In 1977, an epic space-opera trilogy written and directed by George Lucas would forever change cinema. Star Wars: A New Hope, the first film of the series, tells the story of Luke Skywalker who joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a copy pilot, a Wookie, and two droids to help save the galaxy from Darth Vader and his Empire’s Death Star, a moon-sized space station capable of destroying entire planets. Retroactively, the movie became known as “Episode 4” in the Skywalker Saga; the franchise would later add a prequel trilogy, a sequel trilogy, two anthology films, and various spin-off TV series.
A New Hope became one of the first movies added to the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” In 2004, its soundtrack was added to the U.S. National Recording Registry. Today, it’s indisputably regarded as one of the most important films in the history of motion pictures, winning six Oscars including Best Music, Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction-Set Direction.
Star Wars is not only well respected by critics and its rabid fans, but Lucas’ creation has grossed a grand total of $9,307,186,202 and has spawned countless merchandise lines, video games, park rides, and more. The story of the Skywalkers is still rolling out more than 40 years later; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters in December.
Want to see how it all began or revisit Luke’s rowdy gang of rebels? With Disney+ you can exclusively stream Star Wars: A New Hope today.
See Also: Everything Star Wars on Disney Plus
How to Stream ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ – Exclusively on Disney+
Star Wars: A New Hope is one of the fan-favorite Star Wars movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Descendants and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “A New Hope”
- 5. Tap on “Star Wars – A New Hope”
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’: Overview
Release Date: May 25, 1977
Creators: Written and directed by George Lucas, Produced by Gary Kurtz
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Peter Mayhew
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker joins together with a gang of rebels to save the galaxy from the Empire’s world-destroying battle station while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.
How Long Is ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’?
Star Wars: A New Hope has a runtime of 121 minutes.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Plot
The Imperial Forces, under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse), hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the droid duo R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Cast
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker is a farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known. Along with his friends Princess Leia and Han Solo, Luke battles the evil Empire, discovers the truth of his parentage, and eventually ends the tyranny of the Sith. Before Star Wars, Hamill had guest roles in TV series like The Partridge Family, The Bill Cosby Show, and General Hospital.
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Han Solo grew up on the mean streets of Corellia and eventually joined up with Luke Skywalker to become one of the heroes of the Rebel Alliance. As captain of the Millennium Falcon, Han and his co-pilot Chewbacca believe in the cause of galactic freedom and the fight against the Empire. Harrison Ford became an A-list actor appearing in movies like The Fugitive, What Lies Beneath, Witness, and all of the Indiana Jones movies.
Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa
Princess Leia Organa is one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, with experience on the battlefield and an undying dedication to ending the tyranny of the Empire. It’s revealed that she’s the sister of Luke Skywalker. She proves herself as one of the galaxy’s great heroes. Fisher, an actress, comedian, and writer, sadly passed away in 2016 but will appear in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. She also had parts in films like Scream 3, The Blues Brothers, Drop Dead Fred, and The ‘Burbs.
Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin
Grand Moff Tarkin is a ruthless proponent of military power who rises rapidly through the Imperial ranks. Shortly after the Empire’s creation, he’s put in charge of the creation of the Death Star, a space station armed with a destructive superlaser to instill fear in the rest of the galaxy. Cushing was an English actor best known for his roles in the Hammer Productions horror films of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, along with his role in Star Wars.
Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi
A legendary Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a noble man and who is gifted in the ways of The Force. In A New Hope, he guides Luke Skywalker as a mentor. Guinness played Colonel Nicholson in the movie The Bridge On the River Kwai and is known for his many other collaborations with David Lean. Some of those films included Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and Lawrence of Arabia.
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
C-3PO is a droid programmed and built by the heroic Jedi Anakin Skywalker. He is fluent in more than seven million forms of communication. Along with R2-D2, he plays a key role in organizing the Rebel Alliance in A New Hope. Actor Anthony Daniels is the only actor to appear in all of the episodic films in the series. Daniels was the voice of Legolas in the animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and has appeared on various British dramas such as Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren.
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
A resourceful droid, R2-D2 saved his friends from many dangerous spots serving Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, and Luke Skywalker over the course of the franchise. He forms an unlikely but enduring friendship with the fussy C-3PO in the series’ first film. Another accomplished English actor, Baker also starred in The Elephant Man, Time Bandits, Willow, Flash Gordon, Amadeus, and Labyrinth.
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
Chewbacca is a Wookiee warrior and one of the rebel heroes. He’s Han Solo’s co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon and eventually helps the Alliance restore freedom to the galaxy. Mayhew played the character in all of his live-action appearances from A New Hope to 2015’s The Force Awakens. Mayhew passed away in April of this year.
