Star Wars is 39 Years Old Today!


39 years ago today the world was changed when an unexpected space fantasy altered the way the world looked at movies. Star Wars (later A New Hope) was released on May 25th, 1977 and summer blockbusters would never be the same.


May the 4th may be “Star Wars Day” due to clever marketing and fandom’s love for wordplay, but today is the day it all began. Before Star Wars, movies about space wizards, alien planets, and interplanetary battles of good and evil were the fodder of B-Movie cinema. They were seen as lesser and not taken seriously. Today’s blockbuster landscape would have seemed fantasy in its own right to movie goers of the early 70’s. But the spectacle and awe of Star Wars brought to life through the passion of George Lucas change all that. Lucas had a vision that the serials of his youth could be elevated to something that could both have mass appeal and stand the test of time.




Star Wars changed the film industry, advanced technology, and elevated aspects of geek culture into the mainstream in unprecedented ways. Without Star Wars, Lucas, and those who collaborated with him, the world would be a much different and far lesser place. So, Happy Birthday Star Wars! Although we here at SWNN will obviously salute you on this day due to our predisposition for all things of the galaxy far, far, away, it is the world and the entire film industry that should honor you for forever altering the way we consume movies. Happy Birthday and may the force be with you!




Share your original Star Wars memories with us in the comments below.


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49 thoughts on “Star Wars is 39 Years Old Today!

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    A true modern fairy-tale and a mythology for the 20th century on. Congratualtions on a truly remarkable accomplishment, and thank you for the amazing ride and the vision, George!

    • May 25, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      You should be name Mr_Politepants for that comment. Still, may the force be with this great franchise for all eternity!

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    I was 12 years old
    I loved Star Wars very much
    Every night before bed I won’t do this I’m sorry please don’t hate me ;A;

    The REAL love letter:
    I didn’t like Star Wars much as a kid. It wasn’t until I was about 12 or 13 when my younger brother really got into it that I started to. He outgrew it, while I grew further and deeper into the franchise, and now to a point where I visit you losers on a daily basis! o/

    Thanks, Star Wars, for jumpstarting my creativity and love of films and games!

    • May 25, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      I’m going to be honest. I think I love the franchise even more today than I did when I was little. When I was 9 or so we moved out of state into an apartment and my Star Wars toys went into storage until 2 years later when we built our house. When those toys came out, it was like a resurgance of memories. I immediately got them out and played with them again, though I was just getting out of toys by then.

      My love for Star Wars has hit several peaks in my time. When it was new and I was a small boy, when I found my old toys again, when I heard rumors that George Lucas was going to do the prequels finally (no bashing this time though I was underwhelmed for the most part), when I heard that Disney bought Lucasfilm out of the blue and there were going to be more Star Wars movies, and when Episode VII was released. It just seems like it will be a constant ride uphill for me for the forseeable future.

      It is the best time ever to be a geek, and I’m happy to be a part of it!

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Thirty-nine years ago (give or take a few weeks) my family went out to eat at one of those restaurants where the servers dressed in costumes. Our waitress–as we would have said back then–had a “space” costume on. My mother asked her, “Oh, are you from that Star Wars movie?” She said she was, but didn’t offer any details. Not long after that I got to see Star Wars and loved it. But I remembered that night at the restaurant and realized that woman was totally lying; her costume had nothing to do with anything in Star Wars! Thinking back, she looked more like something from a 1960s sci-fi TV show with lots of silver and red.

    Not much of a story, I know, but it just goes to show how new and unknown the now iconic style of Star Wars was back then.

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Star Wars…Of all the childhoods that I’ve got in my life…This one was the biggest of them all.
    And let’s hope that by next year, the 40th anniversary will be hugely spectacular in many aspects!

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    I grew up in the UK so we didn’t get it until January 1978. No global release back in those days!

    • May 26, 2016 at 1:44 am

      yeah! I lived with my parents in Madrid, Spain – and Jedi didn´t come until november 83 if I remember correctly…

    • May 26, 2016 at 2:05 am

      BUT on the other hand, there WERE year-long engagements and Drive-In presentations!

