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

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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 claim their old glory.

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 25 wins & 60 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

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The Saga Begins May 19th See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

19 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace  »

Box Office

Budget:

$115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$474,544,677 (USA) (1 June 2012)
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| (8 channels)|

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When fully dressed, and in make-up, Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley resembled each other so much, that even Knightley's mother Sharman Macdonald, who visited the set, had trouble identifying her own daughter. See more »

Goofs

During the final lightsaber battle, the red force fields can be regularly seen opening and closing before Obi-Wan emerges from them. After he does, they cannot be seen or heard opening or closing again. However, the force fields are not necessarily on permanently and may have simply finished a regular or semi-regular cycle when Obi-Wan emerges from them. See more »

Quotes

[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

The last sound heard in the credits is the familiar hiss of Darth Vader. See more »

Connections

Referenced in AniMat's Reviews: Strange Magic (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Different Take
1 March 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I love the original films, probably ANH most of all. If you saw it on it's original release you had a cinema experience unlike any other. There just weren't films like this being made. Sure, it drew on films and books of the past, but nothing had looked or sounded like this.

You have to remember the world we lived in then. Video games were very rudimentary. Even ASTEROIDS was several years in our future. And 2001 was one of the few films to show us convincing views of space travel.

STAR WARS was something new with a capital "N". Audiences loved it. And it changed movies.

By 1999, we'd seen numerous Science Fiction movies, lots of space battles, lots of special effects. And video games had developed a realism that was shocking compared to what we'd had in 1977.

Enter THE PHANTOM MENACE. Not only did this film have to live up to memories of the originals, it also had to compete in an entertainment world that had caught up. Lucas could never create an experience as mind-blowing as he had in the original.

But he was going to try. And he was also going to try to do a few other different things. The nexus of this new thought was Jar Jar Binks. A CGI creation that was also a character. And a type of character never before seen in the SW Universe, a comic relief character. But more than that, a slapstick comic relief character.

In many of the movies that inspired STAR WARS there are such characters. And Lucas wanted to try one in his films.

Well, for most, he failed. Many, or at least the most vocal, hated Jar Jar Binks. And few of these people even credited him for trying something new. They didn't want Lucas' STAR WARS. They wanted their STAR WARS. A STAR WARS, it is important to note, that only exists in their minds.

In addition, he decided to make Anakin a small boy. Another new decision. STAR WARS had never featured a boy character. Again, the fans whined. They didn't like it. They didn't want Lucas to try new things.

But he also gave them what they came to expect. A truly great action set-piece: The pod race. One of the best action set-pieces in the entire series. And he gave them a lightsaber duel unlike any they'd ever seen. But that wasn't enough.

Sadly, had Lucas made a film that was little more than a remake of STAR WARS with Anakin in the Luke role, fans would have been happy. And I think that says more about the limited scope of STAR WARS fans than it does about the talents of George Lucas.

THE PHANTOM MENACE, like all the films in the series, has it's own unique tone and flavor. And though these flavors may not be to everyone's taste, I think in the coming years more and more fans will come to appreciate this film for what it is, rather than what they wish it would be.


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