On this day in 1977, Star Wars was released to 32 theaters in the United States. Caitlin and I are in our twenties and are always kind of sad we missed that earth-shattering experience: we can only dream of what it must have been like to see Star Wars for the first time on 70 mm.
We have our own “first viewing” experiences, and we’ve collected them below. However, we asked each of our moms to describe the first time they saw Star Wars in 1977. Those memories are also recounted below:
Charlotte’s Mom, Michele: In 1977, I was 13 years old and my father gathered our family and told us we were all getting in the car, and we were headed for a big surprise. He wouldn’t tell us where we were going or what we were doing, only that it would be “life changing.” We didn’t know, but we drove for a really long time to Paramus, NJ to the triplex there. When we found out we were seeing Star Wars, we were so excited but we had no idea exactly what we were going to see. Even though we walked out of there not fully understand what the heck happened, it was the most insane movie ever–no one had ever seen anything like it before. We were just awestruck and I was hooked forever. Then I bought the original soundtrack. And my massive crush on Mark Hamill began… and will never end.
Caitlin’s Mom, Robbin: Star Wars was a first. Several firsts, really. It was my initial foray into science fiction, a genre I agreed to for that date night only because everyone was raving. Never before had I seen a movie full of all the elements that bored me most–alien beings, imaginary galaxies, and inter-galactic “shoot ’em ups”– and loved it all! The music was symphonic, the plot compelling, and the special effects truly unprecedented. I l left the theatre that night hoping ( and believing) the good guys would always win, and that Luke, Leia, and Han and would share a never ending story.
Charlotte: Everyone knows I had to be dragged out of The Phantom Menace in 1999 because the podracers were just too loud for my 5 year old years. However, the first time I really watched Star Wars, I was about 10 years old and my mom forced them upon me. I had grown up watching “epic” films like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones, and my mom figured it was only natural that I watch the original Star Wars trilogy. I was hesitant, because I wasn’t too into space.
Despite that initial fear, I’ll always remember my mom sitting me down to watch the now-classic film, and me loving it, and getting excited as the credits rolled to watch Empire Strikes Back next. There’s really something so magical, inspiring, genre-bending, and life-altering about these films that, since then, have hooked me and never let go.
Caitlin: The first time I saw Star Wars does not involve line waiting, movie theater popcorn, or crowds of people in Jedi robes with light sabers. The first time I saw Star Wars was in my basement with Charlotte and my family’s lumpy pull out couch. We watched The Phantom Menace, and it was like nothing I had ever seen before. I remember thinking that Naboo was a place I needed to go and that there would never be anything as cool as Duel of the Fates. I was mesmerized, enchanted, and all in on Star Wars. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I needed to listen to Weird Al’s “The Saga Begins” a number of times to really understand everything going on in the movie! Everything else though, as they say, is history.
Thank you Star Wars, for always making me feel right at home in that galaxy far far away.