        • May 26, 2016 at 10:26 pm

          Naw, I’m from Canuckada 🙂

          • May 27, 2016 at 5:55 am

            Wait, you’re from CANADA? But Canadians are supposed to be nice….

          • May 28, 2016 at 2:49 am

            It’s the constant cold from living in igloos. Coupled with our insanely strong beer compared to that pig-swill you people call beer, and we’re actually a very angry, if polite, people.

          • May 28, 2016 at 4:05 am

            That explains it. I guess I needed to learn more ABOOT you. hur hur hur. Aboot.

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    wow i was a young’n back then! but i can remember first time seeing it like it was yesterday.. and the theater here in Dallas had a huge thing made for the Star Wars title, up above the entrance.. never seen such a big deal made over a movie, cept maybe Jaws. anyway, having some crazy flashbacks here! =P

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    I was nine years old that summer. My father owned a business in a strip mall in Douglasville GA. The center had just opened a duplex theater (2 screens was a big deal back then). As my father owned a business in the strip, the owners of the theater would let us in for free. I think my dad figured it was a good baby sitting service for me and my younger brother. My brother and I watched Star Wars at least a dozen times that summer.

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    You can notice the obsolete look of the visual effects, the woody lightsaber duel or the ridicoulous role reserved to Darth Vader. But when I first saw this movie, in VHS, in 1997 or 1998 (I was 6 or 7), there was no way: I loved SW from the first memorable quote, to the stupendous musical introduction, to the chilling entrance of the Star Destroyer, and over. No CGI dinosaur, nor CGI Godzilla was “technological” enough to be preferred to this: Star Wars was already old for a child like me, but deeply moving in its pure imagination as I had never seen.

    Two years ago, I showed it to my little cousin, who was 7. Well… his reaction was the same as mine in 1998, and I have to say he grew up with movies like Avengers, Transformers, Pirates of the Carribbean. But, again… nothing to do: during the Death Star assault, when the Falcon finally appeared and saved the day, we both started to cheer. Me, and a 7 years old child. In front of an almost 40 years old movie. During the Pixar era.

    If this doesn’t mean Star Wars is a great classic, I don’t know what could.

    • May 25, 2016 at 10:25 pm

      I saw SW on it’s extended run in ’78 at age 4, and SW was intimately connected with summer for the next years of my childhood. I had similar joy showing my two young boys – one movie per year – several years back. Revisiting the films through fresh eyes and without the cynicism of age and experience made me appreciate the pure joy SW takes in its simple journey, the astounding way that ESB tweaks expectations (to anyone still confused, ESB is the exact OPPOSITE of fan service) and truly has a devastating ending which, given the rest of kids fare, does EVERYTHING that kids have been taught movies aren’t supposed to do for an ending! Subsequently watching my kids react to Ewoks and then, despite ‘knowing’ from their other film experiences, that the baddie HAD to get his comeuppance in the end, watching them break down in tears when Vader died made me love RotJ all over again.
      I can forgive George all his failings with the PT for just how magical those three original films truly are.

      • May 26, 2016 at 12:04 am

        I remember how was watching ROTJ ending for the first time. I was literaly anguished when Luke took down Vader’s mask, but then I was truly sad. When a villain’s death make you cry, you know that villain was truly great. This is something Marvel has to learn.

        • May 26, 2016 at 1:42 am

          I first had the storybook, seen some commercials on tv, and action figures….then went to the theater – I was 9 – and it was the funeral of Vader. I had to wait till the end of the movie and then 10 minutes later it started again – this was my first contact with Star Wars movie. It was so hard that till now Jedi is by far my most beloved episode. The next two years I was only guessing what was the story before, having only the novel to catch some glimpses of Star Wars and Empire, but didn´t know at all the story itself. THen came the VHS and I finally could see a bad copy of Star Wars and Empire – on a 55 cm tv….for many many years 🙂 and not widescreen of course….countless time I´ve seen those VHS…and I too was always sad when Vader died…

        • May 26, 2016 at 1:43 am

          Yup – I even MISSED Luke flying away from the DS because I was crying like a little bitch so hard. As much shit as that film unfairly gets, if it were for nothing else but that narrative trick alone (turning Vader, the badest baddie that ever badded – booooo! HIsss!!! into a character whose death is so gutting) RotJ deserves some major kudos.

