50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s

From cosmic head trips to adventures in galaxies far, far away

5. 'Star Wars' (1977)

Even after close to 40 years of exhaustive reckoning, it's hard to overestimate the cultural and economic significance of George Lucas' pulpy, pop-inflected space opera. While it nostalgically riffed on Flash Gordon serials, Greek and Anglo mythology, and Leni Reifenstahl-cribbed triumphalism, the filmmaker was nevertheless prescient about both world and market building. That we're about to receive a third trilogy based on characters first introduced in 1977 certainly speaks to the film's enduring appeal — indeed there's never been anything quite like it. And while all other sci-fi films from the Seventies can't help but be products of their era, Lucas has done everything he can — from digitally upgrading analog effects to backdating the introduction of characters — to prevent it from becoming a relic. His project wasn't to make a movie about that or any other time, but rather a story that lives off the screen, all the time. We’re all still living in it. EH

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