On This Day - May 4th

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Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas.

It is the first film in the original Star Wars trilogy and the beginning of the Star Wars franchise. Actors in the film include Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness.

The film's plot focuses on the Rebel Alliance, led by Princess Leia (Fisher), and its attempt to destroy the Galactic Empire's space station, the Death Star. This conflict disrupts the isolated life of farmhand Luke Skywalker (Hamill), who inadvertently acquires two droids that possess stolen architectural plans for the Death Star. When the Empire begins a destructive search for the missing droids, Skywalker accompanies Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Guinness) on a mission to return the plans to the Rebel Alliance and rescue Leia from her imprisonment by the Empire.

Star Wars was released in the United States on May 25th 1977. It earned $461 million in the U.S. and $314 million overseas, totaling $775 million. In doing so it surpassed Jaws (1975) to become the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. When adjusted for inflation, Star Wars is today the third-highest-grossing film in the world.

On his inspiration for the film, Lucas says "I wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie, with all the trimmings, but I couldn't obtain the rights to the characters. So I began researching and went right back and found where Alex Raymond (who had done the original Flash Gordon comic strips in newspapers) had got his idea from.

I discovered that he'd got his inspiration from the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs (author of Tarzan) and especially from his John Carter of Mars series books. I read through that series, then found that what had sparked Burroughs off was a science-fantasy called Gulliver on Mars, written by Edwin Arnold and published in 1905."

The film was met with critical acclaim upon its release. In his 1977 review, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "an out-of-body experience", compared its special effects to those of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and opined that the true strength of the film was its "pure narrative".

It continues to receive critical acclaim from modern critics. The film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes rates it 93% positive based on 104 reviews with an overall rating of 8.6/10. Its consensus states in summary, "A legendary expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opens our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster film-making and things have never been the same."

Today's question is this: why on earth are we publishing a piece on Star Wars?

Here's why.....

...it's Star Wars Day — May the 4th be with you!