It was on May 25, 1977, that “Star Wars” premiered and changed the world. Oh sure, you might have heard that it revolutionized special effects, ushered in the era of the modern blockbuster or any of a million things that are probably true but still downplay the film’s massive impact. “Star Wars” changed the world by ultimately changing the way that we perceived it. It changed us.
In honor of the landmark film’s 30th anniversary, then, we present the 30 most important things we learned from watching it.
30. Wretched hives of scum and villainy always have the best music.
It’s no coincidence that the bar at Mos Eisley has the most kick-ass band this side of Naboo. Dives always have the best live music — directly proportional to how many felons they’re serving at any given time.
29. Before making out with someone, make absolutely sure they aren’t your sister.
This one goes without saying, but it’s especially important for those who suspect they may have been adopted.
28. “Don’t tell me the odds!”
According to C-3PO, the odds against successfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1. Buckle up and take some chances.
27. “These are not the droids we are looking for.”
Searching is futile when you don’t know what you’re looking for.
26. Fear and anger always lead to the dark side.
Even if you’re facing certain death at the hands of a playful sadist (who just happens to be threatening your sister), releasing your anger will only please him more. Relax — victory can only be achieved through calmness.
25. “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Any task worth doing is worth doing right.
24. “At this moment, the Internet is completely empty.”
Not strictly from “Star Wars,” but said by the guy behind me in the movie theater as the opening title for “The Phantom Menace” crawled across the screen. It remains the truest statement I have ever heard.
23. All things are true … from a particular point of view.
This is what Obi-Wan tells Luke when asked why he didn’t reveal the truth about Darth Vader. But truth is a delicate and malleable thing: Is Luke Skywalker a freedom fighter or a terrorist? I guess it depends on what side of the Death Star you happen to be on when he blows it up.
22. If your girlfriend tells you she loves you, it’s totally badass to reply, “I know.”
She will love you more.
21. Always let the Wookiee win.
Why? Because Wookiees pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose. Knowing your opponent is integral to defeating him, and conceding a small battle doesn’t mean you forfeit the war.
20. Everybody means something to somebody.
Remember that scene at the beginning of “Return of the Jedi” when the Rancor dies and a guard comes in bawling after him? Even the most twisted, deformed and evil beings can be loved for who they are. Everybody is somebody’s child.
19. Don’t ever apologize to your boss.
Especially if you did something really dumb, like jump out of hyperspace close enough to be detected from the ice planet Hoth. It will only get the goofball next to you promoted while you are Force-choked to death.
18. People who smoke need to “rethink” their life.
Obi-Wan’s moralizing encounter with an alien shilling death sticks in “Attack of the Clones” is a bit schoolmarmish but nevertheless true. It shouldn’t take a Jedi to tell those things are bad for you.
17. Crime doesn’t pay.
Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, Sebulba, Greedo — the bad guys in “Star Wars” always get what’s coming to them, even if it takes a while. The reverse of this, however, is not true. While crime doesn’t pay, not paying for your past crimes does pay. Just ask Han Solo.
16. Don’t trust a liar to save your girlfriend from prophesied doom.
15. Never desert your friends.
The best we can hope for in our journeys across the galaxy are good, honest companions. They stick by you through thick and thin and won’t judge you based on your crazy family. So next time you’re debating leaving Jedi training to rescue your friends from Cloud City, remember who it was that shot down Darth Vader during the Death Star attack. You owe them.
14. Girls are really good shots.
If you must fight a tyrannical empire capable of sending endless waves of Storm Troopers, bring along a few girls. They never miss.
13. “Size matters not.”
This is a cooler, more complicated way of saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
12. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”
People can become heroes in life, but only in death can they become legends.
11. Dictatorships run much more smoothly than democracies.
At the beginning of “Phantom Menace,” the Republic is a shabbily run confederacy that can’t even protect a sovereign planet from being gobbled up by warring trade unions. That’s why Queen Padmé calls for a vote of no confidence. By “Revenge of the Sith,” it takes Darth Vader roughly 10 minutes to end the threat. If you can stand a little repression, nothing beats an empire when it comes to efficiency.
10. Everything smells better from the outside.
Some mysteries are better left unsolved. Slicing through a Tauntaun is like breaking a trash compactor to see how it works: The only thing you’re going to discover are some really bad smells.
9. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, someone is going to have a bad feeling about it.
Go ahead, say it aloud: Admitting your fears is the first step toward overcoming them.
8. If you want the job done, it’s sometimes necessary to call in bounty hunters.
Even the most powerful Sith lord can’t be everywhere at once, which is why to get what you want you sometimes have to associate with less-than-reputable fellows. There’s little shame in finding the most capable aides. And none at all in admitting you need help.
7. Sand people always walk in single file to hide their numbers.
If something’s bothering you, chances are it goes deeper than what appears to be the immediate cause. Look closer. Troubles come not as single spies but as battalions.
6. Life is better the first time around.
Often imitated, never duplicated. The original is always the best.
5. Even if you’re the galaxy’s most powerful army, never underestimate guerrillas defending their home turf.
Not even laser canons and AT-ATs can defeat stone throwers like the Ewoks at home. Regardless of your ideological persuasion, feel free to make your own contemporary political joke here.
4. “It’s a trap!”
Rest assured, the battle station you’re attacking is fully operational. Don’t assume your enemies are idiots, no matter how many Bothans died to bring you the information.
3. No matter how many people you kill or how many galaxies you destroy, one good deed can make up for everything.
Anakin Skywalker gets to go to Force heaven, or whatever the heck it’s called when he’s palling around with Obi-Wan and Yoda at the end of “Jedi.” And this is after killing roughly 8 billion people (give or take the population of Alderan). Can we be forgiven for our crimes? Can we forgive ourselves? A lot depends on whether or not you believe the next statement.
2. The worst enemies you’ll face are those you bring with you.
When Luke enters the forbidden tree cave on Dagobah, Yoda tells him that all he will face is what he fears inside. Evil doesn’t come from some external trickster — it is a reflection of our own foul natures …
1. Use the Force.
… but the tools to our salvation lie within us as well. Discovering how to channel these forces is what makes our journey. Let it go. The greatest lesson “Star Wars” teaches us is that the hero is within.
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