Star Wars Influenced by Dam Busters

(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films that inspired George Lucas’ iconic universe. In this edition: the British World War II drama The Dam Busters)

When George Lucas set out to make the original Star Wars film, there were things he wanted to do on film with special effects that had never really been done before. At least not on the level Lucas needed to make Star Wars sing. So where did he turn for inspiration? World War II movies.

Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz once explained, “Before the storyboards were done, we recorded on videotape any war movie including aircraft that came up on television, so we had this massive library of parts of old war movies – The Dam BustersTora! Tora! Tora!The Battle of BritainJet PilotThe Bridges of Toko-Ri633 Squadron and about forty-five other movies. We went through them all and picked out scenes to transfer to film to use as guidelines in the battle.”

One film that has much more prominence than others is The Dam Busters. It’s a 1955 British film directed by Michael Anderson. It’s the real-life story of an Royal Air Force (RAF) raid to destroy three dams deep in German territory during World War II. Where many of the other films might have only had shots lifted for use in the pre-visualization process, The Dam Busters offered a lot more to George Lucas than that. Read More »