User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 986 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 50 out of 986

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User Reviews

  1. Jul 25, 2011
    10
    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
  2. Sep 24, 2011
    9
    Simply the best Star Wars movie created in the franchise. "The Empire Strikes Back" focuses not only on the graphics, but also a deep, profound story that pertains ready in movie quotes. Bravo!!!
  3. Aug 9, 2011
    10
    This is one of the best films of all time. It's way darker than A New Hope and even more brilliant. Everything about it is genius. It's thought-provoking, too. Not to mention "The Scene" near the end.
  4. Sep 26, 2010
    9
    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.
  5. Apr 25, 2011
    10
    The best film in the star wars saga because it's filled with action and has one of the most shocking scenes ever when you know happens. Yoda is first met in this film the best Jedi of them all.
  6. Apr 7, 2012
    10
    This is easily the best science fiction film ever created and I can praise it to no end. The Empire Strikes Back is also one of those rare sequels that exceed the original in terms of excellence which is a testament to it's brilliance.
  7. Aug 30, 2010
    10
    Possibly the greatest science fiction film of all time, The Empire Strikes Back put the spirit of adventure and drama back into action movies. Watching it even now is still an incredible experience. I will admit that the acting may seem corny at times, but consider what the actors are working with. It's a space epic bigger than themselves, with characters that will be remembered for allPossibly the greatest science fiction film of all time, The Empire Strikes Back put the spirit of adventure and drama back into action movies. Watching it even now is still an incredible experience. I will admit that the acting may seem corny at times, but consider what the actors are working with. It's a space epic bigger than themselves, with characters that will be remembered for all time. 10/10 Expand
  8. Mar 4, 2011
    8
    Very good. I really liked the battles. The earth shattering truth about who Darth Vader was was the best part of the movie.
  9. Dec 16, 2015
    10
    The Empire Strikes Back is better than its predecessor in every way. This sequel (and one of the best ever made) brings tension (something missing from Star Wars) with a great story supported by an even better script which is perfectly executed, with fantastic cinematography and arguably an even greater score (by John Williams) than the predecessor. The Empire Strikes Back is the essentialThe Empire Strikes Back is better than its predecessor in every way. This sequel (and one of the best ever made) brings tension (something missing from Star Wars) with a great story supported by an even better script which is perfectly executed, with fantastic cinematography and arguably an even greater score (by John Williams) than the predecessor. The Empire Strikes Back is the essential Star Wars film. Expand
  10. Feb 8, 2012
    10
    Star Wars steps it up a notch in Episode V. This is a captivating piece of cinema, with some of the most iconic characters and movie moments that ever have been, and ever will be. Other movies have tried to tap into what made this film great, but the majority have failed. This is one of the most quotable movies ever. Simply flawless.
  11. Apr 3, 2012
    10
    Le mejor de todas. Es dificil lograr superar a la anterior y The Empire Strikes Back logra mejorar en todos los aspectos posibles. Es mas detallada, mas elaborada, con una historia mas definida y con una mejor personificacion de los personajes. La escena de el final es simplemente la mejor escena de la ciencia ficcion. La mejor pelicula de ciencia ficcion que he visto en toda mi vida!
  12. Apr 14, 2013
    10
    Honestly the 78 rating is wrong. The Empire Strikes Back is the best film of one of the most iconic trilogies of all time. It took all of the good parts from its predecessor and added a darker element to it. It is fun to watch Luke grow in his quest to become a jedi and Han Solo remains one of the greatest supporting characters of all time. This is a great film. A must see!
  13. Jan 4, 2013
    10
    This is my opinion is the best Star wars film. Not once did i ever myself bored, this film carries the story in an great direction. This film also creates and continues to develop some of the best characters seen in any star wars films.
  14. Jun 6, 2014
    10
    not only is "The Empire Strikes Back" the best Star Wars movie ever made, but it's also one of the greatest movies ever made! it has everything what made the original Star Wars a huge phenomenon, improving the first movie in every single way. like special effects are better here, the stakes are a lot higher, the characters are fantastic with perfect development and the story was absolutelynot only is "The Empire Strikes Back" the best Star Wars movie ever made, but it's also one of the greatest movies ever made! it has everything what made the original Star Wars a huge phenomenon, improving the first movie in every single way. like special effects are better here, the stakes are a lot higher, the characters are fantastic with perfect development and the story was absolutely top-notch! Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Boba Fett, Yoda, C3PO, R2D2, every single character in this movie are phenomenal! i loved it when i was kid, i still love it today Expand
  15. Nov 18, 2013
    10
    The perfect sequel to a perfect film. Empire Strikes Back is narrowly the best star wars film, behind it's predecessor. The characters are incredible, none overplayed nor underplayed. This film really set the standard for what a sequel to a great movie should be like. It expanded on the star wars universe immensely, with lando calrissian, the ice planet of hoth, the swamps of dagobah andThe perfect sequel to a perfect film. Empire Strikes Back is narrowly the best star wars film, behind it's predecessor. The characters are incredible, none overplayed nor underplayed. This film really set the standard for what a sequel to a great movie should be like. It expanded on the star wars universe immensely, with lando calrissian, the ice planet of hoth, the swamps of dagobah and of course yoda make for the most quotable star wars film in the series. Luke finally harnesses his Jedi powers, which makes for his likability as a character much more involved.

    Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the film is that the good guys are actually challenged. No holes in convenient places in this film. And it doesn't inevitably end with the good guys on top, which films don't risk too often, however this film does it perfectly.

    Starting with a war and ending with a scene on a much smaller scale, the film is still enganging in the scenes that aren't packed with special effects.
    This film is the reason there were six films and not just an excellent first outing with a terrible sequel. Raising the bar for sequel standards even to this day.
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  16. Dec 19, 2013
    10
    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
  17. Dec 30, 2015
    10
    One of the famous sequels that's better than its predecessor, the Empire Strikes Back will excite you with dark, eye-popping moments that I'm totally running out of words to say.
  18. Aug 14, 2013
    10
    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 topThe 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
  19. Sep 1, 2015
    9
    Very well written and the purest of value in the story. A well-made and well though out adventure into something we've never seen before, a sequel that does everything right in the opposite form in that of the original.
  20. Jan 7, 2012
    10
    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).
  21. Aug 18, 2012
    10
    One of the best films ever made. Taking the directors chair out from under Lucas allowed Kershner to craft this film into a masterpiece of cinema. Focusing not only on effects, the story is deep, dark, and profound. The standard 'hero always wins' ending is omitted and replaced with a realistic and logical progression to one of the great epics ever created.
  22. Feb 5, 2015
    10
    A far darker, more mature Star Wars. That 10/10 applies only to the theatrical version. Everything this film does works and works perfectly. I have nothing bad to say about its original form. The various Special Editions are still excellent, but I would rate them in the area of 8.5-9/10, with issues mostly being dialogue changes. See this film in any form, but the 1980 theatrical versionA far darker, more mature Star Wars. That 10/10 applies only to the theatrical version. Everything this film does works and works perfectly. I have nothing bad to say about its original form. The various Special Editions are still excellent, but I would rate them in the area of 8.5-9/10, with issues mostly being dialogue changes. See this film in any form, but the 1980 theatrical version is a must-see. Expand
  23. Jul 12, 2012
    10
    My favorite of all the Star Wars movies. Full of unexpected twists and epic battle scenes. This is that rare sequel that exceeds, if not improves on, the standards of its predecessor.
  24. Aug 1, 2012
    10
    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.
  25. Dec 4, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is one of those rare occurrences where the sequel to a movie surpasses the original. Once again we have great visuals, a great musical score by John Williams, great Actors and Actresses, a great story and great directing. I remember as a kid talking about how shocked we were that Darth Vader claimed to be Luke's father for years... A very dark movie with a cliffhanger that made you wait in anticipation to see the next Star Wars movie. Between the Yoda puppet voiced by Frank Oz was far superior to the CGI Yoda in the prequels imo (except for the Yoda fight scene was great which would have been difficult to do with the puppet). Expand
  26. Dec 6, 2013
    9
    This is hailed as the best work of science fiction out there, if not the best ever. Star Wars becomes a more serious franchise with this instalment. Some time seems to have passed during which Han Solo and Luke Skywalker have grown as thick as thieves. They now look out for each other more fiercely.

    The conflict escalates as the empire assaults the rebels' new base, forcing them to
    This is hailed as the best work of science fiction out there, if not the best ever. Star Wars becomes a more serious franchise with this instalment. Some time seems to have passed during which Han Solo and Luke Skywalker have grown as thick as thieves. They now look out for each other more fiercely.

    The conflict escalates as the empire assaults the rebels' new base, forcing them to flee. Luke along with his trusted squadron must engage the enemy while the civilians make their escape. A battle ensues in which Luke outsmarts several adversaries and then escapes himself. In the disorder, the three main characters are separated from the rest, and from each other. Luke embarks on a journey to learn to become a Jedi knight, an ancient order of knights that was mainly destroyed but still has one member from whom Luke must learn the trade. Darth Vader chases Leia and Han across the galaxy, anticipating their every move. Han and Leia, pursued by the Empire, seek to hide in an unusual place.

    We are introduced to a new character called Yoda, who teaches Luke everything he can to help him fulfil his destiny. We are also shown for the first time the face of the Emperor. A new city is introduced into the story that gets by on mining. It is there the climax of the movie takes place. A duel between our primary protagonist and antagonist takes place, culminating in a line of dialogue that has since its uttering fascinated fans for decades.

