George Lucas' epic space opera Star Wars was released theatrically on May 25, 1977. It became a financial triumph (by earning a total of $775 million and becoming the third highest-grossing film, when adjusted for inflation) and a critical success (by receiving ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and winning seven).

I assume that George Lucas was influenced by previous movies/books. Can you name where some of those exact inspirations have originated from?

  • Real life or just fiction because Star wars has much influence from so many other things.
    – CBredlow
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 22:58
  • @CBredlow I meant fiction. I was wondering if there is a list of all of Star Wars' inspirations.
    – Grant
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 23:34
  • @CBredlow I changed the emphasis of the question, because I realized that Star Wars was probably influenced from many things. Now, what exactly are those things?
    – Grant
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 23:38
  • Lucas has often acknowledged that Frank Herbert's "Dune" was an inspiration and you can discover many similarities.
    – Dennis_E
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 8:07

3 Answers 3


Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress is a well known influence.

Lucas has mentioned it numerous times. I recall it was the inspiration for Leah.

  • And Flash Gordon, Lucas had tried to secure the rights and wrote Star Wars when he was unable to. Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 3:17

The final attack sequence on the Death Star has some striking resemblances to the film 633 Squadron (1964).

The film ends with an attack by Mosquito fighter bombers on a German controlled plant in Norway manufacturing heavy water needed for atomic bomb experiments.

This requires them to fly along a fjord at a low level very fast and hit a precise area to destroy the plant. They come under attack from both anti-aircraft guns along the fjord walls and German fighters.

  • 5
    Dambusters might be a similar influence; same type of mission, requiring a precision drop [though using spotlights rather than the Force ;) 9 years older than 633 Squadron, too.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 8:33
  • 1
    Dambusters was inspired by the real Operation Chatise, to drop the Upkeep mine. It lacks the element of an attack down a narrow fjord or trench under heavy fire and fighter attack that both '633 Squadron' and 'Star Wars' have. Although it probably did have an influence I agree.
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 6:34
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    Late comment, but The Dam Busters (1955) seems to be a more direct influence. Here, look at this side-by-side comparison video on YouTube. More info here at Slashfilm. Commented May 25 at 2:07
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    It is said that Lucas actually used footage from dam busters, tora tora tora and 633 squadron in an early test cut, possibly before the script was fully written.
    – Yorik
    Commented May 30 at 19:56

Akira Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress was a major influence on Star Wars, it could be argued that Star Wars IS a science fiction remake of Hidden Fortress.

I read a magazine dedicated to this subject years ago. Originally George Lucas wanted to make a Flash Gordon film but was unable to secure the rights, so he invented his own "Original" universe utilising all his influences: Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Samurai Films, Westerns, Pirate films, World War II films. Science fiction literature: The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, Dune by Frank Herbert, Lord of the Rings. Lucas was quite open about it and you can see all these influences in the films.

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