- "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.…"
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga; three later films precede the story in the series' internal chronology. Ground-breaking in its use of special-effects, this, the first Star Wars movie, is among a handful of the most successful films of all time and is generally considered one of the most influential as well.
The film is set about 19 years after the formation of the Galactic Empire; construction has finished on the Death Star, a weapon capable of destroying a planet. After Princess Leia Organa, a leader of the Rebel Alliance, receives the weapon's plans in the hope of finding a weakness, she is captured and taken to the Death Star. Meanwhile, a young farmer named Luke Skywalker meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has lived in seclusion for years on the desert planet of Tatooine. When Luke's home is burned and his aunt and uncle killed, Obi-Wan begins Luke's Jedi training as they—along with Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2—attempt to rescue the Princess from the Empire. Unfortunately, Obi-Wan Kenobi dies in the hands of Darth Vader, but Solo, Organa, Skywalker, Chewbacca, and the droids make a narrow escape from the Death Star. The gang meets up with the rebels based in Yavin and mount a space attack on the Death Star. Led by Luke Skywalker, the air attack was successful by Luke Skywalker destroying the weak part of the Death Star.
Unlike the later prequel films, this film, along with the two films that follow, mostly focuses on the events of one particular sector of the galaxy, rather than the interstellar perspective that the first three films take.
Inspired by films like the Flash Gordon serials and the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, as well as such critical works as Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Frank Herbert's Dune books, Lucas began work on Star Wars in 1974. Produced with a budget of US$11,000,000 and released on May 25, 1977, the film became one of the most successful of all time, earning $215 million in the United States and $337 million overseas during its original theatrical release, as well as winning several film awards, including 10 Academy Award nominations. It was re-released several times, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions were the 1997 Special Edition and the 2004 DVD, which were modified with CGI effects and recreated scenes.
- List of sets from Episode IV
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi