Film: A New Hope

"A Big, Sprawling Space Saga of Rebellion and Romance"

"Remember, The Force will be with you, always."
Obi-Wan Kenobi

It is a period of civil war. Rebel
spaceships, striking from a hidden
base, have won their first victory
against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed
to steal secret plans to the Empire's
ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an
armored space station with enough
power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents,
Princess Leia races home aboard her
starship, custodian of the stolen plans
that can save her people and restore
freedom to the galaxy...

A New Hope, or more precisely, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (originally released as and still simply called Star Wars by many fans) was the 1977 film that marked the first chapter of the Star Wars saga. It's the film that started it all, giving birth to one of the most beloved and long-lived franchises in the history of cinema — and entertainment in general. Though most people wouldn't have guessed that at the time...

A New Hope is the start of the story of Luke Skywalker, a young farm boy who becomes the hero of the Rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire and begins to learn the ways of the Force. Alongside a renegade space smuggler, a pair of droids, and an old man who is one of the last of an ancient mystical order hunted to extinction by the Empire, Luke rescues the leader of the Rebellion, Princess Leia Organa, and with the help of the other members of the Rebel Alliance, he destroys the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star.

George Lucas had a lot of trouble getting a studio to back him up, and even 20th Century Fox would have dropped the film if not for the support of Alan Ladd Jr. The film also had a Troubled Production, both with the live action and the special effects, the latter because the newly formed Industrial Light and Magic had to spend the first several months just making the technology required to film the scenes Lucas wanted.

The difficulty of the film left Lucas exhausted after the film was finished, and he didn't direct another film for over 20 years; primarily serving as the Executive Producer for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, he would finally return to directing for The Phantom Menace. He would also direct Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

These are the tropes you are looking for:

  • Actually, I Am Him: Ben Kenobi is also Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Airstrike Impossible: The Trench Run. Not only is the Trench guarded by heavy gun towers and TIE Fighters, but at the end of it all is a target so small, the only hopes of hitting it at all are via a targeting computer or The Force.
  • Air-Vent Passageway : while it is generally regarded as the arch-Aerial Canyon Chase, the Death Star penetration scene is much of an Air Vent Passageway occurence of The Infiltration, with plenty of Canyon Chase topping on it. The combination of the two tropes is precisely the trick that fools Darth Vader and gets Luke that Golden Ending.
  • Always Save the Girl
  • Amusing Alien: Greedo, whose only purpose was to be a punchline for Han.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Averted with the Millennium Falcon, played straight with the Star Destroyers.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Han charges headlong at the Stormtroopers as a diversionary tactic; he turns and runs as soon as they realize they out number him (the special edition changes this to them running into a hangar full of troopers)
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The Dianoga is a type 1. We only get to see its eyestalk and tentacle.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The reason for the shot of the charred remains of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's bodies.
  • Badass Boast
    Obi-Wan Kenobi: If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
  • Badass Bystander: The Y-Wing pilot, who was the only one to survive the assault on the Death Star aside from Luke, Han, and Wedge.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Mos Eisley cantina, where bounty hunters and smugglers hang out and Luke almost gets killed for no reason at all.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: When imprisoned on the Death Star, Vader turns up to interrogate Leia with a droid fairly bristling with syringes. As the the door closes on them, it's clear that she's about to be tortured for information. And yet the next time we see her, she looks perfectly fine, without so much as a puncture wound or a hair out of place.
  • Before The Dark Times: Trope Namer, from Kenobi when lamenting the end of the Jedi and the old Republic.
  • Big Bad: In contrast to the other films, Grand Moff Tarkin is given this role as he is in charge of the Death Star and, notionally, Darth Vader - note that Peter Cushing got very high billing for this movie, right behind the 3 main protagonists. Palpatine doesn't show up in the Original Trilogy until Episode V.
    • Bigger Bad: The Emperor is mentioned once or twice.
  • Big "NO!": Luke watching Vader slice Obi-Wan in two.
  • Big "WHAT?!"
    • Leia, after finding out that despite her (feigned) cooperation, Tarkin intends to destroy Alderaan anyway.
    • Vader, in the Death Star trench when his wingman is suddenly taken out.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Han Solo arriving Just in Time to save Luke from Vader and buy Luke the vital seconds needed to send the proton torpedos into the Death Star's thermal exhaust port.
  • Bottomless Pit: Which Luke and Leia swing over.
  • Breakout Character/Breakout Villain: Darth Vader. No, really; he has nine minutes of screentime and arguably isn't even the Big Bad here, 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.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Luke's home being burnt down by stormtroopers.
  • The Cameo
    • The Outrider taking off from Mos Eisley in the Special Edition.
    • Boba Fett in the restored Jabba scene; he wasn't in the original scene.
  • Can't Believe I Said That
    • Han Solo over the intercom: "How are you?" <cringes>.
    • Plus since it was improvised, either Harrison couldn't believe that was the best he could ad lib, or he felt Han would realize he was talking like an idiot.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Just when Vader is about to blast Luke down onto the Death Star surface, the Millennium Falcon makes a surprise intervention and blasts one of Vader's wingmen. Han returns after saying through the movie that he only cares about the prize at the end!
    Vader: "I have you now..." (explosion) "What?!"
    Han: "Yeeeeeeaaahoooo!"
  • Chekhov's Skill: The development of Luke's Force sensitivity functions as this, as he increasingly learns to fight by instinct rather than by conscious thought. The culmination is his destruction of the Death Star.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Marvel Comics launched its long-running Star Wars comic with a six-issue adaptation of the film. The comic is notable for being based on an early edit of the film and as such has characters and scenes (including one featuring a humanoid Jabba the Hutt) not in the final movie. In 2013-2014, Dark Horse Comics released a miniseries titled The Star Wars, adapting an early version of Lucas' screenplay for A New Hope.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: For Luke and Leia. Luke Skywalker leaves his home and family to begin his training as a Jedi Knight while Princess Leia has to prove herself as a successful leader. Later shown to be a mirror of their parents Anakin and Padme.
  • Commander Contrarian: General Tagge for the Empire ("Until this battle station is fully operational, we are vulnerable.") Unusually he's entirely right and the Empire would have been a lot better off listening to him.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: When Han is impersonating a stormtrooper over the com, he can't come up with his operating number.
  • Covers Always Lie
    • Darth Vader's lightsaber has a hilt on the original cover and film poster.
    • There is also this poster as well as a similar one showing a much more muscular Mark Hamill, a sexier Carrie Fisher, the implication that they are lovers, and Luke raising a lightsaber as if he used it in battle. As it stands, Luke only uses a lightsaber during a training scene and doesn't pick it up again until the next movie. Also while this poster has all the elements for a classic Leg Cling, it averts it by giving the princess a strong independent pose.
  • Damsel in Distress / Damsel out of Distress: Princess Leia is captured in the opening scene and remains a prisoner for a good deal of the movie. Then the trope is inverted (one could almost say deconstructed for the genre George Lucas was drawing from). True, Leia doesn't try to escape herself, but that's because she's outnumbered and then imprisoned in a moon-sized battlestation. But when an opportunity does arise, she seizes it with both hands and takes charge of matters once it's obvious her so-called rescuers don't have a clue what they're doing.
    "Somebody has to save our skins!"
  • Danger Deadpan: Gold Leader and Red Leader both have their moments, especially during their trench runs. Gold Leader not only has the infamous "Stay on Target!", but also has the distinction that as he pulls out of the Trench with Darth Vader closing on his tail, his Famous Last Words are a calm sitrep telling Red Leader what he is going to face.
    • However Red Leader especially, calmly reporting to Luke he just lost an engine and to begin his attack run while Vader is still shooting him up.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: In a deleted scene restored in the Special Edition, Luke runs into his old friend Biggs Darklighter before Red Squadron launches against the Death Star, with them promising to catch up afterwards. Biggs dies to Vader's guns during the final trench run.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Han and Leia, to the point of engaging in Snark-to-Snark Combat.
    Han: Look, you're worshipful-ness, let's get one thing straight. I only take orders from one person: Me.
    Leia: It's a wonder you're still alive. (Beat) Would somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?
    Han: No reward is worth this!
  • Defiant Captive: Leia takes none of Vader's crap and resists the mind probe.
  • Defiant to the End: Leia to Tarkin.
  • Demoted to Extra: Biggs Darklighter got this because his aforementioned scenes with Luke were deleted. In the first theatrical cut, he's just a nameless Redshirt with no indication of a prior history with Luke, though the shot of Luke visibly upset following his death remained.
