Which Films And Series Really Influenced Star Wars?

Michael Heilemann made a visually annotated version of Star Wars -- and a much deeper text commentary -- attaching footage from other film material that he believes influenced George Lucas' space opera. Some of them are well documented, some may surprise you, and others feel too much like wishful thinking.

While some of the visual references are interesting, they seem more like an exercise of reverse engineering and guesswork than an actual catalogue of documented connections between the alleged sources of inspiration and the final film.

On top of that, it's missing Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. Heilemann says he did this on purpose because these comparisons are well know, but I believe that this decision defeats the entire point of his exercise. The Hidden Fortress and Flash Gordon are, according to Lucas himself, the two main visual and thematic references in Star Wars. And while Flash Gordon didn't have much visual influence -- it did set the underlying tone of Star Wars -- many scenes from The Hidden Fortress' were remade by Lucas, as documented by this side to side comparison.

That's why, although it isn't as visually attractive as Heilemann's cut, this series seems a lot deeper and much better argued: