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

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



Critic Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In 1977, George Lucas released Star Wars, the ultimate sci-fi popcorn flick-turned-pop-culture myth machine. It quickly became the biggest money-making film of all time and changed the shape of the film industry. After two successful sequels (1980's The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi) that extended the story of the first film, Lucas took some time off to produce movies for others, with mixed success. In 1999, Lucas returned to the Star Wars saga with a new approach -- instead of picking up where Return of the Jedi left off, Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace would be the first of a trilogy of stories to trace what happened in the intergalactic saga before the first film began. Here, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson); Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become known as Darth Vader, is just a nine-year-old boy. When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle the matter, but when they arrive on Naboo they are brought to Amidala (Natalie Portman), the Naboo queen, by a friendly but opportunistic Gungan named Jar Jar. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan plan to escort Amidala to a meeting of Republic leaders in Coruscant, but trouble with their spacecraft strands them on the planet Tatooine, where Qui-Gon meets Anakin, the slave of a scrap dealer. Qui-Gon is soon convinced that the boy could be the leader the Jedis have been searching for, and he begins bargaining for his freedom and teaching the boy the lessons of the Force. The supporting cast includes Pernilla August as Anakin's mother, Terence Stamp as Chancellor Valorum, and Samuel L. Jackson as Jedi master Mace Windu. Jackson told a reporter before The Phantom Menace's release that the best part about doing the film was that he got to say "May the Force be with you" onscreen. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: PG (for sci-fi action/violence)
Genre: Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
Directed By:
Written By: George Lucas
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 16, 2001
Box Office: $43.5M
20th Century Fox - Official Site


Liam Neeson
as Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor
as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman
as Queen Amidala/Padme
Jake Lloyd
as Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid
as Sen.Palpatine/Darth ...
Ray Park
as Darth Maul
Pernilla August
as Shmi Skywalker
Terence Stamp
as Chancellor Finis Val...
Brian Blessed
as Boss Nass
Steven Spiers
as Capt. Tarpals
Ahmed Best
as Jar Jar Binks
Hugh Quarshie
as Captain Panaka
Ralph Owen
as Ric Olie
Adrian Dunbar
as Bail Organa
Warwick Davis
as Wald/Gimy Man/Specta...
Silas Carson
as Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-M...
Celia Imrie
as Bravo 5 Fighter Pilo...
Liz Wilson
as Eirtae
Gin Clarke
as Adi Gallia
Jerome Blake
as Rune Haako
Benedict Taylor
as Bravo 2 Fighter Pilo...
Clarence Smith
as Bravo 3 Fighter Pilo...
Dominic West
as Palace Guard
Greg Proops
as Fode-Beed--Beed's He...
Scott Carpurro
as Fode-Beed--Fode's He...
Khan Bonfils
as Saesee Tinn
Mark Coulier
as Aks Moe
Ray Griffiths
as Power Droid/Sebulba
Madison Lloyd
as Princess Ellie
Geoffrey Pomeroy
as General Ceel
Alan Ruscoe
as Plo Koon/Bib Fortuna...
Christian J. Simpson
as Royal Naboo Pilot
Hassani Shapi
as Eeth Koth
Ralph Brown
as Ric Olie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Critic Reviews for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

All Critics (207) | Top Critics (57)

What I can't comprehend is why the political details had to be so tedious and abstract. Will the kids of our nation and the world truly be titillated by trade wars and the spectacle of a do-nothing Senate?

Full Review… | November 16, 2015
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Look, I wanted to love The Phantom Menace, too. I was an adolescent boy and would enjoy being one again for a couple of hours. But the movie has a way of deflating all but the most delusional of hopes.

Full Review… | November 16, 2015
Top Critic

Mr. Lucas is not without a certain technocratic sagacity, but I don't think he's communicating even with the young as astutely as he once did.

Full Review… | November 16, 2015
New York Observer
Top Critic

Character and personality take a back seat on this ride.

Full Review… | November 16, 2015
Boston Globe
Top Critic

There was a soul - a spiritual momentum - to the original trilogy that this new film lacks.

Full Review… | November 20, 2015

Do kids really want to follow a plot about intergalactic trade embargoes?

Full Review… | November 16, 2015
Times [UK]

Audience Reviews for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

It's not a bad movie, just heavily flawed. Its acting and dialogue can be cringe-worthy, but its high points still make it an enjoyable cinematic experience. It is overall a visually-dazzling film with a stunningly complex plot and heart-pounding action sequences.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer


Filled with horrific dialogue, laughable characters, a laughable plot, ad really no interesting stakes during this film, "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" is not at all what I wanted from a film that is supposed to be the huge opening to the segue into the fantastic Original Trilogy. The positives include the score, the sound effects, and most of the visual effects, which provide some great eye candy for audiences, but if that's all the film has, then what the hell is the film's purpose? I don't have anything else nice to say, and I could rant for days, so I am stopping here. This film is a complete mess in every way.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Three Stars!!

MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Quotes

– Submitted by Griffyn S (10 months ago)
– Submitted by Will P (11 months ago)
– Submitted by Magnus G (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Baurushan J (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace on our Movie forum!