Story

This is the original Star Wars movie from 1977, which was rereleased with a subtitle after the release of two sequels and three prequels.

The galaxy is in the control of the Empire, which is under the influence of the Dark Side of the Force. The Empire rules with an iron fist and has created the Death Star, a star ship with the capacity to wipe out an entire planet with just one strike. The rebel forces decide to strike back. Under the command of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), they steal the plans of the Death Star to see whether it has any weaknesses.

Imperial forces attack the rebel ship and capture Princess Leia. But the Droid R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) escapes with the plans and another robot, C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels). They land on a planet where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) finds them. Luke has been living with his aunt and uncle since his own parents died. R2D2 explains that they must find Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), one of only two remaining Jedi Knights, to rescue the princess from certain death. Luke sets out to find Obi-Wan, who understands the danger and wants to Luke to become a Jedi too. Luke realises he must join with Obi-Wan after he returns home to find that his aunt and uncle have been killed by the Imperial forces.

Together they set out on a dangerous mission to rescue the Princess. They recruit Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to fly them to Anderaan, with Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) as copilot. The group is relentlessly pursued by Imperial forces. After a great battle, they manage to rescue the princess. They have very little time, however, to save more of the galaxy from being destroyed by the Death Star.

Themes

Good versus evil; loss of parents; search for identity

Violence

This movie has some violence. For example:

  • During laser gun battles between enemy soldiers, some soldiers are killed.
  • There are many battle scenes with light sabres.
  • Darth Vader holds a man up by his neck, strangles him and throws him to the ground.
  • Princess Leia is knocked unconscious by a laser.
  • Sand People attack Luke quite viciously and knock him out with a mace.
  • C-3P0 has his arm cut off with a laser.
  • Darth Vader chokes a senator using the Force.
  • Obi-Wan cuts off a man’s arm with a laser.
  • Han Solo kills a threatening alien with a gun.

Content that might disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The movie features many alien creatures. There are some quite large dinosaur characters, mammoth beasts and others of all weird shapes, colours and sizes.
  • Chewbacca is a large bear-like creature who growls all the time.
  • Darth Vader is a very menacing character. He is covered in a black armoured suit with a black helmet that covers his face. He breathes very heavily.
  • The Sand People are little people covered in brown robes and hoods with eyes that shine in the dark.
  • A snake-like creature pulls Luke into a slimy pit.
  • A man with an ugly, disfigured face threatens Luke. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Luke’s home is destroyed. The scene briefly shows him finding the charred bodies of his aunt and uncle.
  • The head of the Imperial forces orders Princess Leia to be killed.
  • The Death Star completely destroys the planet Anderaan with one strike.
  • Luke, Han and Princess Leia are trapped in a pit where the walls start to close in on them, slowly crushing them. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example, characters drink and smoke various substances at Mos Eisley Airport. 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is a classic science fiction movie. Although the visual quality is not as good as in movies produced today, this movie is still an exciting adventure story that older children will thoroughly enjoy.

The main messages from this movie are that good triumphs over evil and that you have to fight for what you believe in.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include collaboration, courage, selflessness and tolerance of differences. You could also talk about the importance of standing up for what’s right and having a strong female lead character.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues. For example, you could ask your children whether there are times in real life when using physical force is justified – for example, in self-defence.