Film / A New Hope
aka: Star Wars A New Hope

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

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 (originally Star Wars, later Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) is a 1977 film that marked the first chapter of the Star Wars saga and the beginning of its enduring cultural phenomenon.

A New Hope is the start of the story of Luke Skywalker, a young farmboy 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.

Said troubled production 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.

Rogue One functions as an immediate prequel to this film.

These are the tropes you are looking for:

  • 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 from the top (making it less of a stupid design flaw) so they had to fly underneath and drop the torpedo at a 90 degree angle as they pass overhead (making it even more of a One In A Million Chance). It still doesn't explain why they enter the trench so much farther away rather than diving in much closer to the target.
    • Later media justified the trench run. Turns out they did so to take cover from the heavy surface fire, as demonstrated in Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, in which going above the trench will see you getting pelted by turbo laser fire.
  • Action Prologue: The very first scene of the film starts with the famous shot of the Star Destroyer chasing the Tantive IV.
  • Activation Sequence: The Death Star needs about twenty seconds from "Commence primary ignition" until it fires its superlaser upon Alderaan. Curiously, it needs more than three minutes to charge up enough to expunge the moon of Yavin.
  • Achilles' Heel: The Death Star is a moon sized space station capable of destroying a planet, with only one significant weakness; a two meter wide exhaust port that leads directly to the stations reactor. Even then, the staff is ray shielded, so only proton torpedoes have any chance of getting through, and a it's still a very slim chance at best.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Ben Kenobi is also Obi-Wan Kenobi.
    Obi-Wan Kenobi: Of course I know him. He's me.
  • 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 occurrence 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 Happy Ending.
  • Always Save the Girl
  • Amusing Alien: Greedo, whose only purpose was to be a punchline for Han.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: In response to the destruction of the Death Star and the slaughter of its entire crew: "Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!"
  • 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 after he ends up cornering them and forcing them to stand and fight (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.
  • Ax-Crazy: Dr. Cornelius Evazan, who brags to Luke Skywalker that his crimes have given him the death sentence in twelve systems.
  • 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.
  • Bar Brawl: When Kenobi tries to defuse that situation, the thug pulls a blaster on Kenobi. In response, Obi-Wan neatly lops his arm off with his saber and stands around for a few seconds with it lit with a look that screams, "Anyone else want to start something?"
  • 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.
  • 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 torpedoes into the Death Star's thermal exhaust port.
  • 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.
  • Black and White Morality: The Rebel Alliance, Luke and co. are the good guys, and the Empire are the clear-cut bad guys. Han Solo starts off in a grey area, but even he ends up becoming a hero in the end.
  • Blatant Lies: The whole, on a "diplomatic mission to Alderaan" thing in light of Rogue One. The film shows that the Tantive IV barely escaped the Battle of Scarif immediately preceding the opening scenes of this film, and in that battle they missed being boarded by Vader by seconds
  • Bluffing the Authorities: After attacking the detention block on the Death Star, Han Solo tries to do this to an officer who calls over the intercom. He's unsuccessful.
    Han: Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but, uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine, we're all fine here now, thank you. [beat] How are you?
  • Bowdlerise: The Special Editions subtly edit every moment someone gets shot with a blaster on-screen to make the effect less gruesome, and also edit the Greedo scene so that Han unambiguously shoots Greedo in self defense as opposed to killing him before he can even get off a shot.
  • Bottomless Pit: Which Luke and Leia swing over.
  • 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.
  • Call to Adventure: Delivered by Obi-Wan Kenobi:
    Obi-Wan: You must learn the ways of the Force, if you're to come with me to Alderaan.
    Luke: Alderaan? I'm not going to Alderaan, I've gotta get home — it's late, I'm in for it as it is!
  • 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.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: During the Detention Center Shooter, Han and Leia take some time to banter with each other while they're being shot at by a group of Stormtroopers.
    Han: "Can't get out that way!"
    Leia: "Looks like you managed to cut off our only escape route!"
    Han: "Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, your highness!" (blaster bolts whizzes past head)
  • 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.
    • Luke is also established early on to be a skilled pilot, which allows him to join the attack on the Death Star even though he's never flown in combat before.
  • 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.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Leia, which leads to Well, Excuse Me, Princess! with Han.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In the individual movie there is little problem with the fact Luke gains ownership of the droids, as he was just a farmboy along for the adventure with the Old Master. In the grand scheme of the saga, Vader being revealed as his father AND a prior owner of R2 starts to stretch things, in addition to the fact that Obi-Wan and Yoda anticipated Luke as a potential weapon to defeat Vader and the Emperor.
  • Cool Old Guy: Obi-Wan Kenobi. He's a veteran Jedi Knight, one of the last surviving ones, and even in his old age, he's still adept at using the Force and a lightsaber.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: When Han is impersonating a stormtrooper over the intercom, he can't come up with his operating number.
  • Covers Always Lie
    • Darth Vader's lightsaber has a guard on the original cover and film poster. The blade is also orange-ish in colour instead of pale red.
    • There are also these earlier posters 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.
  • Create Your Own Hero: The Empire killing Luke's aunt and uncle, as well as Obi Wan telling Luke that Darth Vader killed his father, is what ends up convincing him to go with Obi Wan to Alderaan and learn to become a Jedi. From a retroactive standpoint, this becomes much more literal when it's revealed that Luke is Vader's son.
  • 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 imprisoned in a moon-sized battle station. 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: Davish Krail (Gold Five) and Garven Dreis (Red Leader) both have their moments, especially during their trench runs. Krail 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 Dreis what he is going to face.
    • However Dreis 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, your 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: (Stunned for a moment) 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. Luke does mention him by name, however — "Biggs was right, I'm never gonna get out of here!" The special edition reinserts their reunion just before the Battle of Yavin.
  • 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Luke only made plans to get into Leia's cell bay. He didn't think about how to escape. Lampshaded by both Leia and Han.
    Leia: "This is some rescue! You came in here, and you didn't have a plan for getting out?"
    Han (indicating Luke): "He's the brains, sweetheart!"
  • Digital Destruction: The only DVD release of the original theatrical cut (released as limited edition extras) was a completely phoned in, raw transfer off of the 1993 laserdisc of the film, which had excessive grain, low contrast, serious aliasing, and motion smearing (Motion smearing is when moving objects are blurred and leave behind a trail of their own shape due to DVNR) — inexcusable, considering that a far better THX remastered transfer had been made and released of it in the past.
  • 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 Thach 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!
    • Which, of course, has become rather memetic, given who the Empire is patterned after... and then that award ceremony happens. Whoops!note 
  • 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.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Obi-Wan teaches Luke this aboard the Millennium Falcon.
    Obi-Wan: Remember, a Jedi feels the Force flowing through him.
    Luke: You mean it controls your actions?
    Obi-Wan: Partially, but it also obeys your commands.
    Obi-Wan: Stretch out with your feelings.
  • Doomed Hometown: Alderaan, for Leia. The Lars homestead, for Luke.
  • Doomsday Device: The Death Star.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Unlike the other films, Darth Vader is shown as a subordinate of Grand Moff Tarkin since the Emperor does not appear. In spite of this, compared to Tarkin Vader provides a more direct threat and has the greater saga influence as he seemingly killed Obi-Wan earlier along with (at least what is said in this film) having killed Luke's father years previously.
  • Draw Aggro: This is part of the Death Star battle plan. Red squadron would focus on the laser towers on the surface, to reduce fire on the Gold Squadron flying into the trench. Unfortunately Vader's skill as a TIE pilot mean it doesn't matter if the rest of the Death Star forces aren't focused on them.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Luke and Han "borrow" some Stormtrooper uniforms to sneak into the prison block on the Death Star.
  • 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 (or even Revenge of the Sith, for that matter) — where Vader is answerable only to the Emperor, and commands Admirals and even disposes of them as he sees fit. It is possible to justify this fairly easily in-universe, however, as Tarkin and presumably a lot more of the Imperial leadership were killed in the explosion of the Death Star, causing Vader to be moved up to The Dragon fully.
      • 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. (Granted, Motti pays for his foolishness, but he's exceptionally surprised by the comeuppance at all. By the time of Empire and Jedi, Admirals know enough to be terrified of Vader from the outset.)
    • More generally, the relationships between the characters can seem a little bizarre in retrospect — and this is caused by two relationships not actually being true from the perspective of ANH's script: Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker and Luke & Leia.
      • Firstly, the movie seems to treat Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker as separate people... because, in this script as written and shot, they were. The Skywalker family twists weren't laid out until the writing of Empire, and there's some oddness as a result. For example, Kenobi calls Vader "Darth" as if Darth is a first name and not a title, because it was intended as a first name when the movie was shot; in retrospect, it comes off as Obi-Wan trying to needle his former pupil into making a mistake.
      • Also, some of the scenes in ANH with Luke and Leia (never mind some of those posters) seem a little weirdly incestuous now... and that's because, in the movie as shot, Luke and Leia aren't meant to be related. In ANH, Leia was simply intended as a noble who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then in the right place at the right time, one might say, and as a result the mild flirtatious elements were supposed to be completely innocent and expected of the movie's genre.
      • The two combined also lead to one other bit of weirdness: Leia's captivity right next to her dad. In the movie as shot, by itself, there's nothing odd because Vader and Leia aren't related at all, so he has no reason to take note of her beyond a tool for information. In the context of the rest of the movies and any EU material, even post-reset material, not only is it very strange that he doesn't notice a strong similarity to both Padme and himself in Leia, but the Force should be all but screaming at Vader that he is related to Leia — even through the veil of the dark side.
    • 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 (albeit very young). 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. Some later novels, such as the Republic Commando novels, took some steps to try and square the two perspectives, but with limited success.
