Today marks 35 years since the release of Star Wars on May 25th, 1977. In celebration, here’s a link to a Time Magazine article on the anniversary and the original, decades-old Star Wars trailer. Was it really that long ago that I sat in the theater watching this film for the first time – my 10-year-old mind well and truly blown away?
“In May 1977, though, the choice of a PG-rated fantasy as the cover subject for the premier newsmagazine must have seemed a risk. The signature films of that super-serious movie decade had been anguished, acidulous exposés of an America torn apart by corruption in the police (Serpico), municipal politics (Chinatown) and the White House itself (All the President’s Men). Hollywood moguls were proud to be making grownup films for adult audiences — the same demographic as TIME’s readers. Who would care about a movie with light sabers and princesses in distress and chases that looked like those new things the kids loved, videogames?
Yet that first Star Wars story presciently sensed a shift in the cultural barometer: that moviegoers were tiring of urban cynicism and ready for an enthralling, childlike distraction. The movie, Clarke wrote, is ‘aimed at kids — the kid in everybody,’ and Lucas seconded that notion. ‘The word for this movie is fun,’ he said. ‘My main reason for making it was to give young people an honest, wholesome fantasy life, the kind my generation had. We had westerns, pirate movies, all kinds of great things. Now they have The Six Million Dollar Man and Kojak. Where are the romance, the adventure, and the fun that used to be in practically every movie made?’ In 2012, the icon status of Lee Majors and Telly Savalas has long since dimmed, while Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, and Darth Vader too, live in the minds of kids everywhere — the kids in everybody, for whom most movies of the past few decades have been made.”
Here’s the original 1977 Star Wars trailer. Take note of the white lightsabers and distinct lack of iconic music and Darth Vader’s voice.