May 20, 1980
2 hours and 4 minutes (124 minutes)
Billy Dee Williams
James Earl Jones
Darth Vader (voice - uncredited)
Boba Fett (voice - uncredited)
Boba Fett (voice - Special Edition)
Performing Assistant for Yoda
Emperor (Special Edition)
General Carlist Rieekan
Derek "Hobbie" Klivian
Rebel Force Head Controller
Imperial Officer (uncredited)
Stormtrooper / Snowtrooper / Rebel Soldier / ... (uncredited)
Holographic Imperial Officer (uncredited)
Officer M'kae (Captain Needa's Communications Officer) (uncredited)
Cloud City Guard (uncredited)
Snowtrooper Gunner (uncredited)
Bossk / Bespin Security Guard (uncredited)
Tiffany L. Kurtz
General McQuarrie (uncredited)
Stormtrooper / Imperial Comms Officer / Rebel Soldier (uncredited)
Echo Base Trooper (uncredited)
Hoth Rebel Commander (uncredited)
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Try not. Do-or do not. There is no try.
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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
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.
Run the slideshow
Saga: Star Wars
Return of the Jedi
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Back to the Future Part II
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring