Star wars is my all time favourite film and one which I have watched so much growing up, I can recite every line even now. The reason is it is one of the most entertaining films you will ever watch, the action never stops, the characters are engaging, the special effects still look great today and most importantly the film is believable.
But can a film made so long ago still stand the test of time today. Well it consistently appears in lists of classic/best/most entertaining films of all time. It also one of the most important Science Fiction films ever made and would easily make most people's top 5 sci-fi. It is a classic tale of the struggles between good versus evil, of love and sacrifice and ultimate triumph which has been the blue print of many stories for centuries. Where Star Wars is different is the way it retells this story in a futuristic setting. It is that simple and yet it is so much more. You actually believe in the characters and that there is a galaxy far, far away. Everything from the set design to the costumes is looks authentic and the story doesn't take the audience for granted giving reason and purpose.
For example when the bounty hunter Gredo wants to 'speak' to Han Solo, it may look like nothing but so much goes on before it that is hinted at (but not revealed until later if at all) to give you this meeting that you never question it. Also when Obi-One talks to Luke about The Clone Wars, even though you never see it you can imagine it as it is described so well and makes you understand why things are the way they are now. The script is complex in this respect but within the context of this film work perfectly.
Credit should also be given to John Williams whom, yet again, manages to create such a memorable theme tune as well as a soundtrack of rising, stirring and dramatic music which fits this film probably better then any soundtrack I've heard. You can listen to it and understand the story without ever seeing the film.
For 1977 the special effects were way ahead of their time and was a big a leap for the FX industry as Terminator 2 was in 1991 and The Matrix was in 1999. From this ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) was formed and more budget was given to special effects companies and in particular science fiction (Star Trek: The Motion Picture was going to be Star Trek Phase II series until Star Wars came out, due to it's success they decided to turn it into a film). It is also one of the most recited, satired and talked about film ever made.
Star Wars also introduced us to some of the greatest concepts in cinema namely the Jedi, the force and the best movie weapon ever, the Light Sabre. Any of these things in one film would have made it good, but to put them all together was a work of genius. The Jedi knights are based on Japanese Samurai as it was George Lucas's love of Akira Kurosawa's films and American Westerns that inspire this film (he describes it as a western in space). George also often says that his is not a new story, simply an old story retold. That may be true but it is the way the story is retold that created a landmark in movie history, a film which will never be beaten.
Is it really that good? Well it won 7 Oscars and if you are a man or a fan of any science fiction then it is like breathing (in other words essential). People have differing views on the later films (past the Sequel Empire Strikes Back), but there is no arguing over this film. If you love science fiction of any description then you are going to love this, if you don't you are among the 0.000000001% of people that don't.