    • 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.
    • The Imperial March motif does not appear in the film, as it was not composed until The Empire Strikes Back.
    • When Chewie first enters the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, he bumps his head against a hair of hanging dice. Besides the holiday special, they never appeared again after this shot.
    • In the cantina, Obi-Wan uses his lightsaber to lop an arm off a barfly. Said arm is then covered in blood, even though it's later shown that lightsabers also cauterize wounds.
  • 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's hearing about these details just now. This does help speed the story along of course. Luke's belief only starts stretching during Yoda's lessons in the next movie. Also downplayed in that Obi-Wan only starts training Luke on how to use the Force in any real detail after Luke has already seen a Jedi Mind Trick.
  • Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: Trope Namer, with Kenobi gushing about the lightsaber.
  • Epic Fail: Greedo missing Han Solo at point blank range in the Special Editions.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Leia! She even blasts a few stormtroopers, thus making her an Action Girl.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The creature in the Trash Compactor, the Dianoga, is an Octopus-like creature, and is definitely of the threatening variety. You wouldn't know this from just watching the movie, though; its full body is only seen in Expanded Universe materials.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Alderaan gets destroyed by Tarkin as a warning to star systems thinking of opposing the Empire or sympathizing with the Rebellion. It has the opposite effect, making more systems sympathetic to the Rebels. Leia even warned him beforehand: "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: The interior of the Death Star.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After Luke and Obi Wan find the remains of the Jawas that sold them R2 and Threepio, he realizes that the Stormtroopers search for the droids would end up leading them back to his relatives homestead.
    "But that would lead them back... home!"
  • Exposition:
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie seems to take place in the span of at least three days.
  • Eye on a Stalk: The Dianoga has an eye on a stalk, which lets it see above the surface while the rest of its body remains submerged.
  • 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 cannot stop projectiles. (Of course, the Empire can be forgiven for this, since you would have to be some kind of space wizard who is also a fighter pilot to actually hit a target that small.) Rogue One addresses the weakness: the film would retroactively reveal that the weakness was installed on purpose, and that a lot of bloodshed and grief went into making that little detail, and the discovery of it, possible.
    • 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.
    • Further demonstrating the Death Star's shoddy design, the tractor beam system has six separate power junctions feeding it. This is apparently not for backup and failsafe purposes, as the disconnection of any one of the junctions will disable the entire system.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Uncle Owen: Have you seen Luke this morning?
    Aunt Beru: He said he had some things to do before he started today, so he left early.
    Uncle Owen: Did he take those two droids with him?
    Aunt Beru: I think so.
    Uncle Owen: well, he'd better have those units in the south range repaired by midday, or there'll be hell to pay.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Uncle Owen tries to stop Luke from leaving Tatooine and becoming like his father. Given what said father is responsible for, it's hard not to agree with him.
  • Feeling Their Age: Obi-Wan, when asking Luke to join him, lamented that he was getting too old to go on these sort of adventures. A big part of his duel with Vader was being mocked that he was old and out of practice.
  • 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.
  • Force Choke: This is the first bad-guy Force power introduced in the series, and establishes in a big way that Darth Vader is much more than a brutal Imperial enforcer.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: As Luke introduces himself to R2 and Threepio, Threepio calls him "Sir Luke", hinting at Luke's eventual Jedi Knighthood.
  • 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 (Dreis), Red Two (Wedge), Red Three (Biggs), Red Four (John D.), Red Five (Luke), and Red Six (Porkins) all had unique markings.note 
    • If you look closely in some shots, you can see David Prowse's eyes through the Vader mask.
  • Friendly Target: Biggs.
  • Gambit Roulette: Darth Vader's ultimate plan to get the Rebel base's location, which Tarkin agreed to on the grounds that it demonstrated that Leia was of more use than he had anticipated, hinged on Luke and Han rescuing Leia and the tractor beam being disabled by the time they got back to the Millennium Falcon. He sent a pair of Stormtroopers into the Falcon to search for occupants, and the whole thing—Luke and Han attacking the Stormtroopers and Dressing as the Enemy, Chewie being the Trojan Prisoner, Obi-wan evading the Stormtroopers until the tractor beam was disabled, etc.—was improvised from there. Subverted in that from the perspective of a Force sensitive, there is no such thing as luck.
  • 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, and Han calling Jabba a "wonderful human being") note . There is also a grand establishing shot of Mos Eisley as they drive in, a scene of Luke meeting his old friend Biggs Darklighter (though the early scene in which Biggs is introduced remains on the cutting room floor) and an Epic Tracking Shot for the X-Wings as they prepare to engage the Death Star.
