My Favorite Movies – Star Wars (1977)

18 Jun

By Tanner Smith

Star Wars! How could this NOT be on my list of personal top 100 favorite movies? The movie that helped change pop culture geekdom/fandom for better or worse started with a hugely entertaining thrill ride from 1977 that still holds up even to this day. And I freaking love it!

…But as I mentioned in my initial review, which I wrote/posted here on Smith’s Verdict over five years ago (NOT the first time I saw “Star Wars,” mind you), there’s hardly anything new I can bring to a retrospective of one of the most popular movies of all time than my own personal feelings toward it. I’ve loved “Star Wars” (which I only refer to as “Episode IV” or “A New Hope” to avoid confusion in conversation) since I first saw it at age 15…but since I’ve learned more about the story of how it was made, I respect it even more.

Writer-director George Lucas took a big risk in making this film. Science-fiction fantasy-adventure wasn’t held in high regard at the time, so a classic-Western story set in space wasn’t being taken very seriously by studios, investors, or even most of the cast and crew. Lucas had made a big hit with the nostalgia-filled comedy “American Graffiti,” which gave him some free reign–but still, it was hard for people to believe that his next film wasn’t going to be a silly kid’s film. Nobody believed in “Star Wars” except for the guy in charge. it was his vision, and due to his anxieties and depression, he had trouble verbally communicating it often. Even when he showed it to his friends and colleagues, such as Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese, among others, the only one who saw something special in it that could make it a huge phenomenon was Spielberg. (But De Palma did lend a helping hand in crafting what is now popularly known as the introductory “Star Wars” opening crawl, which helps set the audience up for the universe they’re about to see.)

It seemed destined to fail. And then…well, I think you know what happened next.

That is a wonderful behind-the-scenes story, and I sincerely hope that there’s a cinematic biopic made about it in the future. (That, and the making of “Rocky,” which is equally inspiring, if not more so.)

Little did people know how highly successful “Star Wars” would become, leading to a franchise that has its hits and misses, to be sure, but will always be unique. And it began with this extremely fun film that is admittedly as simple as they come, with obvious heroes and obvious villains (again, classic-Western story here) and a treacherous journey with a lot of obstacles to overcome. But who cares how simple it is? It’s hugely entertaining and an amazing thrill ride that makes for two hours of great entertainment!

Side-note: I don’t particularly care for the Special Edition/”New Hope” version of the film, or the other Special Editions, for that matter. I don’t watch the “Star Wars” original trilogy on Disney+ (which has the updated versions); I just watch the original versions on DVD, which I’ll always treasure.

I’m sorry I can’t get into much more detail about the film (and if you want more, here’s my original review). As a stand-alone entry in a longer series of films, this film works wonders. It takes a lot to beat it in terms of sheer entertainment…now, in terms of something a little deeper than that, that’s what its sequel is for! (I’ll get to that soon…)

2 Responses to “My Favorite Movies – Star Wars (1977)”

  1. Chloe June 18, 2021 at 10:34 pm #

    Wow, you’re doing 100 top movies?! Takes a lot of effort, how fun. Yes, this has to be in top for sure.

    • ltannersmith June 18, 2021 at 10:40 pm #

      Well, funny thing about that, Chloe–a few years ago, I ranked my favorites for a list…times have changed, my outlook on movies has changed a bit, I have a certain admiration for many other movies, blah blah blah, and so on. Anyway, I thought, instead of just doing another top 100 or top 250, I’ll just write a bunch of individual blog posts about each of my top 400-500 personal favorite movies in no particular order!….Don’t know when it’ll be finished yet. Lol, but the thing is, Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back have always been in my top 100. 🙂

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