When this series was first broadcast on National Public Radio in 1981, it generated the largest response in the network's history: 50,000 letters and phone calls in a single week, an audience of 750,000 per episode, and a subsequent 40-percent jump in NPR listenership.
This landmark production, perhaps the most ambitious radio project ever attempted, began when Star Wars creator George Lucas donated the story rights to an NPR affiliate. Writer Brian Daley adapted the film's highly visual script to the special demands and unique possibilities of radio, creating a more richly textured tale with greater emphasis on character development. Director John Madden guided a splendid cast, including Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels, reprising their film roles as Luke Skywalker and the persnickety robot See Threepio, through an intense 10-day dialogue recording session. Then came months of painstaking work for virtuoso sound engineer Tom Voegeli, whose brilliant blending of the actors' voices, the music, and hundreds of sound effects takes this intergalactic adventure into a realm of imagination that is beyond the reach of cinema.
© and (P)1993, 1996 Lucasfilm Ltd.
I'm sure you know the story by heart if you are looking at this. What separates this collection of NPR radio dramas? The production is fantastic, even if only a couple of the actors are the 'real' ones in the film. The depth this adds to the familiar story is what makes this stand out. The first two episodes of the thirteen take place before the film opens. A lot of extra dialog and description too. Not only does Han shoot first, he is a very dark character only redeemed by his heroics at the end.
My only other comment is that I would rate it PG. The film has a few curse words, and this production adds a few. There are also sections that are fairly dark, such as Vader's interrogation of Leia. If you have a younger Star Wars fan I don't think I'd recommend this one.
The story in and of its self is well done. What isnt done well is the repetitive re-announcing and ending of where this was done. You could easily cut 35 min of this Star Wars dramatization by taking out the NPR announcements and chapter endings and Star Wars theme music at every start and end of every chapter...
Star Wars: the original radio drama will forever be one of my favorites. Yes, some of the voices take some getting used to,(Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels are the only original Star Wars cast members)but for a Star Wars fan who wants to be able to "watch" the movies anywhere, this is the next best thing. It also contains scenes not in the films. Now I can have it on my iPod, this is great.
Bought this for my kids to listen to (and being a Star Wars fan myself). It's great to hear the same story we all know and love, but so much more detail! It's the 2 hour movie told over 6 hours, so like any good book vs. movie comparison it can go into much more detail. The dramatization makes it that much more fun to listen to. The sound effects and background music are superb. Highly recommended.
Great way to read great books on the go. Love Sci Fi especially Orson Scott Card and Star Wars.
Excellent additions to the story. A great radio drama that captures the action and tickles the ears.
The additions to the story were intersting and helped make the story interesting, especially the race at the begining.
No I have not.
The moments with Obi Wan were just as powerful if not more so on the radio.
Great example of radio drama excellence.
Didn't even know this existed. Has Mark Hamill the original Luke Skywalker. Sound effects and music are really cool too. Wish they did this kind of stuff on the radio now a days.
A 50-something who loves sci-fi, cozy mysteries, thrillers, an occasional romance, and any genre if it is a good story. And especially if it makes me laugh! No vampires or zombies though - these are NOT sci-fi!
This is written and performed as a radio drama, and includes details of the story that can't be conveyed in a film. This is well done, and I found myself visualizing the original movie as I listened. The actors were great, though not all were the original actors in the film. Leia sounded different, but was still good, as were Han and Obi-wan. Whoever portrayed Darth Vader was not well chosen. Though I guess no one could sound as good as James Earl Jones!
I would listen to this recording again to share with friends and my young son. For the initiated, it provides a new take on the story as it was made popular by the George Lucas blockbuster motion picture. While true to the motion picture in sound effects, characters, and overall tone, the dramatized version provides additional dialogue and scenes that enhance the listener's understanding of the story. Listening to this recording is like experiencing a hybrid of the novelization and the film: you get more depth while still experiencing many of the aspects that made the film thrilling. For those -- like my son -- who are yet to experience the Star Wars motion pictures, this recording still creates vivid images in the minds' eye. It's a great radio serial that is broken into hour-long segments, so it can be taken in incrementally and makes for good listening on car trips.
There are numerous additional scenes and bits of dialogue that are not in the motion picture. Luke's interactions with his child-hood friends from Tatooine stand out to me.
Hamill and Daniels embody their characters with the even greater zeal than they do in the motion picture.
The depiction of Darth Vader interrogating/torturing Princess Leia is disturbing on many levels.
Note: Because of the intense violent scenes depicted in this dramatization, it may not be suitable for very young audiences. I think the absence of visual images causes the listener to internalize the story more within their own imagination. Recommended for listeners over ten-years old.
This is an amazing work. I can recall listening to this many years ago on tape, before I saw any of the Star Wars films.
In a way this production is a reconnection with the roots of the whole Star Wars saga, namely Flash Gordon and other science fiction radio and film serials. The production values are very high and the listener is not bombarded with too many incidental background effects. There is an emphasis on dialogue.
Radio is, after all "the theater of the mind's eye".
I saw the original movies as a kid and heard this as well. I didn't appreciate it when it aired originally but years later, I'm surprised how much I really enjoyed this.
It made me fall in love with this story all over again.
There is so much more to this story through this than the movies or books and my hat is off to the producers who really knew what they were doing. The later stories of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are also worthwhile.
Sure the actors aren't the same, but the story is so much more rich and satisfying, I really didn't care after about the third episode of this multipart series.
If you liked (or loved) Star Wars you owe it to yourself to rediscover this great story told in a fresh and remarkable way.
"An excellent adaptation"
The Star Wars Trilogy was a smash hit when originally distributed on film. Now, without the need for Cinema, TV or DVD Player this superb story comes to life through the old fashioned medium of audio. The Radio Trilogy is superb - It loses none of the excitement, drama, or even the subtle comedy elements in this format! A number of purely visual comedic elements from the films have been skilfully transposed, to great effect in this version.
With George Lucas' great original storyline, brilliantly re-written for radio by Brian Daley, a superb cast - including, amongst others the voice of the original Luke Skywalker in the form of Mark Hamil - and a fantastical array of super sound effects, The listener is very soon transported to George Lucas' 'Galaxy far, far, away'. . . .
. . . .And, once there, is just as quickly enjoying and indeed sharing the adventures of Luke Skywalker and friends as they fight Darth Vader, his Emperor Master and the Star troopers of an evil Empire!
This radio edition, because of its brilliant script really does manage to relate what is essentially a visual feast of a story in such a way that the listener is easily able to imagine the settings and characters so well described, and to thoroughly enjoy, and be completely blown away by this still epic space opera!
Whether you are a child or an adult: If your wish is to escape into a world of high octane adventure, drama and incredibly fast and furious action, I reccommend you look no further than this brilliantly scripted Radio Trilogy!
Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi are all stories I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to - several times over! In my humble opinion this audio version is every bit as enjoyable as the original movies were, and even now so long after the original radio broadcasts, I believe the audio book is able to enter and hold the imagination of the listener!
"The Film - Extended"
This is an outstanding dramatisation of the film, turning the original story into a 6-hour epic, full of new details and background that really adds to the story. If you're thinking of buying this, you've most likely seen the film - but if somehow you haven't, I would suggest that you need to see it in order to get the most out of this audio adventure. The sound design is fantastic, using musical scores and effects straight from the film. Mark Hamill reprises his role as Luke Skywalker and Anthony Daniels returns as C-3PO. Other lesser actors play the other characters, and while this takes some getting used to, after a while it seems perfectly natural. It would have been great to have the rest of the original cast (given that this was made originally in 1983), but several of the other actors are good sound-alikes.
My only criticism is that Darth Vader doesn't feature as prominently in this adaptation as he does in the film. Also, some scenes would be difficult to follow by sound alone unless a listener had already seen the movie and could visualize the action once more.
If you consider yourself a Star Wars expert, you'll enjoy the extra scenes of Luke Skywalker with his friends on Tatooine, the schemes of Grand Moff Tarkin as he plans to use the Death Star to seize power from the Emperor and many more besides. If you're a casual fan, you'll simply enjoy being whisked along by the breathtaking pace of an fine epic sci-fi romp that is entertaining to the last. Well worth your money; great value for an Audible credit.
"An undiscovered gem!"
If you're a great big kid like me (or have kids like me that you're happily reliving your childhood through) then this is FANTASTIC stuff. Love the way that the characters are given the chance to develop more than in the movie. If you love the original trilogy strap yourself in for an awesome ride!
Love it, and highly recommend it. Listened to the whole thing in a couple of days, and as soon as it was finished I bought Empire Strikes Back.
Yes, it is a radio adaptation, but do we really need three or four minutes of credits in each of the twenty minute chapters?
James Earl Jones nailed Darth Vader's voice in the films, unfortunately the voice in this adaptation has nothing like that feel (in fact, it reminds me vaguely of a Vogon from one of the Hitchhikers' guides)
"Excellent and Highly Recommended!"
This was one of our earlier purchases from audible when we first signed up over 2 years ago and since then this audio book has been listened to many times. I have no idea why its taken so long for us to review it!
Excellent story and very well done as an audio book as well. The narration is great and really adds to the story, you have different narrators for the characters and this really helps to make it an enjoyable listen. You get into the story and if you have seen the original star wars movie you'll even see yourself imagining the scenes as you listen.
This is such an enjoyable audiobook and one we listen to often and would highly recommend to all. We are now building up the other series on audio books and they are all just as enjoyable.
"A great addition to the Star Wars family"
This is a must for any Star Wars fan.
I remember hearing fragments of this a long time ago so I was delighted that it is available from Audible.
Though some of the voices are a little odd at first, you soon settle into the change and enjoy this great piece of audio theatre. It pacy, punch and thoroughly enjoyable. Some of the additional scenes which are not featured in the movie are brilliant and add an extra dimension to the well known narrative.
If you love Star Wars then you need to listen to this...
"star wars a new hope"
am a new member so the 1st book I went for is my all time fav star wars .I like the audible book because it has so much more story to hear you just get drag into the story .The best part of the story is the starting part as you get an insight in luke life on tatooine and how it will change for all time .You can put you head phones on and close your eyes and think your there with all luke ups and downs .so keep up the good work and I intend to get lots more books from your site and will tell all my friends
"Disappointed, as I wanted to like it."
I genuinely love Star Wars, the original movie, sometimes titled "a new hope", and was really pleased to see this audio book title for sale. I noticed that it was an audio book version of a radio serial, which had aired very successfully on NPR, which appeared to be a point in the audio book's favour. Unfortunately, it really, really, isn't. There is a quite lengthy introduction, both musically and as voice over to each episode, and having to hear each time that the radio adaptation was 'based upon stories, characters and situations created by George Lucas' quickly became irritating. Hearing a little plot synopsis at the start of each episode is fine for a radio serial, but again, as an audio book, it annoyed me.
Most surprising of all, the lovely music of John Williams is so overused that it feels like padding, between relatively short snatches of action. The incidental music at the same time as dialogue irritated me, as it distracted me from the dialogue.
In the interests of balance, I would add that the voice performances are fine, and it was nice to hear Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels reprise their roles, but the actor playing Han Solo just didn't sound quite right to my ears, he was a bit too 'american cowboy'.
I eventually got irritated enough with the audio book to skip to the end to hear the rebel alliance battle against the death star, which was hugely disappointing and anti climactic, perhaps because its just such a visual sequence, it was never going to translate well to audio.
In synopsis then, I am disappointed, perhaps because I expected too much that the audio presentation just couldn't deliver.
"A must for star wars fans!"
If you love star wars then you're sure to enjoy this. Yes, I agree with one of the earlier reviews that the opening credits are quite long but you soon forget about them once the adaptation begins. Listening to the familiar voices of Mark Hammil and Anthony Daniels really immerses you back into the world if star wars again. Not being restricted to screen, this really let's your imagination open up to the complete story.
Overall a highly recommended listen.
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