The Story Behind this Site
In mid to late 1999
Nerf-Herders Anonymous started out as a catch-all of Star Wars information at fan.starwars.com. It housed little bits of info on many Star Wars subjects, too many to be unique. In 2000 I utilized Thargola's Sword and sliced the excess. I filled two niches missing, or poorly organized, elsewhere on the net: Star Wars references (I originally thought this section would be full but not bulging and overflowing as it is presently) and a Star Wars actors database (I wanted to show fellow fans that each one of the people who worked on the films, TV shows, radio shows and the games had a life beyond the saga, I was hoping to broaden some horizons). By late fall of 2001 Lucasfilm sent out letters about having to cut off the free space they were hosting for fans, see it HERE.
A little disappointment followed the announcement and I was on the fence for a short while deciding what to do. I opted to start again using the info I'd started to collect as my base. The site was going to be better and more thorough, even if I had no time to do it.
Up until May of 2002, life went as I predicted, busy. Life, work, more work and other projects. I did not have time to transfer my site from fan.starwars.com to one of Lucasfilm's suggested host sites.
Then...May of 2002, the week after returning from CII in Indianapolis, I learned that I was with child AND that I had a tumor. I was classified with an extremely high-risk pregnancy, to save my child's life I had to remain in bed and not move.
Subsequently, not able to work or move, I was forced to bide my time with books, radio, TV and movies. I gathered reference after reference and piles of actor information, until I could no longer function without being monitored and was admitted to the hospital. Nearly a month later my son arrived (six weeks early and a grueling two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for him.) My son came through with flying colors but I had a long road of recovery (my muscles had atrophied, I was very weak, and I still had the tumor) More gathering took place.
Several months passed, the new year came and went and I gained back most of my strength. I was able to take care of my son and my life without help. I got the domain name, pulled the info together and got an incredible head start on this massive project ...then... another surgery loomed (the tumor had to be removed, all 15 lbs of it - a record here in the Valley) and another period of recovery. Even more gathering.
As I recovered the site began to take shape. Becoming what is now the largest source of Star Wars references and the only Star Wars Actors Database in the world. It was God, family and this project that got me through the long months of 2002 and I am thankful for the relief it allowed me. Keeping my thoughts off the possibility of losing the most precious thing in the universe to me and my family, off the pain, sickness and exhaustion and off what was ahead...the unknown. In the end it all turned out splendidly...my son, my health, resuming my life...and this site.
Nerf-Herders Anonymous would not have existed without the unusual circumstances from 2002 - 2004.
I'm pleased to present and share Nerf-Herders Anonymous with you, my fellow Star Wars fans. It's been fun, I've met great people along the way, have had an incredible outpouring of praise, support and contribution from all parts of the world.
Thank you all for your support and help!
From childhood onward, George Lucas was inspired and influenced by many sources: books, comic books, film, history, legends and myths, TV and yes, even the family dog.
Concentrating on influences or references utilized in films based solely on the Star Wars saga doesn't paint a whole reference picture. Some people may be surprised that Lucas borrowed so many elements from the past. But, anyone who watches films or reads books, all genres and generations, realizes that there is nothing new in the world. We repeat and repackage themes over and over again. I, for one, am thankful there are people on the planet, like Lucas, who pay homage to ideas, story concepts and visual elements from admired, legendary, and not so legendary foundations.
I created Reverse References to catalog Lucas's (and to some extent his artist's) referential elements. Old becoming new through interpretation and presentation. Some of the influences listed are purely speculative, as there are so many books, films, etc., (especially in the science fiction and fantasy realms) that play on basic mythical archetypes, some from previous Lucas endeavors, and some entirely coincidental but the rest are truly borrowed references. Aside from this brief exposition the cataloging will be shown quite casually with a sort of this-equals-that presentation.
My hope is that this list will encourage you to reach further into the past (other than the latest blockbuster), discover and enjoy these and other works as Lucas did...maybe they will enkindle your creativity!
Thank you! ENJOY!
(thanks to John at Obroa-Skai for inadvertently titling this page!)
If you would like to add the missing bits (I've not had the time to do this), then, please, send an email along with the information.
Chronologically Listed - Earliest to Latest
Star Wars (1977):
Metropolis (1927) - (Dir: Fritz Lang based on a story conceived by his wife Thea von Harbou) C-3P0/ Der Maschinen-Mensch (Maria). Obviously C-3PO is the male version. Metropolis/ANH Comparison Photos
Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) (1934) - (Dir: Leni Riefenstahl) I saw this film in one of my film classes, while I wasn't tremendously enamored in any way, shape or form with the film's content I did find that Riefenstahl was an artist in presentation. I was genuinely surprised when I saw the great hall scene/ The last scene in A New Hope (the medal/awards scene in the great hall), the Rebel Forces, right down to the black boots, lined up just so, turning on heel to face the three heroes as they walk through the throne room after destroying the Death Star. The composition (the pillars of light) and mood of the sequence is transplanted directly from Triumph. There's also that obvious Empire/Third Reich touch too.
Aleksandr Nevsky (1938 Russia) - (Dir: Sergei Eisenstein based on the Russian saint, Prince Nevsky's life) Prince Nevsky and his men wear tunics that look as if they inspired Luke Skywalker's clothes in Star Wars. Prince Nevsky leads his people against the oppressive Teutonic Knights/Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia lead their people against the oppressive Empire/Stormtroopers. The knights' dress (white and black), armor and helmet as well as some of the regular soldiers are a likely inspiration for Star Wars' Stormtroopers.
Note: Observation...The English subtitles, done in the early 80s, resemble that of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back)
Gone With the Wind (1939) - (Dir: Victor Fleming, George Kucor and Sam Wood based on Margaret Mitchell's 1936 Pulitzer (1937) Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind) Some people compare Rhett Butler with Han Solo. Both are blockade runners who are manly with a sensitive side (tend to work only for themselves until it gets right down to it then they pitch in), both classic anti-hero material.
SCARLETT: "...But you are a blockade runner!" RHETT: "For profit, and profit only." SCARLETT: "Are you tryin' to tell me you don't believe in the cause?" RHETT: "I believe in Rhett Butler. he's the only cause I know." From Star Wars: HAN: "look, i ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, princess. i expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money!" LEIA: "You needn't worry about your reward. if money is all that you love, then that's what you'll receive."
Phantom Creeps, The (1939) - (Dir: Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind - 12 part serial) The opening crawl might have been taken from this serial, the second episode carried the crawl, but not the first (the first didn't have a Foreword and, incidentally, was named "The Menacing Power").
Wizard of Oz, The (1939) - (Dir: Victor Fleming from L Frank Baum's 1900 book The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz) I had taken my parents (convinced them actually) to see Star Wars when I was twelve, after the film we sat down at Sambo's restaurant and discussed the film. My mother first said it was a western (I had seen a few of these, but they weren't really my thing, so I didn't see it at first).  We could easily see influences from the Wizard of Oz, especially the C3P0 being similar to the Tin Man (though we know the visual influence was from Metropolis) the Tin Man made noise when he moved as did C-3PO  Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow disguising themselves as the Witches guards and Luke and Han disguising themselves as Stormtroopers  The wicked witch disappearing and Obi-Wan disappearing  The Emperor's hologram and the Wizards image are very similar  Munchkins and Jawas  Obi-Wan disables the tractor beam (really the look of that scene) compares to a scene at the Witches castle, both have an area surrounding them with a seemingly endless pit or chasm.  Before Dorothy sings "Over the Rainbow" she has a small paragraph leading up to the song itself: It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train, It's far, far away, behind the moon, beyond the rain.(see other Oz influences in ESB and ROTJ below)
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (Purple Death from Outer Space) (1940) - (Dir: Ford Beebe & Ray Taylor from Alex Raymond comic strip - 12 part serial) The opening crawl and the soft wipes connecting the scenes. Note that the crawl was used before the Flash Gordon Serials.
Flash Gordon/ANH Comparison Photos (Under A New Hope: Flash Gordon)
Casablanca (1942) - (Dir: Michael Curtiz based on Murray Bennett's and Joan Allison's 1940 original unpublished play Everyone Comes to Rick's) Major Heinrich Strasser was originally supposed to be shot in cold blood by Rick (Bogart) but, Bogart claimed that this made Rick no better than a murderer. He suggested that Strasser go for his gun first, which Veidt (who plays Strasser) pointed out would be more consistent with the Strasser character. The scene was filmed so Strasser went for his gun first. Interesting to think that the whole Greedo/Han scene has gone back and forth and Lucas finally decided Greedo would shoot first and Han shooting next...Lucas pointed out that he didn't want Han to be a murderer. Han Solo's a Rick-type character, Ford seemed to channel Rick (not Bogart) as Han Solo a little shady with a heart of gold.
Sabotage Agent (Adventures of Tartu) (1943) - (Dir: Harold S. Bucquet) One man's mission to infiltrate the Nazi gas plant, get the secret plans and destroy the plant...with help of Czech allies. One man's mission to infiltrate the Death Star (based on weaknesses found in secret plans), and destroy the Death Star...with help of the rebel alliance.
Twelve O'clock High (1949) - (Dir: Henry King from Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr's 1948 novel Twelve O'clock High) Some lines in ANH are quite similar to those in this film. "The guns, they've stopped", "Watch for enemy fighters"
Dam Busters, The (1954) - (Dir: Michael Anderson Sr.) Dam Busters, impossible task (destroying the German base)...until a British scientist devises an ingenious plan to knock out the industrial base. Star Wars, impossible task (destroying the Empire's Death Star)...until plans stolen from the base itself are ingeniously used to find the Death Star's weakness and...you know what happens.
Forbidden Planet (1956) - (Dir: Fred M. Wilcox based on Shakespeare's The Tempest) The most obvious visual element taken from Forbidden Planet is that of Morbius' creating a hologram of his daughter, the angle of the shot is nearly mirrored in A New Hope when R2 projects the hologram of Princess Leia for the first time in front of Luke.
Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai) (1954 Japan) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Peasant turned Samurai/ Farm boy turned Jedi. The editing and pace of Star Wars is similar to that of Seven Samurai.
