star wars

Star Wars 4: A New Hope breakdown

A desert farm boy, an old hermit, and two space pilots get entangled in a princess’s rebellion against a galactic empire.

Many years ago, I did a commentary for this movie, both the theatrical version and the special edition.

I’m breaking down movies by their three-act structure. What is three-act structure? I explain it here.

Note: I break the story down into five-minute blocks to make it easier to see the length of each section. Rough time codes follow.

Prolog

Legend: It is a period of civil war. 2

Act 1

Darth Vader boards Princess Leia’s ship (introducing the villain). 5

Leia hides the Death Star plans in R2-D2. R2 and 3-P0 flee in an escape pod. 10

R2 and 3-P0 are captured separately by Jawas. 15

R2 and 3-P0 are sold to the Skywalkers. 20

Luke activates Leia’s message to Obi-Wan Kenobi in R2 (introducing the central conflict). 25

Luke pursues the missing R2 and is rescued from Sand People by Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi. 30

Act 2

Ben explains Luke’s father was a Force-using Jedi knight killed by Darth Vader. 35

R2 shows Ben the message from Leia. 40

Luke finds his aunt and uncle murdered. Luke and Ben go to Mos Eisley. 45

Ben and Luke make a deal with Han Solo and Chewbacca to take them to the Alderaan. 50

Han kills bounty hunter Greedo. Ben and Luke board Han’s ship. 55

The heroes flee Mos Eisley….

Midpoint Crisis

…The Death Star destroys Alderaan. 60

Ben teaches Luke about the Force. The heroes discover Alderaan is destroyed and get captured. 65

The heroes hide and sneak out of their ship in stormtrooper uniforms. 70
Luke and Han take Chewbacca to the detention unit so they can rescue Leia. 75

Han, Luke, & Chewie rescue Leia and end up in a trash compactor. 80

R2 and 3-P0 rescue the heroes from the trash compactor. 85

Ben shuts down the tractor beam. The heroes race to the ship under fire. 90

Vader finds and kills Ben. (All is lost!) The heroes escape in Han’s ship. 95

Act 3

The heroes go to the rebel base. The rebels prepare for battle. They must hit a small port in the central trench of the Death Star. 100

Han leaves with his payment. Luke meets old friends and preps for battle in a fighter. 105

The rebels attack and fare poorly against the Death Star’s defenses. 110

Vader enters the fight personally. Luke goes in for his run using the Force to do his targeting. 115

Han and Chewie return to keep Vader off Luke. Luke destroys the Death Star… (resolving the central conflict)

…Han and Luke are awarded medals by Princess Leia. 120

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.