May 25, 1977. George Lucas’ Star Wars opens in American cinemas, marking a landmark moment in film history. Made with a budget of $11 million, the film has since gone on to generate more than $775 million across the world. It also spawned two sequels and three prequels (for a total of $4.5 billion at the box office) as well as a mountain of merchandising worth more than $13 billion, according to Forbes. The original film (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) was remarkable for its sci-fi fantasy narrative, ground-breaking special effects and what the American Film Institute regards as the most memorable musical score of all time (composed by John Williams). The Star Wars saga has also left a spiritual legacy; Jediism, a religious movement inspired by the Jedi characters in the films, has followers in Jedi churches in countries worldwide.
Also on May 25: Oscar Wilde is sentenced to two years hard labour for “gross indecency with other male persons” (1895); American athlete Jesse Owens breaks three world records in less than an hour (1935); US president John F. Kennedy announces to Congress his plans to put Man on the Moon (1961); Erik Weihenmayer becomes the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest (2001).
*Born on May 25:*Igor Sikorsky (1889), Robert Ludlum (1927), Ian McKellen (1939), Lauryn Hill (1975), Jonny Wilkinson (1979).