Back in 1977, writer/director George Lucas gave us a film that combined the fun adventures of characters like 'Flash Gordon' with the Space Opera concept of '2001: A Space Odyssey', giving us the forever cinema-altering 'Star Wars'. If it was to be compared to something today, I'd probably say something like the first 'Avengers' film, as in something unprecedented for its time.
The story tells of a lonely farm boy named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who comes across two droids, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), who is holding a video message of a mysterious girl (Leia - Carrie Fisher) asking an Obi-Wan Kenobi for help. Soon enough, Luke and the droids find Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness), who tells Luke about his father and the man who murdered him - Darth Vader, and tries to convince him to learn the ways of the Jedi like his father.
As tempting as the call is, Luke opts out, but then opts back in after returning home to find that imperial troopers have incinerated his Aunt and Uncle in search of the droids. Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids then set off on an adventure. Meeting the likes of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) along the way, they eventually find themselves on board the dreaded Death Star; a massive space station with enough firepower to destroy a whole planet, headed by Grand Moff Tarken (Peter Cushing) and Darth Vader (James Earl Jones/David Prowse), the guy who apparently killed Luke's father. Now it's up to this group of rebels to rescue Princess Leia and escape the Death Star in order to come back and take it out.
As far as I can recall, I first saw this one quite late. It may even be safe to say, in all honesty, that I saw 'Space Balls' before it, but I'm not 100% on that. The way I remember it, is that it came to my attention after several viewings of TV-recorded viewings of 'Empire' and 'Jedi'. I think My first viewing of 'New Hope' (or just 'Star Wars' at the time) was a rental copy that took quite a bit of effort to track down. This was during what some fans, including myself, refer to as "The Dark Times". The Orig Trig was out there on VHS and Betamax, but it was fairly limited. 'Empire' and 'Jedi would air the odd time on TV, and you could manage to find them at the local video store. For whatever reason, though, 'New Hope' remained an odd obscurity. I seem to vaguely remember having to know someone if you wanted to ever wanted to watch it. This is only going by memory, though, so I may be mistaken on some points.
Eventually, my Mother managed to locate a copy of 'New Hope', and bring it home for my Brother and I to watch. It's funny to think about, but I remember not thinking much of it at the time. I was so used to seeing Muppets in these things by this point. It wasn't until later that I'd develop a real appreciation for it - oddly enough, right around the time the '97 'Special Edition' was first being advertised. Yeah, it's a really weird secret about my past with this franchise, but I never really developed love for 'New Hope' until around '97. The whole trilogy came to TV for a special event, we recorded it all, and suddenly I loved this movie, because I wasn't just a kid looking for Muppets anymore.
By this point, I was in high school, and could relate to Luke's character quite easily due to being a bit closer in age than I was before. Otherwise, so much credit went to the action that blended so much with the story. I still remember that special chill I got when the X-Wings flew into the trench on the Death Star, complete with that POV camera angle and thinking "I'm gonna get to see this on the big screen!" What made it even better was that so many of my new high school friends shared an appreciation for these movies, so I knew I'd be able to experience it with people close to me. To my friends who did join me for that experience, I thank you for the memories.
The rest is pretty much history. I loved it then, and I love it now, on every level - right down to that Stormtrooper bashing his head on the door frame. My only real regret is that I was so late to the game. I know of a lot of people my age who have only recently seen it for the first time, but speaking as a big fan, I wish I appreciated it more in my youth. In all honesty, the big trilogy for me as a kid was 'Back to the Future'. My 'Star Wars' fandom came in bits and pieces. Regardless, nowadays I could probably do quite well on whatever quiz on it you could throw at me. Not perfect, but very well; B+ to A-, perhaps.
This move is kind of a cinematic legend. Over the years, this original title has spawned two sequels, three prequels, three more sequels, two side-stories, several TV series, a massive fan following, and it's all STILL going after 43 years! This one took home 6 technical Oscars, and was even nominated for Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Guinness), Director, and Original Screenplay. It's kinda funny to think of a time when 'Star Wars' wasn't just stuck with loose nominations for visual effects or sound design.
As far as I can tell, the most recent trilogy is working out fine for a new generation, much like the prequels worked for that generation. None of that ever truly ruined 'Star Wars' films for me, as it did others. Often disappointing, several stupid decisions, but at the end of the day, I always have this original trilogy for myself. Nowadays, these films are considered comfort food for me, and my appreciation for them only grows over time. This may have been the last one I saw of the original trilogy, but it's also a first for when I started this trilogy all over again in 1997; including the original cut, mind you.