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How 19 great movies were direct influences on Star Wars

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will to triumph star wars inspiration

Well-known movies that influenced Star Struggle

At face worth, Star Wars: A New Hope was an entirely authentic film written by director George Lucas. Its script set new requirements of film making.

It was a recent tackle the outdated story of a white knight and seasoned wizard rescuing the princess held captive within the evil Lord’s fort.

And it had area ships, plenty of spaceships.

However George Lucas is the primary to state that his script for Star Wars was impressed by a complete lot of tales, myths and legends and so many motion pictures. Lucas was a movie pupil in spite of everything!

George was impressed by many issues as he went about making his movie. From Spock and Gandalf to Japanese cinema, he borrowed concepts within the types of relationships, gods, faith and monsters, conflict all rinsed by means of the “Coronary heart of Darkness” that all the time naws away at his thoughts.

Slightly little bit of William Shakespeare was additionally thrown in for good measure. Most good authors do this!

This spilled over into his different Star Wars motion pictures and so there’s a number of influences to cowl. We’ll focus totally on film references Lucas made however we won’t omit books like John Carter of Mars both!

Right here’s a number of the key influences that went into the unique Star Wars movie and those that adopted.

He even took the odd quote verbatim and put in it a brand new context to nice impact.

So then, The Dambusters

Should you ever thought Wedge’s “Take a look at the dimensions of that factor” was a basic Star Wars line you would be proper. However when you thought it was an authentic scripted quote written by George Lucas, you would be fallacious. 

The quote was lifted straight from the basic conflict film, The Dambusters.

The plot level in query is the a part of the The Dam Busters the place Allied bombers bounced bombs throughout the floor of the Ruhr River to blow up in opposition to the bottom of an enormous Nazi dam. The pilots needed to get their launch excellent or the bomb wouldn’t blow the dam’s construction on the proper level, inflicting your entire rattling to break down. 

Sound acquainted?

That is proper. It is the ditch run and the firing of the torpedoes on the tiny goal of the Dying Stars exhaust port!

Lucas even borrowed the road “Get set in your assault run!” from the film and added it to his. 

Lucas then did an especially intelligent coupling with the premise of the Gregory Peck headlined, The Guns of Navarone so as to add some actual urgency to the proceedings of attacking a Dying Star. 

The movie is ready on a fictional Greek island known as Navarone within the Aegean Sea the place the Nazis have constructed a pair of radar-controlled tremendous cannons. The weapons threaten the evacuation of British troops on close by Keros Island.

This mirrors that the rebels left on on Yavin IV base are susceptible to whole destruction by the Dying Star. 

In Weapons of Navarone, Peck’s squad of commandos race to destroy the Navarone tremendous weapons earlier than the British transports get inside their vary. This additionally displays the fleet’s race to destroy the Dying Star earlier than it will possibly open hearth on Yavin IV. 

These two ideas labored fairly properly in tandem!

Rick’s Cafe from Casablanca sounds so much like a cantina we all know of…

ANH’s Mos Eisley spaceport sequence 45 minutes into Star Wars mainly an enormous riff on the entire of Casablanca. 

The central focus of that film, Rick’s Café was swapped out by Lucas for the Cantina, which is formally often called Chalmun’s Cantina

You know the way this goes,  it is a spot the place shady under-the-table offers are made in darkish corners, there’s Figuran Dan’s wing orchestra and alien barflies smoking pipes drink gosh is aware of no matter Chalmun pours them. 

Smuggler Han Solo is mainly modelled on Humphrey Bogart’s world-weary cynicism they usually each appear to have a passion for utilizing phrase “child”. The well-known line of “Here is you child” will get spun as “nice child, do not get cocky”.

Like he did with the Navaronne and Dambusters duel plot factors, Lucas additionally shoehorned in a few of Clint Eastward’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly into Cantina scene too. The Han Solo face off in opposition to Greedo is impressed immediately from a scene set in a bar in that film.

The Casablanca love doesn’t cease there!

Han Solo calls for 15,000 credit of Luke and Obi-Wan to fly them to the planet of Alderaan. This matches unusually sufficient to the boat passage ticket fare out of Casablanca which prices the princely sum 15,000 francs!

How cute!

Do you know that Jabba the Hutt was originally written as a part of ANH? Should you’ve seen the Particular Version of it, he is truly been added in utilizing CGI over the precise human model of the character that was filmed with Han Solo. The half was initially minimize as Lucas was by no means proud of it. 
Jabba’s character is a direct homage to Sidney Greenstreet’s crafty and portly nightclub proprietor, Signor Ferrari – certainly the unique idea paintings for Jabba even featured him sporting a fez hat like Ferrari!
ferrari from Casblanca inspired Jabba the Hutt

Lucas’s personal cult movie, THX 1138 has a big affect

Thought-about by many to be a basic science fiction movie, Lucas constructed a world the place humanity seems to be managed by some sort of dystopian forms the place robots function pleasant faceless policemen.

