Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Poster

Parents Guide

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MPAA Rated PG for sci-fi action violence

Sex & Nudity

  • Luke recovers in a medical tank, with only his privates covered.
  • Flirting and kissing between some main characters throughout the movie.

Violence & Gore

  • Lots of mild Science fiction violence throughout.
  • A man is seen in a creature's cave, hanging upside down with a bit of blood on his face. The creature is very briefly seen eating the gory remains of another dead creature. The creature then comes over to the man to kill him, and the man visibly cuts off its arm with his lightsaber. In the Special and subsequent edition of the film, we very briefly see the creature crying out, and a bloody stump where it was injured.
  • A large animal used as a beast of burden keels over and dies due to freezing. Han Solo uses Luke's lightsaber to cut the animal open in order to put Luke inside to keep him from freezing to death. The animal's white fleshy muscle/fat is exposed, but there is no blood.
  • There is a large battle scene near the beginning of the film, where several uniformed combatants are killed onscreen, or are implied to have been killed. In the battle, there are three instances of a laser-firing, gigantic, robotic, elephant-like walking craft (an AT-AT "walker") being brought down and exploding into a fireball, killing its inhabitants.
  • A pilot's wingman is shot dead by a laser blast from inside their fighter craft. He slumps forward, dead. When the fighter is shot down and crashes, an AT-AT "walker" steps on the remains of the ship, including the dead wingman, while the pilot barley escapes before the ship is crushed.
  • The back of a man's horribly scarred head (enough to be bald) is briefly shown.
  • There are two instances whereby Darth Vader telekinetically chokes a man to death. There is no blood, but we see them moan and struggle to breath until they slump over and die. Intense.
  • Upon seeing Darth Vader in the dining hall in Cloud City, Han draws his laser gun and shoots at him, but Vader telekinetically draws the laser bolts to his own hand, using the Force to block/deflect them, before telekinetically pulling the gun out of the man's hand.
  • Han is tortured offscreen, though the very first bits of the treatment (the man being placed face-first into a sparking electric device) are depicted. We hear audible screams from the outside of the closed doorway to the torture room.
  • Han is frozen in a block of a dull-colored metallic substance, and this block is pushed to the floor. The frontal part of the man's figure, especially man's face and hands, while appearing coated in the same substance as the block, can be seen protruding from it. Not violent but intense. Not gory but ugly/horrifying.
  • A number of Imperial stormtroopers are briefly shot with lasers. There is also a scene where Chewbacca knocks a few stormtroopers off a ledge.
  • Chewbacca chokes Lando out of anger and frustration. We see the man strangling and trying to breath. He eventually releases the character.


Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Some implied alcohol use in the Cloud City sequences.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • In the remastered version, there is a potential jump-scare involving the creature. Even the creature's actions can be quite scary as it happens so fast.
  • In another scene, Luke goes into a dark cave where strange animal sounds are heard. He then has a slow motion lightsaber encounter with Darth Vader where he cuts off Vader's head and then sees his own face in the helmet, symbolizing his danger of being corrupted by the dark side of the Force.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Sex & Nudity

  • When Han Solo finds Luke he is put in a tank to recover, some of his body is seen

Violence & Gore

  • Luke's hand is cut off by his opponent in an intense, prolonged lightsaber duel, in which both participants are generally battered and injured.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Luke tries to find Vader during there duel, and Vader jumpscares Luke to catch him off guard
  • The movie ends with the rebels losing, and Han frozen, and Luke losing to Vader. Obviously they win in the next movie, but it's a much more grim ending compared to the 4th movie
  • There's a non-seen torture scene, but you can hear screams.
  • Han Solo is frozen by Darth Vader we don't see him until Star Wars Episode VI Return of the Jedi

See also

Taglines | Plot Summary | Synopsis | Plot Keywords

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