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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 470,178 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 3,515 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


One Truth, One Hate 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?


C3P0 was originally only supposed to appear in scenes set in and around the slave quarters. During post production George Lucas decided to optically add the droid to several outside scenes. See more »


After the transport is destroyed in the hangar (near the beginning of the film) the scene cuts to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. The sound of their lightsabers being activated occurs before they even draw them from their belts. 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

Jabba The Hutt - Himself See more »


References Batman (1989) See more »


Duel of the Fates
Written by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A solid but flawed addition to the Star Wars Saga
18 July 1999 | by (Dublin) – See all my reviews

Well, after waiting 16 years for his next installment, George has given us "The Phantom Menace". As a Star Wars fan I got what I expected - another chance to immerse myself in the Star Wars universe - a film whose sole purpose is essentially escapism. But as a movie fan, and judging it as I would any other movie, I frankly feel mildly disappointed. Any movie that's made can always be improved upon but I feel that this SHOULD have been better. Firstly the good points :

1) The visuals are stunning - a lot of love and hard work has quite obviously gone into the effects and the people involved can quite rightly be proud of their work

2) All the performances by the main cast were good. Particularly Natalie Portman and Pernilla August.

3) The Pod Race was exciting and amusing.

4) The final sabre duel was quite fantastic : Darth Maul prowling up and down like a caged tiger was a particularly excellent touch - it added real tension and anticipation to the scene.

5) The music as always was magnificent. The Star Wars saga would lose much of its charm and intensity without Williams' scores.

And now the negatives :

1) The pacing was too fast in parts! The first half hour of the film just left me cold - you weren't led into the story. You were dumped straight into the action. On paper I'm sure the first half hour looked fantastic but I found myself sitting in the theatre going - 'hey, great special effect shot there!' I wasn't involved in the story and the scenes lacked tension and danger.

2) The film only truly started for me on reaching Tatooine. I finally got a chance to get to know the characters. However there still was not enough character development in the film as a whole. For example, Obi Wan had nothing to do or say throughout the movie except flash his light sabre around from time-to-time. Who is Obi Wan??? After seeing the film I'm none the wiser. And the final sabre duel (good as it was) would have been infinitely better had the relationship between Qui-Gon and Obi Wan been explored past the mere mentor-apprentice motif. The final sabre duel lacked emotional involvement as a consequence.

3) Why did they make Jar-Jar so incomprehensible?? I found myself becoming annoyed at having to strain to understand his nonsensical utterings! (Having said that, he wasn't as annoying as I'd been led to expect) Why George used easily identifiable racial accents for his alien characters completely puzzled me. It just shows a lack of imagination!

4) Not enough Darth Maul.

5) What's with the biological exposition on the Force! Was that necessary? The first three films pointed to links between the Force and genetics but I don't need tiresome cold scientific explanations as to the Force's origin, thank you very much! It just ruins the mystique.

6) Can we have less of the mindless gaffes that occur in the final battle scenes (You know the ones that save the day!) Its an insult to the audience's intelligence (In a full theatre I swear I didn't see a single soul who looked under sixteen! - has George forgotten about the original fans). In the original trilogy there was none of this cringeful embarrassing material (Ewoks excepted!!)

Well I think I'll stop there. To summarise : a good movie that could have been a whole lot better. Perhaps there was too much story to cover in two hours? In which case the plot should have been shortened on the adage that "less is more". I've always thought that episode one was always going to be the lamest of the new films so I await the next installment with anticipation and hope .....

295 of 476 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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