Searchers, The (1956) - (Dir: John Ford from Alan LeMay's 1954 novel The Searchers) Ben and Luke come across the slaughtered Jawas at the Sandcrawler. Luke thinks that Sand People were responsible but Ben says that it was Imperial Stormtroopers that killed the Jawas, Luke figures out that if they killed the Jawas they'd be heading for the moisture farm and rushes back to his home. He pulls up to the Lars' homestead, there is a close-up of his face, horror...his home, burned out in the distance and as Luke walks closer and calls out to his aunt and uncle he discovers the unimaginable, both aunt and uncle dead, burned to death.
 In The Searchers, the characters Ethan (Wayne) and Marty, search for the cattle that had been stolen by a group of Comanche Indians (from his brother Aaron's homestead), when he comes upon them they are slaughtered (not for food), he realizes that the Comanche have stolen the cattle to lure the men away from the farms, a trick. Ethan rushes back to the homestead to help defend against the attack. Ethan comes across his brother's homestead. Ford shows a close-up of Ethan's face, he's seeing the burned-out homestead. He calls out to Martha (his brother's wife - an unrequited love), as he gets closer he sees Martha (her blue dress really)...the shot frames him around the deadly setting and the burned-out home as he mulls over what tortures befell them.  The Searchers may have had another influence on Lucas. The existential conflict. Luke and Ethan's conflicts differ considerably though, Luke's loss/death of innocence and Ethan's obsessive quest are certainly not in the same vein...though Ethan's conflict is more solidly equaled to Anakin Skywalker's in Attack of the Clones. Note: Drums Along the Mohawk had played the scene of the burning homestead first.
7th Voyage of Sinbad, The (1958) (Dir: Nathan Juran)  Stop Motion Animation (by the king Ray Harryhausen) the way of things before CGI, a truly incredible feat of labor (a labor of love). The Holochess game on board the Millennium Falcon is one of the last of it's kind to be seen in films...except for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  There's also a scene where Sinbad (Matthews) and Princess Parisa (Grant) swing across a crumbled bridge inside a cave near Sokurah (Thatcher) the Magician's castle, the angle and the swing itself look very much like that of Luke and Leia's swing across the cavernous insides of the Death Star.
Notes: Lucas and Muren made additional commentaries on The Harryhausen Chronicles, which is included in the 7th Voyage of Sinbad's DVD extras. Although Harryhausen's Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (Dir: Sam Wanamaker) and Star Wars came out in the same year, no connection really, I just had to show a comparison of two photos, one from each film:
Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress) (1958) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)  The line "...to find the Rebel's Hidden Fortress..." as Motti then gets choked is just a verbal tidbit.  The most similarity resides in the pairing of R2D2 and C3P0 based on the bickering peasants Tahei (Chiaki) and Matakishi (Fujiwara) who escort a Princess across enemy territory.  The Princess herself, Yukihime (Uehara) uses a handmaiden to travel unnoticed (this was used in Attack of the Clones) The beginning scenes parallel each other by introducing these characters, getting their take on the whole scene...C-3PO and R2 are paid no mind as a battle rages around them and Tahei and Matakishi also find themselves caught in the middle of a battle with no attention focused on them, they make quips and remarks about how their doomed and seem to lament all that is happening to them.  In the Hidden Fortress it's Tahei and Matakishi who are lured by the princess' wealth to help her obtain her goal, in Star Wars it's Han Solo.  Both films share the trusted general of the Princess (General Makabe = Obi-Wan Kenobi).
Notes: In an interview with George Lucas on the Hidden Fortress DVD bonus features, Lucas tells us that he liked that The Hidden Fortress was told from the point of view of the two lowliest characters, Tahei and Matakishi, and thought that would be a good way to tell the story of Star Wars, the viewpoint of C-3PO and R2D2.
First Spaceship on Venus (1959) - (Dir: Kurt Maetzig) Eugene (contributor) tells us that  there there is a striking similarity between the famous Star Wars title screen, right down to the text disappearing into the stars in exactly the same way.  the robot, Omega, in this film is compared to R2D2 and that (Thanks to Eugene for this reverse reference!) Note: The MST3K guys did an episode of this film and a bit over half way through the film the crew is in their flight suits (not the outer space suits) and one of the MST3K guys says, "Good thing we have these Ewok suits to make us happy"
Uchu daisenso (Battle in Outer Space Japan) (1959 Japan) - (Dir: Ishirô Honda) A New Hope's final battle scenes closely resemble that of this Japanese, effects-laden, space battle epic.
Yusei oji (The Star Prince or Prince of Space) (1959 Japan) - (Dir: Eijirô Wakabayashi) While the Phantom from Krankor looks like a bit like a human/chicken hybrid (see pic below) I am guessing that the planet Krankor was used somewhere in Star Wars, anyone know for sure? Notes: The initial shot of Krankor reminds me of the Paramount mountain. :p The shots below are from the MST3K episode featuring Prince of Space. Rifftrax did an ep of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and mentioned a riff they used for Prince of Space. o.O "Ooohh!” “Macken!”
Yojimbo (The Bodyguard) (1961 Japan) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa from the Dashiel Hammett novel Red Harvest)  Several men brag about how they are wanted by the authorities and bothering Sanjuro (Mifune). In Star Wars: A New Hope's Mos Eisley Cantina Dr Evazan and his buddy brag about how they are wanted men and want to get Luke.  Sword and a cut off arm in both films, the ruffian in Yojimbo is disfigured.  The line: "25 ryo now, 25 when you complete the mission." "Two thousand now, plus fifteen when we reach Alderaan".  It also seems entirely possible that Yoda could have derived from the character Gonji - the tavern keeper (Tono), a little old man who sticks with Sanjuro, a wandering samurai. Notes: Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett ESB/RotJ) once said that he based the character of Boba Fett on Clint Eastwood's character, Joe (wandering gunslinger), in A Fist Full of Dollars, which was an Italian (Leone) remake of Yojimbo and Red Harvest, of course)
21-87 (1964) - (Dir: Arthur Lipsett) Han Solo's line in the Detention area: "We've got to find out which cell this Princess of yours is in. Here it is...2187." A nod to one of Lucas' favorite obscure films.
633 Squadron (1964 UK) - (Dir: Walter Grauman from Frederick Escreet Smith's 1956 novel 633 Squadron) The Death Star trench scene IS the WWII, De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber attack scene in the Norway Fjord to take down a Nazi weapons base.
Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (The Good, The Bad, The Ugly) (1966) - (Dir: Sergio Leone) Leone let the actor and everything else share the spotlight (instead of just the actor taking all focus). He seemed to rely on the whole picture to tell the story, a spatial conversation/dance, setting the scene for Blockbusters'. He also made sure that things weren't squeaky clean. There was a certain aged and used look to everything, making scenes look less like sets and more like a slice of life. Lucas seems to do the same in Star Wars. He balances actors with surroundings and the lived-in look.
Kairyu daikessen (The Magic Serpent) (1966 Japan) - (Dir: Tetsuya Yamauchi) Ikazukhi-maru/Jiraiya (a Luke-like hero - Matsukata), a young prince is being boated to safety from a Ninja attack on his family's kingdom, where his parents/family have been killed by Daijô Yûki (a Vader-like villain - Amatsu). As the young prince is being escorted a serpent (Daijô Yûki transformed) rises from the water and attacks the boat killing all aboard, the boy is just about to drown when a giant hawk swoops down and saves him. The hawk was sent by Dojin Hiki (an Obi-Wan-like wizard who lives in a remote cottage incidentally) who adopts the boy and raises him as his own son (never really revealing the boy's true parentage). Dojin Hiki spends ten years raising the young man, imparting his wisdom and mystical powers as well. Dojin says, "You will do good, not like the other" (the "other" being Daijô Yûki a former student of Dojin's who turned to evil, "the best student I ever had"). Ikazukhi travels out into the world and meets a young woman, Sunate (a Leia-like hero - Ogawa), who's searching for her father.
Luke is saved from the Sand People by an old wizard who lives in a remote "cottage", Kenobi, who imparts his knowledge/the Force to Luke. Kenobi doesn't reveal Luke's true parentage but tells him that his father was one of his best students and was killed by Vader, basically. (Also the whole Kenobi training Anakin for ten years...Anakin saying that Kenobi is the closest thing he has to a father in AOTC)
There's a scene where Ikazukhi saves a young boy from getting crushed by a cart (with his powers). He then walks along with the family until they are stopped by some guards who question them. The family protects Ikazukhi by saying that he is part of their family, the guards buy it. Somewhat like Obi-Wan and Luke with R2 and C-3PO coming into Mos Eisley.
Ikazukhi wants to help Sunate and brings her to his master, who he's sure would know of her father. They find that Dojin has been attacked (by Daijo's apprentice Orochi-Maru (Otomo)) and is on the brink of death. With his last breaths Dojin tells Ikazukhi to avenge the deaths of his parents (revealed finally as well as Sunate's father who is none other than Daijô Yûki) and family.
At one point Sunate finds her father (with the help of his apprentice) and her father makes an effort to have her join him and she is torn briefly, but doesn't do as her father bids.
It, of course, comes down to a confrontation of good and evil, with good winning...Ikazukhi and Daijo meet up in a duel to the death and at some point are transformed into a huge toad and a serpent, respectively.
There are so many points in this film that are obvious influences, so much more overt than that of Hidden Fortress it seems. Some of the roles are reversed between Ikazukhi and Sunate, but the similarities between Vader and Daijo are pretty clear cut
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - (Dir: Stanley Kubrick based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey) My parents took me to see this film at the Lompoc Drive-In theatre when it opened, I was enthralled (more than any other film I'd ever seen on the big screen, I was 4, but just like the moon landing I thought it was something amazing). The space ships: especially the escape pod in ANH (from the Tantiv IV) with that of the pod from 2001...a HUGE nod to 2001 by Lucas, almost an exact reverse shot. It could be said that Darth Vader's breathing could have been an influence of Dave (funny that Vader is just an 'r' away from Dave) Bowman's breathing when dealing with the HAL situation and on the outside of the ship. The look of the sets were similar (though also similar to Space: 1999), but some of the same people (one being Brian Johnson) worked on the set design of 1999, 2001 and Star Wars.
Hsia nu (1969 Hong Kong) - (Dir: King Hu based on the stories/novels of Sung- ling Pu 1640-1715 - many ghost stories more specifically the Liao Zhai Zhi yi (Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio) A mystical force, fighting blindly but "seeing" a little predecessor to the Force. Notes: the Monk, Hui Yuan, is played by Roy Chaio who played Lao Che in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
Mosquito Squadron (1969) - The final sequence has been cited as an influence on George Lucas's Death Star sequences in Star Wars
Silent Running (1971) - (Dir: Douglas Trumbull) While the drones, Huey, Dewey & Louie, in Silent Running, are not shaped in similar fashion to R2D2, there are other similarities (Lucas told Trumbull that he liked the drones in Silent Running.) Both have endearing personalities and are cute and very useful. (a suit was filed regarding the similarities after ANH was released, nothing came of it). The comparison shows similar pictures, even though the photo showing R2 is from The Empire Strikes Back.
THX 1138 (1971) - (Dir: George Lucas) The robot policemen are similar to the Stormtroopers (dehumanizing mask). OMM is the Emperor. THX-1138 is Luke. The hunchback shell dwellers (at 16th street BART station) at the end of the film are very similar to the Jawas. Also, during a chase scene, Terry McGovern (who did the off-screen voices for the film, most improvisational) says, "I think I ran over a Wookiee back there" After the session Lucas asked McGovern what a Wookiee was and McGovern said he didn't know, he'd just made it up. Lucas obviously liked it and used it.
Get Along Gang (1985) - (Dave Manak) Droids #3 The Scarlet Pirate August 1986 Dave Manak later went on to write for Marvel's "Droids" comic, which also formed part of their "Star Comics" line. A possible reverse reference can be found in Droids #3 The Scarlet Pirate. One of the key characters wears an outfit strongly reminiscent of another "Get Along Gang" character, Zipper Cat. (Thanks to Paul for this reverse reference and the great pic!) (see also the Comics reference under Get Along Gang)
Ring of the Nibelungen, The (1876) - (Richard Wagner - composer) epic begets epic.
Outer Limits, The (1963) - (Dir: various) The Bith inspired by the Ikar?:
Jinzô ningen Kikaidâ (kikaida: Android of Justice) (1972 Japan) - (Dir/Creator: Shotaro Ishinomori) Hakaider was a character that may have had some influence on the way Vader looked.
Star Blazers or Space Ship Yamato (Uchû senkan yamato) (1974-5 Japan) - (Dir: Leiji Matsumoto) Similarities between Derek Wildstar and Luke Skywalker; Queen Starsha and Princess Leia; IQ-9 and R2-D2. Note: this Japanese series debuted in 1974 in Japan and was renamed Star Blazersfor marketing on US TV, in 1979, after the huge popularity of Star Wars.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980):
Alexandr Nevsky (1938 Russia) - The Roman Archbishop (Fenin) is portrayed very darkly. The Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back is similar to the Roman Archbishop in this film: "All who refuse to bow to Rome must be destroyed" and the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order Von Balk (Yershev) is very much like Darth Vader. Also, Prokofiev's score for the Battle of Lake Peipus (the battle on ice) pretty much sets the precedent for movie battle scenes from that point on, including The Empire Strikes Back.
Gone With The Wind (1939) - (Dir: Victor Fleming, George Kucor and Sam Wood based on Margaret Mitchell's 1936 Pulitzer (1937) Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind)  The posters are very similar especially Rhett/Scarlett and Han/Leia poses.  RHETT: "You do like me, don't you?" SCARLETT: “Well, sometimes, when you aren’t acting like a varmint.” RHETT: “I think you like me because I am a varmint. You’ve known so few dyed-in-the-wool varmints in your sheltered life that my very difference holds a quaint charm for you" SCARLETT: “That’s not true! I like nice men—men you can depend on to always be gentlemanly.”
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (Purple Death) (1940) - (Dir: Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor from Alex Raymond comic strip - 12 part serial) A Foreword crawl. A cloud city (which Lucas improved upon in ESB), Frigia/Hoth comparison.
Dick Barton Strikes Back (1947 UK) - (Dir: Godfrey Grayson from a story by Ambrose Grayson...started as a radio program from 1946 - 1951, the radio version also starred Alex McCrindle (General Jan Dodonna) as Jock) Other than the coincidental title similarity I'm not sure what, if anything, was an influence. I've not heard or seen any of the Dick Barton series. If you know of a connection, please let us know! Notes: Dick Barton Strikes Back is the second in a trilogy of Dick Barton films; the first: Dick Barton Special Agent, the third: Dick Barton At Bay. It is widely regarded as the best of the three films just as The Empire Strikes Back is considered the best of the Star Wars original trilogy. Here's more information on the Dick Barton series in all its incarnations.
Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai) (1954 Japan) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) The editing and pace in the Empire Strikes Back are similar to that of Seven Samurai.
THX 1138 (1971) - (Dir: George Lucas) General Carlist Rieekan (Boa) says, "Send Rogues ten and eleven to sector three-eight"
Kagemusha (1980) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa from Heinlein's 1956 novel Double Star and the true story of Shingen Takeda) Notes: Lucas and Coppola helped Kurosawa produce (listed as International Producers) this film after meeting Kurosawa at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1976. Kurosawa had just won a foreign-language Oscar for his film Dersu Uzala.
War of the Worlds (1898) - (Herbert G. Wells) The Martian War machines are very similar in description to that of the Imperial Walkers.
Nazis (c 1944) - Norwegian recruitment poster for the Nazi snow troopers looking similar to the Snowtroopers in ESB. (It says: "Come with us north" and "The Norwegian Skihunter Batallion"
Wumpus (c 1972) - Some of the older population out there might remember an early computer game, Hunt the Wumpus (c 1972). The Wumpus being a monster that lived in a cave. A player could go from cave to cave (through only a series of text) shooting arrows, if the arrows missed, the Wumpus would be startled and might kill the player, if hit the Wumpus would die. One can still play the game on the internet, if so inclined. Wampa/Wampas
Lamp Post - Slave 1
Return of the Jedi (1983):
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) - (Dir: W.S. Van Dyke based on Edgar Rice Burrough's 1912+ Tarzan stories) Chewbacca emulates the famous Tarzan call while swinging through the trees on Endor. Notes: The original Tarzan call was created by Johnny Weissmuller. His son, Johnny Weissmuller Jr. was in the Star Wars Holiday Special as a card player.
Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) (1934 Germany) - (Dir: Leni Riefenstahl)
Aleksander Nevsky (1938) - (Dir: Sergei Eisenstein) The Grand Master Knight and the Archbishop are defeated by Prince Nevsky and the common people. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine are defeated by Luke Skywalker and the underdog rebels. Everyone makes merry at the end of each film. ;)
Wizard of Oz, The (1939) - (Dir: Victor Fleming from L Frank Baum's 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) C3P0 and R2D2 come to the door of Jabba's Palace, knock, the droid opens the small, round door at eye level and looks around, then sees 3P0 and R2. They converse and are let it. An obvious homage to the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, the Tin Man and Toto come up to the door of the Emerald City Palace to see the wizard.
Casablanca (1942) - (Dir: Michael Curtiz based on an unproduced play) In designing Jabba the Hutt for Return of the Jedi George Lucas told Phil Tippett, et al., to make Jabba look like Sydney Greenstreet who played Signor Ferrari the owner of the Blue Parrot (not as popular a bar as Rick's Cafe Americain), he also has shady dealings in the black market, just like Jabba the Hutt.
Day the Earth Stood Still, The (1951) - (Dir: Robert Wise based loosely on the story of Christ) Lucas named three of the skiff guards (from Jabba's sail barge/Sarlacc scene) Klaatu, Barada and Nikto. Klaatu, Barada and Nikto were the words that made GORT (the robot) move.
Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai)(1954 Japan) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress)(1958) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
Ben-Hur (1959) - (Dir: William Wyler a remake from the 1927 film of the same name and based upon General Lew Wallace's 1880 Novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ) It's hard to ignore the similar talk between the characters of Ben-Hur/Arrius and that of Emperor Palpatine/Luke: "Your eyes are full of hate. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive, it gives him strength"/"Good, use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you." "your hate has made your powerful"
Uchû daisenso (Battle in Outer Space)(1959 Japan) - (Dir: Ishirô Honda) The epic-style space battle had to have been an influence on Lucas's vision of space battles.
Fitzwilly (1967) - (Dir: Delbert Mann Music: John "Johnny" Williams)
Godfather, The (1972) - (Dir: Francis Ford Coppola adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather) Luca Brasi is killed by *garrote, which is essentially what Leia does to Jabba the Hutt on his sail barge...a little nod to Coppola) * a method of killing which one comes up from behind and strangles by the throat usually with a wire. It's also a device in which a metal collar placed around the victim's neck, and attached to a chair with a slender back, is tightened by a screw at the back of the collar...eventually strangling the person.
Wiz, The (1978) - (Dir: Sidney Lumet based on the Musical The Wiz and L. Frank Baum's 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
Guerre du feu, La (Quest for Fire) (1981 France) - (Dir: Jean-Jacques Annaud)
Tron (1982) - (Dir: Steven Lisberger)
Star Blazers or Space Ship Yamato (1974/79 Japan) - (Dir: Leiji Matsumoto)There is an episode in the third series (The Bolar Wars) where, during a spectacular space battle, the watcher has the viewpoint from the bridge of the ARGO, which almost collides with a Galman ship. The scene looks similar to that of an A-Wing that crashes into the bridge of the EXECUTOR in Return of the Jedi.
The Phantom Menace (1999):
Girl Shy (1924) - (Dir: Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor) Harold Meadows (Lloyd) hangs from a gun turret, Binks does the same thing during the battle sequence.
Navigator, The (1924) - (Dir: Buster Keaton and Donald Crisp) Rollo Treadway (Keaton) inadvertently gets a miniature cannon attached to his foot which fires killing a "native", Binks somehow gets a blaster attached to his foot and it fires destroying several battle droids.
Seven Chances (1925) - (Dir: Buster Keaton - Silent film) Jimmy Shannon (Keaton) runs from an rock slide in the funny and famous 'great rock chase', this is duplicated in TPM when Jar-Jar Binks tries to dodge the Boomers in the Naboo battle scene.