The human populace managed by this forms is devoid of household ties, freedoms and certainly they’re ‘managed’ by necessary drug management which causes obedience and reduces the intercourse drive of the inhabitants (people are raised by farming strategies).

The plot follows title character ‘THX 1138‘ as he and his feminine ‘mate’ attempt to escape the rat race of the long run. We uncover how society features as he rushes round discovering his true identification. Type of like how Luke Skywalker ultimately does his personal.

It is clear that George Lucas has all the time been fascinated by inhabitants management. His brief movies previous to this lined such topics. If we relate this to energy, we are able to see how the Emperor is demanding full management over your entire galaxy. 

There is a half through the huge chase the place a background voice says I feel over some sort of radio system “I feel I ran over a wookiee again there on the expressway.” We will solely guess that that is what influenced the naming of Chewbacca’s species!

Whereas the Storm Troopers are largely impressed by Nazi’s the Policemen on this film are faceless, impassive beings that share the identical traits.

Movie director Akira Kurosawa and his Hidden Fortress

hidden fortress poster
Akira Kurosawa‘s The Hidden Fortress was launched in 1958 and have become widespread in the USA with the ‘movie crowd’ and Lucas ultimately studied it in movie faculty.

The film tells the story of a normal and a princess, preventing their method dwelling by means of enemy strains in feudal Japan with the assistance of a pair of bumbling peasants.  

Does that sound comparable? 

What when you changed the pair of peasants with R2D2 and C3PO

A princess? 

A Normal who fought within the Clone Wars?

Yep, Lucas took the 2 bickering peasants and swapped them out for what turned one of the vital well-known cinematic pairings in historical past.
George Lucas defined in an interview:
 “I bear in mind the one factor that basically struck me about The Hidden Fortress,” he stated, “the one factor I used to be actually intrigued by, was the truth that the story was informed from the 2 lowest characters. I made a decision that might be a pleasant solution to inform the Star Wars story.
Take the 2 lowliest characters, as Kurosawa did, and inform the story from their perspective. Which, within the Star Wars case is the 2 droids, and that was the strongest affect.”

It is also the film that gave Lucas the thought for the well-known scene ending display screen swipes.
It’s no shock then that Lucas deftly slipped in a visible reference to Akira Kurosawa’s well-known Seven Samurai movie into Revenge of the Sith. Within the above picture, as Yoda brings his hand to his head, that is immediately referencing Akira’s motion pictures. 


Nazis! I hate these guys!

It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Occasion Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by greater than 700,000 Nazi supporters – a key second is Hitler getting into the rally, strolling up by means of the throng of Nazis. 

compare ending of star wars to triumph of the will

Does that look lengthy stroll appear acquainted?

We completely speculate that this was simply the sort of movie that Lucas would have seen at movie faculty. He was ballsy sufficient to take that imagery and use it for the Star Wars medal ceremony the place Chewie, Luke and Han stroll as much as obtain their medals from Princess Leia!


Lucas was not truly afraid to take notes from the Nazi period – Stormtroopers are so named for the German troopers and Darth Vader is basically dressed like a leather clad Nazi!

The Pressure Awakens scene the place Admiral Hux addresses his troops on Star Killer base additionally harkens again to this period and the imagery related to Nazi propganda. 

The Searchers and John Wayne

Recall the scene wherein Luke approaches the burned-out farm and finds Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen left murdered and burning by the Storm Troopers.

This scene is shot in such a method that it echoes an analogous scene in The Searchers, wherein the younger hero (not the Wayne character) additionally returns to his household’s farm to seek out the buildings burned and his personal aunt and uncle murdered. 

The elevate is direct and apparent.
The Searchers additionally contains a younger man drawn right into a relationship with a relentless father determine, who appears fabricated from evil as he hates the Comanche (however he is actually simply after revenge for they murdered his mom)…

Now, the place have we heard a narrative like that earlier than?

Ben Hur

That pod race in The Phantom Menace?

It was larger than Ben Hur however Ben impressed it.

The fateful second when Sebulba’s personal pod racer connects with younger Anakin’s pod is almost a shot for shot remake of Ben Hurs’ climactic second when Messala by chance locks wheels with the Ben Hur character.

Lawrence of Arabia

Should you’ve seen this movie, you’ll bear in mind it options a number of sand. As does a planet known as Tattoine. 