    Most of the alien creatures are in costume or mechanical, and are jittery at times. But the visual effects and set design seemed to improve the nearer we got to the end, especially when we get to see the Cloud City.

    Some of the elements distracted me from the story and prevented me from taking the movie seriously. All planets have atmospheres that humans, and every other being there is, can breathe in. Even in space, you can do without a helmet and suit but put on an oxygen mask just to be on the safe side. Mynocks, and one other creature, can live in outer space without the need for respiration. Lucas makes no attempt to show how this could be happening. His disdain for science becomes more apparent. At one point Luke lands on a planet that has snakes and lizards. If Star Wars takes place in a separate galaxy from the one Earth is in, how could our animals be a part of the ecosystem of this alien planet? Lucas should have stuck with his imaginary alien animals, no matter how ridiculous they looked, for the inclusion of earthly animals made me rethink the intro about this story taking place in some other galaxy.

    But you have to ignore serious debate about science fiction if you are to enjoy this film. Take it as you would any fantasy film. As this film expands upon the mythology of the franchise, it becomes clear that that is where Lucas had intended for us to take our thoughts, even if we are to swallow the whole notion of the Jedi and their supernatural abilities associated with the Force. The Force is a mysterious entity that often takes sides in a conflict and bestows power upon worthy individuals from time to time, but I can be wrong. Because there is Darth Vader to consider. Only Lucas would know the full answer, and he has chosen to use sparing words in order to keep the aura of mystery around it.

    The Empire Strikes Back is the most lauded instalment in the series, and rightly so. It has inspired and influenced many other works in the genre. For that reason it would forever remain in the minds of movie lovers. But if one is to consider it independent of its impact, and choose to scrutinize it with an eye to its value as a piece of art, it falls short in my opinion. Serious work involving logic and reason would always fascinate me more than an adventure tale where the story develops as you go along, and science can be sacrificed at every other turn for the benefit of entertainment.
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  27. Mar 8, 2013
    10
    The best Star Wars. Harrison Ford is great in this movie. The story, lightsaber battle, dialogue, special effects, and characters are all awesome. Review is done but i needed to more characters to post it.
  28. Dec 24, 2015
    9
    After getting absorbed into the world of Star Wars thanks to memorable characters and set pieces, "The Empire Strikes Back", delivers in almost every way possible. While the "Star Wars" was honestly nothing much more than pure fun, this one told a dark and intriguing story that really threw its characters for a loop. Since we've pretty much grown to love these characters, the turmoil theyAfter getting absorbed into the world of Star Wars thanks to memorable characters and set pieces, "The Empire Strikes Back", delivers in almost every way possible. While the "Star Wars" was honestly nothing much more than pure fun, this one told a dark and intriguing story that really threw its characters for a loop. Since we've pretty much grown to love these characters, the turmoil they face really drives a strong emotional connection that the last one didn't necessarily have. It even digs deeper into the mythos of the force. However, I felt I didn't get enough of it. I wished the second act was much more broad like its first and third acts. It could have added another 30 minutes for all I cared. And really, that's my only biggest gripe. This movie delivers in a way that was never seen before. By putting its characters at stake and giving the story more grit it made for a gripping Star Wars experience. I give "The Empire Strikes Back" an A! Expand
  29. Sep 5, 2014
    10
    Now, this is a classic movie. This is very rightly regarded as Star Wars' finest hour (um, two). Luke maturing, Obi-Wan proving wisdom's transcendence of the life-death barrier, even more thrilling action than its predecessor, not to mention The Big Reveal ... wow. Just, wow. I had to rethink the first movie a little bit before arriving on my 8/10 for it, but with 'Empire'? No compunctionNow, this is a classic movie. This is very rightly regarded as Star Wars' finest hour (um, two). Luke maturing, Obi-Wan proving wisdom's transcendence of the life-death barrier, even more thrilling action than its predecessor, not to mention The Big Reveal ... wow. Just, wow. I had to rethink the first movie a little bit before arriving on my 8/10 for it, but with 'Empire'? No compunction about the 10. Expand
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Earnest Leogrande
    May 10, 2016
    90
    Anyone planning to see The Empire Strikes Back should be warned right away that it is done as a two-hour chapter and ends in a cliffhanger, which is likely to leave an unsatisfied feeling, unlike “Star Wars,” which can be taken as a self-contained unit. This acknowledged, the movie nevertheless is a spectacular piece of work that carries the new “Star Wars” tradition forward.
  2. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Charles Champlin
    May 14, 2015
    100
    It is expansive but more tightly time-framed in terms of plot. I wish it were a handful of minutes shorter, but this is my single caveat about another richly imaginative, engrossing and spectacular motion picture from the redoubtable George Lucas. [18 May 1980]
  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.