  • Den of Iniquity: Mos Eisley again.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In the special edition, most of the lines from the Jabba scene are the same ones Han and Greedo had already traded in the cantina. The reason for this is that when the Jabba scene was originally cut, the lines were moved to the Greedo one. However, by the time the special edition came around and re-added the Jabba scene, Harrison Ford was too old to record different lines while he was reaching for the blaster.
  • Distinctive Appearances: The differences in color between the lightsabers, the stark contrast in starship designs, and the colors of the protagonists and antagonists are all designed to evoke a strong Good vs. Evil theme.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: When Luke has a TIE Fighter on his tail, Wedge saves him with a flawlessly executed Thatch Weave.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The ending scene for A New Hope. Don't even get us started on Triumph of the Will!
  • The Dog Shot First: Trope Namer. After the infamous scene in the Special Edition.
  • Doing In the Scientist: Motti scorns the Force as bogus sorcery that can do nothing but scare people with its hype. He is promptly force choked by Darth Vader.
  • Doomed Hometown: Alderaan, for Leia.
  • Doomsday Device: The Death Star.
  • Dressing as the Enemy
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Luke opts to rescue Leia on the strength of little more than her Hologram image.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Grand Moff Tarkin seems perfectly comfortable with acting like he's Darth Vader's superior—and Vader doesn't give any hint of having a problem with it. This sort of dynamic would never happen in the later two movies—where Vader is answerable only to the Emperor, and commands Admirals and even disposes of them as he sees fit. (Justified in universe, as Tarkin and presumably a lot more of the Imperial leadership was killed in the explosion of the Death Star, presumably causing Vader to move up to The Dragon).
      • Similarly, the fact that Admiral Motti feels free to lash out at Vader with complete contempt...again, something that would never happen in the later films.
    • Admiral Motti's description of the Force as a "sad devotion to that ancient religion" seems downright bizarre, given that its existence was treated as common knowledge in the Prequel Trilogy, a timeframe in which Motti would likely have been alive. This is largely because when the film was written Lucas envisioned exact knowledge of the Force and Jedi powers to be something which only a select few had knowledge of, which was gradually contradicted by the Expanded Universe novels and comics, and then jettisoned altogether by The Phantom Menace.
    • Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were originally supposed to be two separate characters and this film treats them as such. For example, Obi-Wan uses the word "Darth" as if it's Vader's first name rather than a sith title.
    • Darth Vader has No Indoor Voice for most of his scenes on the Tantive IV, and yells at prisoners and officers alike with abandon. This is a stark contrast to all his subsequent scenes and the sequels, where he is The Stoic and expresses his anger solely through Tranquil Fury. His voice is also somewhat higher-pitched than in the later movies, where it was also further enhanced to sound more robotic.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The destruction of Alderaan, and later the Death Star itself.
  • Easy Evangelism: Luke pretty much accepts everything that Obi-Wan tells him about his father, the Jedi and the Force without question, even though he only just met the guy, who had a reputation as a crazy hermit. This does help speed the story along of course. Luke's belief only starts stretching during Yoda's lessons in the next movie.
    • To be fair, their meeting in the film has Obi-Wan and Luke acting like they already know each other, being on a first-name basis without any need for introduction.
  • Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: Trope Namer, with Kenobi gushing about the lightsaber.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Leia! She even blasts a few stormtroopers, thus making her an Action Girl.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: But that would lead them back .... home!
  • Exposition
  • Failsafe Failure: Including one of the most famous in all media:
    • The Death Star, a battle station the size of a small moon, can be completely destroyed by a small fighter firing a couple of missiles down a thermal exhaust shaft that leads directly to the main reactor. Imperial designers apparently recognized the problem to the extent of ray shielding the shaft to protect it from blaster fire. But for some reason it does not also have particle shields to stop projectiles.
    • Basically all the doors on the Death Star. If you shoot out the control panels for them on one side, the controls on the other side no longer work either. This proves to be both a feature and a bug for Luke and Leia during their escape.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Uncle Owen tries to stop Luke from leaving Tatooine.
  • Fighter Launching Sequence: The ships launching for the battle of Yavin.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The first appearance of the Force choke used by Vader.
  • Follow the Leader
    • Inspired so many subsequent works.
    • Together with Jaws, it popularized the Summer Blockbuster.
