What Movie Had a Profound Impact on George Lucas Star Wars?

George Lucas is one of the most iconic filmmakers of all time, and his blockbuster Star Wars franchise has been a pop culture phenomenon for over 40 years. But did you know that one particular movie had a profound impact on Lucas’ creation of the Star Wars universe? Let’s dive into the fascinating story behind this influential film.

The Movie That Inspired George Lucas

The movie that had a profound impact on George Lucas was none other than Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 epic samurai film, The Hidden Fortress. This classic movie follows two bickering peasants who get caught up in a civil war and find themselves tasked with escorting a princess and her family’s fortune to safety.

Lucas first saw The Hidden Fortress while studying film at the University of Southern California in the early 1960s. He was struck by how Kurosawa used widescreen photography and dynamic action to tell an epic story with a small cast and limited budget. He was particularly impressed with how Kurosawa structured the narrative around two lowly characters who become unlikely heroes.

The Influence on Star Wars

Lucas would go on to pay homage to The Hidden Fortress throughout the original Star Wars trilogy. One of the most obvious nods is in the character of R2-D2. Like The Hidden Fortress’ bickering peasants, R2-D2 and C-3PO are initially presented as comic relief but ultimately become crucial players in the galaxy-spanning conflict.

Another influence can be seen in the structure of A New Hope, which mirrors The Hidden Fortress’ narrative structure. In both films, two unlikely heroes team up with a princess (or her equivalent) to take down an evil empire. Additionally, both movies feature tense action setpieces and memorable supporting characters.

Finally, Kurosawa’s use of widescreen photography and dynamic action would influence Lucas’ use of special effects and cinematography in Star Wars. The epic space battles and lightsaber duels that have become hallmarks of the franchise owe a debt to Kurosawa’s groundbreaking work in The Hidden Fortress.

The Legacy of The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress remains one of the most influential films in cinema history, inspiring filmmakers around the world with its innovative storytelling and groundbreaking visuals. It’s no wonder that George Lucas found so much inspiration in this classic samurai epic, as it laid the foundation for his own creative vision and helped shape the cultural phenomenon that is Star Wars.

In conclusion, The Hidden Fortress had a profound impact on George Lucas’ creation of Star Wars. From R2-D2 to the narrative structure to the special effects, Kurosawa’s masterpiece left an indelible mark on one of the most beloved film franchises of all time.