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Universal acclaim- based on 476 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 476

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  1. Oct 21, 2014
    I'm not one to hang out 10's or perfect scores to any movie I like. In fact, I can't think of more than two or three movies that deserve a perfect score. Out of those three none is as deserving as Empire Strikes Back.

    The movie is perfection, there's nothing else to say about it.
  2. Oct 18, 2014
    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. Expand
  3. Sep 30, 2014
    Much darker and grander than the original Star Wars, Empire succeeds in toppings its predecessor and creating a satisfying spectacle for all time while showing more character development.
  4. Sep 5, 2014
    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 compunction about the 10. Expand
  5. Aug 28, 2014
    One of the most thought provoking films of the entire saga, The Empire Strikes Back twice as hard in this second installment and truly solidifies Star Wars place in film history.
  6. Aug 17, 2014
    This is what I call a masterpiece.

    The first thing that completely stands out in this movie is that it's so much better than it's predecessor, and it got so much more action and science fiction than in A New Hope. Another thing about this movie is that it never is a slow tempo or boring scenes, in comparison to episode four. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back is an enormous
    unique movie that got much romance, great actors, wonderful music and an awesome opening scene and ending.

    Everything is completely stunning!

    Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back get a 10/10
  7. Jul 30, 2014
    Regarded as the best "Star Wars" film, "The Empire Strikes Back" is perhaps the one that actually established the franchise. There are improvements on the first film, there is a greater depth to the story and characters, and there is a better pace. Acting performances are generally better and more mature. Some political comments are strongly made in this second installment. The soundtrack by John Williams features some beautiful new musical themes, further enhancing the result. Overall, it is a great sequel that does not bear the historical significance of its predecessor, but in fact overpowers it. Expand
  8. Jul 20, 2014
    In short, it's the best Star Wars has ever offered. The most iconic, memorable and the best of these movies are almost all in this one. To me Episode 4 suffered from some severe lack of time for the characters to be properly developped. And also a lot of bad cliches. None of that was deadly to it, but it harmed it. Empire Strikes Back doesn't have these problems at all, but while the movie is more deep, more emotional, and just all around better and darker than its predecessor, I think the limits of the formula show up by now.

    I still wonder what the "Dark Side" of the Force is. I know it comes from anger, hate, and agression, ok, but what the hell does that mean in practical terms? Does it control your mind? It obviously seems to change your personality drastically, so how does it work exactly? I don't even think this is spoiler material anymore, but when it's announced that Darth Vader really is Luke's father, although I think the reveal is glorious, I also get an unwavering doubt that we never really know how he turned to the dark side. And don't talk to me about the prequels, they're making it worse. Even if they didn't exist, the answer should've been in this movie in the first place: does the Dark Side completely change you or not? It seems so, but why? How does it work? All we know is that the Light Side is stronger and that you should focus really hard to feel the Force around you. A little weak maybe?

    Now learning about the Force in depth and Vader is Luke's side of the story in Empire.

    The Solo/Leia side is about not getting totally owned by the Empire because the Millenium Falcon is made out of tinfoil and can't get into hyperspace while the Imperial Fleet is right on his tail.

    By itself it's a great plot basis to build tension, but what happens at the end of the movie simultaneously feels like a cop out and like a dissapointment.

    Without revealing it all, there is a clear announcement that things will turn terribly awry for Leia and Han. And doesn't.

    They just eventually make it through, with a huge snag indeed, but they still make it through.

    My problem mainly with this movie is that despite being the best of the three originals, I get a sense that nothing really happens.

    Big spoiler zone from here on out, but Luke is promised that his friends will die, and they don't, he's promised that he'll fall to the dark side, and he doesn't, There are many times where things should have dire consequences but in the end it all ends up fine. To be blunt, I think the movie would've had a much bigger impact on me if Han Solo died. But instead we get this cliffhanger ending where they promise that beyond the darkest time(Empire) lies the renewal and ultimate victory(Return of the Jedi).

    And I don't know really, there is nothing essentially wrong with this movie, but I didn't feel much from it. And I really think more definitive consequences would've helped. Instead, I get this constant impression that nothing is wrong, yet that nothing really gets my interest.