Stars Wars weblog notes:
“Many strikes from David Lean’s epic had been cribbed for sequences on Tatooine. The shot of Mos Eisley from the space as Luke and Obi-Wan look from on excessive reminds one immediately of pictures trying down at Damascus.
Pictures of Tusken snipers trying down at speeders transferring beneath echo the identical kinds of pictures in Lawrence of Arabia”.
Sir Alec Guinness additionally has a task in that movie too…..

Assault of the Clones makes a really deliberate nod to Arabia in Assault of the Clones. 

Keep in mind this scene to the proper the place Padme and Annakin have a chat about politics? 

Clones was shot in the very same location and mimics a dialog the characters Dryden, Brighton and Allenby have.

Flash Gordon

Legend has it that George Lucas sought to make a movie model of Flash Gordon following American Graffitti.

Flash Gordon was filled with sci-fi adventures the place the hero traveled to area with a laser holstered to his facet a mission to rescue a princess from a really very unhealthy man (Ming the Cruel). Once more, does that sound like an analogous theme?


Lucas grew up with the serial and needed to make a movie about one thing he liked. 

He nevertheless had no luck getting the rights to make a film and set upon writing his personal movie, which he started calling ‘The Star Wars’.
What Star Wars actually borrows from Flash Gordon is the idea of a fairytale wherein futuristic expertise stands in for the standard position of magic (assume magician Merlin’s position in lots of tales). 
Lucas loved Flash Gordon a lot it was inevitable different components crept into the film. 

Whereas the ‘swipe’ scene transitions had been stolen from The Hidden Fortress, that well-known Star Wars title crawl marching up the screen in yellow was taken immediately from the Flash Gordon serials. 

Lucas additionally borrowed the idea of a Cloud Metropolis!

If we briefly flip our thoughts to the final act of Return of the Jedi.

The film 633 Squadron movie contains a heavy squadron being despatched to Norway to bomb a V-2 rocket gas plant as the principle mission. An important facet plot has Norwegian resistance fighters in search of to disable the anti-aircraft weapons that shield the gas plant. 

Does that sound acquainted? 

Assume Han Solo’s mission to disarm the protect generator on the small moon of Endor…

Edgar Rice Burrough’s and his Princess of Mars novels

John Carter of Mars book cover
Mr Carter
Burrough’s collection of novels about Princess Dejah from Mars and a soldier from Earth known as John Carter had been written over 100 years in the past however their impact has resonated by means of many creative works, together with Flash Gordon. 

You’ll be able to think about then when Lucas realized about that impressed Flash Gordon’s adventures that he learn up on that too!


Whereas Star Wars was actually impressed by George Lucas’s love of the Flash Gordon serial, the true inspiration comes from science fiction writer Edgar Rice Burroughs.

His almost 100 yr outdated tales a couple of human that travels to Mars and falls in love with an exquisite princess are sometimes argued as being accountable for the entire ‘inexperienced males from mars’ factor and Star Wars…

Of the movie itself, Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis apparently turned down the prospect to direct, quipping “George already pillaged all of that” with the “Star Wars” movies.

In different phrases, many of the finest components of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars fantasies had already been “borrowed” for Lucas’ area saga, and simply because the movie.

Lucas made no bones about how he was impressed by Rice’s work and stated in 1977:

“Initially, I needed to make a Flash Gordon film, with all of the trimmings, however I couldn’t receive all of the rights.

So I started researching and located the place (Flash Gordon creator) Alex Raymond received his concept: The works of Edgar Rice, particularly his John Carter collection of books.”

Certainly, the primary draft of the Star Wars comply with up, The Empire Strikes Again was written by science fiction writer Leigh Bracket.

She was quoted as saying:

 “I used to be launched to Edgar Rice Burroughs at a really younger age . . . That modified the course of my life . . . My fascination for Mars got here from the fascination for his Mars.”


Try this comparability:

leia and dejah gold bikini inspiration
Dejah versus Leia
Dejah Thoris, the Princess Of Mars herself, was generally described and depicted as sporting golden bikinis and exhibiting a number of pores and skin.
Is it a shock then that ANOTHER princess wore a golden bikini in Return of the Jedi?

Most likely not, so Good one George.

George additionally took a little bit of ‘naming’ assist from Burroughs…

Ever marvel the place the phrase Jedi got here from?

Whereas it might have an Asian language hyperlink, the monarchs discovered on the planet of Mars are a titled Jed (king), Jeddak (emperor) and Jeddara (empress) respectively.

So one can assume Jedi could have come from Edgar Rice. On Barsoom a ‘padwar’ is a low-ranking officer.

This isn’t too far a stretch from ‘padawan’, an apprentice Jedi, is it not?

Did you ever see Assault of the Clones? 

Carter vs Clones

Did you discover that the John Carter had an analogous scene in Assault of the Clones the place the hero needed to battle unusual alien beasts whereas chained to the bottom?


Should you thought John Carter was ripping off Star Wars, assume once more, as Burroughs wrote this scene over 100 of your Earth years in the past!

Adventures with an outdated and drained wizard


JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has influenced nearly 1,000,000 e book writers and even options in lots of Led Zeppelin songs so why would George Lucas not have taken some inspiration? 

At one level within the the third draft of Stars Wars Obi Wan Kenobi ‘s character was talking  direct strains from Tolkien’s novels. 

The Maschinenmensch and Metropolis

Fritz Lang’s silent film has been described as a ‘German expressionist epic science-fiction drama movie’. 

The Star Wars take away right here is the inspiration for C3PO.  Metropolis contains a robotic known as Maria, a Maschinenmensch robotic.

Maschinenmensch and C3PO design comparison
Intial C3Po sketch inspired by the Maschinenmensch
McQuarrie’s early idea of C3PO and companion R2D2

How did the Millennium Falcon get its identify?

how the milenium falcon got it's name
So there we now have it – the Millennium Falcon’s identify was in all probability impressed by a mixture of speaking Falcon from The Maltese Falcon and mixing it in a spherical about method with The Eagle area ship from Space 1999…. 

That is the second film that Humphrey Bogart has been talked about on this essay…

Nosteratu!

Normal Grievous’s motion actions from Revenge of the Sith had been impressed by a well-known movie vampire!

Star Wars analyst Mike Klimo has discovered a 2005 account from Leisure Weekly which described that the actions of Grievous had been partly impressed by Nosterfaru from the 1922 film of the identical identify.

This article means that to be the case and in addition throws in that Fagin from the basic Oliver Twist movie additionally had a component to play as inspiration for a personality who additionally ‘strikes within the shadows’.
In response to animation supervisor Jamy Wheless, they not solely studied Nosferatu but in addition Bruce Lee movies in preparation of the combat sequence.

Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet poster with Robby Robot
This was a film I had heard of for a few years because of it being the origin of one of many extra well-known robots in science fiction  Robbie the Robot.

What an extremely unusual and great film!

Launched in 1956 this was the primary huge price range science fiction movie of the Hollywood period. Apparently a little bit of a flop, it shortly gained cult standing and is now thought of a basic science fiction film.

Whereas quaint by at present’s requirements it options robust science fiction themes crossed with star crossed can be lovers. Some analysis for this film reveals that it was loosely primarily based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest which you’ll be able to see play out pretty properly.

So, what the movie’s affect on Star Wars?

Robby the Robotic is a key take-away.

When he first meets the spacemen from Earth, he volunteers: ‘I’m at your disposal with 187 different languages together with their varied dialects and sub-tongues’. Successfully then he was a protocol droid, the identical as golden rod C3PO.

Let’s be clear although, Metropolis served because the inspiration for C3PO’s look (extra on that film later).

There’s a direct reference to this movie in The Phantom Menace.

When Qui-Gon Jinn stabs the blast door along with his lightsaber and the door melts this a nod to the invisible ”monster from the id” which melts by means of the steel doorways. 

Legendary Star Wars supervisor John Knoll (he got here up with the Rogue One movie idea) acknowledged within the commentary for The Phantom Menace DVD that the “The melting door scene is a direct homage to Forbidden Planet. We appeared on the melting Krell door in Forbidden Planet as inspiration.” 


Here is an overlay of the 2 scenes (hat tip Mike Klimo): 
forbidden planets tie to phantom menace.

George Lucas additionally commented on this level “Initially of The Phantom Menace, I sort of reverse the basic monster coming by means of the door motif so now it’s the aliens, the droids, and all of the villains who’re confronted with these two form of invincible creatures. I sort of loved the thought of creating the great guys invincible and the unhealthy guys cower in worry.

As a facet observe, we learn that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was vastly impressed by Forbidden Planet. Talking of Star Trek, let’s end with a remaining reference to:

Spock, that man with blue blood from TV

You recognize when Alderaan will get smashed to 1,000,000 tiny items by the Dying Star and Obi Wan will get some actually powerful ‘feels’ and says “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands and thousands of voices abruptly cried out in terror and had been abruptly silenced.” 

Yeah, Spock did that first. It is the one Star Trek reference we’re conscious of within the Star Wars film canon. 

Stay lengthy and prosper certainly…





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