Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
(aka Star Wars)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

In director George Lucas' sequel to the prequel-trilogy - it was one of the most popular, profitable, entertaining, and successful science fiction/action - adventure/fantasy films of all time. It was the first film of the series (in the original saga), and the fourth film in terms of chronology. This was the only "Star Wars" movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award.

It advanced special-effects technology to a degree unseen before, with computerized and digitally-timed special effects, and ultimately helped to resurrect the financial viability of the science-fiction genre, a category of films that was considered frivolous and unprofitable. The phrase "May the Force be with you" came into common usage.

The mythological tale of space-age heroism (fighting Evil for the sake of Good) featured unique, memorable and fanciful characters - a benevolent ex-Jedi Knight (Alec Guinness), an imprisoned Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) of the peace-loving Rebel Alliance, two comical robotic droids (R2D2, named after a piece of film editor's jargon - Reel 2 Dialog 2, and C3PO), a smuggler/mercenary space-pilot (Harrison Ford), a beastly creature named Chewbacca (a Wookiee), and an idealistic young boy (Mark Hamill) who became trained in the righteous ways of the Force in order to rescue the captured Princess from the evil Empire's Death Star and the dark forces of the Empire, led by evil Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones/David Prowse).

With a production budget of $11 million, it grossed $1.5 million in its limited opening weekend, and grossed $307 million (domestic) and $775 million (worldwide), eventually earning $461 million (lifetime domestic gross). Star Wars was nominated for 10 Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness)), winning six (in technical categories - Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects). It won a Special Achievement award for Sound Effects.

The 20th Century Fox film set box-office records and was a critical success. However, this appealing film was criticized for encouraging a boom in spectacular (but sometimes drab) special-effects laden blockbusters (with thin plot lines) for decades after.