Metropolis (1927) - (Dir: Fritz Lang based on a story conceived by his wife Thea von Harbou)
Phantom Empire (1935) - (Dir: Otto Brower & B. Reeves Eason) Inspired title? Mu sank beneath the ocean in ancient times and the inhabitants, Muranians, survived in caverns that lay under the ocean, similar to the Gungans living beneath the surface waters of Naboo.
Wizard of Oz, The (1939) - (Dir: Victor Fleming based on L. Frank Baum's 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
The Three Stooges (1930s - 1940s) - Three pit droids at the Podrace squabble in a Stooges homage.
Knute Rockne All American Heri (1940) - (Dir: Lloyd Bacon based on the life story of Knute Rockne)
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) - (Dir: ) The Phantom Menace is the name of one of the villains.
Citizen Kane (1941) - (Dir: Orson Welles based on an original screenplay by Orson Welles and Herbert J. Mankiewicz which was based loosely on William Randolph Hearst) The character Shmi Skywalker (August) is reminiscent of Mrs. Kane (Moorehead)
Maltese Falcon (1941) - (Dir: John Huston based on Dashiell Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon) About an hour and a half into The Phantom Menace, Amidala and Palpatine are discussing his eminent election to the senate in an office, after Palpatine sits down, Amidala crosses the screen (to the right) to a desk, in the background a replica of the Maltese Falcon is seen:
TPM/Maltese Falcon Comparison Photos (under TPM: Maltese Falcon)
Casablanca (1942) - (Dir: Michael Curtiz based on an unproduced play)
Planet Outlaws (1953) - (Dir: Harry Revier) The viewscreen the Trade Federation use in TPM - the one with the 'ripple effect' - is EXACTLY like the one used in this Buck Roger's serial. (Thanks to Doug Curtis!)
War of the Worlds, The (1953) - (Dir: Byron Haskin based mostly on Orson Wells radio broadcast, but also on H.G. Wells' 1898 novel War of the Worlds)
Forbidden Planet (1956) - (Dir: Fred M. Wilcox based on Shakespeare's The Tempest) There are a few scenes in Episode I that look similar to those in Forbidden Planet especially where Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan and Maul are fighting. Cavernous area with bolts of energy coming up around them, and the ever-popular "skywalk" over the cavernous surroundings.
Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress) (1958 Japan) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) The Princess, Yukihime (Uehara), uses a handmaiden to travel unnoticed as does Queen Amidala. One might see a resemblance between General Makabe and Qui-Gon Jinn.
Ben-Hur (1959) - (Dir: William Wyler a remake from the 1927 film of the same name and based upon General Lew Wallace's 1880 Novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ)  Both Anakin Skywalker (Lloyd) and Judah Ben-Hur (Heston) are slaves (though Hur was the "Prince of his people" before he was enslaved) who both win their freedom in similar fashion.  The pod race on Tatooine in Episode I and the Chariot race in Ben-Hur are very similar including: flag bearers with the racers lined up behind them; the grandstands; the announcement of the participants and where they hail from (both Ben-Hur and Anakin get the loudest reception from the crowds); the dirty tricks used during the race: wheels on Ben-Hur's & Messala's chariots locking together/Sebulba & Anakin's pods locking together; crashes (including the Messala/Sebulba crashes that prevent them from winning); Ben-Hur & Anakin coming from behind in victory;  Watto and Sheik Ilderim (Hugh Griffith) are nearly identical in type and facial features (the eyes and eyebrows and a long nose...even the shape of the head is similar, though Watto doesn't have a thick beard). Both are short with a round belly, both have less than joyful personalities, both sponsor the young men (Anakin/Ben-Hur) in the races, and bet on the outcome (though Watto does it for pure selfish reasons).  Ben-Hur and Quintus Arrius (Hawkins) arrive in Rome to a victorious celebration/the the heroes of TPM arrive in Theed for the victory celebration  Ben-Hur: Trumpets sounding by marching parade members/TPM: trumpets sounding by marching parade members
TMP/Ben-Hur Comparison Photos (under TPM: Ben-Hur)
Spartacus (Spartacus: Rebel Against Rome) (1960) - (Dir: Stanley Kubrick based on blacklisted author Howard Fast's 1951 novel Spartacus) The battle scene (Episode I) in particular is reminiscent of the battle scene in Spartacus. Huge droid armies amassed on the green fields of Naboo seem to come straight from the armies gathered on green hills in Spartacus.
Cleopatra (1963) - (Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Darryl F. Zanuck - Rouben Mamoulian was the first director but was fired and replaced by Mankiewicz. The film is based on C. M. (Carlo Mario) Franzero's 1957 novel The Life and Times of Cleopatra as well as ancient histories by Appian, Plutarch (Plutarchs' Lives), and Suetonius. Cleopatra/Amidala - Each a young queen (Cleopatra only three years senior to Amidala...only one to Portman), each heavily ornamented in costume and tradition publicly and privately....true of most any queen/empress/princess throughout history, more recent rulers are less apt to go beyond formal dress for special occasions and have considerably less ornamental accoutrements than their pre-Elizabeth II predecessors. While the costumes bear some resemblance to the pageantry of the Egyptian Queen's, they more closely follow more Asian/Eastern Asia (including Russian) themes and influences.
Fall of the Roman Empire, The (1964) - (Dir: Anthony Mann The historical consultant was author Will Durant who wrote - with much help from his wife, Ariel- Caesar and Christ: A History of Roman Civilization and of Christianity from Their Beginnings to A.D. 325: Story of Civilization - No. 3) The victory parade (see also Ben-Hur) are incredibly similar visually. Notes: Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) portrayed Marcus Aurelius.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - (Dir: Stanley Kubrick from Arthur C. Clarke novel 2001: A Space Odyssey) The pod from the Discovery is seen in Watto's junkyard. Thanks to Mr. Kennedy from HERE for the photo comparison.
THX 1138: 4EB (1970) (Dir: George Lucas)
THX 1138 (1971) - (Dir: George Lucas) The number on the back of one of the battle droids fighting the Gungans is 1138
Enter the Dragon (1973) - (Dir: Robert Clouse)
Flåklypa Grand Prix (Pinchcliffe Grand Prix) (1975) - (Dir: Ivo Caprino) Some details might be attributed to Flåklypa Grand Prix (a animated film out of Norway). Specifically the Pod Race at Boonta Eve: Sebulba's sabotage of Anakin's pod racer and the subsequent poor sportsmanship during the race itself, Anakin's late start due to engine trouble. Sebulba's Norwegian counterpart is Gore Slimy. All of these elements are present in one of Norway's most popular films of all time.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) - (Dir: George Lucas) If you look closely in the Tatooine scenes, you can see Luke's T-16 Landspeeder (in green) from A New Hope.
Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior) (1980 Japan) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa from Heinlein's 1956 novel Double Star?)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Dir: Irvin Kershner) Amidala's starship is a Nubian J-327. 327 is the number of the landing platform on Cloud City (Han Solo and the Falcon land there)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark)(1981) (Dir: Steven Spielberg based on a story by George Lucas) A person dressed as Indiana Jones is in the Pod Race sequence, enjoying the view from the grandstands.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - (Dir: Steven Spielberg) After Queen Amidala announces the "no confidence in Chancellor Valorum" in the Galactic Senate Chamber, you will see many characters yelling their approval/disapproval, amongst these characters are several E. T.'s:
Transformers: The Movie, The (1986) - (Dir: Nelson Shin) Note: starred voice of Orson Welles
Blind Fury (1989) - (Dir: Phillip Noyce) Rutger Hauer plays a blind Vietnam vet, Nick Parker, with a sword in his cane, and was watching it for the first time in a while. To set the scene.. in the last battle against the drug dealers holding his friend's son, Billy, and girlfriend hostage, Parker is sword fighting with Japanese swordsman "The Assassin" (Shô Kosugi) and causes a lamp to fall into a hot tub. The Assassin falls in the tub and gets electrocuted, but his sword ends up at the edge of the tub. Slag (Randal "Tex" Cobb), who had been trying to kill Parker and kidnap Billy through the whole movie, comes in and shoot's Parker's shoulder. Parker throws his sword at Slag, impaling him, but not killing him (a la Qui-Gon). Slag pulls the sword out and crawls for his gun, but Billy throws Hauer his sword, which falls in the electrocuted tub (like Obi-Wan's lightsaber into the pit. Parker picks up The Assassin's sword and as Slag rushes him, he does a quick slice and lets Slag's momentum take him through a glass wall that leads to a drop-off at Donner Pass. The scene where Slag is falling, you see he was cut in two at the waist (like Darth Maul.. the bad guy falling in two pieces.) (Thanks to John from Obroa-Skai for this reverse reference!)
Batman (1989) - (Dir: Tim Burton based on the Batman comic books)
Black Rain (1989) - (Dir: Ridley Scott)
Wong Fei-hung (The Master or Once Upon a Time in China) (1991 Hong Kong) - (Dir: Hark Tsui)
Wayne's World (1992) - (Dir: Stephen Surjik from original Mike Meyers idea/sketch)
Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals (1994) (V) -
Shadow, The (1994) - (Dir: Russell Mulcahy based on the 30's radio show which, incidentally, starred Orson Welles)
Braveheart (1995) - (Dir: Mel Gibson from a script based on 300 pages of rhyming verse attributed to Blind Hally about William Wallace and surrounding events)
Dragonheart (1996) - (Dir: Rob Cohen) When Yoda talks to Obi-Wan at Theed (Palace) you can see a very large bird/dragon flying outside (over Obi-Wan's right shoulder), a slight homage to Draco from this film? ILM worked on both films.
Independence Day (1996) - (Dir: Roland Emmerich) Notes: Independence Day has Star Wars references FILMS G-J)
Chasing Amy (1997) - (Dir: Kevin Smith based on his original story)
Fifth Element, The (1997) - (Dir: Luc Besson based on his original story) Jar-Jar sleeping on Amidala's ship/Ruby Rod sleeping on Pfloston Paradise, after the explosion When you see Jar-Jar Binks sleeping in Queen Amidala's spaceship, he looks exactly like Ruby Rhod sleeping after the explosion of Fhloston Paradise in "The Fifth Element"
Rurôni Kenshin: Meiji kenkaku roman tan: Tsuioku hen (Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal)(1999) (V) - (Dir: Kazuhiro Furuhashi)
Droids (1985) - (Dir: Raymond Jafelice, Clive A. Smith, Ken Stephenson)
Lost in Space (1965) (Created by: Irwin Allen; Music: John "Johnny" Williams)
Grim Fandango (1998) - (Dir: Tim Schafer) Manny, from Grim Fandango (LucasArts), makes an appearance in the Pod-racing grand stands.
