While it might not be his first film, American Graffiti is the movie that opened the doors for Lucas—it’s a loving tribute to the era he loves most, and it’s just as technically impressive as anything else he’s done.
The final adventure for the whip-wielding professor (before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came around almost 20 years later), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is everything audiences love about its two creatives rolled into one.
Collaborating with longtime friend Steven Spielberg proved to be (mostly) a breeze for Lucas—Indiana Jones is practically as iconic as Star Wars, and Raiders remains one of the best adventure movies of all time.
THX 1138 is the movie that truly showed the planet just how one-of-a-kind Lucas is. It’s a marvel, truly, showing off all kinds of editing tricks and technical wizardry that the filmmaker would go on to be known best for.
Like Raiders and the Last Crusade, Willow is a collaboration between Lucas and a longtime friend. This time, instead of teaming with Spielberg, Lucas worked with Ron Howard to craft a memorable fantasy film.