Down 2 this week

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

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |  19 May 1999 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 469,078 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 3,512 user | 298 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.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $19.99 on Amazon Video

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé, while Obi-Wan investigates an assassination attempt on the Senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi.

Director: George Lucas
Stars: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Three years after the onset of the Clone Wars; the noble Jedi Knights are spread out across the galaxy leading a massive clone army in the war against the Separatists. After Chancellor ... See full summary »

Director: George Lucas
Stars: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to make Vader return from the dark side of the Force.

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

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.

Director: Irvin Kershner
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Famed archaeologist/adventurer Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones is called back into action when he becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Indiana Jones must follow in his father's footsteps and stop the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody
Spider-Man (2002)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe
Jurassic Park (1993)
Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Adventure | Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985... without interfering with his first trip.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson


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


The saga begins Spring 1999 See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



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
See  »

Did You Know?


The special effects teams creating the podrace studied NASCAR crash footage extensively to assure accuracy in the crashes. See more »


Before Anakin shoots down the Destroyer Droids in the Theed hangar with the Naboo Starfighter, his mouth is shown moving before he says, "No, wait, here it is" while referring to the starfighter's laser cannon trigger. 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 »


Augie's Great Municipal Band and End Credits
Written by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A perspective after all the hype has died down
29 October 2005 | by (Baltimore, MD) – See all my reviews

Lucas may have problems as a director and writer, but I've always thought that those flaws are balanced by his great storytelling ability. The problem with "The Phantom Menace" is that he simply has no story to tell. The film merely adds an introductory chapter to a story that has already been told, and stretches it out into a two-hour movie. It is no accident that prequels of this kind are rare. They are very difficult to make properly. And apparently he's just not a sophisticated enough filmmaker to pull it off.

For one thing, this project is limited by the fact that anyone familiar with the first trilogy knows the story's outcome, and it therefore lacks some of the suspense associated with a gradually unfolding saga. More importantly, however, this situation leaves Lucas with very little freedom as a storyteller. It also encourages him to gloss over key events; because their outcome is a foregone conclusion, he forgets to bring them to life.

For example, we know there will eventually be a romance between Anakin and Padme. So Lucas has the two characters meet here and--surprise, surprise--they seem to like each other. Their developing friendship isn't portrayed that clearly, and their motivations for becoming close aren't explained. Because Lucas fails to make scenes like these believable, we can't help being conscious of how he's manipulating the plot in his effort to connect the two trilogies. Another good example of this problem is Anakin's portrayal as a potential Jedi. There doesn't appear to be anything about this kid remotely out of the ordinary, even though the other characters keep talking like there is. Our only reason for thinking he's special is that the plot requires it.

If the story fails to be engaging, it is because we never see the important events. Lucas makes a fatal error in not showing what's happening on Naboo, the small planet whose capture is the focus of the plot. Numerous atrocities are supposedly being committed against the planet's inhabitants, but we only know about this because the characters on screen refer to the events, usually rather woodenly.

The deadpan performances are a problem in themselves, but they only highlight our lack of involvement in the story. Think of Han Solo sweating in fear, then think of the emotional vacuums passing for characters in this film. Whenever any of the characters do express emotion, as in the scene where Anakin and his mom part, it still seems awfully restrained. Somehow, Lucas manages to keep the emotional reactions of his characters to a minimum, which gives the film an almost mechanical feel.

It's true that "A New Hope" never showed Alderaan's inhabitants, but we still could feel the tragedy of the planet's destruction through the horrified reactions of Princess Leia and Obi Wan. Moreover, there were many other involving events which we witnessed directly, such as the slaying of rebels at the beginning; the capture and torture of the princess; and the murder of Luke's foster parents. Furthermore, the major plot elements were intriguing in and of themselves. They weren't there merely to show us how they were to be linked to later events, which seems to be the case with the new film.

I suspect that Lucas was not as concerned in the first trilogy with what had to happen later in the story and was therefore able to focus his attention on the events at hand. The weakest segment was "Return of the Jedi," which had the task of bringing the story to an end. Only then did Lucas start to show signs of forcing plot points. In "The Phantom Menace," he gets so bogged down in the task of bringing his story from point A to point B that he ends up with only the bare bones of a plot, and none of it comes alive.

This is especially true of the characterization. In the old trilogy, characters like Yoda and Han reveal distinct personalities in their first few minutes on screen. This film goes for more than two hours and the characters, including the familiar ones, come off vague and nondescript. We aren't given much of a chance to experience their personalities in the way they interact. We must take Qui Gon's word for it when he describes Obi Wan as "headstrong." What's most odd is that the cartoons seem better developed than the humans. The scenes where Qui Gon negotiates with the birdlike slave-owner Watto are amusing and well-done--probably the movie's best scenes aside from the stunning action sequences--but they can't hold a candle to the constant interactions throughout the first trilogy.

One thing I cannot do is accuse the film of lacking creativity. The design of the creatures, the technologies, and the planets is impressive. Watching the film is sort of like reading a children's book that isn't very good but abounds with beautiful illustrations. There is certainly a "wow" factor in the movie's visuals, but the effect of it is short-lived.

I get irked when I hear fans talk as though the "Star Wars" movies were never about anything beyond special effects. While the inventive visuals are part of what made the originals so revolutionary, they're not what made the films so fun to watch. And in no way can they explain the trilogy's continuing popularity today. After all, many of the original effects look primitive by today's standards, and their novelty has certainly worn off. Only an enduring and compelling storyline could have allowed the first three films to become the classics they're almost universally acknowledged to be.

501 of 654 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Examples of bad dialogue gerhajdu
those who hate prequels don't have a case thoth-ibis-1
My main problem with this movie. !!!deleted!!! (63041829)
Why leave Anakins Mom? Vince70
The Jar-Jar Binks hate gerhajdu
What does it mean to "bring balance to the force"? fyfytj

Contribute to This Page