Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Film Production

Committee Chair

Justin Daering

Second Committee Member

Asad Farooqui


This video essay analyzes the early filmography of George Lucas as a critique of auteur theory. Dissecting THX 1138 (1971), American Graffiti (1973), and Star Wars (1977) based on their autobiographic qualities, this short documentary investigates the advantages and disadvantages of viewing a complicated cinematic work through the lens of an individual author. Analysis focuses on Lucasfilm founder George Lucas and his reputation for controversially altering his works through special edition re-releases, calling into question the sanctity of theatrical releases and the confines of a film auteur. Does a filmmaker, particularly one whose films are drawn from personal experience, have the right to restrict access to their original works by substituting theatrical releases with director endorsed re-edits? Through filmic analysis, Escaping Modesto posits that the tendency of Lucas to revise his films is in itself what defines his auteurism. George Lucas is a revisionist as an author, with a history of outspoken support for authorial freedom over theatrical purism.