    • The film itself drew from many sources. The Hidden Fortress connection is well known. The Dune-Tatooine inspiration is pretty obvious. You can tell George Lucas must have seen at least Space Battleship Yamato episodes 26, 1, and 8, in that order, so we can probably pin his famous trip to Japan down to early 1975, when the series went into reruns. Isaac Asimov noticed some similarity to his Foundation series but didn't take it personally. Vader himself was inspired by the appearance of the villain in Kikaider. As Wilson Mizner observed, stealing from everybody is just called "research."
  • Forced to Watch: Leia is forced to watch Alderaan's destruction.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Trope Namer. Vader seeing Luke's X-Wing wasn't so easy to hit.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Although many of the X-wing models were reused throughout the final battle sequence (sometimes without respect to which ships are actually supposed to be on screen), if one looks closely they'll find that ILM built at least six unique models: Red Leader, Red Two (Wedge), Red Three (Biggs), Red Four, Red Five (Luke), and Red Six (Porkins) all had unique markings.note 
  • Friendly Target: Biggs.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Tarkin orders Leia to divulge the location of the Rebel Alliance's base. She does, saying that it's on Dantooine. When Imperial ships arrive at the planet they find out that there was a Rebel base had just been abandoned. So Leia did divulge the location... just not the right one.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: In addition to making Han return fire on Greedo instead of shooting first, they added in a deleted scene of Han conversing with Jabba by the Falcon (who was originally portrayed as humanoid, making some awkward CG putting in the now famous giant slug). There is also a grand establishing shot of Mos Eisley as they drive in, a scene of Luke meeting his old friend Biggs Darklighter and an Epic Tracking Shot for the X-Wings as they prepare to engage the Death Star.
  • The Ghost: The Emperor is talked about a few times, but he doesn't appear in the movie and his name is not mentioned.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Clone Wars, first mentioned in this movie and promptly never explained for the next twenty-five years. Beyond the fact that Obi-Wan and Luke's father both fought in it, we learn nothing about it.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Subverted, if not averted. The commander of the prison guards didn't buy the Trojan Prisoner plot Luke and Han tried to do with Chewbacca while they were Dressing as the Enemy.
  • Guy in Back: R2D2 during the final battle. To add to the drama, he is badly damaged during the final trench run.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Obi-Wan, coupled with Go Out with a Smile.
  • Heroism Incentive: Luke telling Han he could get a handsome reward for saving Princess Leia. It even got played with in various ways.
    Han: No reward is worth this.
  • The Hero's Journey: Hits pretty much every note, and Joseph Campbell was one of Lucas's many inspirations in developing the story.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Essentially the Rebel plan during the Battle of Yavin. The X-Wings would distract the turrets and TIE Fighters while the slower Y-Wings, unnoticed in the confusion of the X-Wing attack, made their way to the Trench to attack the exhaust port. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is wise to that maneuver and goes after the Y-Wings.
  • Hollywood Atheist / Flat Earth Atheist
    Luke: You don't believe in the Force, do you?
    Han Solo: Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls my destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
  • Homage: To Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, with the droids being the focus for much of the film, and also to Yojimbo, with the scene of the two braggarts at the cantina. Lucas' heavy use of frame wipes is also indebted to Kurosawa. The heart-wrenching scene where Luke rushes to the farm, only to find it already raided and his relatives dead harkens to an equally distressing scene in The Searchers.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The film begins with Luke saying that he wants to leave home to join the Rebellion. It's bittersweet when he gets his wish.
  • I Lied: Tarkin threatens to destroy Alderaan unless Leia gives up the location of the Rebel base. When Leia tells him, he has Alderaan destroyed anyway. For her part, Leia lied about it being on Dantooine, at least currently.
  • I Warned You:
    Han: This is not gonna work.
    Luke: Why didn't you say so before?
    Han: I did say so before!
    [Luke shakes his head]
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Justified during the Death Star escape, since the Empire needed Leia to lead them to the Rebel base.
  • In Medias Res
  • Indy Ploy
    • Played with, as Luke's spur-of-the-moment plan to get into the detention center starts to unravel when they just blindly shoot at the cameras and Han poorly makes an excuse over the intercom.
    • Leia's ploy also works partly. Diving into the garbage chute gets them out of the firefight, but the droids have to save them from the compacter.
