When Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) was released in the United States on May 25, 1977, it was an immediate sensation. Show after show sold out, with many viewers returning to see the film more than once. It received near-universal praise from film critics as well and went on to break all kinds of records for box-office earnings, attendance, and length of run. It surpassed Jaws as the top-grossing film of all time and retained that title until 1982, when it was overtaken by ET, though it still remains one of the most financially successful films.
People went wild for Star Wars, and its popularity is reflected in the plethora of articles and reviews newspapers published about the film. Below is a just a small sample of the tens of thousands of matches you can find for Star Wars on Newspapers.com:
- Announcement that production of Star Wars is to begin
- Roger Ebert’s Star Wars review
- One of the few negative reviews of Star Wars
- Images of characters from the movie including Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, C3PO and R2D2, and Chewbacca
- Newspaper serialization of the Star Wars novel
- Image of a woman who saw Star Wars 16 times in the theater
- Interview with Star Wars actors
- Article about the popularity of Star Wars merchandise
- Article exploring the influence of the Vietnam War on Star Wars
Did you see the original Star Wars in the theater? Tell us about it! Or get started searching for Star Wars on Newspapers.com.
18 thoughts on “Find: Looking Back on the Original Star Wars”
Not sure if I should admit it but I have seen each star wars on its first day of release. I was 17 in 1977 and 59 now.
As a techno nerd I can say the same about star trek.
These are great films that have inspired technology and social conversations for a very long time. Its great stuff.
you’re math is bad.
Umm why are you doing math on his comment? your grammar is bad, btw
Either that or too much time travel has aged him by 4 years.
i was about to say… i was 12 and am 50 now…. so you have to be 55 or there abouts…
My brave parents took myself with 6 brothers and sisters to see it in theaters. It was so surreal. The local theater we went to oversold so many tix that we sat on the floor in the aisles….totally worth it.
I remember the day I saw Star Wars in 1977. My Dad NEVER took us to the movies, Mom always took us to the drive in. We were deciding what to do on a Sunday and my Dad suggested we see a movie. I was so excited that I immediately got the newspaper to see what was playing. I found all kinds of movies I wanted to see but he already had a plan. “Star Wars???” I asked with a crinkled up nose. Well, at the end of the movie, I stood up and clapped. Guess Dad had a good idea after all.
Star Wars had been out for 6 months by the time I saw it. I’d heard all of the reviews and everyone raving about it, but I didn’t get a chance to go. When I finally got to see it about Christmastime, I was so, so amazed… I totally fell in love with all of the characters, especially R2-D2. Fast forward a few years to “Empire Strikes Back”. We went on opening day, straight after work. We stood in line for hours, in a dress, nylons and heels. By the time we got into the theater, I was tired, uncomfortable, and very irritable. But as soon as the opening credits started to roll, I forgot everything… I loved that movie so much, I stood in theater lines 6 more times to see it. And when I got my first VCR, Empire was the first videotape I bought. Videotapes were expensive back then. A gently used tape was $60. But it was so worth the price to me.
I saw Star Wars on the opening weekend. I was a senior in High School and a few of my friends and I went to see it. I will NEVER forget that first scene where the ship goes by while shooting the ship chasing it and then that ship comes into few as you start to see how large it is. We’d never seen anything like it. I still get chills and think of that moment when I see the movie now. Those ships seemed so huge!!!
“view” not “few” — sorry. Please don’t comment on my grammar, spelling or math. I’m generally very good at it, but I am human and not a Jedi! 🙂
I saw Star Wars and all the other 5 in the theater, bought the movies on VCR after the prices came down, and read the Star Wars books that have been published to fill in the gaps and extend the universe. Really looking forward to attending episode 7. There were all these rumors back when the second movie (Episode 5) came out that there would be 9 in all: with episodes 1 thru 3 to follow 6 and 7 thru 9 to follow using the original cast members. Episodes 1 thru 3 were somewhat disappointing; glad to hear that 7 is getting good reviews. And amazed that this is being followed thru with so many cast members still able to return.
My daughter talked me into seeing the first Star Wars. As the movie began, I groaned. I thought the acting was poor and commented to my daughter that I thought it was a really poor “B-Grade” film. But the film rolled on and I became a Star Wars Fan. I Love It and wouldn’t miss another Star Wars. I also became a Harrison Ford Fan and am looking forward to the newest film.
I was 18 & working at the local theater when it was released, so it was a couple of weeks before I actually got to see it. Had to wait for crowds to thin & get a night off, lol, but I love the movies & can’t wait to see the new one.
I know exactly where all of the original computers and software that did all of the effects for the film are sitting and no there not with Disney or Lucas lol
I was 17 in 1977 too, and now I’m 39.
I do not recall the exact day I saw the STAR WARS, but it had to be early after its release. Two of my sons and I shared an interest in science fantasy and we relay read several novels of the genre. I was a working mother at the time and was not informed of the prerelease fanfare the film was producing, but I did want to see it. My oldest son and I were making our way to our seats when a school mate of his (he was a senior in high school) made a comment to him, “Jerry, what are you doing tonight?” Since I had my back to the speaker all she saw was that I was female and not his girl friend. As my son responded, “Taking my mom to the movie.” I turned and gave a full view of my very pregnant belly. The movie suspended the years between my sons and me and began a long term love affair with the entire story and characters. I even liked Jar Jar.
I saw it in 1977 when I was pregnant with my first child. We saw ESB together, and his fourth birthday party was Star Wars themed. I dressed as Princess Leia, a neighbor arrived dressed as Darth Vader, we had papier -mâché asteroids hanging from the living room ceiling.
That child now has twin 4 year olds. when his twins were about to be born, I took his two (2!) robotic R2D2s for a ride around Boston in their car seats.
This year I went looking for his light sabers, they have been located.
I imagine grandparents all around the world looking for dusty boxes full of lightsabers, just so they can say :
“It was your father’s”
I still have many of the characters, a Millenium Falcon, and two Darth Vader character cases. And a Star Wars lunch box. Do not remember which one. All are rather sad and very played with. The Falcon is missing most of her external parts, but she is still special.
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