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The Making of Star Wars

(Star Wars: The Making of #1)

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,663 ratings  ·  141 reviews
After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling SF saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original tit ...more
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Del Rey (first published 2007)
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Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella
"This film has been murder." - George Lucas

"I told George, 'You can't say that stuff, you can only type it.' But I was wrong. It worked." - Harrison Ford (in a quote that's been sort of taken out of context for years)

If you're a major Star Wars fan (more than I am, and I like the films quite a bit on the whole, yes even the prequels to greater or certainly lessor degrees), you've likely already read this, and probably own it as well since it's been out for over ten years. The people I'd like to
This is the book that would have changed my life had I read it as a 14-20 year old, causing me to pursue a career in film.

Having just completed it as a 37-year-old, I'm still highly inspired by the persistence, creativity, leadership, teamwork, and raw determination displayed by so many who collaborated on this film. Simply the making of this movie is as dramatic as the story itself, and highly worth the reading.

This is for fans of Star Wars, movie buffs, film historians, and - for the right per
Nov 09, 2019 added it
I was after a big excavation of the prehistory and contingencies of the beast and this has it in spades.
Kelly Lynn Thomas
J.W. Rinzler is an excellent, meticulous researcher who is able to present his information in a clear, interesting manner. He has the talent to do this for both books like this one, that are "out of universe" and for "in universe" books like the Star Wars blue prints series. For die hard fans, he's a real treasure. This is a fantastic book, filled with wonderful details about the making of my favorite movie, ever. It's fun to read, and has great photographs, but it also makes a great reference b ...more
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-wars, favorites
This book was completely fascinating but is definitely too much for a casual Stars Wars fan. I would recommend this to people who love Star Wars or are into the process of making a movie.

This book took me about 3 weeks to get through because it is pretty dense and you don't feel like you are really making progress until you get to the portion of the book describing the actual filming. I'm a little nervous that I won't be able to watch Star Wars movies in the same way again because I'll be notic
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, it was the start-up of movies and movie-making. Amazing to read about all the hard work, detours, and battles fought to make this. Star Wars fans or film fans should definitely check this out. Definitive.
Geoff Gresh
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of the few Star Wars books that avoids staring through the rose-colored glasses and shows Lucas & Co as what they were: a bunch of 20-something prodigies who could have just as well made a huge sci-fi flop as they could a media empire. Most of the interviews were culled from the time of actual production, so there's not much revisionist history. An excellent read with lots of awesome photos of people in 70s dress. ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film, star-wars
This is an amazing book that delves deep into the history of Star Wars. It shows you how the script developed, how Lucas convinced the studio to take a chance on it, and how it was made. It also includes a lot of interviews and quotes from the creators of the film. This is one of the best film books in my library.
Dave Donahoe
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cinema
So much behind-the-scenes info. It's a fanboy's paradise. Loved it! ...more
It is a credit to the book's author that upon reading The Making of Star Wars I felt exhausted, yet exhilarated, as if I had participated in the entire process myself, from pre-production to editing.

Another thing that surprised me about this making-of book is that it's incredibly honest and doesn't seem to hold back anything about the ordeal that was making Star Wars come to life. You'll learn about Lucas' tough negotiations with Fox, who were anxious and dubious about the project (even Alan La
Scott MacBurnie
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is an exceptionally good book about the making of the original film, and by using quotes and interviews that were conducted at the time - it eludes the pitfall of having people (much later) remembering the moments through the sort of "of course we always knew that we were making a masterpiece" self-congratulatory tripe that sometimes colors books about famous films. It is made exceptionally clear, here, just how big of a gamble (and how likely a failure) the film really was, and how close to ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So we'll just get this bit out of the way now: if you're a Star Wars fan that loves knowing behind the scenes stuff, then this is the book to read. It's cobbled together from Lucasfilm archives, and thank the gods someone had the foresight to store these things away or some elements of the story would have been lost forever.

This book is a trove of information that, I personally at least, didn't know all of from the numerous making ofs that I've seen of the original film over the years. You get a
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Any Star Wars fan will love the photos in this coffee table book.

But if you decide to read the story of how the film was made you may feel bogged down.

All the important people who made the film are mentioned but since I’m not a Hollywood insider, and very little time is spent with each of them, I found it difficult to remember who was who. If you are not familiar with film production then the description of how the special effects and camera work were made is difficult to follow.

I did enjoy th

I found the history of George Lucas’ struggles producing the movie and getting sustained support from his studio an insightful view into just how enormous a task movie making can be- even if you have a strong vision and determination to match. That Star Wars even came together as cohesively and wonderfully as it did makes me marvel at the amount of talent, vision, and tenacity it takes to make films- especially good ones.