David Prowse and James Earl Jones as Darth Vader
Though he was once a heroic Jedi Knight, Darth Vader is the original trilogy’s big bad. He was seduced by the dark side of the Force becoming a Sith Lord and leading the Empire’s quest to eliminate the Jedi Order. The villainous Vader was played physically by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones, the latter of whom is known for his other voice acting stints such as The Lion King and Jack and the Beanstalk.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Songs and Soundtrack
The soundtrack for A New Hope was composed and conducted by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The collection was produced by Williams and George Lucas and was released by 20th Century Records as a double-LP record in the United States in June 1977. The soundtrack album went on to become certified Gold and Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and won numerous accolades including Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, and Grammy Awards in the categories of best film score and soundtrack album. In 2004, it was preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry, calling it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” In 2005, the American Film Institute named the original Star Wars soundtrack as the most memorable score of all time for an American film.
In 2016, the album was re-released by Sony Classical Records on vinyl, CD, and digital formats alongside Williams’ other Star Wars soundtracks. The vinyl release is pressed on 180g vinyl and has a 75-minute run time. The tracklist is:
1. “Main Title”
2. “Imperial Attack”
3. “Princess Leia’s Theme”
4. “The Desert and the Robot Auction”
5. “Ben’s Death and TIE Fighter Attack”
6. “The Little People Work”
7. “Rescue of the Princess”
8. “Inner City”
9. “Cantina Band”
10. “The Land of the Sandpeople”
11. “Mouse Robot and Blasting Off”
12. “The Return Home”
13. “The Walls Converge”
14. “The Princess Appears”
15. “The Last Battle”
16. “The Throne Room and End Title”
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ at the Box Office
Star Wars is still one of the most financially successful films of all time. It opened to 43 screens in its first week of release and earned $2,556,418 in its first six days (equaling $10.6 million when adjusted for inflation). It continually added screens, earning more and more to its box office numbers and replacing Jaws as the highest-earning film in North America just six months into release.
According to Box Office Mojo, the film earned a domestic total of $460,998,007 and $314,400,000 overseas making a grand total of $775,398,007 worldwide.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
Star Wars: A New Hope received an overwhelmingly positive reception when it debuted in 1977. That positivity continues to this day with every new release; the original trilogy is often revisited to compare to the latest Skywalker Saga sequels.
In his original 1977 review, Newsday’s Joseph Gelmis wrote, “I haven’t had as much fun at a movie in years. With its technical wizardry, high-velocity storytelling and spirited good humor, Star Wars dazzles the child in us.”
John L. Wasserman of the San Francisco Chronicle was equally as excited writing, “If anybody wondered where Lucas has been since the release nearly four years ago of American Graffiti, the answer is at hand. Star Wars… is the most exciting picture to be released this year — exciting as theater and exciting as cinema.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s original review reads like a prediction of the future. “[Star Wars] will undoubtedly emerge as one of the true classics in the genre of science fiction/fantasy films. In any event, it will be thrilling audiences of all ages for a long time to come,” wrote Ron Pennington.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Trailer
Nineteen years after the formation of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is thrust into the struggle of the Rebel Alliance when he meets a wise Jedi named Obi-Wan Kenobi. All of this and more is showcased in the trailer for Star Wars: A New Hope.
‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. George Lucas’ Script Was Originally 200 Pages Long
When Lucas first turned in his screenplay for Star Wars: A New Hope, the script was more than 200 pages long (the average length of a screenplay is between 95 and 125 pages). Lucas eventually chopped the final two acts and presented the first act of the screenplay as the finished story. Eventually, the final two acts of the behemoth screenplay were expanded to become the latter parts of the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
2. Orson Welles Almost Voiced Darth Vader
George Lucas originally wanted Orson Welles as the voice of Darth Vader. The director second-guessed himself after thinking Welles’ already-famous baritone would be too recognizable and distracting.
3. The Film’s Iconic Opening Was Created Practical Effects
Lucas got the idea for the movie’s opening crawl from Flash Gordon serials. The effect was done practically. Lucas placed two-foot-wide yellow letters over a six-foot-long black paper background. Then, a camera made a slow pass over the words to make it look like the words were crawling. The entire process took three hours.
4. Vader’s Big Reveal Was Kept A Secret From Almost Everyone
The only people who knew that Darth Vader was Luke’s father before the scene was actually shot were Lucas, Irvin Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz. Actor Mark Hamill was told only moments before the first take. To make sure the secret was kept, Lucas and his producers placed a false page into all the scripts with Vader’s dialogue stating that Obi-Wan killed Luke’s father. David Prowse, the actor playing Vader, even delivered a line stating “Obi-Wan killed your father” though Hamill at the time knew the truth. The lines were later re-done by James Earl Jones when he recorded the official dialogue.
5. ‘The Muppets’ Creator Jim Henson Helped Design Yoga
The Yoda puppet was created by designer Stuart Freeborn with help from The Muppets creator Jim Henson. Henson then suggested puppeteer Frank Oz to control the character. Oz had plenty of experience having been the main puppeteer behind Miss Piggy, Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster, Animal, Sam the Eagle, and Fozzie Bear. According to Mental Floss, after the release of The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas lobbied for Oz to get an Oscar nomination for his performance, but he was ultimately disqualified for consideration when it was ruled that puppeteers weren’t actors.
What Other Star Wars Movies Can You Stream on Disney+?
At the time of writing this, here are all of the Star Wars movies on Disney+:
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the JEDI
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
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