Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
|Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope|
|Directed by||George Lucas|
|Produced by|| George Lucas|
|Written by||George Lucas|
|Starring|| Mark Hamill|
|Music by||John Williams|
|Editing by|| Richard Chew|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date(s)||May 25, 1977 (as Star Wars)|
|Running time||121 min|
|Preceded by||Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith|
|Followed by||Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back|
In the movie's opening scene, Princess Leia's starship is being pursued by an Imperial Star Destroyer, which damages the Rebel ship and captures it with a tractor beam. Imperial Stormtroopers enter the ship and capture Leia, who, however, has placed the plans in the droid R2-D2. R2 has fled the ship in the escape pod with C3-PO.
The escape pod lands on the desert planet Tatooine, where both R2-D2 and C-3PO are captured by Jawa traders and put up for sale. They are purchased by a young man named Luke Skywalker (who is discontented with his life as a moisture farmer and knows his father was a Jedi knight) and his uncle. In the course of repairing R2, Luke discovers a message for "Obi-wan Kenobi" from Leia; in the morning he discovers that the droid has left to find Obi-wan. With the aid of C-3PO, Luke locates R2 in an old hermit's hut; the hermit, who Luke knew as Ben Kenobi, reveals to him that he indeed is Obi-Wan and gives him his father's lightsaber. The message tells Obi-wan to come to Alderaan and he invites Luke to come with him. Luke is reluctant, but upon discovering that his home has been destroyed by Stormtroopers who were searching for the droids, agrees.
Meanwhile, Leia, who refuses to tell Darth Vader of her true mission or of the whereabouts of the base, has been transferred to the Death Star. The commander of the Death Star threatens to have her home planet, Alderaan, destroyed unless she tells where the Rebel base is. She tells the location of an old abandoned base, but the Imperial officers are not fooled and destroy Alderaan with the Death Star superlaser.
When the Millennium Falcon drops out of hyperspace to land on Alderaan, they encounter only an asteroid field and several TIE fighters. The TIEs immediately flee towards the Death Star and the Millennium Falcon is pulled into the Death Star by a tractor beam. Han, Chewbacca, Obi-wan, Luke, and the droids hide in secret smuggling compartments until the Stormtroopers have finished searching the ship, after which Obi-wan tells Luke that he will deactivate the tractor beam controls so that they can make their escape. He does not know that Darth Vader has sensed him there through the Force. Han and Luke kill two stormtroopers and take their equipment; they take over a room near the hangar bay to await Obi-wan's return. Luke, however, is not content with this and persuades Han to help him rescue Princess Leia, who is due to be executed. By pretending that Chewbacca is a prisoner who needs to be brought to the detention area, Han and Luke manage to get to the detention block. (The droids are left behind and captured.) Luke goes off to rescue Leia; Han stays behind and accidentally gives himself away when he cannot give his number to an Imperial officer who called as a routine checkup.
Luke brings Leia back to the "occupied room," which is quickly attacked by stormtroopers. In a wild shootout through the halls of the Death Star, they are eventually trapped. Leia blasts a grille covering the entrance to a trash compactor and they dive inside.
Meanwhile, Obi-wan deactivates the tractor beam controls aided by his knowledge of the Force. Unknown to him, Darth Vader is searching for him throughout the Death Star.
After Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca have spent a few minutes in the trash compactor and fruitlessly attempted to open the exit door, the compactor begins to close. Fortunately, Luke is in touch by radio with R2-D2 and C3-PO, who are in the main maintenance facility. R2 manages to cancel the order to close the compactor just in time, and they escape the compactor and make their way back to the hangar bay. The droids go down there also.
While on his way back to the hangar bay, Darth Vader confronts Obi-wan and a lightsaber duel begins. Obi-wan, telling Vader that if he is killed, he will return even more powerful, allows himself to be killed. All this is witnessed by Luke and his friends, who quickly board the Falcon and escape the Death Star.
The plans are examined at the Rebel base on Yavin IV, one of the moons of the gas giant planet Yavin, which is where the Death Star is heading next. Rebel officers discover a flaw in part of the space station—a thermal exhaust port was left uncovered. A proton torpedo fired down the port would trigger a chain reaction which would destroy the station.
Luke, who had flown many vehicles on Tatooine, pilots an X-wing fighter in the attack on the Death Star. Nearly all of the 30 Rebel fighters are destroyed in the attack, by turbolasers and by Darth Vader in his TIE Advanced fighter and two wingmen. As Luke makes his run down the trench to the exhaust port, the Millennium Falcon appears and destroys one of the TIEs; the other crashes into Darth Vader's and sends it spinning out into space. Obi-wan's spirit appears to Luke and says, "Use the Force, Luke!" He turns off his targeting computer and fires a proton torpedo down the port, destroying the Death Star seconds before it would have destroyed the Rebel planet. Luke, Han, and Chewbacca are honored as heroes back at the Rebel base.
- Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
- Harrison Ford as Han Solo
- Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa
- Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin
- Alec Guinness as Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
- Kenny Baker as R2-D2
- David Prowse as Darth Vader
- James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader
The film was a huge blockbuster success when released, grossing $460,998,007 in the U.S. and $797,900,000 worldwide. The film's worldwide gross was over 70 times that of its $11,000,000 production budget. The enormous success won six Oscars at the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction/Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Effects/Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Music/Original Score and Best Sound along with a Special Achievement Award for Ben Burt. (It also received another four nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing/Screenplay Written Directly for Screen.)
In 1997, LucasFilm re-released A New Hope in theaters to promote the release of The Phantom Menace, and had several alterations from the original film that weren't received well by the fans. In the original version, for example, Han Solo when encountering Greedo ends up shooting the latter before he could get a chance to fire, showing a first person perspective from Greedo just as Han fired at him and killed him. However, in the re-released version, this was altered to pan away and show Greedo firing and missing three feet at Han Solo despite aiming right at him before Han shoots him dead. This change led to outrage by fans of the original cut, leading to the creation of "Han Shot First", a common complaint about the special edition edits by George Lucas. In 2012, Lucas in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter discussed the edit, and implied that Greedo shooting Han was in fact his original intention, and fans only misinterpreted the situation due to close-ups and wanting to see Han as a cold-blooded killer. However, this conflicted with the 1977 shooting script written by George Lucas himself, where it made clear Han shot first originally. Bill Whittle in an episode of Afterburner criticized Lucas both because of the change overall and for his explanation for it, and compared Lucas's actions and statements to that of the Ministry of Truth from 1984.
- David Prowse, the suit actor for Darth Vader, said the dialogue during filming.