          • May 26, 2016 at 10:24 am

            I think the general “not so enthusiastic” opinions fans have about ROTJ, are just because of the difference of tone between it and Empire. Actually, if Lucas had not wanted to let this movie be so commercial and “family fiendly”, he could have done a really epic and impressive “second part” of The Empire Strikes Back.

      • May 26, 2016 at 1:35 am

        I have kids – boy 5 and girl 3. From last year till this december they are on ANH era. Next January I´ll start with Empire and one year later Jedi. I have the same strategy as you do. I want them to enjoy to the fullest each of the movies and to wait and look forward to see the next chapter (and of course to reach certain age before it). Then I will continue with the PT and ST….but this original trilogy I want – and hope – will be dearst to their heart….

        • May 26, 2016 at 1:47 am

          Enjoy the ride – you only get to take it once sadly, but it’s great while it lasts. I actually did 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6. The only slip up was we took my oldest to SW in Concert before he’d seen Jedi – frantically slamming my hands over his ears during “Light of the Force” 🙂 Oh, and no matter your best intentions, don’t be surprised if the PT gets a HELL of a lot more love from them than you might be comfortable with (Damn kids, you’ll watch Empire and you’ll LIKE it!! Waahhh….we wanna watch Attack of the Clones!!!!!!!)

          • May 26, 2016 at 3:14 am

            I do! I know it won´t repeat! Many times I was weak, thinking OK, let´s go for Empire……but they still doesn´t know the truth about Vader! And I want them to enjoy every sip until it changes forever. I wish I´d had that time before Empire myself….but since I´ve seen Jedi first I started with the true identity….Now I show them like once in a month A new Hope….strangely it´s always forced when I think of it this way – to me episode 4 it´s alwes just Star Wars. And Clone Wars cartoons (because Obi-Wan mentioned in in the movie, so they know what he´s talking about – but they don´t know that Anakin is Vader)..
            And regarding PT – my cousin´s 17 y.o. son all time favourite is Clones, by far. He loves Star Wars. He loves OT. But he loves more PT. Too bad my kids are not old enough to see the new movies in theater…..but then again – it´s in czech or english here in the Czech Republic, and they still don´t speak english (we´ll start next year) and I don´t want them to see it in czech, because I talk to them only in spanish (I spend the first half of 80. in Spain and remember the OT in spanish and prefer it that way, while the PT I like to watch in english) – so my kids are seeing Star Wars and Clone Wars in spanish 🙂 weird, I know.

      • May 26, 2016 at 10:23 am

        Before the dark times, before the focus groups.

        • May 27, 2016 at 5:53 am

          And the Gungans.

          • May 27, 2016 at 2:09 pm

            And the sand, so much sand!

          • May 27, 2016 at 6:29 pm

            Ugh, I hate sand.

          • May 28, 2016 at 6:27 pm

            It’s course, rough, and gets everywhere.

          • May 28, 2016 at 2:48 am

            Dear god that one line has been blown so incomprehensibly out of proportion by fans over the years. Yikes.

          • May 28, 2016 at 6:30 pm

            It’s like the Storm line in X-Men where it looked bad on paper but made even worse than with the delivery. 14 years later and it’s now almost as camp classic as anything Lorenzo Semple Jr. has ever written.

    • May 25, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      The vast majority of the effects still look amazing. Especially the spaceships.

      • May 25, 2016 at 11:59 pm

        It’s true, but I meant obsolete compared with what we usually see today.

        • May 26, 2016 at 1:49 am

          Again, what is “Obsolete”? The question for me is always “does the shot work?” If the answer is ‘yes’, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a digital asset, a painting on glass, a rubber mask or a digital character – it’s NOT obsolete.

