Release Date: May 25, 1977
I still remember going to see this in the theater. Not on the first release because I was only 3 then, but the re-release when Empire came out and I got to see both in the same day. I love this movie and have since that day. I re-watched this a few days after re-watching Episode 1 and the morning before watching Solo so as I think about it in order to review it, those are fresh in my mind. I was a bit worried I was remembering this movie through rose-colored glasses as I haven’t watched it in years.
This movie was every bit as good as I remember. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I remembered. To be fair, I watched this after watching the train wreck that is Episode 1, but I still stick behind my rating of 9.5. Nearly everything about this movie is awesome. Sure, Mark Hamill didn’t turn in the best performance, but it was good enough and was more than made up by Alec Guinness and Harrison Ford who gave fantastic performances. The movie is such a journey and you really feel Luke’s emotions as you go through it with him. The movie starts just a bit slow with Luke’s family, but in hindsight it is necessary to set the tone for Luke’s quest and works quite well in that aspect. I loved all the different alien racces when I was a kid and 40 years later I still love them. There are so many interesting characters and I want to know more about each of them. It is amazing how badass Darth Vader is after all these years. From the moment he walks onto the ship for the first time to the force chokes and everything in between he commands your attention.
If I didn’t know Empire existed I would claim this as the pinnacle in space operas. What is a shame is that with this and American Graffiti, George Lucas showed he could write and direct at the same time so what happened between then and when he did the prequels?