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

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |  19 May 1999 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 438,439 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 3,485 user | 290 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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Title: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 57 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jar Jar Binks (voice)
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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

Taglines:

One Truth, One Hate See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

19 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace  »

Filming Locations:

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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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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Lucas asked Lawrence Kasdan to write the script (and possibly for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) as well), but he turned it down because he thought with Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucas's relationship to the movies had taken one step back and that he alone should take responsibility and make exactly the movie he wanted to make. See more »

Goofs

R2-D2 plugs a hose into the ship to get the shield generator working again when the group is running the blockade to get off of Naboo, but in the next shot it is gone. 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 opening logo for 20th Century Fox is static (to match the opening of Episodes 4, 5 and 6), instead of the animated 3-D logo used in Fox films at the time. The Fox logo also fades out halfway through the fanfare, and the final flourish is played over the Lucasfilm logo. Modern Fox films keep the company logo on-screen throughout the entire fanfare. See more »


Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Tremendous Disappointment!
25 May 1999 | by (Irvine, California) – See all my reviews

I have been a 'Star Wars' fan since first seeing it back in 1977 at the age of thirteen. I've seen 'A New Hope' at least twenty times, 'The Empire Strikes Back' about a dozen, and 'Return of the Jedi' more than once. I've read many of the novels and to this day still collect toys and action figures. I spent eight hours in line for tickets and a seat, finally seeing 'The Phantom Menace' on the first day at 3:00 AM. I desperately wanted to like it, and made every attempt to make allowances and keep an open mind.

But I couldn't do it. It was just too pathetic.

Had this movie been made by someone else, I might not be so critical. But George Lucas has always insisted that cutting-edge effects are secondary to a good story. Too bad someone close to him doesn't remind him of this. I've heard Lucas say he hates to write. Well, it shows. Most scenes are just tedious, obligatory filler material between spectacular effects sequences. Rather than illustrate character through action and behavior, the script delegates that task to other characters to say aloud.

Even though the first movies appealed to both children and adults, many defend 'The Phantom Menace' by saying it was made just for kids. But I find it hard to imagine children caring about trade disputes. And the level of violence is more suitable for teens and adults. Besides, how will these children in the audience react in a few years when their hero 'Ani' grows up, turns evil and kills everyone?

Perhaps George Lucas' biggest crime is his attempt to explain the Force in scientific terms. This not only contradicted what had been established in the other films, but it eliminated the one thing that distinguished 'Star Wars' from standard science fictions films - an element of fantasy.

Although all the archetypes of the original are here: a wide-eyed youth, a wise mentor, an alien sidekick and a royal damsel in distress, this time it doesn't work. Keen characters and witty dialog have been replaced by potty humor and pratfalls. This will be the last 'Star Wars' film I ever see.


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