On May 25, 1977 the world changed. It wasn’t a major change, to be sure; not the splitting of the atom or the discovery of penicillin or the launching of Sputnik. This was a subtle change, a silent explosion, that redefined the American movie. On May 25, 1977, ‘Star Wars’ was released.
The rest of the story is pretty well known at this point. ‘Star Wars’ shattered all previous box office records, created the modern blockbuster and the summer movie phenomenon, launched a wave of fandom previously unheard of (even ‘Star Trek’ geeks were a rare commodity at the time), essentially invented the cross-promotion of movies and introduced the world to the story of the Skywalker family. Movies would never be the same.
Three years later, on May 21, 1980, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ proved that a sequel could be superior to the original, advancing the story and ending with one of cinema’s greatest surprises. Don’t worry