Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, originally simply titled Star Wars is the 1977 film that started the Star Wars franchise. Despite being the first film to be produced, it is the fourth episode of the Star Wars saga, excluding spin-offs.
Although widely dismissed by the studios of the time, it went on to smash box office records and became a global phenomenon that funded it's sequels and spawned an entire expanded universe. It is now regarded as one of the most important movies of all time, due to the huge advancements in special visual effects and editing that were made during production, some of which involved new technologies that had to be invented to create the film.
Since release it has been edited and reissued several times, including a Special Edition in 1997 which was issued for the film's 20th anniversary.