OK, I know it was released in 1977, but with two thirds of the original Star Wars trilogy coming out in the 1980’s I think it’s only fair to include the first film on this site. Of course, back then the film was simple known as Star Wars, only officially becoming “Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope” when the more recent trilogy was made. To me, I think it will always be simply Star Wars though.
If by some strange quirk of fate you’ve never seen the film, or don’t know the story, then rather than describe the plot like I usually do with films here’s a recap provided by a little girl of the tender age of three. She gets most of it pretty much spot on. Thanks to Jonathan from Raised in the 80s for bringing this great video clip to my attention.
Watching this video got me thinking about my memories of Star Wars from childhood. When the film was released I was only four (showing my age there) but it must have made some kind of impact on me as I definitely remember my Dad taking me to the cinema to see it. We didn’t go to the pictures very much when I was small, in fact the only other films I distinctly remember going to see were The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and Moonraker!
Anyway, I believe I fell asleep before the end of the film, but here are my memories of Star Wars as a four year old (and these are true I’m sorry to say – I’m not making them up).
The Robots – I couldn’t get my head round their names, since a bunch of letters and numbers didn’t seem to be proper names. R2D2 therefore ended up being called Dusty Bin, whilst C3PO was the funny Gold Robot. I also remember being very scared for C3PO when Luke was lowering him into the cleaning tank after having bought the robots from the Jawas.
Darth Vader – How could you not forget Darth Vader? The big black suit and cloak, the heavy breathing and deep voice and of course that helmet. Movie history was made when he stepped through the blasted out hole onto Princess Leia’s ship at the beginning of the film, although I never realised he was human then so I called him the Black Robot.
The Death Star – BOOM! There goes Alderaan. Very impressive, although I did then think that the moon might be a Death Star and we could therefore get blown up any minute.
Chewbacca – Chewbacca was cool. The fact he only growled only made him cooler, especially the bit where he’s playing that funny holographic chess game with C3PO and doesn’t like losing. He also had the cool gun. Somehow though I thought Chewie was just a big bear…
Light Sabres – The rest of the Jedi powers completely passed me by, to me Jedi equalled Light Sabre. Or rather Jedi equalled Glowy Sword. I was convinced that only a Jedi could use a Light Sabre, a bit like King Arthur and Excalibur, since nobody else got to use a Light Sabre at all.
The Trash Compactor – Turns out that the room with the slowly lowering ceiling or moving walls was a movie cliche even then, but it was the first time I had seen it. Â I was sure they would get crushed when I first saw this scene. Â Looking back now though, I do wonder why they keep big tentacle beasts in the waste containers on the Death Star…
Luke’s and Leia’s swing to safetyÂ – This particular scene always stuck in my mind. I think I thought how incredibly brave they both were to swing across a huuuge drop. Â What if they didn’t make it and fell? Eek! I think this one scene was probably acted out most at school, swinging on the ropes in the school gym when the teachers weren’t looking.
Whilst I must have watched Star Wars again when it came on TV it wasn’t until I went to college that I really got a full grasp of the entire story and realised that most of what I remembered wasn’t technically right (i.e. Darth Vader isn’t a robot). Us oldies might look at the first three films with scorn, but I’m sure that those growing up with these films will remember them just as fondly when they grow up.
I’ll leave you with a couple of questions then, so feel free to post your thoughts as a comment. Firstly, what are your first memories of Star Wars, and secondly, in which order do you think a child should now be introduced to Star Wars? Should it be original trilogy first, like we had, or new trilogy first? I’m inclined towards showing Star Wars first as it would otherwise spoil the whole “Luke, I am your father” scene from The Empire Strikes Back…