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The Empire Strikes Back

"The Star Wars saga continues."

PG 1980-05-20 Adventure 2hr 4m

The epic saga continues as Luke Skywalker, in hopes of defeating the evil Galactic Empire, learns the ways of the Jedi from aging master Yoda. But Darth Vader is more determined than ever to capture Luke. Meanwhile, rebel leader Princess Leia, cocky Han Solo, Chewbacca, and droids C-3PO and R2-D2 are thrown into various stages of capture, betrayal and despair.

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The Empire Strikes Back
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Storyline

The epic saga continues as Luke Skywalker, in hopes of defeating the evil Galactic Empire, learns the ways of the Jedi from aging master Yoda. But Darth Vader is more determined than ever to capture Luke. Meanwhile, rebel leader Princess Leia, cocky Han Solo, Chewbacca, and droids C-3PO and R2-D2 are thrown into various stages of capture, betrayal and despair.

  • Released
    1980-05-20
  • Revenue
    $538,400,000
  • Budget
    $18,000,000
  • Runtime
    2hr 4m
  • Genre
    Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
  • Status
    Released
  • Language
    English
  • imdb-logo
    8.7
  • Production
    Lucasfilm Ltd.

Crew

Irvin Kershner
Director
Leigh Brackett
Screenplay
Gary Kurtz
Producer

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Cast

Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill

Luke Skywalker
Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher

Princess Leia
Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams

Lando Calrissian
David Prowse

David Prowse

Darth Vader
Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew

Chewbacca
Frank Oz

Frank Oz

Yoda (Voice)
Alec Guinness

Alec Guinness

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Jason Wingreen

Jason Wingreen

Boba Fett (voice - uncredited)
John Hollis

John Hollis

Lando's Aide
Jack Purvis

Jack Purvis

Chief Ugnaught
Des Webb

Des Webb

Snow Creature
Kathryn Mullen

Kathryn Mullen

Performing Assistant for Yoda
Marjorie Eaton

Marjorie Eaton

Emperor (uncredited)
Clive Revill

Clive Revill

Emperor (voice)
Kenneth Colley

Kenneth Colley

Admiral Piett
Julian Glover

Julian Glover

General Veers
Michael Sheard

Michael Sheard

Admiral Ozzel
Michael Culver

Michael Culver

Captain Needa
John Dicks

John Dicks

Captain Lennox
Mark Jones

Mark Jones

Commander Nemet
Robin Scobey

Robin Scobey

Lieutenant Venka
Bruce Boa

Bruce Boa

General Carlist Rieekan
Denis Lawson

Denis Lawson

Wedge Antilles
Richard Oldfield

Richard Oldfield

Derek "Hobbie" Klivian
John Morton

John Morton

Dak Ralter
Ian Liston

Ian Liston

Wes Janson
John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger

Major Derlin
Jack McKenzie

Jack McKenzie

Cal Alder
Jerry Harte

Jerry Harte

Rebel Force Head Controller
Norman Chancer

Norman Chancer

Tamizander Rey
Norwich Duff

Norwich Duff

Jeroen Webb
Ray Hassett

Ray Hassett

Tigran Jamiro
Brigitte Kahn

Brigitte Kahn

Toryn Farr
Burnell Tucker

Burnell Tucker

Wyron Serper
Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson

Imperial Officer (uncredited)
Lightning Bear

Lightning Bear

Stormtrooper (uncredited)
Richard Bonehill

Richard Bonehill

Stormtrooper / Snowtrooper / Rebel Soldier / ... (uncredited)
John Cannon

John Cannon

Holographic Imperial Officer (uncredited)
Mark Capri

Mark Capri

Officer M'kae (Captain Needa's Communications Officer) (uncredited)
Martin Dew

Martin Dew

Cloud City Guard (uncredited)
Peter Diamond

Peter Diamond

Snowtrooper Gunner (uncredited)
Stuart Fell

Stuart Fell

Snowtrooper (uncredited)
Doug Robinson

Doug Robinson

Snowtrooper (uncredited)
Tony Smart

Tony Smart

Snowtrooper (uncredited)
Alan Harris

Alan Harris

Bossk / Bespin Security Guard (uncredited)
James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones

Darth Vader (voice) (uncredited)
Mac McDonald

Mac McDonald

Rebel Pilot (uncredited)
Ralph McQuarrie

Ralph McQuarrie

General McQuarrie (uncredited)
Ralph Morse

Ralph Morse

Stormtrooper / Imperial Comms Officer / Rebel Soldier (uncredited)
Terry Richards

