star wars 1977
Star Wars opening in 1977 – NOT the theater I saw the movie at
Original image at – Coronet Theater in San Francisco

I was 13 years old. My mom dropped me off as she had both no interest and no desire to see a movie that was about some space adventure. She didn’t like “2001: A Odyssey”, which came out 9 years before. Not that either movie was the same, but she heard space story and there was no interest.

I really didn’t want my mom to see the movie with me anyway. I mean, I was 13. I wanted to go with friends who were just as curious as I was.

After a 2 hour wait in line at a theater location in Orange County [I don’t recall the exact location – 40 years does a lot to a memory], my 2 friends and I sat in our seats and waited. This was opening weekend and there wasn’t that many theaters that played the movie. I was lucky enough to live in an area that had one.

The original opening scroll

That blast of music as the words STAR WARS came on the screen. And from that first blast to the end credits [I’ve always stayed past the credits, even before movies added extra scenes] I was hooked. I had to see it again. I eventually went with my mom, who did like it. I would see the movie a good number of times in the almost 3 years [just days shy>] before “The Empire Strikes Back” was theatrically released. Video tapes were not as prolific in the late 70’s. It was movie theaters that garnered our watching eyes.

For the film’s 20th anniversary, the movie got a makeover, in the form of updating the special effects. It was cool. I was 34 years old and took my daughter to see it. She was barely 6 years old.

Over the last 40 years, I’ve seen Star Wars: Episode VI – A New Hope [as it’s now called] easily 200+ times. Perhaps more. That’s just an easy number that I am comfortable with. I’ve owned the movie on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD [I’ve never owned in on Blu-ray or digital] and watched it many times at home, on a small TV and big TV. I never tire of this original, even if my favorite will always be “The Empire Strikes Back”

Missed Opportunities

I’m majorly bummed that all of those that own the rights to Star Wars, couldn’t find a way to bring it back to theaters across the country and across the world for year 40. I certainly would have ponied up $15 to go see it again, in all of it’s old school special effects brilliance.


Share your thoughts on the first time. Either below in the comments or on your blog.

My friend Catherine wrote a blog post [one of the few remaining bloggers] about her experience on seeing Star Wars 40 years ago.

For the film’s 35th anniversary, this article has a large amount of details for us film buffs. As it appears in the list of the article, the movie theater I saw Star Wars at on opening weekend was called City Center in Orange, CA.

UPDATE: Kapgar added his post on the 40th anniversary of Star Wars.