The best books about the life and films of George Lucas

Why am I passionate about this?

I have turned my childhood fascination with Hollywood into an academic career. For four decades I have explored, not least through extensive archival research, all aspects of the history of American cinema – films, filmmakers, studios, production histories, marketing campaigns, critical reception, audiences. Among other books, I have published three volumes in the British Film Institute’s Film Classics series (on Buster Keaton’s The General and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey). I have focused on some of the most highly acclaimed, most commercially successful, most ardently loved, and most influential movies of all time. The starting point for my work is always my passionate engagement with particular movies.


I wrote...

American Graffiti: George Lucas, the New Hollywood and the Baby Boom Generation

By Peter Krämer,

Book cover of American Graffiti: George Lucas, the New Hollywood and the Baby Boom Generation

What is my book about?

In the early 1970s, at a crisis point in his early career as a filmmaker, George Lucas drew on his own youth in small-town California to make a movie about a group of young people facing all sorts of challenges during one night at the end of the summer of 1962. Released in 1973 as American Graffiti, this low-budget and star-less production by a filmmaker whose only previous feature had been a box office flop, became one of the highest-grossing and most highly acclaimed films of all time in the United States. My book tells the story of how this happened, taking into account both Lucas’s biography and dramatic changes, across the 1960s and 1970s, in Hollywood and in American society at large. 

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas

Peter Krämer Why did I love this book?

There have been so many books about George Lucas’s most famous creation, the Star Wars saga, and about the man himself.

As far as biographical accounts are concerned, Dale Pollock’s volume (initially published in 1983, and updated in 1990 and 1999) has to be given a lot of credit for being the first to properly introduce this unique filmmaker, whose life and career have been so full of unexpected twists and turns, to the world – and to me!

Pollock’s well-researched and very readable book set a high standard for all the writers following in his footsteps.

By Dale Pollock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skywalking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Filled with revelations about the origins and making of American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi, this only full-length biography of filmmaker and cinematic visionary George Lucas has been updated with a substantial new chapter that discusses the revamped Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, the Star Wars prequels, the filming of the first installment, and the controversial ways in which Lucas's approach and success continue to alter the landscape of the film industry.


Book cover of George Lucas: A Life

Peter Krämer Why did I love this book?

Published in 2016, four years after George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm Ltd., and with it the Star Wars franchise, to Disney, this is a worthy successor to Dale Pollock’s groundbreaking biography (first published in 1983 and last updated in 1999).

Brian Jay Jones brings that book’s story of an extraordinary filmmaker, who showed surprisingly little interest in movies during his early youth and then spent several years focusing on experimental short films before changing Hollywood with a series of huge blockbusters and newly formed businesses, to what appears to be its conclusion: since 2012 Lucas has largely withdrawn from filmmaking.

The book is not only very informative but in places, especially in the last chapter, also quite moving. 

By Brian Jay Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked George Lucas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

George Lucas by Brian Jay Jones is the first comprehensive telling of the story of the iconic filmmaker and the building of his film empire, as well as of his enormous impact on cinema. At once a biography, a business manual, and a film history, George Lucas will, for the first time explore the life and work of a fiercely independent writer/director/producer who became one of the most influential filmmakers and cultural icons - a true game changer.

On May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining, independent science fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theatres. Its distributor -…


Book cover of George Lucas: Interviews

Peter Krämer Why did I love this book?

Apart from presenting George Lucas in his own words, this book offers a concise introduction to his career, including a chronology and a filmography.

The interviews collected herein go from a May 1971 article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the young filmmaker whose first feature, the rather abstract Science Fiction drama THX 1138, had just come out (and flopped!), all the way to a conversation with the Los Angeles Times in January 1999 about the forthcoming release of the first Star Wars prequel Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Despite dramatic changes in Lucas’s status as a filmmaker (and businessman) across this period, the interviews reveal striking continuities, notably his striving for maximum control over his films and business affairs.

By Sally Kline (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked George Lucas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A director, producer, and writer, George Lucas is the power behind ""The Force."" The son of a conservative small-town businessman, he grew up to become arguably the most identifiable and popular filmmaker in the history of the medium. Yet unlike his more publicly engaged contemporaries, Lucas rarely grants reporters an audience. This first book of Lucas's interviews affords fans and students of film and science fiction a rare opportunity. Editor Sally Kline collects conversations from the reticent director spanning Lucas's entire career, from the making of his first film, 1971's THX-1138, through American Graffiti, the triumph of the Star Wars…


Book cover of The Cinema of George Lucas

Peter Krämer Why did I love this book?

This lavishly illustrated large-format volume takes the reader from George Lucas’s childhood and early youth to his years at film school and his subsequent Hollywood career as a director, writer, and producer, with a particular emphasis on the production histories of his key films.

With unprecedented access to countless interviewees and archival materials, Hearn brings George Lucas and the making of his films to life.

Apart from telling compelling stories, he also reproduces a wide range of documents for the reader’s perusal so that the book may serve as an archive in its own right (and I have certainly used it precisely in this way in my own research).

By Marcus Hearn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cinema of George Lucas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Acclaimed filmmaker George Lucas reinvigorated the science-fiction genre more than 25 years ago with Star Wars, one of the greatest epics and cultural icons of its generation. He has enthralled audiences with his grand vision, mythic narratives, and groundbreaking visual effects ever since, and he remains a pivotal figure in American cinema: Star Wars: Episode II (2002) was the first film to be shot entirely with state-of-the-art digital cameras, and Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith is set for release on May 19, 2005. Marcus Hearn draws on exclusive interviews-as well as unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm archives-to…


Book cover of Star Wars

Peter Krämer Why did I love this book?

This short but very informative and stimulating book in the BFI Film Classics series was first published in 2009, with a new edition coming out in 2020.

Brilliantly illustrated with screenshots from Star Wars and some of the films George Lucas’s most famous production was influenced by, Will Brooker combines a meticulous analysis of the style, story, and themes of Star Wars with important details about the film’s production history and illuminating references to Lucas’s previous films and to the Star Wars saga as a whole.

By Will Brooker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Star Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The release of Star Wars in 1977 marked the start of what would become a colossal global franchise. Star Wars remains the second highest-grossing film in the United States, and George Lucas's six-part narrative has grown into something more: a culture that goes far beyond the films themselves, with tie-in toys, novels, comics, games and DVDs as well as an enthusiastic fan community which creates its own Star Wars fictions. Critical studies of Star Wars have treated it as a cultural phenomenon, or in terms of its special effects, fans and merchandising, or as a film that marked the end…


You might also like...

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku at summer’s end. But Rafi and Roxana grow too fond of each other to let go easily, and worse still, they soon become enmeshed in a much larger storm of prejudice and violence between fae and humans.

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…


Topics
  • Coming soon!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in making movies, film, and filmmaking?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about making movies, film, and filmmaking.

Making Movies Explore 38 books about making movies
Film Explore 231 books about film
Filmmaking Explore 14 books about filmmaking