Terry Richards

Wampa (uncredited)
Treat Williams

Treat Williams

Echo Base Trooper (uncredited)
Shaun Curry

Shaun Curry

Hoth Rebel Commander (uncredited)
Alan Austen

Alan Austen

Stormtrooper/Snowtrooper
Jim Dowdall

Jim Dowdall

Stormtrooper/Snowtrooper
Tom Egeland

Tom Egeland

Hoth Trooper (uncredited)
Alan Flyng

Alan Flyng

Stormtrooper (uncredited)
Trevor Butterfield

Trevor Butterfield

Imperial Officer / Stormtrooper (uncredited)
Mercedes Burleigh

Mercedes Burleigh

Female Hoth Control Room Tech (uncredited)
Jane Busby

Jane Busby

Ugnaught (uncredited)
Maurice Bush

Maurice Bush

Dengar (uncredited)
Tony Clarkin

Tony Clarkin

Stormtrooper (uncredited)
Mike Edmonds

Mike Edmonds

Ugnaught (uncredited)
Walter Henry

Walter Henry

Rebel Technician on Hoth (uncredited)
Paul Jerricho

Paul Jerricho

AT-AT Driver (uncredited)
Joe Johnston

Joe Johnston

Hoth Rebel (uncredited)
Steven Meek

Steven Meek

Stormtrooper / Chewbacca / Treva Horme / Solomahal (uncredited)
Peter Roy

Peter Roy

Snowtrooper (uncredited)
Stephanie English

Stephanie English

Hoth Rebel Technician (uncredited)
Michael Leader

Michael Leader

Imperial Crewman (uncredited)
Egbert Sen

Egbert Sen

Willrow Hood (uncredited)
Elaine Baker

Elaine Baker

Emperor (uncredited)

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Movie Reviews

Reviews for The Empire Strikes Back
reviewer avatar

A Review by IanBeale 4

Written by IanBeale on 2017-02-16

**Overrated ** An enjoyable film - just not as engaging as parts IV and VI. The argument that Jedi was ruined by little furry creatures i... read more

**Overrated ** An enjoyable film - just not as engaging as parts IV and VI. The argument that Jedi was ruined by little furry creatures is laughable as this instalment features a _little green muppet_. I was expecting Kermit and Miss Piggy to show up. Once we get the impressive Hoth battle over with the film meanders and crawls along - padding out its running time with predictable romantic sparring and an extended and dull sequence on Degobah. Things finally pick up again at Cloud City but not enough to justify the worship this film receives. I much prefer _Return of the Jedi_ to this one - at least Return of the Jedi gets the emotional juices flowing. This one leaves me as cold as the snow on Hoth. - Ian Beale

reviewer avatar

A Review by mindfroth 10

Written by mindfroth on 2018-01-01

A masterpiece of cinema. The film transcends the franchise, seamlessly combining elements of myth, science fiction, fantasy, war film, roman... read more

A masterpiece of cinema. The film transcends the franchise, seamlessly combining elements of myth, science fiction, fantasy, war film, romance, bildungsroman, epic and tragedy in a way that its sequels have been unable to replicate. It is a move without a moment of fluff. Cut anything and the film would suffer. Story, character, effects, cinematography, music, screenplay, acting, editing and action are all superb. One of the most artistically poignant films ever made. And because its style cannot be replicated, it will continue to appreciate with age. This was a time when George Lucas still had integrity, as evidenced in this 1980 Rolling Stone interview (he has since contradicted much of what he espouses in both word and deed): https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/the-empire-strikes-back-and-so-does-george-lucas-19800612 Here's a blog article shows Empire's cinematic chiasmus, or narrative symmetry: https://dejareviewer.com/2014/05/20/cinematic-chiasmus-the-empire-strikes-back-is-a-perfectly-symmetrical-film/ My favorite version is the Team Negative1 Renegade Grindhouse Edition, an unrestored 35mm scan complete with damage and dust. The Despecialized version is okay too. All official releases are desecrations. People may say that Star Wars is dead, but The Empire Strikes Back is deathless.

reviewer avatar

A Review by John Chard 10

Written by John Chard on 2019-07-21

It's a dark time for the rebellion; and us the audience as well. Luke, Leia and Han are fighting with the rebels in the hope of defeating... read more