          • May 26, 2016 at 10:18 am

            Forget what I said, I didn’t mean to start a discussion like this.

          • May 27, 2016 at 5:52 am

            If newer methods have replaced the old ones, and those older methods cease to be used, they are obsolete. That’s the definition, that’s what the word means. So don’t get your panties in a twist.

          • May 28, 2016 at 2:46 am

            But that’s the point – they haven’t necessarily replaced other methods. There’s nothing inherent in the fact of digital effect work which makes models obsolete. They are two completely different methods of achieving a shot, each with its own strength and weakness. The fact that studios are gravitating towards digital because its on the whole cheaper doesn’t make practical work, as LFL has taken such pains to point out, obsolete.

          • May 28, 2016 at 4:06 am


            The Dictionary supersedes your personal connotations of the word.

  • May 25, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    I was 5 years old in 1977 and it was, is, and always be my favorite movie of all-time.

  • May 25, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    One of the first movies I ever saw on the big screen. 5 years old, Dundee Scotland. As magical now as it was 39 years ago.

  • May 25, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    I have always considered myself fortunate to have grown up in the 1970’s. The moon landings of 1971 and 1972, TV shows like “Space: 1999”, “The Planet of the Apes” and “Battlestar Galactica”, the great Bronze Age of Comics, and of course to top it all off, Star Wars in 1977. All these things left me with a lifelong fascination for space and science fiction. So from a grateful fan, Happy Birthday Star Wars!!!

  • May 26, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Star Wars has really changed and redefined science fiction and fantasy forever ever since the franchise debuted in the 1970’s; it’s a miracle that the Star Wars franchise has lasted this long even today. ^_^

  • May 26, 2016 at 3:41 am

    39 years. Wow. I still remember my dad reading the novel to me in late 76, and being in awe of the fact that a movie of this was soon to come. Of course, that 6 or so months felt like an eternity back then.

    Saw the movie finally in May 77 in a drive in theater that no longer exists*, with what seemed like a hundred pound speaker hanging on our car’s passenger window…and my short dream of having that book realized on screen had come true. It’s been a love affair ever since.

    Thank you, George (and Alan Dean Foster)

    *now that I think about it, the theaters that I saw ESB and RotJ on no longer exist either. :/

  • May 26, 2016 at 5:20 am

    I’ve loved Star Wars my entire life. The greatest thing about SW today is that I get to share it with my almost 4 year old son, who absolutely loves it! He and I have lightsaber fights, fight off stormtroopers, etc. every single day! SW brings generations together!

  • May 26, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Always loved that look for Luke, Shame we only saw it onscreen for less than a minute.

    Kind of cool how it’s yellow which was Anakin’s favorite color judging by his podracer, airspeeder, and fighter.

    • May 28, 2016 at 2:44 am

      Well, duh, the whole thing was planned out from the beginning.

  • May 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I was 1 year and 7 days old when ANH came out in the theatre. So it wasn’t until I was about 7 that I first saw star wars on a HUGE two piece VCR. I looooved it and soon thereafter I watched Empire and then Jedi. That’s when I noticed that Return of the Jedi was labeled episode 6. So, in 1984, I had my poor mom scour every video rental store in the entire region looking for the first three episodes.

    I was like ” but Mom it has to be there, it just has to. Why would they call it episode 4 if there wasn’t an episode 1,2 and 3″. She tried her hardest to find those movies for her little boy. I really thought I had missed out on something. Then mom brings home the Ewok Adventure movie (Caravan of Courage) and told me that video rental store manager said this was the rest of the saga.

    I watched. I was distraught. “This isn’t right, this can’t be happening…..”

    It wasn’t until I was in college that finally I learned the truth about the prequel that would be coming soon and I was instantly 7 again. I love the prequels despite their flaws. I watched ATOTC 6 times in the theatre. (it was a very lonely time in my life)

    And now that Star Wars is continuing on into infinity by Disney’s command, I will look forward to being 7 years old for a very long time.

  • May 27, 2016 at 5:49 am

    Happy belated birthday to one of the most influential films ever put to screen!

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