  • Informed Ability: This is the film where Obi-Wan Kenobi infamously states, when pointing out blaster marks "Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise." These would be the same Stormtroopers that can't seem to hit the broad side of a barn any time they're shown shooting at the heroes.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: Don't forget about the time Luke Skywalker's uncle bought a couple of droids.
  • It Was a Gift: Luke's lightsaber was originally his father's. Obi-Wan said his father wanted him to have it when he was old enough. Of course it may have been true From a Certain Point of View...
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Obi-Wan rescuing Luke from the Sand People.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Not the Trope Namer, but one of the earliest uses.
  • Jerkass: Han Solo, although he has a Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • Just in Time: Han showing up at the Death Star fight and saving Luke from Vader.
  • Kick the Dog / Moral Event Horizon: The destruction of Alderaan.
    Leia: [from a test shot] And you call yourselves humans.
  • Knight, Knave and Squire: Luke Skywalker is the Squire, with Obi-Wan and Han Solo as the Knight and Knave respectively. A key point in Luke's character development is when he rejects Han's pragmatism, leading to Han second-guessing his own beliefs.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Han Solo chasing after a group of retreating Storm Troopers. Followed by Han Solo running full tilt away from the same group of Storm Troopers when they turn around and start shooting at him again.
  • Leitmotif: All over the place. John Williams held nothing back.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: At first, Obi Wan seems to be little more than a wizened old man, who may have once been a warrior of the Clone Wars, but is now an old man who lives in a hovel. Then we get to the cantina scene, where said old man whips out a lightsaber, deflects blaster shots and lops a man's arm off. You can tell from the look on Luke's face, that's the moment when he starts to take the whole 'Jedi' thing seriously.
  • Let The Bully Win: Trope Namer. 3PO telling R2 to "let the Wookiee win".
  • A Light in the Distance: C-3PO, lost on Tatooine, sees light glinting off a Jawa sandcrawler and concludes that he's saved.
  • Listing The Forms Of Degenerates: Obi-Wan does this when he says "Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...:Trope Namer. The introductory line of text before the opening crawl.
  • Magic Versus Science: "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of The Force."
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard
  • Mentor's New Hope: Luke is being taught by Obi-Wan, who also taught Darth Vader before Vader went to the dark side.
  • The Merch
    • Famously, toy makers were caught with their pants down.
    • Not only them, the studio executives didn't think the movie would do well and gave Lucas all merchandising rights.
  • Mission Briefing : before the attack on the Death Star. Luke speaks up about how the impossible-seeming goal isn't really. The briefing also includes a complete Exposition Diagram commented by Mr.Exposition himself, projecting the plans of an Air-Vent Passageway out of R2D2's memory on The Big Board.
  • Motivational Kiss: Leia gives Luke a peck on the cheek "for luck" before he tries to swing over a precarious gap.
  • Mythology Gag: The Special Edition remasters added an Early-Bird Cameo of the Outrider, Dash Rendar's ship in Shadows of the Empire, to the establishing shots of Mos Eisley.
  • Neck Lift: Darth Vader to the captain of Princess Leia's ship while interrogating him.
  • Neck Snap: What Darth Vader does to the captain of Princess Leia's ship when he refuses to cooperate.
  • Never My Fault: C-3PO while lost in the desert after refusing to take R2's route:
    "That malfunctioning twerp! This is all his fault! He tricked me into going this way!"
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
    • Luke, while he and Leia are trying to escape the storm troopers aboard the Death Star.
    Leia: "Quick! Find the controls that extend the bridge."
    Luke: "I think I just blasted it..."
    Han: We can't get out that way.
    Leia: Looks like you've managed to cut off our only escape route.
    Han: Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, your highness.
  • Nice Job Guiding Us, Hero
    • Leia: "They let us go."
    • The Rebels make the best of it by planning to make their attack on the Death Star as soon as it arrives.
  • Nothing Is Scarier
    • The dianoga in the trash compactor. We only see a couple tentacles and an eyestalk.
    • Leia's session with the torture droid.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Trope Namer. Han just helped save Leia for the reward.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: The spirit of Obi-Wan reminding Luke to "Use the Force!" (Not to mention, right after his death, getting Luke to run from the stormtroopers instead of battling them.)
  • The Obi-Wan: Trope Namer. Named for the character, although he spends very little time filling that role in this film.