Nintendo All-Star Dai-Rantou Smash Bros. (1999) - (Dir: Masahiro Sakurai)
Dinotopia (1995) - (James Gurney) Sidekick Binks to sidekick Bix, though they are not that similar in appearance. Theed (TPM) and Waterfall City (Dinotopia) are very similar.
Dinotopia/TPM Comparison Photos (under Books: Dinotopia)
Oni (demons in Japanese Noh/Kabuki theatre) - Darth Maul
Attack of the Clones(2002):
Metropolis (1927) - (Dir: Fritz Lang based on a story conceived by his wife Thea von Harbou) The cityscapes and bustling traffic are very similar.
Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) (1934) - (Dir: Leni Riefenstahl)
Things to Come~1936 - (Dir: William Cameron Menzies from H.G. Wells' 1933 The Shape of Things to Come)
Wizard of Oz, The~1939 - (Dir: Victor Fleming from L Frank Baum's 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (Purple Death from Outer Space) (1940) - (Dir: Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor - 12 part serial; from Alex Raymond comic strip Flash Gordon) - In chapter 5 of the serial, in an excerpt, the Foreword reads: "Zarkov is about to meet death in the arena, Flash races up the stairs leading to the arena, and through a window sees Zarkov standing manacled between two stone pillars. As Ming's voice sentences Zarkov..." Padme and Anakin come to rescue/help Obi-Wan and find themselves sentenced to death in the arena where they, and Obi-Wan are manacled to stone pillars. While Poggle the Lesser and his support group (Dooku) voice out the sentencing.
Quo Vadis~1951 - (Dir: Mervyn LeRoy from Henryk Sienkiewicz' 1890's novel Quo Vadis) Coliseum sequence.
War of the Worlds, The~1953 - (Dir: Byron Haskin based mostly on Orson Wells radio broadcast, but also on H.G. Wells' 1898 novel War of the Worlds)
Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai) (1954) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Samurai were considered "keepers of the peace". Mace Windu says: "We're keepers of the peace, not soldiers." (Thanks to General Tarfful who reminded me that it was AOTC where Mace speaks this line and not TPM!)
Searchers, The (1956) - (Dir: John Ford from Alan LeMay's 1954 novel The Searchers) Ethan Edwards daemonic quest, first fueled by Ethan's mother's death at the hands of the Comanche, continues throughout his life (at one point he's even called an empty shell of a man). He is redeemed by his brother's daughter, Debbie (the daughter was born to his brother's wife, Martha, Ethan's unrequited love. Debbie was captured by the Comanche after they set fire to and killed all others in her, and Ethan's, family and lives as one of them for five years), in some way he may see that Debbie could have been his own daughter. Ethan looks over a Comanche encampment from a high spot. Dogs fighting over scraps. Ethan has a close-up in Scar's tepee where you can see his utter hatred boiling underneath
Anakin's obsession/quest really starts to grow at his mother's death, brought on by the Sand People...which will not cease until the end, ROTJ, where he is redeemed by his son. Anakin looks over the Sand People's encampment from a high spot. Dog-like creatures fighting over scraps. Anakin has a close-up in the Sand People's tent where you can see his utter hatred boiling underneath.
Chikyu Boeigun (The Mysterians)(1957 Japan) - (Dir: Ishirô Honda)
Kakushi toride no san akunin (The Hidden Fortress) (1958) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) The Princess, Yukihime (Uehara), uses a handmaiden to travel unnoticed, again, as Senator Amidala does.
7th Voyage of Sinbad, The (1958) - (Dir: Nathan (Hertz) Juran) The Arena scene in Attack of the Clones seems to bear many resemblances to Harryhausen's ideas and monsters, another homage to the legend of stop-motion. Obi Wan fights the Acklay with a spear = Sinbad fighting the Minotaur with a spear..
Mysterious Island~1961 - (Dir: Cy Endfield based on Jules Verne's novel Mysterious Island) Obi-Wan fights off the Acklay with a spear =A gigantic crab threatens a spear-wielding human.
Dr. No~1962 - (Dir: Terrence Young based on Ian Fleming's 1958 novel Dr. No) Poisonous Centipedes let loose in Amidala's chambers and into her bed = Poisonous Tarantula let loose in James Bond's bed
Lawrence of Arabia~1962 - (Dir: David Lean based on T. E. Lawrence's 1927 novel The Seven Pillars of Wisdom) Lawrence of Arabia and Attack of the Clones have the visual part of a scene in common...both use the colonnade at the Plaza de España Parque de Maria Luisa, Avenida de Isabella la Catolica Seville, Spain. And it's not just that the location is the same. The shot itself, from AOTC, is very similar to LoA's...there's only a small difference in the look of the shot. Different lenses create a lengthening or a shortening of spatial elements.
Sound of Music, The~1965 - (Dir: Robert Wise based on Maria von Trapp's 1949 novel ) It's said that the picnic/romantic scenes in the grassy hills between Padmé and Anakin are some kind of homage to The Sound of Music, at least visually. Amidala comes up and over a small hill with the snow-capped peaks in the background which is what Maria does in The Sound of Music.
Django~1966 - (Dir: Sergio Corbucci) First of all the name Django is pronounced the same as Jango. Django is a sharp shooting outlaw bent on vengeance. He's a cold and emotionless cowboy.
2001: A Space Odyssey~1968 - (Dir: Stanley Kubrick based on Arthur C. Clark's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey)  At the head of each Star Wars film the "crawl" completes and the camera pans down. After the "crawl" on AOTC the camera pans up, this is the same as 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The flatware used in the dining sequence (the pear scene) from AOTC was the same flatware design that was used in 2001
Easy Rider~1969 - (Dir: Dennis Hopper) The one thing I think of as far as a visual similarity is Anakin getting on what looks like an Easy Rider type cycle on Tatooine.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid~1969 - (Dir: George Roy Hill)
THX 1138~1971- (Dir: George Lucas)
Enter the Dragon~1973 - (Dir: Robert Clouse)
American Graffiti~1973 - (Dir: George Lucas) The speeder that Anakin lifts in pursuit of Zam was inspired by the supped-up 1932, yellow Ford Coupe driven by John Milner (LeMat) in Graffiti.
Star Wars~1977 - (Dir: George Lucas) After Jango and Obi-Wan fight, Jango runs up the ramp to get into his ship and as the door closes he knocks his head. Most of us recall the clumsy Stormtrooper in Star Wars that bumped his head while a door closed on the Death Star. You can also find that there are two TIE fighters chasing an X-Wing on Coruscant during the pursuit scene. Luke's T-16 is seen in the background of Lars' garage/workshop.
Apocalypse Now~1979 - (Dir: Francis Ford Coppola)
Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior) (1980) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa from Heinlein's 1956 novel Double Star?)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back~1980 - (Dir: Irvin Kirshner & George Lucas) Luke and Leia looking out from the medical frigate, with C-3PO and R2 to the right in ESB is copied in AOTC when Anakin and Padmé are looking out onto the lake, with C-3PO and R2 to their right, after they are married.
Raiders of the Lost Ark~1981 - (Dir: Steven Spielberg based on a story by George Lucas)
Blade Runner~1982 - (Dir: Ridley Scott based on Phillip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
E. T. - The Extra Terrestrial~1982 - (Dir: Steven Spielberg) The Trade Federation Ships = E. T.'s ship
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi~1983 - (Dir: Richard Marquand & George Lucas) The Imperial guards used in ROTJ are used in AOTC, it's near the beginning of AOTC where Palpatine, Yoda, Mace and Amidala meet in Palpatine's office.
Outsiders~1983 - (Dir: Francis Ford Coppola based on S. E. Hinton's 1967 novel The Outsiders) Johnny Cade (Macchio) line: I killed them. I killed them all... = Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) line: I killed them. I killed them all...
Terminator, The~1984 - (Dir: James Cameron)
Big Trouble in Little China~1986 - (Dir: John Carpenter)
Aliens~1986 - (Dir: James Cameron)
Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta (Castle in the Sky) (1986) - (Dir: Hayao Miyazaki) Note: Mark Hamill supplies the voice of Col. Muska in the English version.
RoboCop 2~1987 - (Dir: Irvin Kirshner) During the arena battle on Geonosis, Jango Fett does a RoboCop gun twirling maneuver (a tip of the hat to Kirshner, who directed TESB? or simply an old western flick gun slinger trait?)
Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) (1988) - (Dir: Isao Takahata based on Akiyuki Nosaka's novel)
Majo no takkyubin (Kiki's Delivery Service) (1989) - (Dir: Hayao Miyazaki based on Eiko Kadono's book)
Die xue shuang xiong (The Killer)(1989) - (Dir: John Woo)
Kurenai no buta (Crimson Pig/Porco Rosso) (1992) - (Dir: Hayao Miyazaki)
True Romance~1993 - (Dir: Tony Scott from an original script by Quentin Tarantino)
Pulp Fiction~1994 - (Dir: Quentin Tarantino) BMF (Bad Mother F'r) appears on Jules wallet, it's also engraved on Mace's Lightsaber, though I don't think this was an "influence" per say.
Jûbei ninpûchô (Ninja Scroll) (1995) - (Dir: Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Quint Lancaster)
Space Truckers~1996 - (Dir: Stuart Gordon) Two guns from this movie (literally re-used) were used in AOTC: Coruscant Guard Blasters are BSA .30-06 hunting rifle. Naboo Guard Blaster/Calico Liberty Carbine
Fifth Element, The~1997 - (Dir: Luc Besson from his original story)
Starship Troopers~1997 - (Dir: Paul Verhoeven from Robert Heinlein's 1959 novel Starship Troopers) Carmen takes a trip with the shuttle into the framework of the ring station. A scene that is nearly copied in AOTC.
