Gilbert Taylor Was The Cinematographer for Star Wars: A New Hope

Some may think the original Star Wars movie was simply George Lucas getting lucky by mistake.

A director merely directs (ha!) others to do their jobs as they are directed. It just so happens those “others” are incredibly talented people in their own right who can contribute wonderfully to the films they are a part of.

Case in point, Gilbert Taylor, who was the cinematographer for A New Hope. If you thought the movie “looked” cool, he was one of the people that made it so.

Gilbert died last on August 13th, 2013. Here's what was posted on the official Star Wars website about the man. It appears he lived an exemplary life with some admirable achievements:

Star Wars cinematographer Gilbert Taylor passed away on Friday at his home on the Isle of Wight. He was 99. From the iconic opening shot of a massive Imperial Star Destroyer chasing the Rebels' Tantive IV to the setting of twin suns on Tatooine, Taylor played a large role in establishing the visual identity of the entire series.

“Gilbert's work truly stands the test of time,” says George Lucas. “I had long admired his work on films such as A Hard Day's Night and Dr. Strangelove, and I had the privilege of working with him on Star Wars. He was a true expert in his craft. Gilbert's inspired work will live on in the many films he contributed to throughout his long career.”

Taylor's credits include several classics, such as Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965), and Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972). He remains a deeply respected figure in the film.

For more on Taylor and his work on Star Wars, visit the Star Wars Blog.

Here's what Taylor said about Star Wars:

“I am most happy to be remembered as the man who set the look for Star Wars. I wanted to give Star Wars a unique visual style that would distinguish it from other films in the science fiction genre. I wanted Star Wars to have clarity because I think space isn’t out of focus, also I was mindful that there was an enormous amount of process work to be done in America with [John] Dykstra after we had finished shooting in England, and a crisp result would help this process.

The cinematography was specially designed by myself so that these huge dark spacecraft could be illuminated to contain all the action. I literally tore the sets to pieces and inserted huge quartz-like panels which would give George Lucas freedom to shoot in all directions quickly without re-lighting.

My special light screens used 7,000 photofloods on large dimming apparatus. This powerful pattern made a huge impression on the audience. I was honored to be awarded the Golden Globe from the American Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films for 1977 for my outstanding photography of Star Wars. I also received a BSC award. Although my career is at its end, I still communicate with Star Wars fans from all over the world with autographs and photographs. In addition to this, I have my paintings of my impressions of Star Wars.”

I love how the Stars Wars website references “respectable” artists that Gilbert had worked with. He played a major part in producing some great movies, but The Omen was awesome! And as for The Dam Busters and Dr. Strangelove

Here is the complete list of the movies Taylor worked on:

  • The Guinea Pig (1948)
  • Seven Days to Noon (1950)
  • Circle of Danger (1951)
  • High Treason (1951)
  • The Yellow Balloon (1952)
  • Single-Handed (1952)
  • The Weak and the Wicked (1953)
  • Trouble in the Glen (1953)
  • Front Page Story (1954)
  • The Dam Busters (1955)
  • The Silken Affair (1957)
  • Woman in a Dressing Gown (1957)
  • The Good Companions (1957)
  • Ice Cold in Alex (1958)
  • She Didn't Say No! (1958)
  • No Trees in the Street (1958)
  • Alive and Kicking (1959)
  • Operation Bullshine (1959)
  • Tommy the Toreador (1959)
  • Bottoms Up (1960)
  • Sands of the Desert (1960)
  • Petticoat Pirates (1961)
  • The Rebel/Call Me Genius (1961)
  • The Full Treatment / The Treatment (1961)
  • A Prize of Arms (1962)
  • It's Trad, Dad! / Ring-a-Ding Rhythm (1962)
  • Hide and Seek (1963)
  • The Punch and Judy Man (1963)
  • Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  • A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  • Ferry Cross the Mersey (1965)
  • The Bedford Incident (1965)
  • Repulsion (1965)
  • Cul-de-sac (1966)
  • Theatre of Death / The Female Fiend (1966)
  • Work Is a Four-Letter Word (1967)
  • The Man Outside (1967)
  • A Nice Girl Like Me (1969)
  • Before Winter Comes (1969)
  • A Day at the Beach (1970)
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth / Macbeth (1971)
  • Frenzy (1972)
  • Soft Beds, Hard Battles / Undercovers Hero (1974)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • Star Wars (1977)
  • Damien: Omen II (1978)
  • Dracula (1979)
  • Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979)
  • Escape to Athena (1979)
  • Flash Gordon (1980)
  • Green Ice (1981)
  • Venom (1981)
  • Losin' It (1983)
  • Lassiter (1984)
  • Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1984)
  • The Bedroom Window (1987)
  • Don't Get Me Started (1994)

Taylor also worked on several episodes of The Avengers and Breaking Up.

Absolutely iconic. May he rest in peace.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Paul Rose Jr has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for InfuzeMag and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing or editing on Wealth of Geeks, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.