived for years in seclusion. After Obi-Wan reveals a dark secret about Luke's past, he begins the boy's Jedi training. They recruit a wise-cracking smuggler and his Wookiee companion to pilot them on their daring mission to deliver the secret plans and rescue the Rebel leader Princess Leia from the clutches of the evil Darth Vader.

George Lucas' historic blockbuster forever changed the way that movies are made and seen. It has so thoroughly permeated modern culture and been so painstakingly analyzed—by scholars, critics, and fans alike—that there isn't much left to add to the conversation. Here's what the late Roger Ebert had to say about the film in his impassioned 1977 review:

"Star Wars is a fairy tale, a fantasy, a legend, finding its roots in some of our most popular fictions. The golden robot, lion-faced space pilot, and insecure little computer on wheels must have been suggested by the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. The journey from one end of the galaxy to another is out of countless thousands of space operas. The hardware is from Flash Gordon out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the chivalry is from Robin Hood, the heroes are from Westerns and the villains are a cross between Nazis and sorcerers. Star Wars taps the pulp fantasies buried in our memories, and because it's done so brilliantly, it reactivates old thrills, fears, and exhilarations we thought we'd abandoned when we read our last copy of Amazing Stories."

Check out the rest of our Movies We Love! Selected by Steven Krams & Mitchell Kaplan program!