Stormtroopers were the undeniably awesome foot soldiers of the empire in the original star wars trilogy.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an Empire was kicking ass, taking names and blowing shit up. At the forefront of this empire were the soon to be iconic soldiers called "stormtroopers." Their duties included searching for droids, being shot by untrained "combatants," and succumbing to cheap Jedi mind tricks. When they weren't doing these things, they were busy intimidating the galaxy with sheer numbers, and dead triangular eyes. Emperor Palpetine's foot soldiers really only managed two admirable feats in the original trilogy: overtaking the Rebel base on Hoth, and shooting princess Leia in the arm (and most of that was shirt sleeve). Just about all respect fled from the casual fan's body when these soldiers of the Empire were outdone by the galactic equivalent of a Teddy Ruxpin army during the battle of Endor.
Designed by Ralph McQuarrie, the Imperial Stormtrooper, much like many Hollywood henchmen, was to be devoid of traits and emotions that the audience could sympathize with, so as to make the choice between good vs. evil as easy as possible. Further non-canon elaboration of the suit would indicate that the stormtrooper would be extremely hard to kill due to blaster resistant armor that also protected against harsh conditions and even the vacuum of space for up to 20 minutes. Of course, this is easily debunked by the opening scene of A New Hope (and the entire trilogy for that matter), where single shots were enough to send any stormtrooper to his demise--an interesting premise that is investigated (mocked) by this TFN fan film.
...unless they're in direct combat with the protagonists of the film. Stormtroopers were fairly decent in battle and were known for being good marksmen as Obi Wan states in the title of this section. Of course,
due to a plot hole stormtroopers were rather ineffective against the main characters. This is a recurring phenomenon amongst henchmen in many movies and has been dubbed The Stormtrooper Effect. No matter how notoriously dangerous an antagonistic group may be, the regime cannot seem to injure/kill anyone who may be vital to the plot.
Immune to death.
For instance, after Obi Wan allows himself to fall to Vader, a teary eyed Luke Skywalker was standing still in the middle of a hanger in the Death Star, yet dozens of these typically "precise" sharpshooters were unable to land a single shot on the soon to be Death Star destroyer. Creator George Lucas defends this by claiming "The only reason these people are the main characters is because they are the ones that are so skilled," pretty much bullshit when you consider that Luke was a farm boy with half a day's worth of Jedi home school under his belt when he went meandering around the Death Star, an Imperial base housing over 30,000 highly trained, highly skilled stormtroopers.
Although the armor and design seemed rather useless in the original trilogy, it has proven to be useful here on Earth, mostly for Halloween, comic book conventions and just making regular everyday tasks absolutely hilarious.
Some have even misinterpreted the design as fashion...
Casual Imperial Footwear.
Mark Ecko was a Star Wars nerd.
Embarrass your dog.
Decorate your "little pony."
And lest we forget the sex appeal bestowed upon us by the Empire...
Stormtroopers were the faceless minions of the Empire that bumbled their way onto the silver screen in 1977 and stayed with us for years to follow. Despite the scrutiny and jokes, they remain iconic for the simple fact that even after 33 years, they still rock ass.