Lucas: King of Film


Whether it be through his epic Star Wars saga, or through the exalted
special effects crew he pioneered, Industrial Light and Magic, he continues to
amaze audiences world wide. His name in synonymous with famous
directors/producers in the world. His impacts reach out in more fields than
just film. He has created companies that produce award winning video games, toy
companies produce action figures designed after characters from his movies, many
books by many authors based on his original film stories, and countless other
wings of Lucas\' reign exist in today\'s world. Since his youth, George Lucas has
experienced many influences, which in turn push him to make the greatest
contributions to the film industry which leave an ever increasing impact on film
today and the world.
Throughout history, it is apparent that those who are recognized as
"great ones" were influenced in some way or another to become the leader who
they are. In George Lucas\' case, he was greatly influenced in his late teens
and early twenties. Lucas claims to have chased girls and raced cars throughout
high school, and barely made it through (Moritz 258). Soon after high school,
Lucas attended Modesto Junior College in California and continued to work on
cars as his main interest (Moritz 258). In Smith, Lucas is quoted saying, "I
was a hell-raiser; lived, ate, breathed cars! That was everything for me"(84).
Lucas even worked on pit crews for race cars when he met Haskell Wexler, who
introduced him to film (Moritz 258). Eventually Lucas realized his new passion
was film. Mr. Wexler helped Lucas gain admission into the University of
Southern California\'s film department (Moritz 260). In college Lucas was
the head of his film classes winning many awards and accolades. His first
feature movie in college was titled THX-1138 and won his university\'s award for
best film (Moritz 259).
Lucas is also inspired by his circle of friends and fellow directors,
producers, and collaborations with them. With the success of THX-1138 at the
university, Lucas was awarded the chance to be an observer on the set of
Finian\'s Rainbow directed by University of Southern California alumnus Francis
Ford Coppola (Champlin 7). Soon the two began to chat, and then became friends,
so Coppola let Lucas work for him on the movie. With his hard work, Lucas
earned the respect of Coppola who in turn did Lucas the favor of convincing
producers to let Lucas direct a major motion picture (Moritz 7). Lucas\' first
major motion picture was American Graffiti, with this film Coppola had given
Lucas the chance to make a foothold in the film industry, and he certainly did.
Also, Lucas is supported by friends Steven Spielberg, John Milius, Martin
Scorcese, and Ivan Reitman (Moritz 260). The group often collaborate on
projects and get advice from each other on filmmaking (Moritz 258). Steven
Spielberg is quoted in Champlin\'s book saying:

Lucasfilm touches our lives from many different directions, descending
upon our eyes, our ears, and our children. George has never stopped
asking, "Any Ideas?" and the whole world has been a better place for it.(7)
On the other hand, George Lucas is best identified with the fantastic
list of movies he has had a part in, whether it be a big part, or an even bigger
one, Lucas has a great deal of influence on movies listing his name in the
credits. It is for sure that at one time or another, everyone has heard of
Star Wars, the first part of a three movie trilogy, for which he is best known
for the conception and production of. Since it\'s release in 1977, Star Wars has
grossed over four billion dollars in sales, making it the most money making
movie ever (Lane and Samuelson 126). Lucas also produced all three of the
Indiana Jones movies; Temple of Doom, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Last
Crusade, which were directed by Steven Spielberg (Smith 83). Currently,
Lucas has re-released his epic Star Wars saga, and titled it Star Wars: special
edition, which has blown away viewers.
Perhaps his most important contribution to film is his beginning of, and
ownership of the special effects crew ILM, standing for Industrial Light and
Magic. Over the years, ILM has won ten Academy Awards, two emmys, and six
British Academy Awards (Wolkomir 112). Without the techniques still used today,
pioneered by ILM, movie making today might still be stuck in a "Godzilla" like
special defects world. Randall praises ILM in his article saying, "Indeed
almost every digital effects company has had executives that learned the trade
at Lucas\' Industrial Light and