1. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
The Movie: Do I even have to tell you? If you haven’t seen the movie in 30 years – hell, if you haven’t ever seen it, period – it doesn’t matter. You know the story of A New Hope, because it is the story: an average nobody has a great destiny thrust upon them, and with the help of a wizard, a few friends, and his own hidden inner strength, the hero defeats the dark overlord, saves the kingdom, and rescues the princess.
Lucas took Joseph Campbell’s idea of the monomyth, and used it like a mad libs outline, plunking archetypes and story points into place like he was setting up a game of Monopoly… which is probably where the inspiration for Monopoly: Star Wars came from, actually. The only risky flourish Lucas adds is in having the gall to make the one normal sounding name in the series a loose copy of his own. Doesn’t matter how blatantly simple it all is, because it worked like gangbusters (460 million 1977 dollars worth of gangbusters). A New Hope is entertainment at its absolute essence: raw, uncut, Bolivian-grade storytelling, just with cooler special effects.
What It Says About You: Your favourite element of the franchise is the universe itself, and A New Hope captures all the parts that matter: the rebels, the Empire, the Force, lightsabers, the Death Star – everything important to the galaxy far, far away is right here. You get teary-eyed every time Luke looks out at the setting Tatooine suns, and cheer when Han shows up to save the day during the rebel assault.
A New Hope reminds you of when Star Wars was an exciting new galaxy full of adventure, just waiting to be explored, a time before Jedi religious philosophy, trade negotiations, and merchandise sales outweighing the sanctity of the story. Watching the Special Editions is like seeing The Mona Lisa through an Instagram filter. Altering perfection is an affront to art itself, and A New Hope belongs in a museum (incidentally, you think Raiders of the Lost Ark is the only Indiana Jones movie that matters).
Favourite Star Wars Accessories: None. A New Hope is fine scotch: best enjoyed straight, by itself, and not watered-down.
Soundbite: “Han shot first!”
Favourite Movies: The Matrix, Back to the Future