6.5/10
620,174
3,671 user 337 critic

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

Trailer
1:34 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $16.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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.

Director:

Writer:

Popularity
372 ( 86)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 26 wins & 65 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé Amidala, 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 7.6/10 X  

Three years into the Clone Wars, the Jedi rescue Palpatine from Count Dooku. As Obi-Wan pursues a new threat, Anakin acts as a double agent between the Jedi Council and Palpatine and is lured into a sinister plan to rule the galaxy.

Director: George Lucas
Stars: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy a more powerful Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy 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 are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader.

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

Three decades after the Empire's defeat, a new threat arises in the militant First Order. Stormtrooper defector Finn and the scavenger Rey are caught up in the Resistance's search for the missing Luke Skywalker.

Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac
Rogue One (2016)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The daughter of an Imperial scientist joins the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to steal the Death Star plans.

Director: Gareth Edwards
Stars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order.

Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill
Spider-Man (2002)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    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
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father's legacy.

Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow
Iron Man (2008)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Qui-Gon Jinn
... Obi-Wan Kenobi
... Queen Amidala / Padmé
... Anakin Skywalker
... Senator Palpatine
... Shmi Skywalker
... Sio Bibble
... Captain Panaka
... Jar Jar Binks
... C-3PO (voice)
... R2-D2
... Yoda (voice)
... Chancellor Valorum
... Boss Nass (voice)
... Watto (voice) (as Andrew Secombe)
Edit

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:

At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,820,970, 23 May 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$474,544,677

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,027,044,677
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (8 channels)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Theaters receiving the first trailer and posters were warned, in writing, to return them to the distributor (20th Century Fox) on time, or risk not receiving further media, and possibly the film itself. This was done to attempt to prevent the black-market sale of the incredibly popular trailer. See more »

Goofs

In Otoh Gunga (the Gungan city), when Captain Tarpals comes to arrest Jar Jar, the background in the shots of Obi-Wan and Jar Jar doesn't match the background in the previous and following shots. 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

There are no opening credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Honest Trailers: The Emmys (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Anakin's Theme
Composed by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A perspective after all the hype has died down
29 October 2005 | by 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.


606 of 825 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3,671 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial