George Lucas changed the face of Hollywood forever with his classic 1977 space opera Star Wars. There are many reasons for Star Warssuccess – the lovely characters, the familiar fairy tale structure, the sheer escape from reality – but much of it was the film’s engaging action sequences, which audiences lined up around the block to watch again. it’s still.
From the escape of the compactor to the trench of the Death Star, the original Star Wars the film is chock full of thrilling scenes that still hold up today.
9 Escape from the docking bay 94
After Luke and Obi-Wan hire Han to take them to Alderaan, he shows them the Falcon in Mos Eisley Spaceport Docking Bay 94. Just as Han is about to give Luke a tour of the ship, the tour is cut short when the Stormtroopers locate the Falcon and open fire on them.
There is always a lot of fun with “pew-pew” laser shooting in science fiction movies, but this set is a pretty straightforward gunfight that ends as soon as Han and Chewie manage to take off.
8 Luke is attacked by the Tusken raiders
After the disappearance of R2-D2, Luke and C-3PO travel across the deserts of Tatooine aboard a landspeeder to look for him. When they finally find the little astrodroid, he is harassed by the Tusken Raiders.
While Luke is examining the situation with binoculars, there is a frightening scare when a Tusken Raider appears in the foreground. The Tusken Raiders’ attack is tense and unnerving, but Obi-Wan impersonating a monster to make them go away is a bit silly.
7 Han and Luke shoot the TIE Fighters
Against all odds, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the droids manage to escape the Death Star. But I’m not out of the woods yet, as the Empire sends a TIE fighter fleet behind the Falcon.
John Williams’ agitated orchestrations sell the tension of battle. When Luke boasts about blowing up one of the TIE fighters, Han responds with the iconic quote: “Great, boy, don’t be cocky!”
6 Rescue of Princess Leia
Leia is often described as a “damsel in distress” because she is a princess who is taken hostage and needs to be rescued by male heroes. But Lucas masterfully subverts the “damsel in distress” trope.
Han and Luke have no exit strategy and attract the attention of nearby Stormtroopers, so Leia has to practically save herself. As soon as they get her out of her cell, she has to take charge.
5 Han shoots first
Before Han can take Luke and Obi-Wan to the Millennium Falcon, he is dealt with at gunpoint by the bounty hunter Greedo. This dangerous saloon shootout is straight from a classic western. They sit in a shady booth at the back of Mos Eisley Cantina and Han distracts Greedo with one hand while with the other he reaches for his blaster, draws and shoots.
This scene doesn’t play out the same way in the Special Edition, as Lucas added a shot from Greedo’s blaster just before Han fired – meaning Han survived through bad luck – but Han still signs with the perfect line: “Mi sorry for the mess. “
4 Obi-Wan’s rematch with Vader
This scene has a place in film history as the first lightsaber duel ever put on film. The swordplay between Ben Kenobi and his old padawan Darth Vader is much slower and less animated than the later lightsaber duels, but plays beautifully as a tense confrontation between a veteran hero and a veteran villain.
Lucas retroactively made this sequence much more heartbreaking by revealing how the former master and apprentice’s last duel went. With the context of the Mustafar duel, the emotions of the Death Star duel are much more resonant.
3 The opening space battle
Star Wars has one of the most memorable opening shots in film history. A small rebel ship whizzes through the cosmos, closely followed by a giant Imperial Star Destroyer approximately 100 times its size.
This sequence kicks off the film with a cheerful beginning, instantly plunging the audience into a galaxy far, far away and establishing the power of the Empire versus the struggling Rebellion.
2 The waste compactor
After Leia rescues Han, Luke and Chewie from a Stormtrooper attack by blowing up the slide in the trash compactor, the quartet find themselves in another deadly situation. The imperial garbage collectors light up the garbage disposal, threatening to crush the protagonists.
With the walls closing literally, this sequence is a heart-pounding suspense masterclass. As Luke desperately tries to contact the droids to shut down the trash compactor, Lucas deftly frames the heroes in tighter and tighter shots.
1 Luke detonates the Death Star
The Death Star trench run is the triumphant finale to the original Star Wars movie and is bigger, bolder and more exciting than any previous set. As Luke prepares to detonate the superweapon of the Empire, Lucas ties all the narrative threads: Han returns to shoot the TIE fighters from his tail (and complete his character’s arc) and Obi-Wan even appears as a ghost of the Force disembodied to give your padawan some last minute advice.
Blockbuster inspired by Star Wars have been trying to overcome the glory of the Death Star explosion for decades. Some got close, but none made it past Lucas’ show.
NEXT: Ranking of all major action sequences in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
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