Star Wars – Comments

It would be almost impossible to overstate how incredibly popular Star Wars was as soon as it came out in a few dozen theaters in May of 1977. Fans waited in line for hours to buy tickets – not just once, but sometimes several times per day. It played to packed houses throughout 1977, and even into 1978 and 1979.

Star Wars took over popular culture in a way that no other film ever had or probably ever will. Today, because films end up in video stores and on cable networks within only a few months of their theatrical release, we will likely never again see such excitement over a film. No offense to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or even Titanic – none of those films have even come close to the popularity and excitement of Star Wars in the late 1970s.

My interest with the Star Wars franchise started even before I had seen the movie. The first time I saw the trailer for the original film (probably in 1976), I knew I wanted to see this new movie. It looked like a totally different kind of film that had ever been done before. The trailer was great, but compared to the film, I hadn’t seen anything yet.

What really got me hooked was the now-famous opening scene of the movie. I was in awe at what at first seemed like a large spaceship, involved in a dogfight in space, and yet the ship that was chasing it was gigantic – it kept going and going for what seemed like minutes. I suddenly felt very sorry for that first ship. How could it possibly defend itself against that immense battleship?

Of course, the film continued, and it was even better throughout. Everything about Star Wars was awesome – the special effects, the exciting story, the mystery of the Jedi, the cool weapons, the new planets, the Death Star, the technology, hyperspace, Chewbacca, the robots, the lightsaber duel, the spaceship dogfights, the end battle scene, Princess Leia, and of course, Darth Vader – the most famous villain of all time. By the end of the film, it had been a very exciting journey that I wanted to see again and again.

I have never had the same experience in a movie theater than when I saw Star Wars for the first time in 1977. It was a very surreal and otherworldly feeling. The entire production was so different than anything I had ever seen. I can still remember the sense of amazement I felt throughout the film, and how successfully it transported me to another time and place. Instantly, I became a Star Wars fanatic for life, and over time, I became jealous of the fans who saw the movie a gazillion times more than I did.

I even remember as a kid coming out of the theater and getting right back in line to see the next showing. Of course my mom had to convince me that we would come back another time to see it again – and I did not let her forget that promise!

Obviously, I wasn’t the only one hooked on this new film. It was so much more than just a science fiction film. It wasn’t the “outer space” location or the special effects that made Star Wars so popular. It completely took over pop culture because it appealed to just about everyone. Star Wars was somehow a very familiar story with a magical quality to it. In many ways, it reminds us of fairy tales we used to hear as children, regardless of which culture we came from. That’s why this series is so exceptional, and why we care so much about it.