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Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |  20 June 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 717,625 users   Metascore: 79/100
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After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yoda (voice)
Jeremy Bulloch ...
John Hollis ...
Des Webb ...
Emperor (voice)


After the Rebel base on the icy planet Hoth is taken over by the empire, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO flee across the galaxy from the Empire. Luke travels to the forgotten planet of Dagobah to receive training from the Jedi master Yoda, while Vader endlessly pursues him.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Adventure Continues... See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for sci-fi action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

ITL 609,584,000 (Italy) (11 April 1997)


$290,158,751 (USA) (9 May 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (special edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


To preserve the dramatic opening of the Star Wars movies, George Lucas insisted on moving all the credits to the end of the film. However, although the Writers' Guild and Directors' Guild had begrudgingly allowed this on Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) (because that film wasn't expected to be very successful), they resented the trend being continued on this film. First they tried to pull Empire from release, but were unsuccessful. They then fined Lucas heavily, and tried to fine Irvin Kershner, but Lucas paid all the fines himself (nearly $250,000). Lucas then bitterly dropped his membership in the Writers' Guild, Directors' Guild, and the Motion Picture Association of America, a move that has hindered his hiring choices on later films (see also Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)). See more »


Denis Lawson's name is misspelled as Dennis in the credits, and this was not fixed in the 1997 Special Edition or on the 2004 DVD release. See more »


[first lines]
Luke: Echo Three to Echo Seven. Han, old buddy, do you read me?
Han Solo: Loud and clear, kid. What's up?
Luke: Well, I finished my circle. I don't pick up any life readings.
Han Solo: There isn't enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser. Sensors are placed. I'm going back.
Luke: Right. I'll see you shortly. There's a meteorite that hit the ground near here. I want to check it out. It won't take long.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »


Referenced in Bo Burnham: what. (2013) See more »


Betrayal at Bespin
Written by John Williams
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

All the fun of the original with a much better, darker plot
27 June 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Rebellion has struck an important blow to the power of the Empire by destroying it's Death Star, however the power of the Dark Side of the Force remains strong and continues to hunt the rebellion. While the Rebellion base on Hoth is under treat, Luke has gone to a distant swamp planet to receive further Jedi training from Master Yoda. However the power of the dark side should not be underestimated and many dark truths are revealed as the threat of the Empire looms large.

Following Star Wars was never going to be easy but this is actually better. Empire retains the same characters and the same sense of fun that the first had – the battle on Hoth is just one of THE moments of the series. However what gets added to that is a much darker strand. The Empire is not beaten by the destruction of one ship – it's power is barely dented in fact. This sees some startling revelations (I won't spoil it in case you've been living under a rock!) but also sees significant blows to the rebellion. In fact the ending of this film could not be more different from the end of Star Wars.

Like the recent episode two this follows two strands – the more pedestrian scenes with Luke and Yoda and the more action based scenes with Han and company. The scenes with Yoda add depth to the film and hint at the truth. Meanwhile the other half is a lot more action orientated and has comedy and good new characters such as Bobba Fett. The two work well together and come together well for a great finale. The addition of a dark strand to the film makes it all the better as it can be enjoyed as a story and not just a fun sci-fi film with good effects.

The characters are better here than the first. The strong characters from the first (Han, C3P0 et al) are all still good here. However we also get a much more interesting version of Luke as he continues his journey into becoming a full Jedi. Yoda is a good addition (despite sounding like Fozzie Bear!) and Darth Vader becomes a lot more than just a good villain – we learn his past, a revelation then, but a thing of common knowledge now.

Overall this is as good as Star Wars at it's heart, but the darker nature of the film makes it much better. Where the first one was a victorious uprising this is, as the title suggests, the time in history where the Empire strikes back against the uprising. All the music, characters and things that make Star Wars Star Wars are here and it's simply one of the best of the series to date.

129 of 153 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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