7 Classic Films George Lucas Ripped Off For The Star Wars Prequels

The original Star Wars was created as a homage to the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s, mixing in influences…

Alex Leadbeater

Editorial Team


The original Star Wars was created as a homage to the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s, mixing in influences from numerous different cultures to create a fresh, and ultimately groundbreaking, film. Even though the general story wasn’t anything new, it influenced an entire generation of cinema, creating a used world that sci-fi to this day lives in and fully reaffirming the blockbuster as the future of film.

The Empire Strikes Back was even more influential, but by the time Return Of The Jedi came around, things were getting a little derivative. Either existing surely for marketing purposes or to invoke the success of the previous films (the Ewoks and the second Death Star respectively), ideas were becoming less inspired. But that’s nothing next to the prequels. So many of the sequences and subplots from Episodes I, II and III are directly lifted from other works, to the extent where you could say Lucas was ripping them off.

There’s nothing directly wrong with taking an existing idea and working it into something new. Romeo and Juliet was an age old story by the time Shakespeare came round to it and more contemporary, Reservoir Dogs was Quentin Tarantino’s almost perfect homage to his film loves. This difference with those is that they were used creatively; with Star Wars it’s a lot more dubious.

The prequels are far from terrible, but its exciting to discover how many of their moments originate from other films. Here are seven films George Lucas took way too much inspiration from when making his prequel trilogy. RedLetterMedia’s immensely popular analysis of the prequels point out numerous of their derivative moments, which will be brought up here, but there’s plenty of others.