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The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film Hardcover – April 24, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 186 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A book like this simply blows everything else out of the water...For Star Wars fans, this truly will be the Holy Grail, and even obsessives who think they know everything about the movie should prepare to be astounded. As a 30th anniversary tribute, this could not be bettered" Film Review "Majestic...truly indispensable" Total Film "terrific behind-the-scenes study...a detailed, sensible but compelling account of the film's creation, minus the hype...Combining the access of an authorised account with the edge of great stroytelling, the making of a 30 year-old movie has never felt more alive" Empire

About the Author

J. W. Rinzler, executive editor at Lucasfilm Ltd., is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, as well as The Art of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Art and Making of Monster House, and Creating the Worlds of Star Wars, which he co-authored with visual-effects supervisor John Knoll. J. W. Rinzler now lives in Petaluma, California.
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Product Details

  • Series: Star Wars
  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: LucasBooks (April 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345494768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345494764
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 1.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Lakewood, New Jersey; grew up in Manhattan/NYC and Berkeley, CA. Fell in love with old monster films, such as Dracula and Frankenstein, as well as Robin Hood and other adventure movies. Presently executive editor at Lucasfilm.

He wrote and directed an animated short called Riddle of the Black Cat, which was shown at numerous film festivals, including the Montreal World Film Festival (available on iTunes and Kindle). "The Star Wars" graphic novel was a #1 New York Times best-seller. He is presently working on a novel.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film (Star Wars)

I was four years old when the original "Star Wars" was released, and like so many kids of that generation, that film and its two sequels defined an enormous part of my childhood. Even though I didn't know it at the time, it introduced me to the "best bits" of classical mythology, while being a visual catalyst for my imagination (and years of subsequent role-play, particularly in Upstate New York, where re-enacting ice planet Hoth after "Empire" came out was all too easy...).

As I grew older (I hesitate to use the phrase "grew up," as I'm not sure it's happened yet), I came to appreciate more than just the adventure and dynamic visuals that "Star Wars" represented; it was my "gateway drug" into wanting to learn more about how movies were made. I remember all of the TV specials of that era that pulled back the curtain on the filmmaking process, particularly with regard to the original "Star Wars" trilogy, and I couldn't get enough information. That hunger became the same kind of obsession that's typically associated with "Star Wars" fans, and I absorbed every scrap of detail I could find, from Ralph McQuarrie's concept art, to model photos, to script pages, and even before the Internet made it only a matter of a few clicks to access such information, there was a wealth of it, when it came to "Star Wars."

Fast forward to 2007; "Star Wars" is 30 years old, a whole separate trilogy has come and gone, and my own children are budding "Star Wars" fans for their own reasons. I figured I knew pretty much all there was to know about this film.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a huge Star Wars fan since I was a kid, and have collected a tremendous amount of "making of" material in various forms over the years, so I figured I'd heard it all and seen it all. I've read this volume cover to cover now, and what I have seen and read opens a whole new chapter in my understanding of this milestone film. There are literally hundreds of photos in this book I have never seen, and the process of making the film (all the way from original concept to opening day) is documented with a level of detail far beyond any account that exists. This is not light reading or a "bubble-gum" movie souvenir book, but an extremely detailed account of the struggles, disasters, and eventual successes of a film that changed cinema forever. The research and production of this tome was obviously a massive project, but the results are truly impressive. Rinzler's book will surely be the definitive work on this important subject.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are so many books and films about this now-classic film that it's hard to imagine that anything published in 2007 could bring anything new to the table. There was a made-for-TV special with the same title, but believe it or not, no companion book ever came out for the original "Star Wars" movie -- just every other film in the series.

The beauty of this thick volume is the in-depth, candid look at the production *before* anyone knew it was a hit. The interviews and notes are almost entirely from 1975 and 1976, which really gives you a flavor for how crazy/brave/pioneering/enterprising young George Lucas was when he fought to make the film.

Writing and production quality is excellent, but it's the content that really shines here. I have the paperback version, which is an excellent value from Amazon, but apparently the hardcover edition has even more exclusive content.

This book is strongly recommended for any fan of the series, the genre, or filmmaking in general. You'll want to watch the documentary "Star Wars: Empire of Dreams" again after seeing this, too .... set some time aside to geek out with your sideburns out.
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Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
This review is for the "enhanced" edition. The quality is absolutely awful on all 3 of these editions. If you're looking to purchase, DO NOT get the kindle editions and buy the iBook editions. They use 720p HD video, as opposed to the standard definition video on the kindle which has been severely compressed. Also compressed are the picture files which look awful on the higher definition kindle.
To compare, the kindle edition is approximately 1/4 the size of the iBook edition. If you care about the visual quality of this release. then get it from iTunes.
Amazon overly-compresses ALL of their "enhanced edition" books and this practice needs to stop.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Overview

This is a fantastic work, which spans the origins and creation of the film and includes insights into nearly every aspect of the filmmaking process. A true archive of both information and visuals, it is, in my opinion, a book that should be in the collection of every fan of the film. Highest recommendation.

This review is broken down by the following group areas - Written Content, Visual Collateral, Presentation/Quality, and Overall Value - focuses on the perspective of the original prop hobbyist, in that sometimes we are looking for photos pertaining to real, original props and editorial content is of less interest; other times, in performing research, we may be seeking information more so than photos, etc.

Written Content (10/10)

This is, quite frankly, the most impressive and comprehensive Star Wars resource I have ever laid hands on. Whereas the legendary Star Wars Chronicles set the mark some time ago, in my opinion, in terms of visual collateral and photos, it had little by way of actual written content - just remarks about the stunning photography and images.

This book matches the visual collateral in quality (though not sheer quantity) but far exceeds in the realm of pure information, narrative, background, insights, opinions, and more. You truly can't appreciate it until you begin flipping through this book - it's just astounding.

If anything, the reader gains an appreciation for how impossible it seems to be that the final product is what it is, in that it was such a collaborative process that underwent constant change and alteration, and it had so much stacked against it throughout the creation of the film.
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