Rurôni Kenshin: Meiji kenkaku roman tan: Tsuioku hen~1999 (V) (Dir: Kazuhiro Furuhashi)
Matrix, The~1999 (Dir: Andy and Larry Wachowski)
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace~1999 - (Dir: George Lucas) The pod-race from Phantom Menace is shown on the very left of the three screens in the nightclub, where Anakin and Obi-Wan are searching for Zam.
Gladiator~2000 - (Dir: Ridley Scott from David H. Franzoni's 1998 original script) More coliseum sequences.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within~2001 - (Dir: Hironobu Sakaguchi & Moto Sakakibara)
Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (2001) - (Dir: Hayao Miyazaki)
Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira~2001 (Dir: Shinichirô Watanabe & Hiroyuki Okiura - Opening sequence)
Metoroporisu (Metropolis) (2001) (Dir: Rintaro based on Osamu Tezuka's Manga Metoroporisu which was inspired by Fritz Lang's Metropolis)
Black Hawk Down~2001- (Dir: Ridley Scott from Mark Bowden's novel Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War which came from his 1997 newspaper series)
Cardcaptor Sakura~1998 - (Dir: Morio Asaka)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine~1993 - (Dir: Various) Obi-Wan tours the cloning area, as he looks up the shot focuses on some sort of equipment. The equipment is the center, the round part, of a Star Trek ship.
Transformers: Victory~1989 - (Dir: Yoshikata Arata)
Alice~1976 - (Dir: Various) The waitress droid at Dex's Diner is named Flo from the
TV series and Dex bears more than a little resemblance to Mel who owns Mel's Diner in the Alice series.
Star Trek~1966 (Dir: Gene Roddenberry)
StarCraft: Brood War~1998 - The Zerg Lurker/The Acklay
StarCraft (1998) -
Nintendo All-Star Dai-Rantou Smash Bros. (1999) - (Dir: Masahiro Sakurai)
Dai-Rantou Smash Brothers Deluxe (2001)- (Dir: Masahiro Sakurai)
Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King)(819) - (Auth: Sophocles) In the Greek tragedy, which has too many Star Wars connections to go into here, Oedipus at one point says "I killed him. I killed them all." 'Him' being his father, and 'them all' being his father's entourage. Sounds a lot like "I killed them. I killed them all," no? And besides, Anakin and Oedipus are overall very similar tragic heroes. (Thanks to General Tarrful for pointing us to this Reverse Reference!) *Editor's Note: the quote is from Scene II (Page 41 in my version translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald) where Oedipus is speaking with Iocasta (Jocasta) text: "...The groom leading the horses forced me off the road at his lord's command; but as this carioteer lurched over towards me I struck him in my rage. The old man saw me and brought his double goad down upon my head as I came abreast. He was paid back, and more! Swinging my club in this right hand I knocked him out of his car, and he rolled on the ground. I killed him. I killed them all. Now if that stranger and Laïos were --kin, where is a man more miserable than I?" Oedipus lets his anger get the best of him, he had a choice not to kill but killed anyway. (see also Miscellaneous under 'Jocasta Nu')
Rocketeer~1981 - (Dave Stevens)
Clone Wars (2003)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
A Touch of Zen (2000/1969) - (Dir: Lee/Hu) Yoda engages in a treetop duel seen in more than a few "martial arts" films, but these two may be the most recognizable.
Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Tarzan (1932) - A Wookiee on Kashyyyk uses the famous Tarzan yell created by Johnny Weissmuller. (See also Tarzan for Return of the Jedi.)
Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953) - (Dir: Franklin Adreon, Fred C. Beannon, Harry Keller) The name of one of the clones is Commander Cody (Morrison) Notes: Morrison plays Commander Bly and Commander Thire. Bly might be named after Captain Bligh of the HMS Bounty. Nothing yet on where THIRE might have come from, but it was used alot as the word THEIR in old text.
Cleopatra (1963) - (Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz & Darryl F. Zanuck - Rouben Mamoulian was the first director but was fired and replaced by Mankiewicz. The film is based on C. M. (Carlo Mario) Franzero's novel Cleopatra) One of Amidala's costumes (the headdress to be exact) looks very similar to one worn by Cleopatra (Taylor).
Saving Private Ryan (1998) - (Dir: Steven Spielberg - based on The invasion on the beaches of Kashyyyk pay homage to the look of Saving Private Ryan's Omaha Beach invasion.
[no picture available]
Bettie Page - BD 3000 droid (BD Be - ttie, get it?) was inspired by Bettie Page (pin-up model)
Napoleonic War - The battle above Coruscant at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith was inspired by the Napoleonic war.
Nosferatu/The Mummy and Tion Meddon - Combine the Mummy and Nosferatu and you get Tion Meddon.
Frankenstein's Monster - Coming off the operating table, each character, Vader and Monster, is pieced together and has an unsteady, heavy first step or two.
Ophelia - Ophelia and Padme are surrounded by flowers in death. Each had found love, each had to hide the love and each died in heartbreak.
Revenge of the Sith Video Game (2005)
Fantastic Four (1961) - (Jack "The King" Kirby) The Republic Clone Blaze Trooper says, "Flame on", a reference to The Human Torch's transformation phrase (Thanks to John at Obroa-Skai!)
Other Reverse References (all media)
Mars Series (1911+) -(Edgar Rice Burroughs):
Princess of Mars~1912 -  Two examples of character illustrations based on the books character Dejah Thoris (Princess of Helium), done by McLeod (right) and Frazetta, who had a few depictions of her (center)/a publicity photo for ROTJ/Princess Leia (left) (Thanks to Leia's Metal Bikini!)
Gods of Mars (Jan may serial) (1913) While bearing no visual reference to Burroughs' Banths (very large lion-type creatures), the name itself is oh-so-close to Bantha and they roam similar places on Mars and Tatooine.
Warlord of Mars~1919 The Sith (a hornet-like, bald-faced, powerful jawed, poisonous stinger attached being) bears only the moniker likeness of any of Lucas' Sith. The Apt, shares some features with ESB's Wampa on Hoth (a giant Arctic creature with white fur, horns protruding from the jaw area), but there's not much beyond that. Other similar words in the Mars series: Jed (king); Padwar (lieutenant); Old Ben (body servant); Sola (a green Martian woman)
Lensmen~1934 - (E.E. "Doc" Smith) Benevolent Arisians, evil Eddorians/Jedi, Sith; Kim Kinnison's progeny helps bring down the Eddorians/Vader's progeny helps to bring down the Empire; The Lensmen (originally bred by the Arisians) are used as super police/Clones/Stormtroopers (specifically bred for fighting);Special powers; Lensmen's hero destroys the enemy's base (Roger's Planetoid?) in a one-man fighter with the lens of his helmet down he can still manage to see because of his "powers"/Luke destroys the Death Star in a one-man fighter without his computer, trusting his instincts and the Force. E. E. Smith used the word Coruscant many times in his stories and a direct quote from one of the stories: "We're not out of this yet kid!"
I've heard that Timothy Zahn (in Heir to the Empire) used the word Coruscant before Lucas placed it into the film, so maybe Zahn's was influenced by the Lensmen series.
Chronicles of Narnia~1950 - (CS Lewis) In the second screenplay of The Star Wars the Force had it's good side, Ashla and it's bad, Bogan. Ashla/Aslan
Once and Future King~1958 - (T. H. White 1958 publishing of The Sword in the Stone (1958), The Witch in the Wood (1939), The Ill Made Knight (1940) and The Candle in the Wind in one composite volume) The comparison for Episode IV: A New Hope is from the first part of this quartet, The Sword in the Stone...
Orphan named Arthur/orphan named Luke; Arthur scrubs floors in a place where nothing happens and nothing ever changed/Luke scrubs droids in a place where nothing happens and nothing ever changes; Arthur is nicknamed Wart/in an early draft of Star Wars Luke is nicknamed Wormy by his friends; Arthur's relatives keep his true identity from him/Luke's relatives keep his true identity from him; Arthur meets a crazy old wizard, Merlin/Luke meets a crazy old wizard, Obi-Wan "Old Ben" Kenobi; Merlin tells Arthur he's the son of Uther Pendragon (knight and King...according to this version)/Obi-Wan tells Luke he's the son of a powerful Jedi Knight, etc.; Merlin takes Arthur and trains him in the ways of Magic, etc. /Obi-Wan takes Luke and trains him in the ways of the Force ; Magic sword Excalibur/Lightsaber ; Arthur becomes a great knight restoring peace and balance to the land/Luke becomes a great Jedi Knight, restoring peace and balance to the universe
Dune (Dune Series)~1965+ - (Frank Herbert) Most who read the Dune series saw similarities unfold when they watched the Star Wars saga...
Arrakis/Tatooine (both desert planets using water collection methods: dew collecting/moisture farming); Sand Worms/skeletal remains of a creature coming out of the sand like a sand worm; Sandcrawlers (in both); Princess Alia/Princess Leia (both have a thing for the roguish Idaho/Solo, eventually marrying them...though Alia marries a clone of Idaho, both have brothers, Leto/Luke, with the power and they themselves have the power); electro binoculars (note: in the Television version of Dune the set of electro binoculars have Aurubesh display writing as in Star Wars); Pardot Kynes appearing to Liet-Kynes on Arrakis/Obi-Wan appearing to Luke on Hoth; Jessica/Obi-Wan (train the "chosen ones" with special powers known to a certain group Bene Gesserit/Jedi); Dune's Spice (it's most valuable asset)/Spice Mines of Kessel (though just a passing mention); Duke's ornithopter escaping the Dune slug/Solo's Millenium Falcon escaping the asteroid slug in ESB; Alia training against the automatic training device/Luke training against the remote; the Space Guild/the Trade Federation; Prana Bindu/Jedi Bendu; I suppose that the Fremen and the Jawas are similar in respect to the glowing eyes and their hooded faces; suspensors/repulsors; Bene Gesserit "voice"/Jedi Force; Paul and Luke are both biblical names; Baron Harkonnen/Jabba (both disgusting, underhanded opportunists with a palace, slaves and skulking underlings)
Fuzzy Stories (1962/3) - (H. Beam Piper) Fuzzies are small beings who live in a forest on Zarathustra and carry spear-like weapons/Ewoks are small beings who live in a forest on Endor and carry spear-like weapons. (Cover of Fuzzy Sapiens on left; Ewoks on right):
Foundation (Foundation series) (1964+) - (Isaac Asimov) Coruscant is similar to Trantor, both are planets whose surface is just one city (megalopolis, densely populated -Trantor's is approx. 40,000,000,000/Coruscant's is approx. 1,000,000,000,000). A big difference between the two planets: Trantor is under a dome which protects it from the weather, whereas Coruscant is protected by weather control devices; Another general similarity is the diluted version of Roman history...measuring the rise and fall of the "Empire".
