Feature Films

Elstree 1976

Warm, revealing and sometimes melancholy reminiscences.
New Statesman


Jon Spira


2015, 90 mins, UK

Star Wars is a phenomenon that reshaped cinema forever, but it is a lesser known fact that it owes its enduring legacy to its very first days in humble Elstree Northern London. It is 1976 and George Lucas starts filming the cinematic canon here, but this documentary is not a simple making-of, it is a fascinating account that personally delves into ten on-screen extras lives.

These people, unaware how big Star Wars would become, appear briefly in a movie that defined a new era of the Hollywood Blockbuster. This documentary paints an intimate portrait of them and follows their altered lives after being involved with the second biggest franchise in film history, an enduring legacy they carry with them today.

From Darth Vader himself (David Prowse), to a performer who was cut from the finished film entirely, Elstree 1976 eschews all expectations of a documentary. It delivers a thoughtful, entertaining case about the effect a cultural behemoth can have on the lives of those even minutely involved.

Australian Premiere
    • BFI London Film Festival 2015