George Lucas Receives Honorary Palme d’Or From Francis Ford Coppola At Cannes Film Festival; Watch Rapturous Reception

George Lucas Receives Honorary Palme d’Or From Francis Ford Coppola At Cannes Film Festival; Watch Rapturous Reception

Star Wars creator George Lucas was fêted with an Honorary Palme d’Or at this evening’s Cannes Film Festival closing ceremony.

In a poignant moment, Lucas was joined on stage by by his longtime friend, mentor and collaborator, Francis Ford Coppola who presented the award. On Lucas’ arrival, the crowd rose to their feet and gave the filmmaker a rousing five-minute standing ovation.

Coppola said on stage: “Congratulations George, not only are your many friends and I proud of you, but the whole world of cinema is too.” Lucas described the award as a “great honor” and thanked Coppola and the festival.

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Lucas (as has Coppola, whose Megalopolis world premiered in competition) has been in town this week, sitting down for a wide-ranging discussion on Friday.

His relationship with Cannes dates back to his first film, THX-1138, which was selected to be shown in Directors’ Fortnight in 1971. Coppola helped him produce THX 1138 and the pair went on to work together on the Lucas-directed and scripted American Graffiti (1973) and more.

When he was originally announced as the recipient of tonight’s honor, Lucas said, “I have returned to the festival on many occasions in a variety of capacities as a writer, director and producer. I am truly honored by this special recognition which means a great deal to me.”

Said the festival, “From his very first feature, George Lucas staged the themes that are dear to him: science fiction to denounce a society of surveillance, using love to fight fate and conformity, and reversing moral values to challenge the role of good and evil.”

Lucas’ magnum opus set in a galaxy far, far away began with 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, going on to launch a franchise like none other in history and influencing filmmakers around the world. 

The festival called the franchise “A visionary intergalactic odyssey that reinvented the codes of cinematic genres as part of the New Hollywood movement… Star Wars is nothing short of mythology, a study that has fascinated George Lucas since his university days, in the construction of characters and plots and the breadth of its cultural reach.

“Like Tolkien in literature, he imagined a universe, with its geography, populations, languages, moral values and even its vehicles. This exceptional ambition, which initially frightened 20th Century Fox’s producers and led to a grueling post-production period, was nonetheless the recipe for unprecedented success: the film captivated the American crowds and became a worldwide socio-cultural phenomenon, which continues to this day.”

Lucas credited-movies have been to Cannes four times: THX 1138 in 1971, Star Wars, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith in 2005, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008 and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in 2023 (he wasn’t in attendance last year).

Summed Lucas on an axiom of his career earlier this week: “I’m a stubborn guy and didn’t want people telling me how to make my movies.”