The land-breaking film that started the iconic "Star Wars" franchise is "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope," although it was released as simply "Star Wars." One of the most influential (and financially successful) films of all-time, "A New Hope" is the fourth film chronologically and first released among the series.
With the now-familiar "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" introduction, "A New Hope" introduces the small band of freedom fighters (Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, etc.) to moviegoers as they attempt to locate and destroy the Galactic Empire's all-powerful Death Star. Viewers are also first introduced to such iconic characters as R2-D2 and his fussy droid sidekick C-3PO, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Familiar accessories such as the Milennium Falcon and the ever-present lightsabre also made their debut in the film.
The film's initial release created near-frenzy among moviegoers, with unprecedented "word-of-mouth" buzz leading to record attendance numbers, and when CBS News featured the film's impact on their evening news broadcast, a cultural phenomenon was born.