  • Genre-Busting: Hoo boy, we have an adventure story with fairy tale and mythological elements, samurai melodrama, space fantasy, war movie, western and old fashioned science fiction elements all mashed up into one movie. By the way, the visual design evokes Putting on the Reich, cowboys in space, Ray Gun Gothic, and a dab of Crystal Spires and Togas, all while being the Trope Codifier for Used Future. The space combat scenes were created to evoke WWII dogfighting footage at its most heroic and the score hearkens back to much older war movies with bright, powerful orchestral music. Heck, The Dragon is in a costume that mixes samurai silhouettes with those of a Ray Gun Gothic villain.
  • Genre Throwback: The whole movie is a big 70's love letter to Flash Gordon, war movies, westerns and B-movie serials of the old days of Hollywood.
  • The Ghost: The Emperor is talked about a few times, but he doesn't appear in the movie and his name is not mentioned.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Everything in this movie. Blue lightsabers are good, red is bad. The Imperial ships are black or white while the Rebel ships are grey and red. Even the laser bolts are different colors, with Rebels firing red and Imperials green (except small arms, which all shoot red bolts). The showdown between Vader and Obi-Wan also introduced the Jedi and Sith color scheme of black vs. brown robes which was maintained throughout all the films.
  • Greater Scope Villain: The Emperor is a background figure who never appears nor does he intervene in the decisions taken. He's only mentioned almost in passing a couple of times through the film.
  • 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 in this film.
  • 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. Not that it helped much....
  • Guile Hero: If you think about it, pretty much every major character save for Chewbacca uses guile to screw somebody else over.
    • R2: Tricks Luke into removing his restraining bolt so he can find Obi-Wan.
    • Obi-Wan: Uses the Force to confuse Stormtroopers, and distracts Vader long enough for Luke and co to escape.
    • Leia: Lies to Tarkin about where the Rebel base is.
    • Luke: Convinces Han to rescue Leia because "she's rich". It turns out the Rebellion can pay Han, but Luke wouldn't have known that.
    • Han: Shoots Greedo, pretends to be a Stormtrooper on the radio to buy them time ("We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?")
    • C-3PO: Pretends he and R2 are helpless Imperial droids victimised by Luke and co.
    • Vader and Tarkin: Put a homing beacon on the Millennium Falcon to track it to the Rebel base.
  • 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 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, ordering all TIE Fighters to take out the X-Wings, while his own squadron goes after the Y-Wings.
  • Hollywood Atheist:
    • Admiral Motti is the Recycled IN SPACE! equivalent of this, as far as expressed contempt for religion goes. He even openly ridicules Vader's belief in the force, and gets (albeit temporarily) force-choked for it.
      • And this is particularly egregious because not even twenty years ago in the Star Wars canon timeline, hundreds of Jedi served the Republic faithfully, and he would have definitely been alive to see it.
    • Han Solo also evidently doesn't believe in the Force either, but his tone seems to be relatively less contemptuous than Motti's, despite that the consequences to Solo for such contempt would clearly be milder. This may be typical of the times he lives in, as the Empire has done its best to suppress knowledge of the Force.
    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. There's no mystical energy field controls my destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
    • That said, he has enough respect to use the "May the Force be with you" farewell when (apparently) saying goodbye to Luke before the final battle.
  • 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. And WWII-era fighter film The Dam Busters is the source for the trench run.
    • A couple of the characters are homages bordering on Expy. Classical Hollywood aficionados will recognize Greedo's silky voice and bugged-out eyes, and Jabba moves smoothly like Sidney Greenstreet and has his placid expression. Harrison Ford's Han Solo has elements of Humphrey Bogart note  as well.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The droids sold by the Jawas are what they find around Tatooine, so defective droids like the R5 unit with the malfunctioning motivator end up getting sold to unsuspecting consumers.
  • Hufflepuff House: We only get very brief glimpses of Alderaan from space before the Death Star blows it up.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The film begins with Luke saying that he wants to leave home to join the Rebellion, just like some of his friends. It's bittersweet when he gets his wish.
    • He stated that he wanted to join the Imperial Academy (even despite the fact that Luke said he had a negative opinion of the Empire when talking to Obi-Wan), as he and Owen discussed at their dinner. Owen wouldn't allow him to, due to how much Luke was needed on the moisture farm and because he was a bit nervous that Luke would turn out like his father.
    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.note 
  • 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.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • Averted and then played straight when the Imperials board the Tantive IV. The stormtroopers quickly mow through the rebels and send the remaining ones packing. But during the shootout, C-3PO and R2 pass through the hallway and narrowly miss the volley of lasers being shot between the imperials and the rebels. While this could be chalked up to them not being the targets of either side, the droids got really lucky they made it out intact.
    • Justified during the Death Star escape, since the Empire needed Leia to lead them to the Rebel base.
    • Greedo, in the Special Edition, clearly is a graduate as he is somehow able to miss Han. At point-blank range. By more than the distance between them. With a laser.
  • Implausible Deniability: Captain Antilles and Leia both try to insist that Tantive IV is on a diplomatic mission. Vader is having none of it and takes the ship captive. Probably since, according to Rogue One, in said battle he missed boarding their ship by about 2 seconds and also engaged their comrades in battle
  • 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.
