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

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



Critic Consensus: Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.

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Movie Info

After the destruction of the Death Star, Imperial forces continue to pursue the Rebels.
PG (for sci-fi action violence)
Action & Adventure , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:

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Mark Hamill
as Luke Skywalker
Harrison Ford
as Han Solo
Carrie Fisher
as Princess Leia Organa
Alec Guinness
as Ben `Obi-Wan' Kenobi
David Prowse
as Darth Vader
Billy Dee Williams
as Lando Calrissian
Peter Mayhew
as Chewbacca
Kenny Baker
as R2-D2
James Earl Jones
as Darth Vader
Frank Oz
as Yoda
Jeremy Bulloch
as Boba Fett
John Hollis
as Lobot, Lando's Aide
Jack Purvis
as Chief Ugnaught
Des Webb
as Wampa Snow Creature
Kathryn Mullen
as Performing Asst. for Yoda
Clive Revill
as The Emperor
Kenneth Colley
as Admiral Piett
Julian Glover
as Gen. Veers
Michael Sheard
as Admiral Ozzel
Michael Culver
as Capt. Needa
John Dicks
as Other Imperial Officer
Milton Johns
as Other Imperial Officer
Oliver Maguire
as Other Imperial Officer
Bruce Boa
as Gen. Rieekan
Denis Lawson
as Wedge (Rogue 3)
Richard Oldfield
as Hobbie, Rogue 4
John Morton
as Dak, Luke's Gunner
Ian Liston
as Janson, Wedge's Gunner
John Ratzenberger
as Maj. Derlin
Jack McKenzie
as Deck Lieutenant
Jerry Harte
as Head Controller
Norman Chancer
as Other Rebel Officer
Norwich Duff
as Other Rebel Officer
Ray Hassett
as Other Rebel Officer
Brigitte Kahn
as Other Rebel Officer
Burnell Tucker
as Revel Officer
Ralph McQuarrie
as General McQuarrie
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News & Interviews for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Critic Reviews for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (24)

The Empire Strikes Back is the ultimate in fantasies, a visual wonder and a movie that should be recommended highly if only because it makes you feel good.

Full Review… | December 15, 2015
Denver Post
Top Critic

Despite a couple of drawbacks, the Empire Strikes Back is an immense amount of fun -- big and splashy and breathtaking in its display of cinematic genius by a huge group of marvelously talented people.

Full Review… | December 14, 2015
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Another richly imaginative, engrossing and spectacular motion picture from the redoubtable George Lucas.

Full Review… | June 29, 2015
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 29, 2015
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

The younger actors are now more confident.

Full Review… | June 29, 2015
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

A spectacular piece of work that carries the new "Star Wars" tradition forward.

Full Review… | April 30, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Not only the best of the franchise, but one of the greatest films ever made. It is simply without flaws.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

A darker, more mature, and more sophisticated Star Wars than the original. That doesn't necessarily make it a better film, but it does make for a more involving plot. That's really the biggest improvement from A New Hope to Empire. The expanded universe and characters really increased the drama and stakes. Other improvements like the special effects, acting, and set design really bring this universe to life. There's also better action sequences, including a rousing finale between Luke and Darth Vader. Vader's increased role in the film is a welcome highlight as well. He's absolutely the driving force of the series. Empire showed exactly how to craft a sequel to improve on an already excellent beginning. Unfortunately, Return of the Jedi would be a step down.

Josh Lewis
Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

Startling relationships, dark pasts, and high-octane space battles surround this brilliant sequel to the beloved "Star Wars" film, "A New Hope." The first half of this film is more of the same, with a few new characters and a much better screenplay; However, the second half surpasses it's predecessor in every way. Filled with amazing twists and brilliant dialogue, "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" is arguably better than the original, which is almost impossible for me to decide between, because it is part of a saga that doesn't feel distant from the first at all. With great direction, fantastic writing, and visuals, that, for 1980's is spectacular. Fantastic filmmaking all around!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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