Hollywood Movies

George Lucas Celebrates Star Wars’ 47th Anniversary In Touching Award Speech

May 27, 20244 Mins Read


  • George Lucas received the Honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes, showing appreciation for mentor Francis Ford Coppola.
  • Lucas redefined Hollywood films with his approach focusing on self-expression, even through fan conflict.
  • Despite retirement, Lucas’ legacy lives on as modern Star Wars movies continue without him.

George Lucas received the Honorary Palme d’Or on Saturday, May 25, on the 47th anniversary of Star Wars. This year will be a memorable one for George Lucas, who headed to Cannes to receive the Honrary Palme d’Or (and delight the internet with a speech and a series of public statements). Lucas was visibly thrilled, especially when his friend Francis Ford Coppola showed up to present the award.

Lucas’ response was truly touching:

“What an honor it is for Francis to appear out of nowhere. I didn’t expect this. He’s a great friend, and a big brother, and a mentor, and I thank him for everything he’s ever done for me. I’d like to thank the Cannes Film Festival, which [Walter Murch,] my co-writer, sound editor, great pal, who came to the Cannes Film Festival… My first professional movie [
THX 1138
] was shown here 52 years ago, in the first director series. It was pouring rain, and it was one of the greatest moments of our life. We had to sneak into the movie because Warner Bros. wouldn’t have much to do with us. This is a great circle moment.

I can’t thank all of you enough. I’m just a kid who grew up in a vineyard in Modesto, California, who makes movies in San Francisco with my friend Francis. So we spent our entire careers in parallel, and in San Francisco in particular. In fact, I’ve never made a Hollywood film as a director. So it’s a real honor to be here. I can tell you that. Thank you so much.”

There’s a great deal of irony in the fact that, in Lucas’ view, he “never made a Hollywood film as a director.” While this may be true from a certain point of view, in reality Lucas redefined what Hollywood films looked like in the first place.


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It’s Impossible To Overstate George Lucas’ Influence

George Lucas is best known for Star Wars, of course, but his influence extends beyond that; although American Graffiti wasn’t an immediate Hollywood hit, his collaboration with Coppola was the first movie to focus on youth culture, and it laid the foundation for the coming-of-age high school genre. This was the launchpad for Lucas’ career, which of course went to galactic heights with Star Wars.

There’s a key difference between Lucas’ approach as a filmmaker and the traditional Hollywood tentpole movie; Lucas principally makes films for himself, as a form of self-expression. This often led to conflict between Lucas and the fandom, who resented the changes he made to the Star Wars Special Editions and were frustrated by many of his prequel trilogy choices. While Lucas didn’t ignore the public reception – he dropped more midi-chlorian plots from the prequels – he wasn’t driven by it, and believed his movies would come to be loved. After all, Lucas made Star Wars for kids, and kids grow up.

Lucas always had a tremendous amount of faith in his own creative vision. In a recent interview, Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best recalled Lucas’ advice in the face of a backlash against his character 25 years ago; Lucas told him to relax, and that in 30 years’ time the controversy would be forgotten because that generation of viewers would have come of age. George Lucas was right, and the prequels have become loved with time.

As beautiful as Lucas’ comments may be, it’s hard not to read them with a pang of sorrow. He retired in 2012, selling Lucasfilm to Disney, and modern Star Wars movies have become the very definition of a Hollywood tentpole. Star Wars may be George Lucas‘ legacy, but it is no longer his baby, and it is the worse for this.

Source: Lemagcinema

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