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Poll: Sources of Star Wars

George Lucas was inspired by a lot whilst writing the story of Star Wars. He was influenced by books, mythology, religion, his personal life and of course the movies. This list gives an overview of films and television series that have left their prints in this story. What is your favourite inspiration for Star Wars?

Discuss your answer here

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Buster Crabbe, Constance Moore, and Jackie Moran in Buck Rogers (1939)

    Buck Rogers (1939) Flash Gordon borrowed images and ideas from world's first science fiction comicstrip, Buck Rogers (launched in 1929). They both featured very similar spaceships, laser pistols, costume styles, gadgets, hairstyles, creatures, etc. Also influenced by the John Carter, Warlord of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
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    Buster Crabbe and Carol Hughes in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)

    Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) A New Hope includes many elements derived from the 1936 Universal serial Flash Gordon—the original property George Lucas had sought to license before making the first Star Wars film—and its sequel, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe. The basic plot involving the infiltration of a megalomaniacal outer-space Emperor's fortress by two heroes disguised in uniforms of soldiers of his army is drawn from Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, with Luke Skywalker and Han Solo filling the roles of Flash Gordon and Prince Barin, respectively, and Ming the Merciless the Emperor. The Emperor's deadly, hostile planet (the Death Star/Mongo), a sexy, sometimes scantily-clad brunette space Princess whom the hero defends (Princess Leia/Princess Aura), a big, strong, hairy, animal-like ally (Chewbacca/Prince Thun of the Lion Men), a fearsome monster found underground and/or fought in an arena by the hero (the Rancor/the Gocko or Orangopoid) a city in the sky ruled by someone who originally works with the villains but later joins the heroes, ray-guns, and dogfighting spaceships were all elements retained from the first Universal Flash Gordon serial. The opening text crawl of Star Wars is in the same style as the text openings of each chapter of the Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe serial.
  3. Vote!

    "2001: A Space Odyssey," MGM 1968.

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) The realistic spacecraft from Star Wars were influenced by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and the television program Space: 1999, both of which used techniques developed for the television program Thunderbirds.
  4. Vote!

    Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

    The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) The overall story is Robin Hood. The kingdom is oppressed by tyranny, cruelty and greed. A young man of noble birth but straightened circumstances is forced out of his home, lives with rebels and outlaws, and leads them to victory. And then, instead of becoming king, he hands the kingdom over to its rightful ruler, King Richard / Princess Leia. It's a feel-good legend.
  5. Vote!

    "The Dam Busters" Richard Todd 1955 Warner Brothers

    The Dam Busters (1955) The attack on the "Death Star" in the climax of the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is similar in many respects to the strategy of Operation Chastise from the 1954 British film, The Dam Busters. Rebel pilots have to fly through a trench while evading enemy fire and drop a single special weapon at a precise distance from the target in order to destroy the entire base with a single explosion; if one run fails another run must be made by a different pilot. Some scenes from the A New Hope climax are very similar to those in The Dam Busters and some of the dialogue is nearly identical in the two films.
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    Toshirô Mifune and Seiji Miyaguchi in Seven Samurai (1954)

    Seven Samurai (1954) C-3PO's line "It seems we are made to suffer. It's our lot in life" is similar to what the farmers say about themselves. Also Luke Skywalker is similar to Kikuchiyo (raised/born to a farmer family but aspires to be a Jedi/samurai) and Katsushiro (young man who wants to become Obi-wan's/Kambei's disciple). Yoda scratches the back of his head when thinking, just as Kambei does throughout Seven Samurai. (Lucas has said this was a conscious homage).
  7. Vote!

    Triumph of the Will (1935)

    Triumph of Will (1935 Documentary) Throne Room march from Star Wars. Stormtroopers.
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    Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Through the entire “Man With No Name” trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the desolate wastelands of the desert is paid much attention. The heat of the desert can be seen in the same oppressive fashion every time Tatooine is shown on-screen, but there are many touchstones to these movies in particular that can be seen in Star Wars. Aside from bits of architecture that are reminiscent of locations like the Lars homestead and Mos Eisley. These films are full of scum and villainy, and it feels like the entirety of Tatooine. You have the benevolent farmers like the Lars, the bandits like the Tusken Raiders, and bounty hunters (Boba Fett) like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef
  9. Vote!

    Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939)

    Gone with the Wind (1939) One poster for The Empire Strikes Back was specifically modeled after a re-release poster for Gone with the Wind, as per the request of George Lucas. The poster was created by Tom Jung, the same artist who originally designed the 1967 Gone with the Wind poster. Han Solo, a roguish blockade runner (Rhett Butler, a roguish blockade runner). Yoda's manner of speaking, in particular his habit of putting the verb at the end of the sentence (Gerald O'Hara's Irish brogue). Idea of overdubbing actors with different voice actors, used for Darth Vader and Aunt Beru (The actress who played Bonnie was trained to jump horses so she couldn't be replaced, but the director didn't care for her voice so he overdubbed a different actress).
  10. Vote!

    Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara in The Hidden Fortress (1958)

    The Hidden Fortress Star Wars was inspired by Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope features the exploits of C-3PO and R2-D2, whereas the plot of The Hidden Fortress is told from the point of view of two bickering peasants. The two peasants, Tahei and Matashichi, are first shown escaping a battle, while C-3PO and R2-D2 are first shown fleeing an attack in A New Hope. Additionally, both films feature a battle-tested General – Rokurota Makabe in The Hidden Fortress and Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope – who assist a rebellion led by a princess and engage in a duel with a former rival whom they fought years earlier. Lucas also features many horizontal wipe scene transitions in A New Hope, a technique used thoroughly by Kurosawa in his films.
  11. Vote!

    Maksim Munzuk in Dersu Uzala (1975)

    Dersu Uzala (1975) In the Akira Kurosawa movie Dersu Uzala that came out 1975, just two years before the first Star Wars movie, there are two scenes that bear a striking resemblance to scenes in Star Wars. The first is The Captain and Dersu looking out over the horizon, seeing both the setting sun and the rising moon at the same time. This is very much like when Luke Skywalker stares out on the sky with binary suns in A New Hope. The other scene is when Dersu and the Captain are suddenly caught in a blizzard, and they have to quickly build a shelter to spend the night, to survive the cold. The Captain collapses from the cold and Dersu has to drag and stuff him in to the shelter. This is very similar to the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Han Solo cuts a tauntaun open and stuffs the unconscious Luke into it, when they get caught in a blizzard on the snow planet Hoth.
  12. Vote!

    Gene Autry and Warner Richmond in The Phantom Empire (1935)

    The Phantom Empire (1935) Darth Vader's need to wear his helmet to breathe recalls the oxygen helmets of the underground-dwelling Muranians in the 1935 Mascot serial The Phantom Empire, which are required by the caped Thunder Riders to be able to breathe on the surface.
  13. Vote!

    Edward Everett Horton, Ronald Colman, Isabel Jewell, Thomas Mitchell, and H.B. Warner in Lost Horizon (1937)

    Lost Horizon (1937) The death scene of Yoda in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is taken almost shot-for-shot from the death scene of the similarly mystical High Lama in Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (Yoda and the High Lama also both share a diminutive form and odd cadence of speech).
  14. Vote!


    633 Squadron (1964) The scene where the "Death Star" is attacked is heavily influenced by the action scenes from the fictional wartime film 633 Squadron. That film's finale shows the squadron's planes flying down a deep fjord while being fired at along the way by anti-aircraft guns lining its sides. George Lucas has stated in interviews that this sequence inspired the 'trench run' sequence in A New Hope.
  15. Vote!


    Twelve O'Clock High (1949) The scene where Han and Luke shoot down the TIE fighters from the Millenium Falcon after they escape from the Death Star.
  16. Vote!

    Toshirô Mifune, Daisuke Katô, and Tatsuya Nakadai in Yojimbo (1961)

    Yojimbo Star Wars borrows a lot of great stuff from Yojimbo, including the cantina scene: several men threaten the hero, bragging how wanted they are by authorities. There's a flash of blade and suddenly an arm lies on the ground. Mifune is offered "25 ryo now, 25 when you complete the mission." (A ryo is a gold coin.) Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who played Boba Fett, said the character was based on Clint Eastwood's version of The Man With No Name. You can hear a little cowboy-spur jingle when Fett enters the dining room in The Empire Strikes Back, soft and subtle enough that it's probably meant to trigger our emotional association with the character without our conscious awareness.
  17. Vote!

    Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge in Metropolis (1927)

    Metropolis (1927) The robot in Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis inspired the look of C-3PO (although C-3PO is golden and male)
  18. Vote!

    John Wayne, Ward Bond, and Jeffrey Hunter in The Searchers (1956)

    The Searchers (1956) Lucas has cited John Ford's The Searchers as references for the style. A reference to The Searchers occurs in A New Hope, when Luke discovers the burning moisture farm, while the Tusken Raiders sequence in Attack of the Clones recalls the climax of The Searchers. Han's showdown with Greedo in A New Hope resembles a scene in another John Ford movie, Cheyenne Autumn.
  19. Vote!

    Tom London, Alan Gregg, and Lloyd Whitlock in The Fighting Devil Dogs (1938)

    The Fighting Devil Dogs (1938) The costume for Darth Vader was visually inspired by the character "The Lightning" in the Republic Pictures serial The Fighting Devil Dogs. The Lightning also had an army of white-armored stormtroopers and flew through the sky in a large triangular airship (the "flying wing").
  20. Vote!

    The Hero's Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell (1987)

    Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was a world-renowned mythologist who helped modern society understand the true power that storytelling has in our culture and within our personal lives. He studied and identified the universal themes and archetypes that are present in mythical storytelling across history and across the world. His seminal work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, outlined what Campbell called the Hero’s Journey, a motif of adventure and personal transformation that is used in nearly every culture’s mythical framework. George Lucas was an avid admirer of Campbell’s writings, and used them as a direct reference in his creation of Star Wars.

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