2. The Death Star Battle ('A New Hope')
When it came to Hope's climactic battle, in which a ragtag rebel fleet attempts to destroy the Empire's planet-killing space station, George Lucas wanted to emulate the feel of the aerial dogfights he had seen in World War II movies. With the aid of the groundbreaking visual effects pioneered by John Dykstra, the director did it: The clash between the rebel and Imperial fighters is more dynamic than any space battle seen on the screen before. Ships dive, circle and strafe each other — the camera moving right along with them — in a breathless 10-minute sequence that left the Death Star going up in an explosion and audiences gasping with delight.