Hero With a Thousand Faces~1949 - (Joseph Campbell) Lucas's main inspiration for his movies, he even consulted with Campbell for Star Wars: A New Hope. Lucas covers it all: Call to adventure; protest or refusal of the call; the supernatural aid; crossing over the first threshold (leaving childhood behind...Cantina); trials; goddess meeting; heroic/magic flight; saved from the outside; freedom.
Prydain Series~1964-1968 - (Lloyd Alexander) Taran, orphaned farm boy, wants adventure and gets it, becomes the hero by conquering Lord Arawn /Luke, orphaned farm boy, wants adventure and gets it, becomes the hero by conquering the Emperor (ROTJ); Princess Eilonwy/Princess Leia; Gurgi, sidekick/R2-D2 or C-3PO, sidekicks; Fflewddur, the companion/Han Solo, the companion.
New Gods (The Fourth World series) (1970+) - (Jack "The King" Kirby) Darkseid (evil villain)/Orion (good guy) are father and son/The Dark Side (Vader - evil villain), Luke (good guy) are father and son; The Source ( a primeval energy, believed to be one of the ultimate foundations of the Universal Expression of Energy)/The Force (surrounds, penetrates, binds the galaxy together); Orion was raised as Highfather Izaya's son who taught him about the Source/Luke is raised by his Aunt and Uncle and taught about the Force by Obi-Wan (akin to father-figure Izaya), both aren't told that they are the son of the evil villain Darkseid/Vader until they are older; A struggle between Orion's world, New Genesis, and Darkseid's world, Apokolips (totalitarian war machine = The Empire)/struggle between Alliance and the Empire; Orion and Luke both wield great power (Force = Astro Force) and both have the probability to kill the villain/their father and take over his evil-doings but stay "good"; Also, I recall something about Darkseid fighting his son in the fire pits which is very similar to the early versions (early paintings/concept drawings) of Luke, the Emperor and Vader in Palpatine's throne room, which was in the lava caves. Someone can let me know if that's the case for the Orion/Darkseid scenario or if I'm just recalling something else. Lava is involved at some point!
Fantastic Four~1961 - (Jack "The King" Kirby) Vader bears a more than passing resemblance to Kirby's Doctor Victor von Doom (which I remember Mark Hamill mentioning at some point when talking about when he had first seen Darth Vader, "Hey, it's Doctor Doom!" or something like that). It might be noted here that both Doctor Doom and Darth Vader were former allies of those on the good side...in Star Wars it's Obi-Wan, in Fantastic Four it's Reed Richards and both wear armor which they are required to wear, Dr. Doom and Vader both blame Reed and Obi-Wan, respectively, for their need to wear the armor. Dark Side = Black Magic Stormtroopers/Robots; Here's (under Comics - Fantastic Four) another interesting comparison: Left: Gert Hauptman's Induction Chair, circa 1978. Right: Vader's Meditation Chamber on The Executor in ESB, 1980.
Other Influences and Connections
4-LOM - For Love Of Money...sounds about right for a bounty hunter.
Bubo - Toothy toad/lizard-like creature in Return of the Jedi, Buboicullaar. Could be from Bufo Boreas Boreas (Boreal Toad) taking the first two letters of the first two words...BuBo.
Endor is likely named for a town in between Mount Tabor and the Hill of Moreh in Israel.
The Witch. Queen Charal, a witch (played by Siân Philips) is trying to draw the power from an energy cell, stolen from the Towani family's starship, to help her master King Terak (played by Carel Struycken), she bears a ring (a talisman) that holds the power to transform her into a raven which enables her to fly about and spy for her king. So, King Terak orders Charal to find a way to draw the power out of the cell and the only one who they think knows is Cindel (played by Aubree Miller). Charal transforms herself into a beautiful singing maiden to entrap Cindel and bring her before Terak. When it's discovered that Cindel doesn't know anything about the power cell she and Charal are both imprisoned (Charal is basically banished and her talisman taken ids away) but Terak finds that he does need Charal and calls upon her powers again to help him...but it doesn't work and his reign falls.
The Bible (Book I Samuel 28 -chapter 28:4-25) tells of King Saul and the Witch of Endor. The Witch of Endor was a woman who possessed a talisman that enabled her to call up the ghost of the prophet Samuel, which was demanded of her from King Saul of Israel. Saul, after Samuel's death, initially ordered all magicians and necromancers out of Israel. After he drove them out he felt, ironically, that he needed to seek out the the Witch of Endor because God had not answered his call for advice on how to handle the Philistines assembled forces. The Witch didn't help him with the invading army but did tell him that he would fall from his Kinghood. Notes: it is speculated that the name Endora (Bewitched character Samantha Stevens's mother) was named after the Witch of Endor. And was used in a Thomas Middleton adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, Middleton added extra scenes involving witches conjuring up a spirit (from his own play The Witches)...clearly he was influenced by the Witch of Endor.
Ewok - Ewok most likely comes from the word Miwok - pronounced Mee-wok and meaning "people." Note: Miwok is the name of a tribal people that had inhabited Marin County (and other points north) for over 3,500 years, they were known as the Coast Miwok Indians. Three Miwok Indian remains were discovered during an environmental impact report on Lucas's Skywalker Ranch, they were between 250 - 500 years old and had been killed with obsidian arrowheads dated between 1400 and 1700 A.D. (Miwok's re-used as much as they could), the remains were interred and re-buried at the Ya-ka-ama Native American Cemetery near Forestville, Sonoma County and the road that was initially going to be routed where the remains were found was moved slightly to avoid the discovery area.
Jedi - Jedai Geki (Japanese period films). Filmed post-war and usually about Samurai, the basic premise is good vs. evil.
Jocasta Nu - Jocasta (Iocasta) comes from Sophocles' Oedipus. Jocasta was Oedipus' mother. Thankfully, Jocasta Nu is nothing like the tragic Jocasta of Oedipus fame. Notes: Jocasta was also a character in Woody Allen's film The Mighty Aphrodite, which includes a Star Wars wedding rehearsal party (see Film references K-Q - Mighty Aphrodite) (see also Oedipus Rex under Attack of the Clones>Books)
Lott Dod (TPM) - Named after senators: Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) and Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut)
Padmé - Lotus Flower (Sanskrit)
Padmé Amidala costume (AOTC - traveling garb) - The *Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia in 1903. Dressed for a costume ball (design was based on 17th century fashion) and Padmé Amidala:
Queen Amidala clothing: Influences from traditional Mongolian wedding dresses which are many-layered (up to 16) with all sorts of accoutrements:
Amidala's Senate Gown: A bit of influence here of 15th century English noble fashion
Polis Massa - ROTS asteroid mining planet and possible hideout for the Jedi - a fortress of sorts.
Just some interesting observations...only observations. Polis of course means city. Massa could have been taken from the Italian Massa Marattima (place). Massa Marattima started as a fortress in 8th century Tuscany, it was known for its copper, iron and tin works (mining ROTS). Bishops (Jedi) in the early 9th century abandoned a neighboring town, Populonia (Coruscant, etc.), fleeing to Massa Marattima (Polis Massa), after sieges by Sulla (ruler), then Totila, of the Lombards, then the Byzantines in 817 (Emperor Palpatine, clones). One of the first Bishops was a general of the Franciscans (Jedi eventually appointed generals to the order, including Anakin and Obi-Wan) and a legate, an official emissary/representative to the Pope (sort of an Anakin/Palpatine thing)
R2-D2 - An abbreviation of "Reel 2, Dialog 2"
Yoda - Quite possibly named after Japanese screenwriter, Yoshikata Yoda, with whom Lucas had a meeting once.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Foolish Wives (1922) - (Dir: Eric Von Stroheim)A man watches a woman undress by looking through a mirror on a dresser. René Belloq watches Marion undress by looking through a mirror on a dresser.
M (1931) - (Dir: Frtiz Lang) A child murderer (Lorre) sets a city on edge. The police try in earnest to catch him by combing the city and making raid after raid in the underworld, but have no luck. The criminals in this underworld are finding it impossible to continue with their work because of the police "interference" so they take the matter into their own hands. Amid their search they create a hole in a floor, of an office building, that leads to a basement. When the search is ended, one of the criminal elements is left behind. The scene shows him looking up into the hole, he calls out to his cohorts. "who's taken up the ladder?!?" he kind of grumbles to himself about them being morons and calls out again. A ladder (a portable chain ladder) is dropped down to where he is. He climbs up and instead of his buddies it's the police. Very much the same with Raiders of the Lost Ark. After Indy is done in the map room he calls to Sallah for the rope, he calls again, mutters under his breath then the "rope" (cloth and a Nazi flag tied together) is dropped down to him. Indy climbs up and is greeted not by Sallah but by the Nazis.
Stagecoach (1939) (Dir: John Ford. Based on part of Guy de Maupassant's 1880 anthology, Boule de Suif (Ball of Fat) A shared stunt. Stagecoach is known
for a stunt made famous by renown stuntman Yakima Canutt, dragging under a stagecoach. The same stunt was repeated in Raiders with Harrison Ford being dragged under a truck.
Wizard of Oz, The (1939) - (Dir: Victor Fleming Based on L. Frank Baum's 1900 series the Wonderful Wizard of Oz) While there are so many films that lead the audience into hating a story's villain by his or her mocking laugh, none stick out so much in pop culture as the Wicked Witch of the West's cackle in Oz. Raiders has René Belloq (Freeman) and his echo-y laughter of triumph as he takes the golden idol, with the help of the Hovitos Indians, from Indy.
Green Hell (1940) -(Dir: James Whale) Green Hell takes place in South America (a jungle) where "adventurers" are in search of Incan treasure. The treasure is found but the adventurers are being pursued by natives armed with bows and poisoned arrows. Raiders: An adventurer, Indy, seeks a treasure in South America (Peru) and finds it only to have it taken from him and be pursued by natives with bows and poisoned arrows.
