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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |  19 May 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 470,043 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 3,514 user | 299 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

Two Jedi Knights escape a hostile blockade to find allies and come across a young boy who may bring balance to the Force, but the long dormant Sith resurface to reclaim their old glory.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 58 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jar Jar Binks (voice)
C-3PO (voice)
Yoda (voice)
Boss Nass (voice)
Andy Secombe ...
Watto (voice) (as Andrew Secombe)


The evil Trade Federation, led by Nute Gunray is planning to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to confront the leaders. But not everything goes to plan. The two Jedi escape, and along with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks head to Naboo to warn Queen Amidala, but droids have already started to capture Naboo and the Queen is not safe there. Eventually, they land on Tatooine, where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon is curious about the boy, and sees a bright future for him. The group must now find a way of getting to Coruscant and to finally solve this trade dispute, but there is someone else hiding in the shadows. Are the Sith really extinct? Is the Queen really who she says she is? And what's so special about this young boy? Written by simon

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every generation has a legend. Every journey has a first step. Every saga has a beginning. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

19 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace  »

Box Office


$115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$64,810,970 (USA) (21 May 1999)


$474,544,677 (USA) (1 June 2012)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)|


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Steven Spielberg visited the stage at London during set building when he was shooting Saving Private Ryan (1998). See more »


In the scene where Qui Gon is cutting through the door aboard the trade federation ship, two destroyer droids roll along the corridor towards them. Both droids are seen to deploy blue energy shields as they unfold; however, when Obi-Wan makes his comment about them having said shields, the camera cuts back to a brief shot of the two droids, during which the droid nearest the camera is seen re-deploying its shield. See more »


[first lines]
Qui-Gon Jinn: Captain.
Radiant VII captain: Yes, sir?
Qui-Gon Jinn: Tell them we wish to board at once.
Radiant VII captain: [to communication device] With all due respect, the ambassadors for the Supreme Chancellor wish to board immediately.
Nute Gunray: [on view screen] Yes, of course. As you know, our blockade is perfectly legal and we'd be happy to receive the ambassadors.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »


Referenced in Robot Chicken: President Hu Forbids It (2009) See more »


The Arrival at Tatooine and The Flag Parade
Written by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Less Jar Jar, More Darth Darth
14 June 1999 | by See all my reviews

I feel taken. There is no kinder way to put that. Preparing to see the prequel to some of the most epic films that have been made, I, along with most of the world, became excited at the prospect of a new chapter in the saga. A new chapter that promised to have both the charm and aura of the old while incorporating the new technology of the day. However, instead of the addition of new digital techniques to the epic story, we have the REPLACEMENT thereof.

Take, for instance, the idea of a completely digital character. In the words of Ian Malcolm, Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park, "Your scientists were so concerned with whether they could do it that they didn't stop to think if they should do it." Granted, Jar Jar ButtMonkey would have been far less intrusive (say, only as much as a proctological exam) were he not so abrasive and his voice less like the experience of simultaneously chewing aluminum foil and scraping your nails across a blackboard while a band of dwarven accordionists march in clockwise fashion around you playing an atonal interpretational montage of Bette Midler's greatest hits.

As far as the rest of the story goes, yes, the Pod Racing and the Light Sabre fight scenes are impressive, but they are not the story. They are simply moments. What we are left with after that is a weak attempt to recapture the audience that IV, V, and VI enthralled. On point, Lucas dialogue has always been ponderous, at best (revisit some of Princess Leah's lines from the originals if you disagree). In truth, he doesn't fail to return on that promise, but the lines do not come off with the same charm that the first movies held; indeed, how could they when the lines themselves are delivered with two-by-four accuracy? I submit the first scene between Amidala and Anakin in the shop of the slave-keeper. The scene is contrived, and the dialogue hollow. The characters are not talking to each other, they are making speeches at one another. Similarly, the scene that should make even the most ardent supporter of Lucas nod a tired nod of acceptance that, yes, this scene needed work: "I care for you." Any who have seen the movie know the scene I refer to and can hardly deny the malcontrusion of character and story that forced that line from Anakin prematurely in his relationship with Amidala.

I could go on: why try to scientifically explain the ability to use the Force; why demystify what had once been referred to as an "ancient RELIGION"? I don't mind the allegorical reference to the Christ story (anyone who could not see the parallels in the original movies was asleep), but I do not need the thinly vieled reference to mitochondria that serves as the basis for the most potent power in the universe. Just let it be. Let it be felt rather than explained.

My only hope, this film's only saving grace is that it is just a setup for II and III. However, maybe I have already seen II and III and don't know it. Maybe if I use the Lucas Plot-Planner 2000 I can come up with what is going to happen in those films before they are released...

Opening: Sinister scene showing ultimate evil-doers planning their ultimately evil things. Spice With: Chase scene (speeders, pod racers, etc.) Include: Yoda Climax: Light sabre duel (Vader and Obi Wan, Vader and Luke, Obi Wan and Darth Maul) or Death Star of some reincarnation.

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Examples of bad dialogue gerhajdu
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What does it mean to "bring balance to the force"? fyfytj

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