Star Wars (1977)
Written and Directed by Irving G. Thalberg winner George Lucas (American Graffiti (1973)) this swashbuckling space fantasy action picture began a franchise of films and a movie paraphernalia industry like nothing before it that’s still going strong today with the release of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith in 2005. "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away …" the story follows Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) a teenager whose complete origins are as yet unknown to him on an adventure across the galaxy to help spunky funky haired Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and a band of rebels against the mighty forces of the evil Empire. Encouraged by Jedi Knight mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (now sir Alec Guinness – The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)) a former friend of his now "departed" Jedi Knight father and aided by a dashing smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford – Witness (1985)) & his Millennium Falcon spaceship Luke becomes a key component in the battle of good vs. evil when he learns to trust & use "The Force" an energy field created by all living things that surrounds penetrates and binds the galaxy together. The dark side of "The Force" is symbolized and physically realized in the imposing black masked & black caped half human/half machine Darth Vader (David Prowse voiced by James Earl Jones) and the Empire’s Death Star a man-made planet. Comic relief and additional assistance for Luke Han & Leia is provided by two droids (robots) C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) & R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and an eight-foot tall two-legged "dog-like" Wookiee named Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).
The film received Oscars for Art Direction-Set Decoration Costume Design Best Visual Effects Editing Original Musical Score and Sound. It was nominated for Best Picture losing to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977)). Lucas’s direction and writing were also nominated as was (Supporting Actor) Guinness. Subsequent multi-Oscar winner & nominee Ben Burtt received his first recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences with a Special Achievement Award for his creation of alien creature and robot voices. Added to the National Film Registry in 1989. #15 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies list #27 on AFI’s Most Heart-Pounding Movies list. Darth Vader is AFI’s #3 villain. Harrison Ford’s Hans Solo is Ava’s #14 hero. Alec Guinness’s Obi-Wan Kenobi is AFI’s #37 hero. "May the Force be with you." is #8 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movie Quotes list. #1 on AFI’s Top 25 Film Scores list. #39 on AFI’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies list.