The first and best of a franchise that started with its force strong - but eventually went over to the dark side.
In 1977, as punk was breaking out in the UK, a similarly far-reaching revolution was happening in its cinemas, led by Star Wars. George Lucas's film drew on Saturday morning cliff-hangers such as Flash Gordon, with hints of The Wizard of Oz and James Bond, and it introduced a whole new generation to science fiction.
In place of the stately profundity of 2001: A Space Odyssey, this was an unashamed action movie in space, complete with cinema's most famous hairstyle, eminently quotable dialogue and, of course, the toys, the promotion, the sequels, the bolting-on of philosophical conceits and inter-planetary politics and, in the end, the sheer ubiquity of it all. So, yes, we live with the legacy of its marketing techniques, and it unintentionally gave us Moonraker. But on the other hand, a whole lot of us got into science fiction as a result.