  • Obstacle Exposition: We have the briefing before the attack against the Death Star that clearly outlines their mission of hitting the exhaust port and everything that can possible stop them. This includes the need for tactical computers to make such a shot, and for good measure there was an unsuccessful attempt mid-way through the battle just so we know just how necessary a precise shot with the targeting computer is. Cue Luke turning off the targeting computer.
  • Off Model: The CGI Jabba from the Special Edition.
  • Offstage Villainy: The Empire as a whole. They do some pretty evil things with that Death Star, but we never hear much of how they affect the rest of the Galaxy. A deleted scene between Luke and Biggs explores this somewhat.
  • Oh, Crap
    • When Vader is about to shoot Luke's X-wing.
    Vader: "I have you now." *wingman goes boom* "What?"
    • Luke: "But that would lead them back... home..."
  • Old Soldier: Gold Five calls out the defenses on the Death Star run, predicts Vader's attack from the rear, and uses his last breath to warn Red Leader "They came from behind!" in a Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Carrie Fisher occasionally slips into a British accent for no reason. It is particularly noticeable in the scene where Tarkin is threatening to blow up Alderaan.
  • Open the Door and See All the People: Han Solo running towards a room full of stormtroopers in the Special Edition.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: Twice during the escape from the Death Star. First, the heroes escape from a shootout with stormtroopers by diving into a chute, realizing too late that it leads to the interior of a garbage compactor—which begins compacting with them inside. Later, Luke shoots a control panel to lock a door between him and some stormtroopers, then realizes immediately afterwards that this same panel controlled the extendable bridge. Thus, he's traded death by stormtrooper for death by bottomless chasm.
  • Palette-Swapped Alien Food: The blue milk.
  • Paying for the Action Scene: After Han Solo kills Greedo in the cantina, he pays the bartender for the mess.
  • Point Defenseless: Justified in that the Empire didn't think that fighters couldn't possibly threaten the Death Star on their own, so their static defenses were designed to fight off capital ships. In fact, Tarkin is so arrogant about his station's invincibility that he didn't bother scrambling the vast fighter fleet available to deal with the Rebels' fighters. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is not so stupid and had his personal squadron launch on his own authority with himself in the lead to deal with them.
  • The Power of Legacy: Uncle Owen led Luke to believe Anakin was a navigator on a spice freighter, painting him as neither a hero nor a villain. Obi-Wan refrains from telling Luke about his father's true nature but tells him that his father was the "best star pilot in the galaxy".
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Vader lets Wedge go after his ship gets crippled. Why waste valuable time chasing a neutralized ship?
  • Precision F-Strike: During the following conversation between Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi:
    Han: Even if I could take off, I'd never get past the tractor beam.
    Obi-Wan: Leave that to me.
    Han: Damn fool, I knew you'd say that.
  • Punny Name: The fattest Rebel pilot is named Porkins. Allegedly the plan was to make him an alien Pig Man if not for prosthetics limitations.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Trope Namer. Obi-Wan describing Vader's past with him, although he doesn't tell the whole story.
  • Pursued Protagonist: Leia in the opening.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: This occurs when the Sandpeople talk.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Luke's gun jams when the dianoga attacks him.
  • Rescue Introduction: Luke meeting Leia. Subverted in that she ends up leading her own escape.
  • Retronym: When he made Star Wars, Lucas imagined that it would be Episode I in a series of films with the overall title The Adventures of Luke Skywalker. But while making The Empire Strikes Back (which was at first going to be Episode II of the series), he decided that he also wanted to do three prequel films. Since Luke obviously wouldn't be the hero of the prequels, Lucas needed a new name for the overall series. His solution? Star Wars, once just the chapter title of the first film, became the title of the entire saga. As a result, the subtitle A New Hope was retroactively tacked on to the first film, and it was now numbered Episode IV.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi! You're my only hope!"
  • Ribcage Ridge: The Krayt dragon bones when C-3P0 and R2-D2 are walking through the desert.
  • Sacrificial Planet: Alderaan is destroyed to demonstrate how evil the Empire is and the powers granted to them by the Death Star.
  • '70s Hair
    • Luke and Han have long seventies-style hair and most of the Imperial officers have long sideburns.
    • Thankfully averted with Leia; George Lucas looked specifically for an obscure style and landed on the Hopi "cinnamon buns."
