Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 396 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Three years after the events of "Star Wars," Imperial forces continue to pursue the Rebels. After the Rebellion?s defeat on the ice planet Hoth, Luke journeys to the planet Dagobah to train with Jedi Master Yoda, who has lived in hiding since the fall of the Republic. In an attempt to convert Luke to the dark side, Darth Vader lures young Skywalker into a trap in the Cloud City of Bespin. In the midst of a fierce lightsaber duel with the Sith Lord, Luke faces a startling revelation. (20th Century Fox) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Technical virtuosity and entertainment ingenuity.
  2. 100
    It balances bloodshed with charm, spectacle with childlike glee. It's a near flawless movie of its kind.
  3. 100
    The best of three Star Wars films, and the most thought-provoking. After the space opera cheerfulness of the original film, this one plunges into darkness and even despair, and surrenders more completely to the underlying mystery of the story. It is because of the emotions stirred in Empire that the entire series takes on a mythic quality that resonates back to the first and ahead to the third. This is the heart.
  4. Reviewed by: Chris Gore
    It was incredible to see what is arguably the best of the Star Wars films, on the big screen again. However, I do not believe that any of the minor changes make the film any better. [Special Edition]
  5. Reviewed by: Bob Stephens
    This is the bluest film you'll ever see. The haunting color resounds throughout Empire like a sustained, melancholy chord...Empire is essential viewing for lovers of science fiction. [Special Edition]
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    A darker, richer, and more elaborate film than the original; it suffers most from being just what it is: a middle chapter with no real ending. [Special Edition]
  7. 40
    Mainly it's marking time: the characters take a definite backseat to the special effects, and much of the action seems gratuitous, leading nowhere.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 68
  2. Negative: 1 out of 68
  1. Jan 7, 2012
    One of the few sequels that surpasses the original in every way, Empire Strikes Back is one of the closest examples to a perfect film that there is, and anyone who disagrees is either an imbecile or (and most likely this) has formed a biased opinion that Star Wars is a nerd series that they are above (so an imbecile). Expand
  2. Jul 25, 2011
    The best Star Wars movie! It takes a movie that seemed to have perfect characters with perfect interaction face reality as the movie took a turn towards the dark side(excuse the pun). We get the most memorable faces of the franchise. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Han Solo, and even Yoda. This is where Star Wars went from being a fantasy story and became a story to be loved by those of all ages Expand
  3. Aug 1, 2012
    Still one of the best movies ever made, even though the original is better. The only complaint I could have is that Luke is not whiny enough and the Dagobah scenes are kinda boring, but overall an extremely good movie. Expand
  4. Aug 14, 2013
    The Empire Strikes Back is an amazing film. It has likeable characters and engaging story and is topped off by a fantastic presentation consisting of a great score and special effects that still hold up flawlessly even thirty years later. Not only that but it surpasses the original creating one of those rare sequels that is better than the first one and is the best of the franchise. On top of that this is one of those rare films that I have no problems with at all. My only gripes are the changes made in later versions of the film but those I can easily overlook. Alterations aside this is pretty much a perfect film that I have no problems with making this not only my favorite Star Wars movie but one of my favorite films of all time. I’ve watched the movie dozens of times and I am probably going to keep watching it for many years to come. Expand
  5. Dec 19, 2013
    one of the best films of all time, the best star wars film, amazes me that critics gave this a 78. definitely a master piece. darth vader is the best movie character of all time Expand
  6. Sep 26, 2010
    I have almost complete praise for this movie. I have to praise the wide variety of locations used in the movie,especially Hoth and The Degobah System. Yoda is more excitable than in the prequel trilogy which isn't necessarily a bad thing and C3PO produces some great one liners. This is a great movie. Expand
  7. Feb 16, 2013
    Ok, it looks like I may be on my own here. and I love the star warts, but The Empire Strikes Back is definitely the worst one. It's set in space, but one of the planets has snow. Eh, there's no snow on other planets. That's a BIG mistake. Hand Solo and Luke Skywalker are apparently bessie mates but they don't spend any screen time together. That's a bit like watching a Lethal Weapon movie, but while Riggs is out shooting criminals, Murtagh stays in the office filing paperwork. Then it turns into a romance movie for Hand Solo while Skywalker learns to be a Jedi from a little green boy. Then it all culminates in a sword fight and a BIG REVEAL that we already knew from episode 3, two movies earlier. What a mess. A big step down from The Star Wars Holiday Special. Expand

See all 68 User Reviews

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