Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Space Adventure  |   Release Date - May 25, 1977 (USA)  |   Run Time - 121 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Mark Deming

Bursting with excitement, and throwing in one wild chase, life-threatening dilemma, and dazzling effect after another, George Lucas' Star Wars packs a remarkable amount of story into 121 minutes; if the characters and dialogue sometimes lack depth, they have plenty of flash and boundless energy, and the film keeps just enough of its tongue in cheek to acknowledge an undercurrent of sly, low-key wit without snickering at either the characters or the audience. In a decade in which cynicism was the order of the day in the film industry (and American culture), Star Wars dared to be hokey. With its wise old men, dashing young pilots, spunky but virtuous princesses, and bad guys who were either deliciously evil or downright slimy, the movie had the courage to take a truckload of Hollywood archetypes, present them with smarts, humor, and no apologies, and make them work for a new generation of filmgoers. The movie in this way forged a totally original amalgam of myth, marketing, and movie serials to become one of the biggest cultural phenomena in movie history. Commercially, Star Wars opened new vistas in merchandizing toys and other movie tie-ins, as it helped transform science fiction from a fringe market into one of Hollywood's dominant genres.