The most important scene in Star Wars

The scene where Obi-Wan speaks to Luke after rescuing him where a lot of, not just ANH, but the entire saga is set up.

You have:
The Jedi knights and their history
The Force
Darth Vader

All of it is held together by Guinness’s marvelous voice which conveys warmth and nostalgia along with authority and wisdom. Also some good writing:

“This is the weapon of a Jedi knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age… For over a thousand generations
the Jedi knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic, before the dark times, before the Empire.”

A few short lines have set up the conflicts which define the entire Star Wars saga: light-sabers versus blasters, The Force versus technology, The Republic versus the Empire.

After that you get the iconic hologram which crisply sets up the story of ANH.

I think this is the scene where Star Wars becomes Star Wars.

Really Alec Guinness’s delivery of those lines were quite brilliant. Those lines, said by anyone with less talent, would have sounded ridiculous and absurd. Kudos to the casting team!

Absolutely. Whatever they paid him, he earned it in this one scene alone. A lesser actor would have been crushed by the introduction of so many themes so quickly.

Alec Guiness’ acting, Harrison Ford’s charm, and George Lucas’ practical effects are what made Star Wars a success. Take away any one of them and the movie fails.

Edited to add “practical effects” isn’t quite what I mean. His aesthetic in effects and sets is closer.

BTW a question: this crucial moment when Obi-Wan lies about Luke’s father. It looks as if Obi-Wan is not quite sure what to say but was Guinness aware of the Darth Vader plot twist at this point? Had it even been thought through by Lucas?

Lucas has claimed, and I think continues to claim, that it was, and that his name, Darth Vader, “Dark Father”, is a clue. However, early drafts of the script have surfaced in which Darth Vader is the name of a completely unrelated character. I think the critical consensus is that at that point, in 1977, Lucas did not have that twist planned, nor would Alec Guiness have had any inkling that the lines he was delivering weren’t literally true.

That is Guinness’ superb acting, not knowledge of future twists. Think about it: how do you tell a boy about the death of his father? It’s not something you blurt out. You pause and consider your options.

Interesting. I suppose what Guinness wanted to express in that moment was that it was a sensitive topic both for him and Luke. By a happy coincidence his expression works beautifully with the eventual twist also

Wouldn’t that depend on your point of view?

And the music. I claim that the ridiculous award ceremony would be laughingly bad were it not for the triumphant score.

You are right. John Williams’ score is essential. The way his musical themes capture the story themes are essential.

Yeah, I don’t believe that for a second. I think its clear that “Vader” was just a play off of “invader”, along with Darth Sidious(insidious), Darth Maul(maul), Darth Tyranus(tyrant), etc. I mean, the guy named a character “Porkins”, for crying out loud. Subtle character hints aren’t exactly his thing.

A nice scene in that video. It does seem a bit odd that Obi-Wan just hands him the light saber without any warning like, “Oh - by the way - anything the beam touches is obliterated”.

If you freeze frame that shot, you can see that the attenuator of the lightsaber is set on ‘blind, instantly’. As long as Luke didn’t look into the lightsaber while it was activated, he’d be fine.
The ‘food warmer’ setting is even safer.

How about the Shoo Out the Clowns moment when Threepio switches himself off just before this talk?

In the Cracked magazine parody, Luke slices the table, a cup and saucer.

I think its hilarious how they managed to remove the hookah from that scene.

Wasn’t there a Robot Chicken about that, too? “You’re not wearing training armor because that thing would just go through it like a hot knife through butter, anyway”, or some such.

That scene also establishes the Clone Wars since Luke mentions them.

I also really like how the sound of the lightsaber closing punctuates the word “Empire”. There is a similar effect earlier when Vader says “Leave that to me” and a door slams shut.

Re: Vader being Luke’s father. Even when it was revealed in Empire I remember half the audience didn’t believe it. There were many debates as to whether or not Vader was lying and it was split fifty fifty pretty much. The fact that RotJ would reveal the truth was a big deal at the time.

I hadn’t noticed that. Sound design is an important and underappreciated reason for the success of Star Wars. There are probably no other films whose sounds have become such an integral part of popular culture. The lightsaber, R2D2’s beeps, Darth Vader’s breathing.