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Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews Review

At first glance, it seems difficult to imagine Star Wars presented as a radio serial. Wouldn't the story be weakened by the loss of visuals? This remarkable production, broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981, proves that sounds convey pictures quite well on their own. John Williams's original score and sound effects from the film add drama and depth to the story, and the characters are brought to life by a talented cast including Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker and C-3PO. Though Brock Peters's Darth Vader is a bit of a disappointment (James Earl Jones left some pretty big boots to fill), Perry King does a fine turn as Han Solo, and Ann Sachs makes a believable Princess Leia. The story itself has been greatly expanded, and listeners are treated to several new scenes, including conversations between Princess Leia and her father on Alderaan and Biggs Darklighter's confession to Luke that he had decided to join the Rebel Alliance after leaving the Imperial Space Academy. Presented in 13 episodes, this excellent radio drama is enjoyable even for those whom audiobooks usually leave cold. As series director John Madden noted during the production, "You may think you've seen the movie; wait till you hear it." (Running time: 6 hours, 6 cassettes) --C.B. Delaney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


HighBridge Co. has issued the complete National Public Radio production of Star Wars: The Radio Drama. It consists of 13 half-hour episodes. There is a full cast, including movie performers Mark Hamill (Luke) and Anthony Daniels (C3PO). There also is music and sound effects. It clearly demonstrates that good radio drama is not dead. The series covers the same ground as the original movie; but because of the added length, there are details the movie could hope to include. In fact, it explains some things (such as individual character's motivations) that were best hinted the movie. -- Indianapolis Star, June 9, 1993

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Highbridge Audio; Unabridged,Original radio broadcast; 6 hours on 7 CDs edition (May 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565110056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565110052
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 2 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alex Diaz-Granados on May 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
At first, the idea seems bizarre, even ridiculous. Star Wars, a movie best known for its vistas of alien worlds and epic battles, as a 13 part radio drama? No way would it work, right?
Well, unless you have the cold heart of a Sith, Star Wars did indeed translate well from the silver screen to radio, thank you very much. Yes, Star Wars' visual effects are a big part of the magic of the saga, but the heart and soul of George Lucas' galaxy far, far away are the characters and the storyline. And while the movie is satisfying on its own, the radio dramatization written by the late Brian Daley takes us beyond the movie....beyond the screenplay...and even beyond the novelization.
By expanding the movie's story beyond its two hour running time, the Radio Drama allows us to catch glimpses of Luke Skywalker's life BEFORE the movie. It tells us how Princess Leia acquired the Death Star plans....and what, exactly, happened to her during her interrogation aboard the Empire's battle station...(it is an interesting scene, but not for the squeamish, by the way). In short, by expanding the story to nearly seven hours, characters we loved on screen acquire depth only equaled by novelizations.
The Radio Drama makes extensive use of material written (and in some cases filmed) for A New Hope's silver screen version but cut for editorial or technical reasons. Also, Ben Burtt's sound effects, John Williams' score, and the acting of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels (See Threepio) give the whole project its "true" Star Wars cachet.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Silverstein on June 10, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
I have several copies of the NPR StarWars trilogy on CD-ROM. I listen to them on the road and love the continual discovery of the depth of the characters, the use of sound effects, the skill of the actors in portraying everything from stealth to hard work to pain to love. I do have a warning to early collectors of these CDs. The original limited edition of the trilogy had wonderful interviews of the cast and the alternate scenes that were recorded. But HighBridge did not use good CDs. The CD label graphics merged with the color laser technology that created the disk content, wiping out any audio on the CDs. My now useless set is numbered in the 9000s. HighBridge has the masters but declines to reissue to those whose numbered copies were produced on low quality CDs. So if you want to purchase a numbered copy with interviews, rather than the current copies, be warned.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By wcj on August 3, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
This Radio Dramatization is excellant. It keeps the original spirit of Star Wars (A New Hope) while telling the story in a different way. The scenes and diologue that were not in the movie give a different perspective to the story that does nothing short of enrich it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Mulvaney on May 29, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Like most other people ordering this item, I have seen Star Wars more times than I can count. Much to my pleasant surprise, I found the radio series far more interesting than the movie itself - my wife noted that it was as if we were hearing the story for the first time. While part one did start off a little slow, the "back story" did prove useful and helpful. I am amazed at how much of the movie this series "explains": why, during the initial TIE fighter battle, do Han and Luke put on those headsets? Why does ObiWan feel so comfortable with choosing Han Solo? Why does the Rebel Alliance trust a young boy like Luke to fight against the death star? What is Han loading into his ship as he leaves the rebel base? Maybe you never cared about these questions -- I don't think I ever did, either, but after listening to the series, I feel like I've had a back-stage pass. I should note that our children (aged 10, 8, and 6) all loved the story on a recent road trip, and were sad that it ended. The scene with Darth interrogating Leia was a bit difficult, but that soon passed, as well. Can't recommend this one enough!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Deadman on March 30, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I recently wrote a review for the Return of the Jedi adaption on NPR which I gave a mere three stars. I cited poor directing, acting and lack of added material.

These complaints cannot be levelled against this, the first of the NPR dramatisations.
The acting is spot on, with Perry King providing a rougher verion of Solo that goes over well, as opposed to the next two adaptions where it begins to grate. Mark Hamil and Anthony Daniels are naturally perfect at the characters that defined them for a decade and more after the original trilogy finished. Bernard Behrens does a surprisingly good Ben Kenobi, and Brock Peters likewise with Vader. They are not Alec Guinness and James Earl Jones, but they're good enough not to cause problems.

The direction is great, and I never found myself noticing the obvious radio 'cues' which tell the listener what is happening. THe music and sound effects are good and the pacing is not rushed, unlike ROTJ.

And as for added material? Deducting front and end credits gives us roughly five and a half hours, nearly triple the length of the film. The vast wealth of extra material is great and never seems out of place.

In all I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in the Star Wars original trilogy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Taylor A. Hudson on August 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
If anything, the original Radio Drama is proof that one of the most visually-stunning movies of all time can be just as good, perhaps better, in an audio-only medium. The sounds and voices are more than enough to tell you what is going on. The story is expanded, lots of questions are answered, and the whole thing works perfectly. The different voices have different tones to them (For example, Solo's voice always has a more self-conscious, selfish tone), but that doesn't ruin it. They just add to the characterization. The original sounds and music score are used, and perfectly. This is a must for any Star Wars fan, whether on cassette, CD, or the printed screenplay.
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