  • Insecurity Camera: The cameras in the Death Star's cell block are pretty useless, since Luke and Han shoot them as soon as their cover is blown and a fight breaks out with the Imperial guards.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: Don't forget about the time Luke Skywalker's uncle bought a couple of droids.
  • 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]
  • 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 the first time it appeared in the films.
  • Jerkass: Han Solo, although he has a Hidden Heart of Gold. Also C-3PO, who whines and complains his way through the film, while blaming R2 for everything that goes wrong, including stuff he caused. However, he does show great concern for R2 after he is badly damaged during the final battle.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Uncle Owen may be frustrating Luke's dream of going to the Academy terribly, but considering the risk that Luke would surely be discovered by the Sith Lords and corrupted into their minion, you can see why Owen would be determined to prevent that.
  • Just in Time: Han showing up at the Death Star fight and saving Luke from Vader.
  • Kick the Dog: The destruction of Alderaan.
    Leia: [from a test shot] And you call yourselves humans.
    • The Stormtroopers slaughtering the Jawas and then killing Owen and Beru. The film doesn't give any explanation for the massacres (especially since, unlike the Rebels from the opening, they're all basically no threat to the Empire), and makes it come off as the Empire just being incredibly ruthless.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Davish Krail during the Trench Run. His Famous Last Words are a calm sitrep telling Garven Dreis what he is going to face: "They came...from behind—"
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In retaliation against the disturbance caused by the destruction of Alderaan and the slaughter of all of its inhabitants, the Force guides Luke's hands to fire the shots that destroy the Death Star and slaughter its entire crew.
  • 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. The film introduces the themes for the Rebels, the Jedi, Princess Leia, and more. Even the Death Star itself has a cue to represent it. (Notably absent is Vader's theme, the ominous Imperial March, which doesn't appear until the next movie.)
  • 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.
  • Low Clearance: In a blooper they left in a stormtrooper hits his head on a door that didn't open quite enough.
  • Magic Versus Science: Vader lectures Admiral Motti on this when the latter brags that the Death Star is the ultimate power in the universe.
    "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."
  • Match Cut: The shot where R2 uploads the Death Star plans at the rebel base and whistles at the 3D schematics immediately cuts to the real Death Star heading for Yavin, in a similar position to where the plans were displayed on screen.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The Jawas who sold R2-D2 and C-3PO to Owen and Beru Lars get slaughtered by Imperial Stormtroopers, who make it look like the Tusken Raiders were responsible by leaving gaderfii sticks and bantha tracks behind.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Obi-Wan, mentor of Luke, dies while fighting Vader.
  • Mentor's New Hope: Luke is being taught by Obi-Wan, who also taught Darth Vader before Vader went to the dark side.
  • Metaphorically True: 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 there... and it had just been abandoned. So Leia did divulge the location... just not the right one.
  • 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 R2-D2's memory on The Big Board.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: The movie falls squarely on 1 (Science in Genre Only).
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It rates a 4, due to Darth Vader cracking Captain Raymus Antilles' neck with his bare hand, Owen and Beru Lars' charred skeletons, some blood on alien Ponda Baba's severed arm, and other, lesser, acts of science-fiction-related violence.
  • Motivational Kiss: Leia gives Luke a peck on the cheek "for luck" before he tries to swing over a precarious gap.
  • Mr. Exposition: Obi Wan serves as this, in addition to being Luke's mentor. Beforehand, we only had a surface idea of what was going on in the film (The Empire is hunting down the rebels and are looking for something very important the Rebels stole, which was hidden with the droids) and after he shows up to save Luke, he explains the whole backstory of how the Empire came to power by destroying the Jedi and the nature of the Force, what happened to Luke's father, and his presence finally lets R2 play the entire recorded message by Leia, setting up the rest of the plot for the film.
  • 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.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Empire is clearly patterned after the Nazis. Their foot soldiers are called "stormtroopers", originally a Nazi term for the SA. Tarkin makes a comment about the "regional governors" governing the Empire directly; the German word for "regional governor" is Gauleiter, and this was in fact the Nazi system of government, with Germany divided into regions governed by Gauleiters appointed by Hitler. See also Putting on the Reich below.
  • 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.
  • The Needs of the Many: Leia is forced into this situation, throwing the planet of Dantooine (which the Expanded Universe has established is an inhabited world, albeit a sparsely populated one) under the proverbial bus in hopes of it being destroyed by the Death Star instead of Alderaan when forced by Tarkin to choose between giving up the rebel base location or seeing her homeworld destroyed. She's far too trusting.
  • Never My Fault: C-3PO while lost in the desert after refusing to take R2's route:
    Threepio: That malfunctioning twerp! This is all his fault! He tricked me into going this way. But he'll do no better.
    • Later, after getting tangled up by wires following an attack from the TIE Fighters.