  • Sex Sells: One of the original posters features Luke and Leia wearing much more revealing outfits than neither of them actually wear in the movie, as well as making Mark Hamill significantly more muscular, and making Carrie Fisher significantly bustier.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: At the end of Vader's & Kenobi's lightsaber duel Kenobi seemingly gives up and lets Vader slice him - but when he does so, we (and Vader) find his clothes empty. He Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence and left his clothes behind. (Vader even probes the robes with his toe, not expecting for it to happen.)
  • Shoot Out the Lock
    • Subverted when Han tries this in the trash compactor, only to find that the lock (and the walls) are shielded and thus the laser blast simply bounces off. Luke even says he already tried it.
    • Also inverted later, when Luke shoots a door's control panel to make it harder to open.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Everything that transpires in the original Star Wars trilogy can be attributed to the actions of the gunner on the Star Destroyer at the beginning who decides not to shoot the pod that C-3PO and R2-D2 are in.
  • Smart People Play Chess
    • R2-D2 and Chewbacca's dejarik game during the flight to Alderaan.
    • Smarter people let the Wookie win.
  • Smug Snake: While not as obvious an example as Jabba, (who in this installment is actually more along the lines of Affably Evil) Admiral Motti's "any attack made by the Rebels would be a useless gesture" remark comes across as fairly presumptuous in any context, but especially in light of what happened near the end of the movie. Also, his attitude towards Vader's belief in the Force is a DTRYOA of Hollywood atheism, of the Recycled IN SPACE! variety.
    Vader: Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
    Motti: Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels' hidden fort...
    Vader Force-chokes Motti.
    Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.
  • Sore Loser: Han mentions that Wookiees have been known to tear arms out of sockets when they lose.
  • Space Is Noisy: Played straight, but given an unusually good justification in the novelization, though it only works for some of the scenes. Fighters like the X-wings (and Han would likely have done this for the Falcon as well) have a speaker system installed that simulates noise as an audible warning of an enemy's position so that the pilot doesn't have to constantly watch his display to see where an enemy fighter is.
  • Spontaneous Crowd Formation: When Darth Vader and Obi-Wan face off, the Stormtroopers leave their posts guarding the Millennium Falcon to watch the duel. Luke's shouting at Obi-Wan's death snaps them out of it.
  • Stab the Sky: The poster.
  • Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: The Star Destroyer flyby at the beginning.
  • Stock Parodies: It's unlikely that there's a single scene in the movie that hasn't been parodied somewhere.
  • Storming the Castle: The attack on the Death Star.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Artoo and Threepio walk across a corridor, with Imperial Stormtroopers and Rebel Guards shooting at each other from opposite ends, and somehow aren't hit once.
  • Stun Guns: The Imperials' stun weapons knock out Leia instantly.
  • Supernatural Aid: Luke receiving the lightsaber from Obi-Wan is a textbook example.
  • Supporting Protagonist: The first third of the movie was through the eyes of the droids.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: When Wedge's ship is badly damaged during the trench run, Luke tells him to retreat rather than be a sitting duck. Considering Wedge's key involvement in later battles in the series, it proves to be a move that pays dividends for the Alliance in the long-term.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Just peppered with From a Certain Point of View.
  • Tempting Fate
    • Luke taking the restraining bolt off R2
    "Oh, yeah, well, I guess you're too small to run away on me if I take this off."
    • Han when he's talking to Jabba the Hutt.
    "I got a nice, easy charter. I'll pay you back, plus a little extra, I just need a little more time."
    • Tarkin, when offered the opportunity to evacuate the Death Star:
      "Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances."
    • Darth Vader as he's about to shoot Luke's X-wing.
    Vader: "I have you now..." <wingman's TIE fighter explodes as Han shoots it> "What?!"
  • Terrifying Rescuer: Inverted: when Luke enters Leia's cell in a Stormtrooper uniform, she calmly starts some banter.
  • Thank the Maker: Trope Namer. C3PO, happy about having an oil bath.
  • That's No Moon!: Trope Namer. It was actually a space station.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: A stormtrooper officer tries to warn Darth Vader about this ahead of time—"She'll die before she'll tell you anything!"—but the Sith Lord tries anyway. Leia withstands a session with a torture droid and a Force mind probe by Vader himself, and even when Tarkin threatens to blow up Alderaan she still gives them disinformation.
