* AndYouThoughtItWouldFail: Multiple studios turned the film proposal down and most of the management of TwentiethCenturyFox outside of Alan Ladd Jr. thought it would be a final embarrassment before Fox closed its doors. After the film exploded into the public consciousness, everyone else changed their tune saying this film was the kind of unorthodox creative dare that company founder, Daryl Zanuck, often won big with.
* AngstWhatAngst: Princess Leia. "We have no time for sorrows, commander."
** Luke gets over Owen and Beru's death pretty easily. Making his [[HeroicBSOD reaction]] to Obi-Wan's death even more strange.
* AwardSnub: It losing Best Picture to ''Film/AnnieHall''.
** Quite a few see Alec Guinness losing Best Supporting Actor to Jason Robards in ''Julia'' as this. Though given how much the actor came to hate the fame he gained purely for playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, this could be for the best.
*** One could only imagine the acceptance speech. "''Kind Hearts and Coronets''. ''The Lavender Hill Mob''. ''The Prisoner''. ''Tunes of Glory''. But, no, no. I get to take home an academy award for playing a wizard in a film with space ships and squeaking robots...I was an ''actor'' once..."
* BigBad: Even though Palpatine is the villain of the saga in general, and Vader is the most recognizable and arguably most important, Tarkin is, for all intents and purposes, the villain of this one in particular.
* BreakoutCharacter[=/=]BreakoutVillain: Darth Vader. No, really; he has ''nine minutes'' of screentime and arguably isn't even the BigBad of ''A New Hope'', yet became not only ''the'' most iconic Star Wars character and the central piece of the Saga's story, but also one of the most iconic movie villains of all time.
* CompleteMonster: Despite having no Sith Powers, Grand Moff Tarkin is just as horrible as Palpatine. He [[EarthShatteringKaboom orders the destruction]] of a heavily populated and influential planet purely to make a point to Leia, blowing up Alderaan even after Leia tells him what he wants to know; he seems quite willing to repeat the process ad infinitum if such is necessary to quash the Rebellion. The only emotion he shows at all at this prospect is a kind of cold satisfaction. The Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse only makes him worse: He first came to the Emperor's attention after he crushed a peaceful tax protest under his boots...by landing his Star Destroyer on them, killing thousands. He codified the Empire's policy of rule through fear as "The Tarkin Doctrine," which led to the creation of the Death Star (a project he oversaw); he later [[Literature/DeathStar tested the Death Star's superlaser]] on the prison planet Despayre, the final site of the Death Star's construction. Thus, despite not having anywhere near the power of Palpatine, Wilhuff Tarkin is directly responsible for the destruction of two planets and the deaths of billions.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Porkins is only on-screen for about a minute before being blown to smithereens, but is probably the most popular background character in the movie.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Obi-Wan says Luke's father was "the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior." This line, in hindsight, gives us a clue as to the true identity of Vader. Why does Vader choose to personally take the Rebel ships out one by one, when he could just order a few TIE fighter pilots to do it? Because he's "the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior."
** Though it's well-documented that Lucas didn't make Vader Luke's father until the sequel was being made, so this is really a hindsight thing than deliberate foreshadowing.
* FridgeBrilliance: Obi-Wan's comment that some blaster marks were caused by Storm Troopers as opposed to Sand People because of their precision comes off as [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy more and more hilarious]] as the series goes on, but if you think about it for a bit, you realize that the last time he ever saw Clone Troopers in battle was when they were badass as all hell.
** The last survivor of Gold Wing's attack is Gold Five (the one who knew what he was doing). His last transmission begins with, "Gold Five to Red Leader..." yet Red Leader replies with, "I copy, Gold Leader." This could be a script error, ''or'' it could mean that, since the original Gold Leader (Dutch) had been killed, that position now fell to the next senior (surviving) member of the squad.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: The {{Ship Tease}}s between Luke and Leia in this movie and the first half of ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' get a whole lot {{Squick}}ier after the [[spoiler:[[LukeIAmYourFather Leia, I Am Your Brother]] plot twist in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''.]] This has made them infamous among fans.
* HarsherInHindsight:
-->'''Aunt Beru''': He's just not a farmer, Owen. He has [[TurnOutLikeHisFather too much of his father]] in him.
-->'''Uncle Owen''': That's what I'm afraid of.
** [[spoiler:Not only did Luke's father become ''Darth Vader'', but we later see in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' that, the same day Owen met Anakin, Anakin killed a whole tribe of Tusken Raiders out of anger. Evidently he's afraid Luke will do something like that. And in the Expanded Universe, Luke becomes Palpatine's apprentice for a while.]]
** After watching the prequels, seeing Vader so callously shoot R2 with a ''TIE Fighter blast'' makes him seem all the more cruel. He might not have known it was R2 or even aiming for him but it still jerks a tear.
** Also, Darth Vader, later revealed to be the father of Luke Skywalker, had Luke's Uncle and Aunt murdered by stormtroopers, meaning he had his (step)brother killed. Several years later, with ''Disney/TheLionKing'', Simba's father ends up killed by his uncle. The connection between the two? Both Vader and Mufasa (Simba's father) were portrayed by Creator/JamesEarlJones.
** Garven Dreis, aka Red Leader, was shot down by Darth Vader in the last moments of the film. A New Hope also proved to be the last acting role that Drew Henley, the actor who played Dreis, would partake in, retiring shortly thereafter due to being diagnosed with Manic Depression.
*** Also, Dreis being shot down by Darth Vader is even more harsh after the revelation that he and Vader (then known as Anakin Skywalker) were originally ''comrades''.
** Try watching Obi-Wan in the original trilogy [[OldShame knowing]] how Alec Guinness [[MoneyDearBoy felt about his work]] on ''Franchise/StarWars''.
** Leia's torture at the hands of Vader is disturbing enough, then comes the revelation that he was (unknowingly) doing it to ''his own daughter''
* HeartwarmingInHindsight: Luke and C-3PO's bond throughout this film and the OT becomes more heartwarming once it was revealed in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' that Threepio was originally built by Anakin, making Luke and Threepio, in a sense, brothers.
* HilariousInHindsight: Obi Wan's line that the blaster marks are too precise for Sand People and must be from Stormtroopers gets funnier as the series goes on. We see (Justified and not) [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy stormtroopers miss nearly everything they shoot for]], while the Tuskens are able to hit pod racers moving at hundreds of [=MPH=] in ''Film/{{The Phantom Menace}}''.
** [[FridgeBrilliance If you think about it]], it's more just showing that Obi Wan's been in hiding for so long. The last time he was hanging around with troopers they were kicking ass, and then killing Jedi.
** Given what we later discover about Vader's [[YouHaveFailedMe policy on employee mistakes]] in the next movie, Admiral Motti comes off as ''exceptionally'' stupid for picking a fight with Vader, especially by mocking the religion ''the Emperor holds to''. This is even lampshaded by Grand Moff Tarkin in the Death Star Technical Manual, where he expressed that if Motti didn't keep his opinions to himself regarding the Force, he won't last long under Palpatine's Empire.
** Just going by the films, Palpatine may not have ''ever'' let on to anyone but his apprentices that he was a Sith Lord.
** According to the novelization, Obi-Wan was uncomfortable about Luke's questions about his father, but unlike Owen, Obi-Wan *didn't like lying* so he told the truth [[FromACertainPointOfView from a certain point of view]]: Darth Vader killed Luke's father.
** Those who got to watch this first before they encountered the reveal that Luke and Leia are twin brother and sister may call the latter as a cop-out from the romantic triangle issue, but it does add some flavor to the films. With that knowledge, Han and Chewie have become two unfortunate guys getting caught in the middle of a big family mess, acting as some kind of baby sitters as the two siblings start putting things together. And it does add some more humor at how the two separately snark at his ship when each sees it for the first time.
-->'''Luke:''' What a piece of junk!
-->'''Leia:''' You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought.
** "[[Film/ReturnOfTheJedi I'm never coming back to]] [[TemptingFate this planet again.]]"
** C-3PO exclaiming "Thank the maker!" is amusing, when you know who built him. "Thank Darth Vader!"
** [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f9/Death_star1.png This]] is the Death Star. ''[[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Mimas_Cassini.jpg This]]'' is Mimas, one of Saturn's moons.
*** The kicker? ANewHope was released in 1977, a full three years before pictures of Mimas were taken by Voyager 1.
* MemeticLoser: Greedo, after Creator/GeorgeLucas edited his scene so that he shoots but misses Han Solo at point-blank range. Even Franchise/{{LEGO}} got in on the fun with a FunnyBackgroundEvent in ''Revenge of the Brick'' wherein Greedo repeatedly fails to hit a dartboard positioned only a few inches away from him.
