*Read John Williams’ biography here
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
This iconic 1977 movie, today regarded as one of the most important films in the history of motion pictures, was written and directed by George Lucas. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and James Earl Jones the movie evolves around a galactic war where the Rebels are fighting against the Imperial forces from the Galactic Empire, a tyrannical army intent on destroying civilisations across the universe.
Steven Spielberg recommended Lucas use John Williams to compose the soundtrack. Lucas wanted the music to give the audience an emotional familiarity in contrast to the foreign worlds they would see visually. He wanted the score to have a grand sound so he collected his favourite orchestral pieces for the soundtrack. Williams convinced him an original score would be more unique and unified, which is what ultimately happened.
However, some of the pieces scored by Williams were influenced by the orchestral pieces originally gathered by Lucas, for example, the “Main Title Theme” (below) is inspired by the theme of the 1942 movie Kings Row.
Not surprisingly, the movie won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, British Academy Film Award for Best Original Score, a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score for a Motion Picture or Television Program and a Saturn Award for Best Music.
I have always believed the soundtrack is hugely important to a movie’s success. Hearing the music from a score can send me back to that movie and evoke emotions from the scene. To highlight how important the score is, especially a score by someone as skilled as John Williams, I have included additional clips below the main theme.
SPOILER ALERT (just in case there is anyone who hasn’t seen it)…the second clip below shows the final scene of the movie stripped of its soundtrack (it has been dubbed with minimalist effects). Without Williams’ fanfare (the scene with the music is in the third clip for comparison) the scene becomes really odd, awkward and quite funny – and not in a good way. John Williams’ music tells the story and makes this a powerful scene.
I’ve always thought the soundtrack played a huge part in the enjoyment of a movie. Do you agree?