It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….
a long time ago in a galaxy far,
Star Wars, is a 1977 space adventure film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first film in the Star Wars original trilogy. The film was originally released in 1977 with the title "Star Wars". The subtitles Episode IV and A New Hope were only added to the opening crawl in re-releases. Accounts differ as to when this designation was first added; some date the change at the theatrical re-release of April 10, 1981, while others place it much earlier at the re-release in July 1978.
The retroactive addition of these subtitles was intended to bring the film into line with the introduction to its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, which was released in 1980 bearing the designation "Episode V". It is uncertain if the introduction of an episodic naming convention was an indicator of Lucas's original intent, or if this was simply a later redraft of the narrative. According to some accounts, Lucas has claimed that he was discouraged by Twentieth Century Fox from using an episode number on a new film because it would confuse audiences.
The story is set about 19 years after the formation of the Galactic Empire; construction has finished on the Death Star, a weapon capable of destroying a planet. After Princess Leia Organa, a leader of the Rebel Alliance, receives the weapon's plans in the hope of finding a weakness, she is captured and taken to the Death Star. Meanwhile, a young farmer named Luke Skywalker meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has lived in seclusion for years on the desert planet of Tatooine. When Luke's home is burned and his aunt and uncle killed, Obi-Wan begins Luke's Jedi training. Along with Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2; they attempt to rescue the Princess from the Empire.
Inspired by films like the Flash Gordon serials and the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, as well as such critical works as Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Frank Herbert's Dune books, Lucas began work on Star Wars in 1974. Ground-breaking in its use of special effects, this is considered to be among the most successful – and most influential – films of all time. Produced with a budget of US$11,000,000 and released on May 25, 1977, the film became one of the most successful of all time, earning $215 million in the United States and $337 million overseas during its original theatrical release, as well as winning several film awards, including 10 Academy Award nominations.
Star Wars was re-released several times, sometimes with significant changes; the most notable versions were the 1997 Special Edition and the 2004 DVD, which were modified with CGI effects and recreated scenes. It was re-released in the Blu-ray format in September of 2011. The film was selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry. The film was selected in 1989, the program's first year in existence.