    "Help! I think I'm melting! (to R2) This is all your fault."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Luke, while he and Leia are trying to escape the storm troopers aboard the Death Star.
    Leia: Quick, we've got to get across! Find the controls that extend the bridge.
    Luke: (sighs) 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. It's the only explanation for the ease of our escape.
    Han: Easy? You call that easy?
    Leia: They're tracking us.
    • The Rebels make the best of it by planning to make their attack on the Death Star as soon as it arrives.
  • Noodle Incident: The Clone Wars was mentioned only once in the original trilogy, as Luke learns more about Obi-Wan's past. It wasn't until the prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars animated series we'd learn more about it. Also, Vader comments early on that there will be "no one to stop us this time."
    • The Noodle Incident implied by Vader's comment above was probably when the Rebels stole the plans in the first place, which will be depicted in Rogue One.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • The Death Star either fired their safety inspection team or have complete disregard for the safety of their staff, because the inside of the station is a giant death trap. You have massive chasms with very tiny bridges that can be retracted, and they have no railings or support at all. The tractor beam's power is controlled through a panel perched on a tower over a bottomless pit, and the catwalk to access the controls is about a foot wide. There are giant doors that slam shut in the blink of an eye. Their hanger bay has a giant, open elevator pit right next to where the ships would land. Heck, the superlaser cannon has two crew members perched on the itty bitty platform right next to the gigantic superlaser beam!
    • The blast doors. These are quadruple-section doors that close in from the corners, leaving an increasingly-shrinking square in the middle. Yes, in the event of decompression or a firefight, these doors need to close quickly for the safety of the onboard personnel (and to prevent pesky intruders from escaping, natch). But if a body (organic or mechanic) gets caught in the opening and mulched by the doors, that's a whole lotta cleaning up involved, and that's if the doors don't jam from all that matter caught in them.
  • 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. After zooming in ominously on its wicked-looking syringe, the door shuts and we don't see what happens next.
    • During the trench run, the guns at the end periodically stop firing at the fighters flying towards the exhaust port. This signals Darth Vader's arrival behind the fighters.
  • 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.)
  • Obviously Evil: The Empire. Right from the opening shot you can tell they're the bad guys, what with their cold, angular looking starships, the Stormtroopers with their perpetually frowning helmets, their ruthless leader who dresses entirely in black, and so on.
  • 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.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The film had so many production problems, that many corners were cut to make the props and effects. The results made Star Wars one of the tentpole films for how kitbashing can be used to effectively add visual depth;
    • All of the ships and the surface of the Death Star were made by kitbashing numerous model kits together to give a feeling of detail and grit the film's Used Future tone warranted. For example, the gap between the upper and lower shells of the Millennium Falcon is filled with the undersides of various trucks. This page gives a good idea towards the specifics of how kitbashing (greebling) was done regarding Star Wars props.
    • The blasters in the film are real firearms (or models/props thereof) decorated with model part kits and whatnot, both for ease of editing (adding the energy bolts to the scenes, timed with the effects of the blank cartridges) and so the blasters actually looked like real weapons. Another reason was simple cost and supply. Even by the mid-1970s when the first movie was filmed, WWII-era weapons were still common and easily procured. Even more so, there were tons and tons of realistic plastic props of WWII weapons (particularly Nazi weapons) left over from 60s-era films or contemporary films (such as The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen). This is why a vast majority of the weapons in the Star Wars universe are modeled closely after German firearms, even down to those used by the heroes such as Han's iconic blaster (modeled after a Mauser pistol). The most iconic Imperial weapon is modeled after a British firearm of the '60's and '70's, the Sterling sub-machine gun, likely as a result of needing large numbers of actually functioning weapons as described previously. It just so happened that at the time A New Hope was being filmed, the British Army was getting rid of most of its stock of Sterlings because sub-machine guns were falling out of favour as infantry weapons, and the rest is history. Also, using 'previous generation' weapons added to the Used Future feel of the series.
    • The Lightsabers are built out of the flash from old cameras.
    • In the faraway shots of Luke's landspeeder in the pre-Special Edition cuts, "Luke" and "Obi-Wan" were actually dolls from The Six Million Dollar Man.
    • In the pre-1997 Star Wars Cantina scene, there is a wolf like creature named Lak Sivrak, whose face is quite obviously a Halloween mask from a store. This was replaced with a new alien creature for the Special Edition and subsequent cuts of the film.
  • 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..."
    • "That's no moon... That's a space station." "It's too big to be a space station."
    • Han's getting the Falcon ready for takeoff from Mos Eisley when he suddenly hears "Stop that ship! Blast them!"
    • In the finale of the film, Motti is utterly shocked when he realizes that the Rebels are going to destroy the Death Star. However, it's averted by Tarkin since he doesn't even realize the Death Star is about to blow up.
