After many repeated Pan and Scan TV showings a few days ago I managed to see the original panavision version of the classic British war movie 633 squadron. The thing that immediately struck me was the similarity between the attack on the Norwegian fjord and the attack on the death star in Star Wars. Many others apparently have the same opinion. But what about the scores? Has Ron Goodwin's classic had an influence on the John Williams classic? Not quite sure about this. However, it seems to me the two cantina band pieces are striking similar to public house jazz and the music for the TIE fighter attack is strikingly similar feel to the main theme of 633 squadron. Just my opinion. Anyone have any ideas?
Nobody 'noticed' the similarity between Star Wars space fights with footage from old war films-it was freely acknowledged in every documentary and book on the making of the movies-there are even scenes of the montages shown side by side for comparison.
And no, beyond being action movies with orchestral scores there is no great similarity musically IMO.
The attack sequence in 633 Squadron (1964) is pretty much a rough copy of the attack from The Dam Busters (1955). George Lucas was very clear that he was influenced by The Dam Busters and I believe that he used parts of it in his rough cut. The 1955 film was not scored during the attack, which I think was a good choice. But Leighton Lucas used an inspiring march by Eric Coates which is in the styles of Sir Edward Elgar and Sir William Walton. I don't think that there is any doubt that John Williams' Imperial March is influenced by the same composers.
Any influence by Ron Goodwin is minimal or nonexistent.
BTW: Peter Jackson is still planning to remake The Dam Busters. I hope that he also uses the Coates march and the Lucas theme.