Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Reviews

Top Critic
Charles Champlin
Los Angeles Times
June 29, 2015
Another richly imaginative, engrossing and spectacular motion picture from the redoubtable George Lucas.
Top Critic
Arthur Knight
Hollywood Reporter
June 29, 2015
The Empire may not top Star Wars, but it certainly makes one look forward to whatever new surprises George Lucas and his band of cinematic wizards can conjure up for us.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
June 29, 2015
The younger actors are now more confident.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Earnest Leogrande
New York Daily News
April 30, 2015
A spectacular piece of work that carries the new "Star Wars" tradition forward.
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Gerald Clarke
TIME Magazine
August 13, 2008
In many ways the new film is a better film than Star Wars, visually more exciting, more artful and meticulous in detail.
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James Harwood
Variety
March 4, 2008
The Empire Strikes Back is a worthy sequel to Star Wars, equal in both technical mastery and characterization, suffering only from the familiarity with the effects generated in the original and imitated too much by others.
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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader
May 30, 2007
Irvin Kershner directed the actors this time around, and without the benefit of Lucas's personal affection they seem stiffer, more clenched.
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John O'Connell
Time Out
January 26, 2006
An extended ricochet from one incendiary set-piece battle to another which still finds time to attend to plot, pace and character.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Judith Martin
Washington Post
January 22, 2002
The total effect is fast and attractive and occasionally amusing. Like a good hot dog, that's something of an achievement in a field where unpalatable junk is the rule.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
It is a visual extravaganza from beginning to end, one of the most visionary and inventive of all films.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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David Ansen
Newsweek
January 1, 2000
The Empire Strikes Back is a technological triumph, a cornucopia of intergalactic tchotchkes.
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Peter Stack
San Francisco Chronicle
January 1, 2000
The balance between action and mysticism in Empire provides fascinating energy.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 1, 2000
A superior motion picture!
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
January 1, 2000
In the glory days of science fiction, critics wrote about the 'sense of wonder.' That's what The Empire Strikes Back creates in us
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Vincent Canby
New York Times
January 1, 2000
I found myself glancing at my watch almost as often as I did when I was sitting through a truly terrible movie called The Island.
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Gary Arnold
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
A dramatic illustration of the continued technical brilliance and leadership of the Lucas production team.
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
January 1, 2000
The most classic in its style, design and narrative.
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Sean Means
Film.com
January 1, 2000
Star Wars made my eyes pop out when I first saw it in 1977!
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Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune
January 1, 2000
It balances bloodshed with charm, spectacle with childlike glee. It's a near flawless movie of its kind.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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John Hartl
Film.com
January 1, 2000
For many Star Wars fans, this second installment is the best of the George Lucas trilogy: a dark, ultimately melancholy, even philosophical episode that has no triumphant happy ending.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
May 21, 1980
The storytelling is the series' best, with a zingy balance of drama, humor, and Deep Thoughts.
Full Review | Original Score: A