* MemeticMutation: "These are not the droids you're looking for."
** '''"I have you now!"'''
** "Use the Force, Luke."
** "[[DangerDeadpan Stay on target...]]"
** "[[TheStoic Almost there...]]"
** "TheForceIsStrongWithThisOne"
** "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
** "Great shot, kid! One in a million!"
** "Red ____, standing by," with the space filled in with your reference of choice. Partly thanks to 4chan, but mostly thanks to ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'''s spoof.
** "ThatsNoMoon, it's a space station."
* MisBlamed: Vader did not destroy Alderaan. Tarkin did. Some fans actually forget this (As do writers, and the ''characters'').
** The wingman who flies on Vader's left somehow manages to escape blame for his flub. Han Solo only shot one of Vader's wingmen - the other one simply overreacted to Han's surprise attack and ''crashed his TIE Fighter into Vader's of his own accord''.
* MoralEventHorizon: Grand Moff Tarkin orders the Death Star to [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy the planet of Alderaan]], killing millions, if not billions, of innocent civilians.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: At the time, it was so controversial that there were no traditional opening credits. The Director's Guild of America let it slide for Creator/GeorgeLucas [[ItWillNeverCatchOn only because they assumed it was going to bomb and be quickly forgotten.]] [[AndYouThoughtItWouldFail It obviously didn't]], but when Lucas did it again for ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'', the DGA issued Lucas a hefty fine that he paid before leaving the DGA altogether. Today, many filmmakers forgo traditional opening credits, or even opening titles, that now it seems like [[DisproportionateRetribution the DGA overreacted]].
** Likewise, the first lightsaber battle on screen between Vader and Obi-Wan is fairly stilted and even ''dull'' compared to the ones in the films to come.
* SpecialEffectFailure: The infamous "Han Shot First" scene is a victim of this in the remastered editions. The digital editing isn't so great at convincing you that Greedo shot first, and Han's attempted "dodging" is particularly bad.
** It doesn't even look so much like "dodging" as much as it does "Greedo misses ''at point blank range''."
** Another failure first seen in the special editions was the use of a (very poor) CGI Jaba the Hutt in one [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCdZ11BM-6Y previously deleted]] scene. That particular model was replaced in the 2004 edition with the one used in ''ThePhantomMenace''.
** During the trench run just before the "Use the Force Luke" line, one scene of the Tie Fighters flying into the camera is obviously a flat photo-stat.
** One failure that was fixed in the 1997 special editions and onward; in the shot just after Vader's "I have you now!" line, freeze-framing will reveal that the Tie Fighter to the right of Vader is completely absent for two frames.
** The stormtrooper rifles were made from fully-functional British Sterling submachine guns, and fired "Hollywood blanks" to provide smoke and muzzle flash. During the gunfight across the chasm in the Death Star (where Leia kisses Luke before swinging across) the sound of the blank cartridges is heard when Leia takes a few shots, instead of the usual sound effect dubbed in.
** In many scenes involving Lightsabers, there's always bound to be errors. These were fixed in the special editions.
*** As was a matte painting of a hallway and most of the optical lines around the ships.
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: This is some fans' reaction to the Special Edition, particularly the above-mentioned Greedo Shot First scene.
* UnfortunateNames: The single overweight member of the Rebel Alliance happens to be named Porkins.
* VisualEffectsOfAwesome: This film completely revolutionized special effects for modern movies.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids: This film got a U rating in the UK, despite shots of [[spoiler: Luke's uncle and aunts' burning corpses]] and [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman a close-up shot of Ponda Baba's severed arm in the Mos Eisley bar after Obi-Wan Kenobi chops it off with his lightsaber]]. Not to mention numerous on-screen deaths and an inferred genocide.
* WinTheCrowd: For many, it was [[SugarWiki/VisualEffectsOfAwesome the first Star Destroyer shot]].
* {{Woolseyism}}[=/=]BilingualBonus: In the Italian versions of the movie, the Death Star was called the Morte Nera, which means the "Black Death." It's a very fitting name, as like the Death Star, the Black Death also resulted in a large extermination of people.
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