In many ways, Star Wars is like a futuristic western. The movie is classified as more of a science-fiction film but the series of events are much like those in a western. In particular, the plot of Star Wars greatly parallels that of the western movie The Searchers. Just as in a western, Star Wars has gunfights, a beautiful girl and a showdown.
Star Wars begins with a shoot out aboard a space ship. The fight is between the good army of people and the bad army called the Stormtroopers. This basically establishes the conflict which exists between the two groups much like the conflict portayed in westerns between the settlers and the Indians. The bad guys win and take the young princess prisoner.
A characteristic of the western is that in that part of the country most of the land is unsettled. Families are spread apart from one another. In The Searchers the viewer sees many shots of wide open spaces. In Star Wars we are shown the same type of flat, empty landscape. Early in the movie, Luke Skywalker, the main hero of the film, looks out at the land around his home. The viewer gets the feeling of being all alone and isolated for there are no other homes to be seen.
In The Searchers, Marty and Ethan’s family is killed. The girls are taken by the Indians. Marty and Ethan leave home in search of the girls. Just like in The Searchers, Luke leaves home for only a short while and returns to find his family murdered by the Stormtroopers. He decides to go away and aide in the fight against the Stormtroopers. He also wants to help find the princess. Luke is not alone in his travels. He goes along with an old man who acts almost as a mentor much like Ethan in The Searchers.
Always in westerns there are the saloons. Many times, valuable information and help can be found there. In Star Wars, Luke goes to a canteen which is much like a saloon. People and “things” hang out there. They talk and drink much like people do in saloons. At the canteen, Luke meets Han Solo. He is like John Wayne’s character in that he will shoot up anything he does not like or anything that gets in his way.
There are alot of gunfight scenes in Star Wars just like in The Searchers. The good guys win in the final showdown. The princess is rescued and they all return home.