I didn’t like that many of the quotes, from original sources (ie
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caleb Sommerville
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely exhaustive collection of literally everything to do with the production of 1977's Star Wars.
And when I say exhaustive, I mean actor interviews, journals, paperwork, Polaroids, accounting documents, storyboards, anecdotes, studio political intrigue, internal memos, and so forth.
It took me quite a long time to read half because of its...well, dryness (but that's the whole point of the book, so I can't fault it for being academic) and it's physical size.
This is a biiiig book.
Plus, n
David Halford
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book was recommended by a friend as “the ultimate history book for you” (meaning me) and he was right. It’s incredibly detailed and gives a lot of insight into how Star Wars went from an idea to a movie, and it’s a fun read. I read the digital special edition which has a bunch of video and audio added to it, from early dailies to voiceover recordings of Alec Guinness telling Luke to use the Force, and giving me goosebumps in the process. If you are at al interested in Star Wars above t ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it
The book is exhaustive but a lot of it is quite boring unless you're into the minutae of film production finances. Every now and then there's a gem like at one point George was thinking of making Star Wars in Japanese, or with African-Americans in all the main roles or maybe little people. Then you're back to logistics. If you're totally obsessed with Star Wars or really into film production in general then this is great. If not, flick through the pictures and dip into the text when it looks int ...more
Patrick Lum
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely incredible book, a nearly day-by-day look at the development, filming and behind-the-scenes drama that proved the foundation stones for a cinematic classic. Not just a window into Star Wars, but a window into film production of the 70s, special effects, and studio culture, captured by contemporaneous interviews with many of the cast and crew intercut with the contextual information necessary to understand just how dramatic and revolutionary this seemingly simple children's fable wa ...more
Tim Milligan
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This is a very well-written, very detailed look at the making of Star Wars, from George Lucas saying "I want to make a Flash Gordon movie" to "I am retiring from directing and setting up a company to make the sequels." You should only read this book if you want to learn everything about how that movie was developed, written, rewritten, designed, filmed, edited, assembled, etc. But if that does interest you, definitely read this book. ...more
Aaron W. Roberts
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Giving this five stars for sheer quantity of info and pictures, however, for readability I'd give this four stars. It was a bit of a tough slog early (lots of lawyers doing lawyer stuff), but after about 100 pages it is quite riveting. Making films is such a massive collaborative undertaking and this book shines best in showing that process. ...more
Wesley Pesley
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really exceptional piece of work. Contains all the information a geek could want, as well as wonderful photos and interesting audio/video clips. I'm a massive fan of Star Wars, and now a fan of Rinzler as well. ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. Everything you would want from a "Making of" book. Lucas's accomplishment feels thrilling once more after hearing the first hand accounts collected during the actual filming of the movie or shortly thereafter. Highly recommended. ...more
Megan Kammeyer
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book, although there is apparently at least one deliberate inaccuracy in the book for an interview with Lucas, which Lucas apparently requested. This is disturbing for the novel, but it appears that everything else with the book is alright.
Wes Thompson
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing read. Required reading for anyone interested in the history of SW or moviemaking in general. I have a much better understanding and appreciation for George Lucas after finishing this book.
William Hyland
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
An amazingly comprehensive look at the making of the original film. Featuring great stuff from the cast, the crew and an extremely compelling portrait of George Lucas as a tenacious, totally insane visionary who makes his film happen through sheer force of will.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Definitely the definite edition! Must-read if you're a star wars fan like me. ...more
Trent Hutzenbuhler
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Officially the best Star Wars "making of" book. A must read! ...more
David  Despain
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Albert Chessa
The be-all-end-all source of information on Star Wars, the 1977 film. Excellent book.
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J. W. Rinzler has authored over 20 books including two New York Times bestsellers and a #1 best-selling graphic novel. With more than 600,000 copies in print, his books have been translated into seven languages.

J. W. Rinzler grew up in Manhattan, New York City, and then in Berkeley, California. He fell in love with old monster films, such as Dracula and Frankenstein, as well as Robin Hood and othe

Other books in the series

Star Wars: The Making of (3 books)
  • The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars:  The Making of, #2)
  • The Making of Return of the Jedi (Star Wars:  The Making of, #3)

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“I think Disney would have accepted this movie if Walt Disney were still alive. Walt Disney not only had vision, but he was also an extremely adventurous person. He wasn’t afraid.” 0 likes
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