  • Torture Technician: In robot form!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Admiral Motti. Clearly, insulting Darth Vader to his face and mocking his powers is not a good idea (especially in retrospect, after you see what he is capable of later in the series), as the exchange proves:
    Motti: Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels' hidden fortre... (Is cut off as Vader starts to strangle him using Force Choke)
    Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing...
    • Fortunately for Motti, he got lucky; Tarkin intervened, and he survived.
  • Tracking Device: The Imperials plant one on board the Millennium Falcon, which allows them to track the heroes to the Rebel base on Yavin IV.
  • Transformation Sequence: The Rebels' X-Wing starfighters get their name as a result of this.
    Red Leader: Lock S-Foils into Attack Position.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Getting into the detention center by pretending Chewie is being transferred from another one.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Which provides some unintentional foreshadowing.
    Beru: Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.
    Owen: That's what I'm afraid of.
  • 2-D Space: Seemingly done straight, with the Death Star trench run playing almost exactly like an Aerial Canyon Chase. But paying close attention to the briefing and wireframe demonstration, it's explained that the port is shielded overtop (making is less of a stupid design flaw) so they had to fly underneath and drop the torpedo at a 90 degree angle as they pass overtop (making it even more of a One In A Million Chance).
  • Uniformity Exception: Luke-disguised-as-a-Stormtrooper is noticeably shorter than the average Stormtrooper - Leia remarks upon it before he takes his helmet off and tries to rescue her.
  • Unit Confusion: A parsec is a unit of distance, not time. Though depending on the source, it may have been invoked.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: An Inverted Trope. The Imperial Officer that refuses to fire upon the escape pod containing the droids is basically what allows the titular "New Hope" to rise in the first place.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Luke.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: The trash compactor scene is a Shout-Out to the Death Traps from cliffhanger serials that George Lucas grew up with.
  • Watching the Sunset: Or suns, in this case.
  • Walk and Talk: Vader and Imperial officer Daine Jir have one aboard the captured "Tantive IV".
    Daine Jir: Holding her is dangerous. If word of this gets out, it could generate sympathy for the Rebellion in the Senate.
    Vader: I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.
    Jir: She'll die before she'll tell you anything.
    Vader: Leave that to me. Send a distress signal, and inform the Senate that all on board were killed.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Alderaan.
  • Wave Motion Gun / Kill Sat: The Death Star's main weapon, which causes an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Weld The Lock: Luke shoots the control panel lock in order to keep the Stormtroopers from getting in. It turns out that the panel also controls the bridge. His makeshift lock doesn't hold for too long, either.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Han to Leia
  • What a Piece of Junk: Trope Namer. How Luke describes the Falcon on first seeing it.
  • Widescreen Shot: Plenty, from the opening crawl, to the first Star Destroyer, to the final celebration scene.
  • Wing Man: For Luke's final trench run, Wedge and Biggs cover him against Darth Vader. Wedge's ship is crippled and he's forced to withdraw, and Biggs is killed shortly after.
  • Wretched Hive: Trope Namer. How Obi-Wan described Mos Eisley.
  • Woman in White: Princess Leia.
  • You Are in Command Now: Twice during the Battle of Yavin.
    • After Tiree and Dutch are shot down, Gold Five reports their destruction to Red Leader, who replies "I copy, Gold Leader," acknowledging that, as the sole survivor, Gold Five is now squadron leader. Unfortunately, Darth Vader shoots him down too just seconds later.
    • Later, Red Leader tells Luke to set up his attack run and once he goes down, there's a huge, meaningful cue in the score representing that Luke is now in command of the mission (or what's left of it).
  • You Are Not Alone: Just when all seems lost during the final trench run with Luke being chased by Darth Vader with Artoo out of action, Luke suddenly hears Obi-Wan's voice out of nowhere, "Use the Force, Luke... Trust me."
  • Your Eyes Can Deceive You: Trope Namer. Obi-Wan's advice to Luke when training him.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Tarkin attempts to force Princess Leia into revealing the main Rebel Base by threatening to use the Death Star's superlaser on Alderaan as a demonstration of its power. She gives them the location (or so it seems). Unfortunately for her, Tarkin is not a man of his word.

Alternative Title(s):

Star Wars A New Hope