  • the memorable, adventure film saga began with an opening title card, setting the film's time frame in the distant past: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."; the inventive scrolling of text crawled (or "rolled up") into the black background of space to describe the war, in a "far away" galaxy, between good and evil archetypal forces; there had been a major civil war between the forces of the Rebel Alliance against the Empire: "Episode IV, A NEW HOPE 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...."
  • in the opening, the Rebel alliance had daringly stolen secret plans to the Empire's new battle station called the Death Star; the planet-sized, armored space station was commanded by Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing); the small rebel ship belonging to Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) (aka Imperial Senator Leia Organa) was being pursued by the gigantic, wedge-shaped imperial Star Destroyer spaceship of the evil Galactic Empire that completely covered the screen; Princess Leia was with two robots or 'droids - the beeping R2-D2 and gold-plated companion C-3PO; their ship was intercepted when it was sucked into the underbelly of the huge, armored space vehicle by a tractor beam
  • with the corridor inside the rebel craft secured by an advance guard of white, ceramic-like, space-armored stormtroopers, the Emperor's elite soldiers, the dark menacing shape of black-garbed (with a swirling cape), helmeted and faceless Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones) entered the battle scene; the towering, faceless, helmeted leader of the cruel and villainous forces during the assault on the crippled rebel ship spoke with a commanding voice - a vision of evil
  • Princess Leia transmitted the blueprints or plans for the Death Star battleship along with an S.O.S. plea, into the data system face plate of her computer robot R2-D2; the Princess was confronted and refused to surrender; she fired her blaster at the stormtroopers, but was apprehended and taken captive prisoner by Vader's forces; however, the two robots escaped in a spaceship pod
  • Darth Vader, the Dark Lord, confronted the Princess and demanded the plans, but the Princess denied knowledge of the blueprints (transmissions beamed by Rebel spies to her ship, and held in the memory of R2-D2) and refused to cooperate
  • the two robots crash-landed their lifepod on Tatooine, a backwater, arid, desert-like planet; both robots were captured by the "Jawas" - small, short, yellow-eyed, brown-cloaked, gremlin-like scavengers and scrap/junk collectors of the planet; and imprisoned in a sandcrawler with other droids; the auctioneers running the sandcrawler stopped at a lonely homestead in the desert, where young nephew Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) was being raised by moisture farmers on Tatooine, the Owen Lars (Phil Brown) family; the two droids were purchased by Luke's foster-'father'
  • while Luke was cleaning, polishing and repairing R2-D2, he accidentally tripped one of its switches, and the mechanical robot projected a three-dimensional hologram into the middle of the room - a miniature image of a beautiful girl, the Princess; she pleaded repetitively for help from an old ally - the wise and noble Jedi warrior/mentor Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness): "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope"; Luke knew of a Ben Kenobi, "a strange old hermit" who lived out beyond the Dune Sea; from Owen, Luke learned that Obi-Wan was a friend of Luke’s father, whom Luke never knew
  • the young nephew retreated outside, where he gazed out at Tatooine's twin suns on the horizon, and dreamed of far-off adventures; R2-D2 was "faulty, malfunctioning. He kept babbling on about his mission" and then wandered off into the desert night; the next morning, Luke and C-3PO pursued the renegade runaway droid in the family's floating land-speeder (without telling his uncle), and were attacked by dreaded warriors known as Sand People; an approaching mysterious stranger -- a figure in a brown, hooded robe - scared the Sand People away; the stranger pulled back his hood, revealing a beard and blue eyes -- it was elderly hermit Ben Kenobi
  • the group was rescued and brought by land-speeder to Ben's desert home; Luke was told that Ben, in the time of the Old Republic, was the last living member of a planetary Round Table known as the Jedi Knights who had fought in the Clone Wars, before the coming of the evil Galactic Empire: "I was once a Jedi Knight. The same as your father"; the Jedi fighters were former peace-keepers (using the Force), and had almost became extinct
  • Ben gave Luke something his father wanted passed down to him, a small sword-handle: his father's elegant weapon -- a light-saber ("the weapon of a Jedi Knight"); Luke also learned how his Jedi father had died, he had been murdered by a former pupil of Ben’s who turned to the dark side of the Force: ("Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force...The Force is what gives a Jedi his power")
  • R2-D2 was activated and Princess Leia's entire holographic message was played - it told how the stored secret Death Star plans inside R2-D2 must be delivered to her father on Alderaan: ("...You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope"); Kenobi then persuaded reluctant Luke to join him part-way to Alderaan (to the local spaceport at Anchorhead, where he could get a transport to Mos Eisley), but first emphasized he must "learn the ways of the Force"
  • after returning back to Tatooine to his Aunt and Uncle's place, Luke found that the Imperial stormtroopers had traced the robots there - and he found only smoke, ashes, and the charred skeletons of his relatives; now with no other choice, Luke agreed to be trained as a Jedi by Kenobi: ("Learn about the Force, Luke"), and decided to eventually go on a daring mission to rescue the Princess, who had been taken into captivity on the Death Star: ("I want to come with you to Alderaan...I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father")
  • in the dungeon of the Death Star, Princess Leia was imprisoned in a cell; she was confronted by Darth Vader, who threatened with a round, mechanized, mind-probe torture device, to learn the location of the hidden Rebel base; soon after, when the Princess resisted the torture, Tarkin ordered their course set for Alderaan
  • Luke joined Ben (and the robots) and traveled in the landspeeder to the Mos Eisley spaceport (a "wretched hive of scum and villainy"), guarded on its outskirts by stormtroopers; in town, Ben and Luke entered an outerspace cantina to find a freighter-pilot to take them to Alderaan, and inside found bizarre and intimidating space creatures and aliens; an alien jazz band played in the spacebar, and other cutthroat lifeforms and creatures sat at tables or at the bar, drinking
  • the two found a freighter pilot, hot-shot Corellian smuggler and mercenary flyer Han Solo (Harrison Ford) accompanied by a tall, enormous 7 foot tall furry anthropoid creature, Chewbacca the Wookiee (Peter Mayhew), the first mate/co-pilot on the freighter; Solo agreed to take them on The Millennium Falcon to Alderaan, the Princess' home planet