Citizen Kane (1941) - (Dir: Orson Welles) The final shot in Raiders where the Ark is being stored in the huge government warehouse looks a lot like one of the final shots in Citizen Kane.
Casablanca (1942) -(Dir: Michael Curtiz) Atmosphere is what ultimately relates Casablanca to Raiders. The smoky or seedy bars/clubs are very much a commonality between the two films...Nazis There is also Rick and Ilsa/Indy and Marion, a former love re-enters the life of the main characters and their very similar appearances in the end of each of these films:
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) - (Dir: Sam Wood) Even their leather jackets were similar (though Indy's without the wool collar).
Secret Service in Darkest Africa (1943) - (Dir: Spencer Gordon Bennet)
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948) - (Dir: John Huston based on the 1927 novel of the same name by German writer B. Traven ) The opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark (including the jungle noises) could easily be compared to the beginning of Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Three ragged adventurers set out to find a treasure which everyone wants to keep for themselves. Betrayal, deceit and death surround the men in each film, all associated with their dark obsession to find the treasured object(s). Spielberg saw Indiana Jones as a cross between Don Juan de Macaña (played by Errol Flynn) in The Adventures of Don Juan and Fred C. Dobbs from Treasure of the Sierra Madre. While Indy's heroism matches that of Don Juan at times his more seemly side, Dobbs, is brought to light by Marion when she reveals that Indy had abandoned her in a timeline previous to where we are brought in to the film...THEN abandons her once again for the Ark. While Indy likely struggles with the decision to leave Marion this second time around his desire to get the Ark triumphs over saving her, certainly not Indy's best quality and more suited to Dobbs' shadier morals.
Adventures of Don Juan, The (1948) - (dir: Vincent Sherman which was ultimately based on a story by Herbert Dalmas and contributions by William Faulkner and Robert Florey) Spielberg once said that the character of Indiana Jones was a combination of Errol Flynn's Don Juan de Macaña...and Humphrey Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs in Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Moments of shining heroism, Don Juan, mixed with a touch of darkness, Dobbs. (see also Treasure of the Sierra Madre)
Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thief) (1948 Italy) - (Dir: Vittorio De Sica) The scene where Ricci's hocked linens are being stored in the vast expanse of all the thousands of other linens is quite similar to that of the Ark being stored in the huge warehouse of artifacts shown at the end of Raiders.
Secret of the Incas (1954) (Dir: Jerry Hopper) Harry Steele (Heston) is an adventurer on a quest to find Incan treasure. Steele, like similar characters before him, wears the uniform of the classic adventurer and Indiana Jones is no different. Harry Steele's costume, down to the scruffy beard, is the direct influence for Indy's "uniform", Harry also speaks the language of the natives fluently. There is another striking similarity. A scene where Steele has a stone which fits into a stone map of the outside of the royal tomb. That reveals which chamber the Sunburst is in. Ed Morgan (Mitchell), Steele's rival, also wants and would kill Steele to obtain it. When Morgan gets the stone he doesn't realize another piece is needed to find the Sunburst. Steele has the other piece, a gold disc. When Steele finally gets into the tomb alone he uses a flashlight and the gold disc in a manner very much like that of Indy in the map room, to reveal the exact location of the Sunburst. Just as Steele finds it Morgan comes in and takes it from him. The Peruvian natives are sent to catch Morgan.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) - (Dir: Robert Aldrich) A secret and mysterious box is found and is opened by Lily/Gabrielle (against the wishes of Hammer) and a bright light is revealed which burns Gabrielle and ultimately burns the house until it explodes. Similar to Belloq opening the Ark and it burning those around it.
X-The Unknown (1957) - (Dir: Leslie Norman) The climax of Raiders has familiar elements from this 1957 film. Doomed characters are "melted"
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - (Dir: Henry Levin) Similar to the Barks comic books that came out the same year...Professor Oliver Lindenbrook (Mason) is running from a gigantic boulder and is carried through caves/tunnels by mass rush of water. A ray of sunlight through a crevice guides Mason on his journey, the right path. Indy is guided by a ray of sunlight in the map room with the Staff of Ra.
North by Northwest (1959) -(Dir: Alfred Hitchcock)
Yojimbo (1961) - (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
Train, The (1964) - (Dir: John Frankenheimer)
Nevada Smith (1966) - (Dir: Henry Hathaway) Indiana Jones
Quatermass and the Pit (1967) - (Dir: Roy Ward Becker) The end of this film inspired the ending for Raiders. Roney tells Quatermass to, "look away, don't look at it" as the Note: Julian Glover (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) stars, see the Last Crusade reference below.
C'era una volta il West (Once Upon a Time in the West) (1968) - (Dir: Sergio Leone) Well, there is the fly incident, one planned, one not. Jack Elam and Paul Freeman both have fly problems only Jack Elam's scene is planned. There's also the whole worn in look of the surroundings and the focus upon the entire setting, not just on the actors.
THX 1138 (1971) - (Dir: George Lucas) I've heard that the flying wing had this number painted somewhere on its body, but I've yet to find it.
Duel (1971) - (TV) (Dir: Steven Spielberg) Indy looks through the mirror of the Nazi military truck, what he sees in the other truck behind him, but you cannot see a driver. (Weaver) does the same thing looking in his rear view mirror with the devil truck following behind him.
Lost Horizon (1973) - (Dir: Frank Capra) The DC-3 plane exterior footage in Raiders (Indy and Marion flying across Asia) is from Lost Horizon.
Hindenburg, The (1975) - (Dir: Robert Wise) Near the very end of Raiders there is a shot of the Washington Monument, this scene was taken from The Hindenburg.
Star Wars (1977) - (Dir: George Lucas) The call letters on the 1933 UBF-2 Waco airplane are OB-CPO, references to Obi-Wan and C-3PO (see also 'Other Influences' below). C-3PO and R2-D2 are seen behind Indy and Sallah as they lift the Ark from it's resting place in the Well of Souls. Also, if you look closely to the Ark ceremony scene you can see the dome of R2-D2 being used as a lampshade to a light at the top of the post that Indy and Marion are tied to.
Das Boot (1981) - (Dir: Wolfgang Petersen) Not really a reference but a prop commonality. The sub used in Das Boot was also used in Raiders.
King Soloman's Mines/Allan Quatermain (1885) (H. Rider Haggard) Believed to be the template on which the character of Indiana Jones was based.
Carl Barks' Disney Ducks/Uncle $crooge comics (Late 50's) - (Carl Barks):
The Prize of Pizarro~1959 (June/August) -  Poisoned darts in Raiders is the Tunnel of Spears in Pizarro.  Indy is chased by the giant stone boulder in Raiders and in Pizarro it's the giant stone boulder at the Bridge of the Roaring Skull Cracker.  In Temple of Doom Indy, Willie and Short Round narrowly escape a torrent of water coming through the caves of the underground mine by running clear of the flow at the mouth of the cave. In Pizarro it's the ducks that duck out of reach of the water by the very same method.
 In Last Crusade it's the giant blade that decapitates those who don't know the secret which is the Sickle of the Short Haircut in Pizarro.  Another is the 'leap of faith' Indy (Last Crusade) has to take in order to save his father, with Pizarro it's the Chasm of the Leap for Life. Funny how both Indy and Donald have a Scottish father/uncle.
The Ghost of the Grotto~ Indy meets the old knight (several hundred years old) guarding the grail and Donald Duck meets an old Conquistador (several hundred years old)
Note: Disney seemed to return the favor with Indiana Jones references with Duck Tales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp~1990
 Belzoni (1778 - 1823) - Indiana Jones was very loosely based on circus strongman, showman, grave-robber turned archeologist (actually, more of an Egyptologist plunderer), Giovanni Battista Belzoni. While there's no physical resemblance in the two, there is the rival/French connection. Belzoni's arch rival/enemy was the French consul general, Bernardino Drovetti. Indy's arch rival/enemy was a French archeologist named Rene Belloq. In fact Belzoni was once ambushed by a band of Arabs hired by his French enemy and Belzoni had to escape, in what we'd now see as an Indiana-Jones type maneuver.
 Peruvian Aircraft - The OB prefix on the 1933 UBF-2 Waco airplane used in Raiders also refers to the registry letters on Peruvian airplanes, for example: OB-1749. OB is the foreign registration code (national identity markings) for Peru (it's in Peru where Indiana Jones finds the temple that holds the golden idol). Note: this registration code is for Ford Tri-Motor planes.
 Marion Ravenwood - Marion came from the grandmother of Lawrence Kasdan's wife and Ravenwood comes from Ravenwood Court (in Los Angeles, California)
 Indiana - Indiana was the name of George and Marcia Lucas's dog, a huge malamute (visually, Chewbacca was based on this very same dog)
 HMS Pinafore - A British Tar (sung by John Rhys-Davies as Sallah) is from this Gilbert & Sullivan musical.
 Jock's NY Yankees baseball cap and his pet snake 'Reggie' - Who was a fan of the Yankees?? Jock (Sorenson), who piloted the 1930's WACO plane that flew Indy to safety from Belloq and the Hovitos, wore a New York Yankees baseball cap and has a pet snake named Reggie on board...
It was late September of 1980 when shooting Indy's scenes in Kauai, Hawa'ii (filling in for "Peru"), began. It was also during this time (late Sept early Oct) that Reggie Jackson had hit his 407th career home-run and was helping the Yankees clench a 4th AL East title.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Casablanca (1942) - (Dir: Michael Curtiz) Both Rick and Indy wear a white tuxedo in the respective clubs making almost identical entrances.
Gunga Din (1939) -
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Stagecoach (1939) (Dir: John Ford. Based on part of Guy de Maupassant's 1880 anthology, Boule de Suif (Ball of Fat) and Ernest Haycox's 1937 short story Stage to Lordsburg appearing in Collier's Magazine) This film marked Ford's first use of Monument Valley in his films. Ford, like many others, found the Valley fascinating and loved its inescapable epic beauty. Last Crusade was filmed in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah
Quatermass and the Pit (1967) - (Dir: Roy Ward Becker) Colonel Breen (Glover) gets killed in a manner which is very similar to Donovan's death in Last Crusade. Notes: Julian Glover plays Donovan in Last Crusade and also General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)