  • Old Soldier: Davish Krail (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 Garven Dreis "They came from behind!" in a Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • Only in It for the Money: Han's sole motivation throughout this film.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: During the first half of the film, Carrie Fisher uses a British accent, which eventually disappears for no reason. It is particularly noticeable in the scene where Tarkin is threatening to blow up Alderaan. (It's been suggested that she's actually mocking Tarkin by adopting his aristocratic accent.)
  • Open the Door and See All the People: Han Solo running towards a room full of stormtroopers in the Special Edition.
  • Orwellian Retcon:
    • Since the 1997 Special Edition, each re-release has featured ever-more-extensive changes, such as Han's shooting of Greedo being changed to self-defense.
    • A very subtle one: a few frames have been removed from almost every single blaster hit on a stormtrooper throughout the film in order to tone down the violence. A frame-by-frame comparison makes the difference very obvious - the frames where the bolt is shown hitting are removed in editing, less than a half-second of footage per hit. It is especially noticeable in the bridge-swinging sequence, where it happens frequently enough to noticeably rush the pacing of the scene. In the other films, very few stormtroopers are actually shot on-screen.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Vader shows great anger and urgency on board the Tantive IV, lashing out and physically choking Captain Antilles. This is in contrast to his calm demeanor and Tranquil Fury seen in the rest of the series. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does something to rectify this: it turns out the boarding of Tantive IV took place after a few days of near continuous reverses and setbacks for the Imperials, most notably at Eadu and then the Battle of Scarif, at the latter he barely missed catching them and presumably has been giving chase since. So he has reason to be rather upset.
  • 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 not only has the squidlike dianoga monster, but also 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.
  • Parental Abandonment: Luke persistently loses parental figures throughout the film: his actual parents are already dead (to his knowledge), his aunt and uncle are killed by Stormtroopers, Obi-Wan dies on the Death Star, and Han packs up and leaves before the final battle. Han does return, though.
  • Paying for the Action Scene: After Han Solo kills Greedo in the cantina, he pays the bartender for the mess.
  • Physical Religion: Motti sneers at Vader's devotion to an "ancient religion", only to feel said religion's very real presence around his windpipe.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Invoked by Tarkin when he targets Alderaan with the Death Star to motivate Leia to give up the location of the rebel base. Of course, then he blows up Alderaan anyway. And Leia was lying anyway. The base she gives up had long-since been abandoned.
    Governor Tarkin: "You would prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system! I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time: Where is the rebel base?
  • Point Defenseless: Justified in that the Empire didn't think that fighters could 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 doesn'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, which Obi-Wan handles pretty hilariously:
    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.
    Obi-Wan: Who's the more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?
  • 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.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Empire is pattered after the Nazis, with officers dressed in a manner that recalls the SS. Interestingly, the Rebel ceremony that closes the film is also this, being a direct lift from a scene in Triumph of the Will.
  • Raster Vision: Used here for the holograms. This is an early use of Raster Vision as an aesthetic - the crummy holograms fit in with the worn-out nature of the tech.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Part of the reason why Tarkin refuses to employ the Death Star's full contingent of fighters (leaving it to Darth Vader to send out his personal squadron) despite the fact that it would have crushed the Rebel attack in about five minutes is because they simply didn't have the time, money or visual effects expertise to depict large squadrons of fighters. By Return of the Jedi, however, that little problem had been taken care of.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: This occurs when the Sandpeople, Jawas, R2-D2, and almost everyone in the cantina talks.
  • Refuge in Audacity: As it turns out, Leia's statements about a 'diplomatic mission' becomes this in light of Rogue One. Given that Vader had literally just witnessed the Tantive IV flee Scarif, it took serious balls to lie to his face. It doesn't work.
  • 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.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: If the Rebellion hadn't gotten Luke to fire the missiles down the Exhaust Port, the Rebels assault on the Death Star would have been a total failure.
  • Sacrificial Planet: Alderaan is destroyed to demonstrate how evil the Empire is and the powers granted to them by the Death Star.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: As pictured above, Mark Hamill is about to shoot you.
  • Serendipitous Survival: When R2-D2 runs off, Luke has to chase after him and hopefully get him back before anybody notices so he won't get in trouble. This, and the subsequent meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi, delay Luke enough that he doesn't get home until long after the Stormtroopers looking for R2 and C-3PO have already raided it and murdered Owen and Beru.
  • '70s Hair
    • Luke and Han have long seventies-style hair and many 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 that 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.)
  • Sherlock Scan: Obi-Wan Kenobi, when he and Luke encounter the slain Jawas:
    Luke: It looks like the Sandpeople did this, alright. Look, there's gaffi sticks, Bantha tracks. It's just, I never heard of them hit anything this big before.
    Obi-Wan Kenobi: They didn't, but we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side-by-side. Sandpeople always ride single file to hide their numbers.
    Luke: These are the same Jawas that sold us R2 and 3PO.
    Obi-Wan Kenobi: And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.