It's a dark time for the rebellion; and us the audience as well. Luke, Leia and Han are fighting with the rebels in the hope of defeating the Imperial forces. But Luke gets a calling to the planet Dagobah, where under the tutelage of Jedi Master, Yoda, he hopes to become a Jedi himself, but that also brings him closer to his, and Leia's, destiny. Lets tell it as it is, The Empire Strikes Back is a better film than Star Wars, not as impacting of course, but most definitely better. Technically, in story telling and in tone, it holds up well today and certainly warrants the amount of times it crops up in best sequels debates. That it's not actually a sequel is irrelevant, it is of course the filler in a wonderful sci-fi sandwich, because as second instalments go, Empire has few peers. With Empire Strikes Back we get all the whizz bang adventure strewn heart of Star Wars, but George Lucas (stepping aside for Irvin Kershner to direct) has also fleshed the story out with a serious dark tone that oddly becomes a bedfellow to the romantic fun on offer, where new and engaging characters (and creatures) add spice to this wonderful fantastical broth. Aided by the considerable writing talent of Leigh Brackett (The Long Goodbye, Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep), Lucas took the bold and ingenious step of giving the bad guys the upper hand, in fact it could be argued that he was taking a considerable risk with his ending. Forcing his viewers to wait for the final chapter (three years later), after tantalisingly setting us up with a corker of plot twist (one which is still to this day as potent as it was back on release), Lucas pulled perhaps one of the cheekiest carrot dangles in cinema history. Though more famed for its dark undertones, Empire is for sure still a very fun movie, C3PO goes into camp overdrive and Han Solo ups his quip quota by some margin. Then of course there is Yoda, in himself a comedic joy. The action sequences beg for repeat viewings, a battle on the ice laden planet Hoth is a marvel and the choreography for Skywalker's fight with Darth Vader is out of the top draw. But ultimately it's with the dark side that the picture excels. Complex and amazingly posing moral quandary's, The Empire Strikes Back is quite an experience, one that will forever hold up to repeat viewings for this particular viewer. 10/10

reviewer avatar

A Review by Wuchak 7

Written by Wuchak on 2020-07-26

_**Fun, imaginative, iconic space adventure with a kick-axx cast**_ "Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) was the anticipated fol... read more

_**Fun, imaginative, iconic space adventure with a kick-axx cast**_ "Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) was the anticipated follow-up to the initial mega-hit blockbuster from 1977. It’s an epic, but simplistic space fantasy about an evil empire and the noble souls who dare to fight it. The main cast features Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and the voice work of James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), Frank Oz (Yoda) and Clive Revill (Emperor). This is an amusing, inventive, iconic space adventure with a stellar cast. While I prefer the adult-oriented space science-fiction of Star Trek, I can’t deny that this space fantasy grants you an entertaining two hours with lots of sci-fi action, space ships, a snowy planet, asteroid caves and mysterious swamps. I also appreciate the mind-powers angle. It doesn’t hurt that Fisher is in her prime and easy on the eyes, not to mention Ford and Williams are at their charismatic best. Even the more obscure Hamill shines in his boyish youth. Then there’s RD-D2, C-3PO and Chewbacca. The film runs 2 hours, 7 minutes. GRADE: B

reviewer avatar

A Review by r96sk 9

Written by r96sk on 2021-02-01

Terrific, again. <em>'The Empire Strikes Back'</em> follows up on the greatness of <em>'Star Wars'</em> with a highly enjoyable sequel. T... read more

Terrific, again. <em>'The Empire Strikes Back'</em> follows up on the greatness of <em>'Star Wars'</em> with a highly enjoyable sequel. This one feels like a big moment in the franchise, at least to someone who doesn't know what's upcoming, as we get sizeable moments alongside some cool character reveals. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher continue to impress in their respective roles, as does James Earl Jones. Elsewhere, Billy Dee Williams and Frank Oz make for strong additions. There are, once again, fun roles for Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker. I'd say its predecessor has aged better - though that's not to say this film looks even the slightest bit bad, as it still looks fantastic throughout. The plot is as great as before, as is everything else really - namely the music, for one. I think I prefer the 1977 film over this, but there's barely anything separating the two in my thoughts to be honest. Both are awesome!

reviewer avatar

A Review by GenerationofSwine 10

Written by GenerationofSwine on 2023-01-14

So, I was almost 1 when this movie dropped and, well, it started the opening night tradition. OK, well, how to do this? I guess we will s... read more

