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

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Main Article
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
The battle continues...
Directed By Irvin Kershner
Written By George Lucas
Screenplay By George Lucas, Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan
Cast Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Frank Oz
Produced By Gary Kurtz
Film Editing By Paul Hirsch
Cinematography By Peter Suschitzky, BSC.
Music By John Williams
Studio

Lucasfilm

Country

United States

Language

English

Release Date

May 21, 1980

Runtime

127 Minutes

Rating PG
Distributed By

20th Century Fox

Budget $25,000,000
Gross $538,375,067

Overview

Plot

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away; the Empire has launched a fierce counterstrike towards the Rebel Alliance in retaliation for their destruction of the "Death Star". Their relentlessly pursuit has forced the rebels to take sanctuary on the remote ice planet of Hoth.

During a extended scouting patrol, Luke Skywalker is surprised by a monstrous wampa creature. Although wounded, he is able to slay the creature but is stranded without food or shelter from the plummeting temperatures. In a delirium, he is contacted by the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi who tells him to seek out the last Jedi Master, Yoda on the planet Dagobah to complete his training as a Jedi Knight.

But not even the frozen wastelands of Hoth is enough to shield the rebels from the tenacious Darth Vader who seeks to capture Luke Skywalker and bring him over to the Dark Side. As the Empire assaults Hoth Base, Luke Skywalker is separated from his friends; Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3-PO, and Princess Leia and is able to escape detection, traveling to the swamp planet of Dagobah to find the unassuming Jedi Master and undergoes the harsh training of a Jedi.

His friends however are not as adept in evading the Empire and they are pursued by the Imperial Starfleet and troubled by a malfunctioning hyperdrive and surprisingly, both Han and Leia are drawn closer to one another. Ultimately, Han decides to seek assistance from an old friend, the scoundrel Lando Calrissian. Unfortunately, they have been tracked by the bounty hunter Boba Fett and are instead captured and imprisoned by Darth Vader who brutally tortures them in order to draw Luke to them.

Sensing his friends' pain and suffering, Luke breaks off from his training under Yoda despite advice from both Yoda and Kenobi.

Meanwhile, Vader intends to entrap Luke in a form of suspended animation via a carbonite freezing chamber and elects to test it on the hapless Han Solo. His test is successful and he dismissively relinquishes the block of carbonite and Solo to Boba Fett who intends to bring him to Jabba the Hutt who has a long standing bounty on Solo's head.

Drawn into a trap, Luke engages into a fierce lightsaber duel against Darth Vader who ruthlessly severs Luke's right hand to disarm him and begs him to join him. Luke savagely protests, angrily starting that he would never join the man who murdered his father to which Vader reveals that he is in fact, Luke's father!

Taken aback and horrified, Luke chooses to fling himself down an airshaft to escape and is rescued by Lando Calrissian and the others thanks to Leia receiving a telepathic plea for help from Luke and flee into hyperspace.

Afterwards, as Luke is recuperating and being fitted with a cybernetic hand to replace his lost limb, he and Leia watch as Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca take off on a quest to track down Boba Fett and rescue Han Solo.

Cast

Production

Reception

Originally released simply as The Empire Strikes Back with "Episode V" in the opening scroll credits as Star Wars had not been retitled as "Episode IV: A New Hope" at this time. The Empire premiered on May 17, 1980 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as part of a children's charity event. It subsequently had a limited release to 880 theaters in 70mm prints before a wider release to 1,195 theaters nationwide in 30mm.

Upon its opening debut, The Empire Strikes Back grossed approximately $10,840,307 and shot to the top movie slot where it remained the next three weeks before dropping down to 3rd place before reclaiming its 1st place rank for the next eight weeks before dipping down to 2nd place. In total, The Empire Strikes Back earned $209,398,025 nationwide and $247,900,000 worldwide.

The movie originally received mixed reviews from critics, many of them proclaiming that it was a major breakthrough in special effects and filmmaking but criticized its plot as it didn't seem to have a beginning nor a definitive ending to it. However other critics disagreed as they believed that Lucas fully intended for this to be the "middle of the book" movie and it subsequently earned a 96% "Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes,

Fans however vigorously disagreed with the mixed reviews and were overwhelmingly positive over the film and over the decades, critics have come to agree that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars franchise film and one of the greatest movies ever made for its startling revelation of Luke Skywalker's parentage at the climax. Darth Vader's quote has become a familiar bit of pop culture even though it is frequently misquoted as "Luke, I am your father," instead of "No. I am your father."

The Empire won the 1981 Academy Awards for Best Sound Mixing and the Special Achievement for Best Visual Effects and was also nominated for Best Original Score and Best Production Design.

External Links

Trailer

Star Wars- The Empire Strikes Back Trailer 30th Anniversary (HD)02:25

Star Wars- The Empire Strikes Back Trailer 30th Anniversary (HD)

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