  • Shout-Out: An imperial officer almost refers to the Rebel base as a "hidden fortress", though he's interrupted by Vader Force-choking him in the middle of the second word.
  • Show, Don't Tell: The opening shot, which establishes with visuals alone who the Rebels and Imperials are.
    • In the DVD commentary for the film, Lucas mentions that he distinguished Star Wars from other space and science fiction films by intentionally avoiding exposition about the universe Star Wars is set in, treating things that would be fantastic in our universe (I.e. Landspeeders, talking robots, spaceships) as mundane and trivial in their world, using this kind of symbolic storytelling as a way of connecting the audience with the galaxy of Star Wars.
  • 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. This unwittingly keeps him and Leia from extending the bridge across. Luke also does this in the Death Star Hanger Bay, shooting a Blast Door control panel to immediately seal it shut, keeping Darth Vader from reaching them.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": When Vader snaps Captain Antilles' neck, which the sound crew accomplished by putting walnuts into the peels of an orange and squeezing them.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The film is firmly idealistic in tone.
  • Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: Falls into the "Equal Focus Between Plot and Characters" part of the scale.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: The movie is squarely on the "Fantastic" end of the scale.
  • Sliding Scale of Visuals Versus Dialogue: The film hits a sweet spot between both. The film is very dialogue heavy, but there's also a lot of strong visual storytelling going on at the same time.
  • 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. Heck if Star Wars didn't invent the trope, it certainly codified it.
  • 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's a space station.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Par for the course with the series, the main theme and/or Rebel theme plays during the shootout on the Death Star, the TIE fighter attack afterward, and the Battle of Yavin when Luke hears Obi-Wan tell how to destroy the station.
  • Title Drop Chapter: While it was retroactively titled A New Hope in order to distinguish it from the name of the franchise itself, it was originally released and marketed as, and is still often colloquially referred to as, simply Star Wars.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: An Imperial 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. Adding insult to injury, there isn't even any indication after her rescue of Leia suffering any negative after-effects from the so-called torture.
  • 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.
    • Greedo, in the Special Edition, if the ability to hit a target at point-blank range (or not, in his case) is at all tied in with intelligence.
    • The guy on the Star Destroyer who didn't think it worth a single laser blast to play it safe and destroy a seemingly unoccupied escape pod, even though the entire reason for boarding the ship was to track down a missing set of Death Star plans that could easily have been stowed away in the pod (as indeed they were). He's technically to blame for the thousand of people presumably killed when Luke later blows the Death Star up.
  • Torture Technician: In robot form!
  • 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.
  • Tricked Into Escaping: Leia deduces that their escape from the Death Star was actually a Trick-and-Follow Ploy by Tarkin, who is more interested in the rebel base than in the princess. A certain amount of resistance was provided for the sake of plausibility, but not as much as there should have been.
  • 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 foreshadowingnote .
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Alderaan.
  • Wave Motion Gun: 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!: Pretty much every interaction between Han and Leia.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Trope Namer. How Luke describes the Falcon on first seeing it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • From the very beginning, when 3PO and R2 are seen during the attack on Leia's ship; the silver-plated protocol droid following close behind disappears into an airlock and is not seen again.
    • We never do learn the fates of the few survivors captured aboard Tantive IV; however, knowing the Empire's nature, one doesn't need to think too hard about it. Though Vader does leave instructions to "Send a distress signal, then inform the Senate that all aboard were killed." Given that this is Darth Vader, yeah, we can probably puzzle out what happened next.
    • Two Stormtroopers and the two Imperial technicians are never mentioned again after they're knocked out inside Millennium Falcon (with the two Stormtroopers get Mugged for Disguise). In the old Legends novelization, they were found and freed, but since that book isn't canon anymore, we can only assume the Falcon took off with four unconscious Imperials aboard, two of them in their underwear.
  • 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.
  • Woman in White: Princess Leia.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The Empire removes the Senate just before they destroy the populated planet Alderaan. Thus, no one is able to protest this atrocity. While they don't say outright that the upcoming demonstration of the Death Star's firepower is the reason why they removed the Senate, it sure is convenient timing.
  • You Are in Command Now: Twice during the Battle of Yavin.
    • After Tiree and Dutch are shot down, Davish Krail reports their destruction to Garven Dreis, who replies "I copy, Gold Leader," acknowledging that, as the sole survivor, Krail is now squadron leader. Unfortunately, Darth Vader shoots him down too just seconds later.
    • Later, Dreis 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).
  • Wretched Hive: Trope Namer. How Obi-Wan described Mos Eisley.
  • 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."
  • You Killed My Father: Obi-Wan tells Luke a half-truth by saying his father was killed by Vader. This was actually the original plot of Star Wars until the rewriting of the script of Empire Strikes Back.
    "A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights...He betrayed and murdered your father."
  • 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. Then again, maybe he is. If you pay close attention, he never said he would spare Alderaan if she gave up the information.

Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!!

Alternative Title(s): Star Wars A New Hope