So, I was almost 1 when this movie dropped and, well, it started the opening night tradition. OK, well, how to do this? I guess we will start with the hate. I like to address the hate in movies, especially ones that are well regarded and loved. Now, I'll excuse it for the people that just don't like Star Wars. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But then there are the people that really hate Empire because of...reasons. And those reasons are Revenge of the Sith. I'm sorry, panning Empire because of loyalty to the prequels--misplaced as it is--doesn't make I-III any better. It just makes you petty. Now, why its loved and, I'll admit, I am one of those fanboys that really do love this movie. For starters, Empire went dark. It was the really the episode that the good guys lost and, that made it unique among, well, among just about every movie not made in the 1970s. I guess that is what made the 70s such a wonderful time for movies. We could use a little more of that. We could use a lot more of that. We use a lot more gritty in cinema. And, we could use a lot more "lived in" Everything looks too clean. Empire had that. And then it had that big, legendary, reveal that made all those kisses between Luke and Leia utterly wrong once the second big reveal hit in 1983...which explained that look Han gave Leia when she told him in the next installment. Moving on... We have the Battle of Hoth, which, yeah, nerd awesomeness with kind of a WWI trench warfare v tanks feel and a WWII Evacuation of Dunkirk feel with the rebels on the run and the Empire forcing its way across the galaxy with brute strength. And that prolonged time on the Falcon, well, that was just brilliant for character development and, incest blocking. So, really, honestly, there was way too much to love not to put Empire on the throne.

reviewer avatar

A Review by Geronimo1967 9

Written by Geronimo1967 on 2023-06-07

I have reviewed this film before but I thought that it deserved an extra special mention. Yesterday, this was the first film I saw in a cine... read more

I have reviewed this film before but I thought that it deserved an extra special mention. Yesterday, this was the first film I saw in a cinema since we were all confined to barracks - and boy what a cracker. Where to start with the superlatives? It's fantastic - right from the opening bars of John Williams' score; on through the three mini-adventures rolled into one, we are treated to a marvellous feast of well-written, snappily directed, entertaining action packed adventure. Picking up from the first film, our rebels are holed up on a frozen planet being relentlessly pursued by Darth Vader. When one of his probes discovers their icebound base, they've got to get the hell out of there. Now sure, the CGI suffers a bit after 40 years; and can someone please tell me what the point of these lumbering Imperial Walkers is? They are like metal polar bears that constantly trip over their own shoelaces, but aside from those most minor of criticisms we have a great story; characters that we care about (personally, I'm an huge Vader fan) and who develop plausible, credible personalities; the detailed animations of "Yoda" are superb to see again on the big screen and it builds excellently to a sword fight the like of which has not been seen since "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938). It is, I think, better then the first film and for my money is the best sci-fi film ever made. Made for the big screen - and brilliantly made at that!

Read Full Review (The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewer.)
A Review by Ian Beale

**Overrated ** An enjoyable film - just not as engaging as parts IV and VI. The argument that Jedi was ruined by little furry creatures is laughable as this instalment features a _little green muppet_. I was expecting Kermit and Miss Pig...

reviewer avatar

A Review by IanBeale 4

Written by IanBeale on 2017-02-16

**Overrated ** An enjoyable film - just not as engaging as parts IV and VI. The argument that Jedi was ruined by little furry creatures is laughable as this instalment features a _little green mupp...

read more
reviewer avatar

A Review by mindfroth 10

Written by mindfroth on 2018-01-01

A masterpiece of cinema. The film transcends the franchise, seamlessly combining elements of myth, science fiction, fantasy, war film, romance, bildungsroman, epic and tragedy in a way that its sequel...

read more
reviewer avatar

A Review by John Chard 10

Written by John Chard on 2019-07-21

It's a dark time for the rebellion; and us the audience as well. Luke, Leia and Han are fighting with the rebels in the hope of defeating the Imperial forces. But Luke gets a calling to the planet ...

read more
reviewer avatar

A Review by Wuchak 7

Written by Wuchak on 2020-07-26

_**Fun, imaginative, iconic space adventure with a kick-axx cast**_ "Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) was the anticipated follow-up to the initial mega-hit blockbuster from 1977. It’s a...

read more
reviewer avatar

A Review by r96sk 9

Written by r96sk on 2021-02-01

Terrific, again. <em>'The Empire Strikes Back'</em> follows up on the greatness of <em>'Star Wars'</em> with a highly enjoyable sequel. This one feels like a big moment in the franchise, at least t...

read more
reviewer avatar

A Review by GenerationofSwine 10

Written by GenerationofSwine on 2023-01-14

So, I was almost 1 when this movie dropped and, well, it started the opening night tradition. OK, well, how to do this? I guess we will start with the hate. I like to address the hate in movies, es...

read more
reviewer avatar

A Review by Geronimo1967 9

Written by Geronimo1967 on 2023-06-07

I have reviewed this film before but I thought that it deserved an extra special mention. Yesterday, this was the first film I saw in a cinema since we were all confined to barracks - and boy what a c...

read more