January 13th, 2004
George Lucas
About George Lucas

“I’ve always tried to be aware of what I say in my films, because all of us who make motion pictures are teachers — teachers with very loud voices.”

Based on the classic story of a young man’s battle with the forces of evil, George Lucas’s 1977 film STAR WARS introduced a modern myth to a new generation. A primal tale set in a distant galaxy, STAR WARS revolutionized special effects, forged new frontiers in sound design, and brought audiences to movie theaters in record numbers. The two sequels to STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and THE RETURN OF THE JEDI, along with Lucas’s adventure trilogy of Indiana Jones movies, are among the most popular films ever made.

Coming of age in Modesto, California in the early 1960s, George Lucas loved to write and considered becoming an English major until a childhood friend suggested he apply to The Cinema School at the University of Southern California. Even in his student days, his experimental films walked away with top honors at student film festivals. In 1973 Lucas had his first feature-length hit with AMERICAN GRAFFITI. AMERICAN GRAFFITI was produced by Francis Ford Coppola, a friend and mentor of Lucas since his days in film school. Sweeping up America in a wave of nostalgia for the summer nights of teenage innocence, AMERICAN GRAFFITI was one of the most profitable movies ever made. Its success gave Lucas both the following and economic resources to begin an even bigger project.

Lucas spent the next four years hard at work on the first in a series of science fiction movies. STAR WARS (1977) was one of the first movies to take advantage of the advances in special-effects technologies. The movie created an entertaining fantasy world where important moral and ethical decisions were constantly intertwined with everyday life. Speaking of STAR WARS, Lucas said, “There was no modern mythology to give kids a sense of values, to give them a strong mythological fantasy life. Westerns were the last of that genre for Americans. Nothing was being done for young people with real psychological underpinnings.” In the writing of anthropologist Joseph Campbell, Lucas had learned about the myths that pervade many disparate cultures, and it is this mythology that gives Lucas’s space age epic its timeless resonance. Both of the sequels and the one prequel continued in the same vein and with equally successful.

In 1981, Lucas’s work took a step in another direction, with the production of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was a 20th-century adventure story about a swashbuckling archeologist, Indiana Jones. Played by Harrison Ford, a long-time Lucas associate, Jones became one of the best loved heroes of the 1980s. For RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Lucas teamed up with another major figure, Steven Spielberg. Spielberg had had great success with JAWS (1977) and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), and brought his sense of suspense to the collaboration. It proved one of the most successful pairings of in Hollywood history. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was followed by two more exceptional pictures in the series and a popular television show featuring the Indiana Jones character.

In the late 1970s Lucas formed the production company, Lucas Films Ltd. In Northern California, Lucas’s 2,700-acre state-of-the art production center and “think tank,” Skywalker Ranch, is home to the empire. There, Lucas presides over his vast entertainment company, which now includes THX, Skywalker Sound, and Industrial Light and Magic. In many ways, Skywalker Ranch is the beating heart of the entertainment industry. Constantly at work developing new and higher-quality production methods, Lucas Films Ltd. has a significant influence on many of the most successful contemporary films.

Today, with the second STAR WARS trilogy setting box office records, George Lucas remains one of the most popular filmmakers of all time. For the past few decades, he has been at the forefront of American culture and creative technology both predicting and creating our popular aesthetics. He has collaborated with some of the greats of the industry and has been nominated for 44 Academy Awards (winning 16 Oscars). More than anyone working today, George Lucas has expanded the visual and technological possibilities of the popular cinema, and he continues to delight audiences around the world.

 

  • paige stacy

    i have never seen your movies. ya

  • aaron thompson

    ilove anything george lucas its all great my room is covered in starwars

  • austin metts

    Star Wars rocks and George Lucas rocks he is the best director ever and if you have not seen any of the Star Wars movies you need to watch them you will love them

  • michael lucas

    george lucas is my uncle

  • Naola Davis

    I love the Star Wars movies, I have not watched them for some time, however they are movies that I have purchased the DVD and have viewed on several occasions. I am considering making movies, and I can state that I have been influenced by Lucas, Bay, Spielberg, Hitchcock and others.

  • abby hodge

    love starwars! but i think u should make an episode that would come before number one that explain how the sith and republic got started and all the sith lords before palpatine. also an episode after six that shows what happens to all of the characters that are left. for example what happens to han solo, laia, luke, and their future generations.

  • Charmaine Ortiz

    Solo and Leia get married and have a kid…have you not read the books?

  • Joe Bob

    Star WArs is my all

  • king

    Actually the books are not G-Canon, as Lucas disproved of them in an interview.

  • phillip

    I wish PBS would release this special on DVD.

  • skittle

    I love starwars

  • David Hernandez Jr

    Mr Lucas, I have been a Star Wars fan since the early age of 3 or so. I’m now 23 attending The Art Institute Of Houston majoring in Animation. I’m not happy with there system and I feel I’m not getting my monies worth.
    Could you please recommend a good institute where I can expand my passion for art and drawing.
    As a kid I always said I wanted to work for you.
    “May the force be with you”.
    Thank you sir.
    David Hernandez Jr

  • william stoehsler

    Personally i believe that he is the greatest film maker of my generation. I love his movies, and lets face it, is there or has there ever been a more popular movie? Maybe i’m bias because i am a Star Wars Freak, but you can’t argue the longevity and $ this franchise has raked in. May the force be with you. thanx from darthplanet.com

  • Dylan

    The Star Wars movies are the best movies ever made. I have seen all of them at least 20 times. If you have never seen them you need to.

  • Jonathan Fletcher

    I really do enjoy George Lucas’ films, but I sometimes feel that he is portrayed as “The Mythology” film director to the exclusion of other decent directors (like James Cameron) who also use mythological themes in their work. For example, even in wake of the praise showered on Cameron’s 2009 hit blockbuster, “Avatar,” the film’s use of the Messiah archetype was barely noted by the critics. In fact, only columnust David Brooks bothered to mention the connection. That said, I have no doubt Lucas is a much nicer director (not to mention person) than Cameron. Still I cannot helping feel that Cameron’s “mythological cinema” is underappreciated.

  • Dina

    I believe that George Lucas is far greater than just a filmmaker or a storyteller. Although, he clearly has been hugely successful in both regards. His vision for better filmmaking and storytelling has spawned a whole new industry that might not have advanced to the level that it is now if it hadn’t been for Lucas’ quest for excellence. He wants all of us to be able to first off be entertained, learn something from what we are viewing, see it in the best possible light, and hear it in the best possible way. He is the genius behind ILM, his special effects company that has, through the years, continued to make new and better technology for all aspects of movie-making. Almost every blockbuster action movie that has been made since the early 80s has effects provided by ILM. Then there is Skywalker Sound who are also the top of the audio production companies for movies, commercials, theme park rides, and music recordings. Lucas’ vision was at the heart of the mass merchandising for movies…good or bad. He wanted to retain the rights for production of merchandising because he wanted to make sure that anything that was produced in association with his name would be of the highest quality and be produced under the highest safety standards in order to protect children. That is very honorable and that is how he felt about his movies, too. He really wanted them to speak about a moral message. Lucas was also the one who saved the animation field from dying out. When all studios were closing their animation departments, incl. Disney, he hired John Lassiter to head up a new computer-animated division for Lucasfilm. He felt that the new computer medium could be used to take animation to a whole new level. He was right. He also had the decency to sell the Pixar division of his company because he felt he didn’t have the vast amount of capital that was needed to really invest in it over the long haul. There are many more things that Lucas has added to the entertainment industry, but he also expanded from there and started an educational foundation trying to make the most of the new computer-based society in helping a whole new generation learn in a more effective way. His influence is felt far beyond the entertainment industry. Remember Reagan calling his strategic missile defense system, “Star Wars”? Or, that Cheney was known as “Darth Vadar”? Can you imagine anyone else having that impact on the world? I can’t even count how many TV shows, or newscasts that involve Star Wars references. It is just part of our everday language.

    While it is true that James Cameron has made some contributions to the film industry, I believe Lucas has done far more. Incidentally, Lucas, is the first one to say nice things about Cameron and about what a genius he thinks he is…just saying. Cameron usually only talks about himself.

  • Michael

    George Lucas is a wonderful man and always will be. I love his movies and wish him a long and wonderful life. God bless him.

  • matt woomer

    george lucas is my hero no joke
    he has been a great influence on me

  • michael

    i love star wars

  • Peter Jones

    I would like to see George Lucas direct a sports film. A story I have in mind was the 1974 British and Irish Rugby Team tour of South Africa it was a cotroversal tour due to apartite era and the South African Springbocks were a whites only team. There were tromendous protests in the UK & Ireland led by Anti apartite campainer Peter Haine who is know a Labour MP. The Lions won 21 matches with 1 drawn. When they came back from SA the were dubbed by the UK sports press the Invincables which they were. In 1971 they also beat the New Zealand All Blacks.

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