  • as they prepared to leave, Han was stopped by a green-skinned bounty hunter named Greedo (Paul Blake), employed by fat, slug-like crime lord Jabba the Hutt with a gang of pirates including another bounty hunter named Boba Fett (Mark Austin); Greedo demanded a long-overdue payment (with 15% interest) that Han owed to Jabba; Han promised payment but asked for a little more time, and then shot the alien thug under the table with his concealed weapon, and fled to his ship; out on the street, Ben and Luke had sold their landspeeder to provide their first payment installment for their journey to Alderaan
  • as they left, they had to flee from Imperial troopers and cruisers (Star Destroyers); at Docking Bay 94, Luke reacted to Solo's rattle-trap ship: "What a piece of junk!"; they successfully blasted the vessel into the sky, but it was necessary for Han to jump to the safety of light-speed to avoid Imperial cruisers (Star Destroyers) in pursuit
  • moving into the Alderaan system with the Death Star, the Grand Moff Tarkin planned to test the power of the Death Star by threatening to destroy Leia's home of Alderaan - a small bluish-green planet in space; it was his way of getting Leia to talk and reveal the locations of other space rebels; the Princess divulged (falsely) the location of the Rebel base - on Dantooine in a different planetary system, but the Grand Moff went ahead anyway, and the blue planet Alderaan was blown to pieces by a powerful superlaser; Leia watched in horror as her home planet of Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star
  • on board the Millennium Falcon, Luke practiced with his Jedi lightsaber; Ben advised him as a mentor, reminding him during his exercises to rely on the instinctual responsiveness of the Force rather than on his conscious self
  • as the Millennium Falcoln neared Alderaan, it emerged into a storm of meteorite rocks and asteroid debris - the remains of the blown-away planet; they were drawn, pulled, and helplessly sucked into the huge Death Star by its tractor beam, and taken captive; during a rescue attempt onboard the Death Star, where all the principal characters had gathered after the Millennium Falcon was captured, Ben claimed he would proceed to disable the tractor beam, but in fact wanted to seek out his former protege - now arch-enemy Darth Vader; the others proceeded to the detention block to rescue the Princess (where she was scheduled to be terminated)
  • after the rescue, the group blasted a hole in a small ventilation shaft and jumped into a garbage chute that led to a garbage crushing chamber filled with slimy water, garbage, and a tentacled, single-eyed, snake-like trash monster; after safely released through open garbage-maintenance hatches, the group then made their way through the Death Star to the Millennium Falcon; meanwhile, Vader (Ben's former apprentice) sensed that Ben was nearby: "Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him"
  • the two fought a confrontational duel to the death with laser light-sabers; from a distance as they were escaping, Luke could see their combat and called out: "Ben?"; when Kenobi looked and saw Luke, he smiled, lowered his guard and sacrificed himself, as Vader struck him down and cut him in half; his robe fell to the floor, but he had vanished inside - and merged his consciousness with the Force; Ben had successfully diverted attention from the rest of the Falcon group and everyone reached the safety of Han's ship; Solo piloted their vessel, started the engines, and made their escape from the Death Star in the beat-up space ship, unlocked from the tractor beam
  • the group of rebels escaped on the Falcon to the secret Rebel base on the far side of the 4th moon of a small planet named Yavin; there, planning was under way for a major assault on the Empire's dreaded Death Star; the Alliance leaders in the Rebel War Room had extracted and studied the Death Star technical readouts and blueprints, and discovered its Achilles heel; a precise hit with a proton torpedo on a small exhaust port should cause a chain reaction to destroy the station
  • rewarded for arriving with the group and rescuing Leia, Han prepared to leave the base (to pay off Jabba) after considering the mission on the Death Star suicidal, although he did wish Luke luck: "May the Force be with you"; Luke slipped into his X-wing fighter's cockpit as part of the Red Group squadron, to be aided by a Gold Group squadron piloting Y-wing fighters; as he prepared to take off, Luke heard Ben's spirit speaking to him: "Luke, the Force will be with you"
  • in the film's exciting conclusion, an intergalactic final battle commenced between the forces of good and evil - the thirty X-wing Rebel fighters who flew at the Evil Empire's enormous battle station the Death Star were attacked by TIE fighters engaging in dogfights; most of the Rebel fighters were shot out of the sky by Imperial fighters, but Vader was concerned about a few of the most daring fighters who appeared to be attacking into the trench - he personally joined the fight in his own fighter ship; soon with only one minute left before the Death Star was in range, Luke was the last hope of the Rebels as he sped down a narrow corridor toward the exhaust port (with his targeting computer switched off), relying on words he heard spoken by Ben: "Use the Force, Luke"
  • at that moment in his battered freighter, roguish Han Solo and Chewbacca unexpectedly reappeared ("Yahoo!") to save the day - to defend Luke just as Darth Vader was preparing to destroy his Rebel fighter; Vader's fighter ship went spinning wildly off into space, as Luke fired at his target and two proton torpedoes found their mark down the narrow trench; with Ben's telepathic advice, Luke proved that he had incorporated the Force ("Use the Force, Luke") by successfully targeting the Death Star and destroying it rather than his targeting computer when firing
  • Luke in his Red Five and Han and Chewie in their Falcon, among the few remaining Rebel fighters to survive, returned to the safety of the Rebel base that had been saved; R2-D2 was repaired, and Han was commended for his unselfishness: (The Princess: "I knew it was more to you than money"); in a triumphant celebratory ceremony, Han and Luke were hailed as heroes by Princess Leia and other Rebel Alliance members; each of them was decorated and honored with golden medallions for their bravery

The Opening Scrolling Prologue

The Immense Death Star Space Station

Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones) Taking Charge of a Rebel Spacecraft

Captured Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)

R2-D2 and C3PO on Tatooine

Princess Leia: "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope"

On Tatooine, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) Gazing at the Twin Suns

Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi (Alec Guinness)

In the Mos Eisley Cantina, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) Blasting Bounty Hunter Greedo

Han Solo and Chewbacca at the Controls of The Millennium Falcon - Jumping Into Light-Speed

The Climactic Light-Saber Duel Between Vader and Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi

In Trench, Luke's Starfighter Approach to Target the Death Star's Weakest Point

Destruction of the Death Star


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z