A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Pretende entretener, no educar.
The forces of good and evil are very clearly defined in the film. The story's positive messages include hard work and perseverance paying off with results, the power of personal sacrifice in pursuit of a larger good, and accepting those who are different or difficult to get along with. Additional themes include courage, self-control, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
The film's heroes overcome significant obstacles to work together and defeat the villains, making great personal sacrifice and demonstrating exceptional bravery. Princess Leia is a powerful female character who defies traditional stereotypes about what a princess should be.
Violence & Scariness
The film strings together a series of battles that feature heavy sci-fi violence, including lasers and the film's version of swords (lightsabers). There are some brief images of burned bodies in the desert, pilots exploding while in the cockpits of their ships, an arm being severed (with blood), and the destruction of an entire planet seen from afar. The menacing central villain engages in a several acts of direct and indirect choking of other characters. Alien creatures vary in appearance; some some might appear scary to younger kids.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild flirting and crushes between lead characters. A single chaste kiss on the cheek "for luck."
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Language includes two instances of "damn," two instances of "hell," plus frequent insults bandied back and forth.
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Products & Purchases
No real-world brands or products are featured in the film, since it takes place in another galaxy. But the movie created a template for movie merchandising that persists to this day. Decades after release, its characters are still immortalized in action figures, video games, and countless other products.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters visit an intergalactic cantina where otherworldly beverages are served and strange substances are smoked. But it has no visible parallel to anything available in reality.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope is a classic 1977 sci-fi action blockbuster that may be more frightening than you recall. The central villain, Darth Vader, creates a menacing presence and engages in several acts of violence (threatening, choking). Another central character dies, though he just seems to disappear, and several minor characters die or are injured, though the images are brief or non-graphic. There are also a few instances of mild language, specifically "damn" and "hell," plus plenty of insults. Some families may take issue with the film's spiritual philosophies built around "the Force" as the central tenet of existence in the universe. For kids of the right age, this movie is an unforgettable ride through a vast galaxy of imaginative concepts and characters. Of the films in the Star Wars series, this one offers the best and mildest balance of drama and action for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is one of those films that has become sewn into the very fabric of our popular culture. And yet, every day new kids are born who have never seen it. Watched through the lens of a young child, some of the scarier moments of the film suddenly become more striking. Darth Vader is one of the great film villains for a reason -- he's a frightening figure who engages in some very real moments of violence. With the continued prominence of the Star Wars story through animated series, video games, and toys, it may be tempting to introduce the films to children when they are too young to handle these more intense moments.
But if kids are old enough or mature enough to handle these moments, then it's likely that Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope will blow their little minds. It remains an enduring classic for the same reasons it made such an explosive impression way back in 1977. It's full of pulse-pounding action lifted straight from the classic 1930s film serials, it's got humor and character to spare, and the story guides you effortlessly into a completely original universe full of strange creatures and amazing sights. It's easy to be cynical about Star Wars given the billions of dollars it's earned selling everything from DVDs to toothbrushes, but returning to the original film with fresh eyes will remind you just how remarkable Star Wars was -- and continues to be.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.