THX-1138

3. THX-1138 (1971) Directed by George Lucas

Long before he invented a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas created a far more cold and creepy vision of the future. In Lucas’ feature debut Robert Duvall stars as the title character, an anonymous worker who ends up trying to break out of the oppressive world he lives in. For a first-time feature director, Lucas shows incredible vision and filmmaking skill. Everything in the movie has a unique look, yet it feels plausible. The film’s themes about technology remain relevant almost half a century later. And while the film doesn’t have the rewatchability of some of these other Lucasfilm movies, it’s pretty groundbreaking stuff.

Land Before Time

2. The Land Before Time (1988) Directed by Don Bluth

Any film that spawned twelve sequels has to be good. Such is the case with The Land Before Time, a touching and exciting kids movie about a young dinosaur who is forced to go on the run after his mother is killed. Sure, none of those 12 follow-ups went to theaters like this movie, but they’re great examples of the power and emotion present in this original movie. Though it sometimes gets overshadowed by the Disney classics that were released soon after, it’s as timeless a family film as those.

American Graffiti

1. American Graffiti (1973) Directed by George Lucas

Really, was there any doubt of what the best non-Star Wars or Indiana Jones Lucasfilm project would be? In fact, it’s not even close. This electric, slice of life teen film features an unbelievable cast, an even better soundtrack and remains one of a small number of films almost universally agreed upon to be the film of its generation. If you grew up in the Fifties and walked into a theater in 1973, you would have seen George Lucas capturing a version of your life. All the characters are so rich, the storylines are captivating and it hums along like a finely tuned engine.

Note: Lucasfilm released four more non-Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, but I’ve never seen them, so they were not considered in this list. They are More American Graffiti (1979), Twice Upon A Time (1983), Latino (1985) and Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (1985). Of the four, only Mishima has a positive score on Rotten Tomatoes.

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