1977 Restored Version.
Has all the hallmarks of a debut feature: ballsy, passionate, intriguing, more than a little rough around the edges. Like in Star Wars, Lucas tosses audiences head first into this nutso world without a lot of context to ground yourself. The story is ultimately pretty simple – someone who is a cog in a vast, totalitarian machine revolts, the machine tries to squash him, but he ultimately breaks free – but that story is bolstered by wild imagery and fantastical ideas that are introduced with an offhandedly shrug. If Lucas hadn’t been consumed by Star Wars, the THX Expanded Universe might have been equally rich for mining.
And as much as I love Star Wars it is a shame that this weird, fiery, hippie auteur only existed for about a decade. Maybe he didn’t have anything else like this left in him after Star Wars, but boy, I’d have liked to see him try.