Star Wars* was released thirty years ago today. The movie is a cultural touchstone of my childhood and one that revolutionized cinematic special effects and the moviegoing experience (along with Jaws) creating the must-see blockbuster. Big movies don’t seem the same to me today probably because they are available on DVD & TV shortly after their cinematic release and even low-budget TV shows have decent special effects these days. That and I’m no longer a child and have become a curmudgeonly old man at the tender age of 33.
Anyhow, Star Wars was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater, or at least the earliest movie I can remember. I saw the movie in the summer of 1977 with my father and sister at The Strand in Oak Bluffs, MA. I remember the seats that slide back & forth in the theater as well or better than seeing the movie itself. I’m also pretty sure that I fell asleep during the movie because I remember our heroes escaping from the trash compactor and in the very next scene they were getting medals. It wasn’t until years later when I saw Star Wars again on TV that I learned that a whole lot happened in-between those two scenes.
That didn’t stop me from loving the movie, looking forward longingly to the sequels, and playing with my Kenner action figures (making up new stories as I went along). The Star Wars empire has pretty devolved into a crass commercial venture and the prequels range from disappointing to downright bad, but there’s still a little kid in me that looks back longingly at the great movie that was Star Wars.
* Cranky Old Man Footnote: Yes, I call the movie Star Wars and I will continue to call it Star Wars no matter how much these geeky, pedantic whippersnappers insist on calling it Episode IV or A New Hope (or worse EIV and ANH). The movie was called Star Wars when it was released and people of my generation can distinguish it just fine without numbers or subtitles, thank you very much.