    On the purely positive side, I love everything about Hoth, from the base to the snowy adventures to the big battle.
    The scenes about Yoda and Luke, despite showing the limits of how G.Lucas envisioned "the Force" still are probably the most classic and memorable Star Wars moments. And several scenes around the end, despite being ultimately a scarecrow with no real consequences, are suitably dark, sad and dramatic. The clunky duel between an untrained Luke and a Vader that is far too gentle for someone we should be afraid of, all of that is possibly the best all of the six movies have ever offered.
  9. Jun 6, 2014
    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 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
  10. May 26, 2014
    Some consider this to be the best of the saga and it is very hard to disagree. Empire Strikes Back is witty, contains great action for its time and in overall was a huge leap in film making.
  11. May 25, 2014
    This IS my favourite movie of ALL TIME. As a huge Star Wars fan this is the best star wars movie ever made. It made the story of the Trilogy much deeper and had the massive reveal of Darth Vader being Luke's F____r. This is an easy 10/10 for me.
  12. May 3, 2014
    FANTASTIC SEQUEL! this movie is a masterpiece. It took the Star Wars saga in a darker direction and brought the biggest twist in cinema history and has been quoted many times since. The Empire Strikes Back is a powerhouse and a must see
  13. Apr 23, 2014
    The Empire Strikes Back, the second Star Wars movie in chronological order, is almost as good as the original. Many sound bytes have been quoted from this one, and the cinematography and graphics are great here.
  14. 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
  15. Dec 6, 2013
    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.
  16. Nov 18, 2013
    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 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.
  17. Sep 2, 2013
    I was expecting more from the next Star Wars installment but I must say I thought Episode IV was better. It never really grabbed my attention until the very end with that memorable scene with Luke & Darth, but the rest of the film seemed like a bit of a blur. I still see where the appeal comes from, but I still think Episode IV did it better. I did enjoy the addition of Yoda, but it needed a little more Action for me to enjoy it more, but we'll see if Episode VI can do that Expand
  18. 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
  19. Aug 7, 2013
    I love all of the settings of this movie and the mystery in it too. The light saber battle at the end is the best in the series. This is definitely the best Star Wars movie, and my favorite movie of all time!
  20. Jul 15, 2013
    This is the BEST of the Star Wars films and the BEST of the original trilogy. It is darker, but it is also the most well written, best acted, most thought driven entry with additional amazing music, visuals and tone that really sets the bar high for the series. The characters are really tested in this film and it really keeps you on the edge of your seat. A perfect and classic addition to the series. Expand
  21. Jul 5, 2013
    Darker than the first, and in this case, it works. "Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back" is dark, deep, and emotional that is stronger than the original, and it works very well. With a stellar ending and the memorable line "Luke, I am your father!", it's just great.
  22. Jun 20, 2013
    Star Wars introduces us to a universe and characters, The Empire Strikes Back takes us deeper into both. A daring and different sequel, Empire takes us on a journey. We see Luke train and grow while learning from Yoda and we see an entertaining and heartfelt, not sappy, romance between Leia and Han. It is a darker movie than the original, and it takes the characters to their limits. The acting is great and the movie does a great job of building a connection to the entire audience. C-3PO and R2-D2 once again bring some comic relief to the film and it is flawlessly interjected. This is the best of the franchise and one of the best movies of all time. Expand
  23. Jun 14, 2013
    When I first watched this movie when I was a kid, it redefined how to dream and be imaginative. This is perhaps one of the greatest movies of all time.
  24. Jun 11, 2013
    This is the best Star Wars film of all time, and the best sci-fi movie in history. This movie has the best story of all the star wars films. When i first watched this movie it made be an even bigger star wars fan than i am now.
  25. Jun 9, 2013
    IMO Not as good as A New Hope but it's far darker and a lot more enjoyable imo. It's pretty rare to see a sequel live up to the greatness of the first film but Empire Strikes Back does that and more. I liked it.
  26. Apr 14, 2013
    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!
  27. Mar 28, 2013
    How is this only a 78 metascore? Not only is this my favorite Star Wars movie but it is also what I consider to be the best sci-fi movie of all time. It climaxes the trilogy perfectly, it adds depth to the characters, there is a twist with Darth Vader, and Luke learns of his faults and how to overcome them. Star Wars IV A New Hope is an amazing movie, but so was this movie. It even holds a 97% on Rotten Tomatos while A New Hope only holds a 94%. This movie is on every Top 10 sci-fi lists out there. How can any critic hate this movie? If you haven't seen it already, stop reading my review and go watch it. Expand
  28. Mar 8, 2013
    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.
  29. 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. Collapse
  30. Jan 4, 2013
    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.
  31. Dec 4, 2012
    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
  32. Dec 4, 2012
    My absolute favorite movie of all-time. There's nothing I could say here to do this film justice in what it meant to me and how much I enjoyed it. Not because it's dark and foreboding. Not because of the cliche-breaking ending. Because of the aesthetics. Because of the atmosphere. Because ... everything.
  33. Nov 12, 2012
    This is the best Star Wars film. It is more thought-provoking and the characters are more developed. There are also good sub plots; it doesn't just focus on telling a story.
  34. Oct 31, 2012
    Simply put, the best Star Wars film in the franchise. As the title states, after the defeat of the Empire in A New Hope, they return to try to retake the galaxy from the Rebellion. With some epic battle scenes, great CGI and some amazing plot twists The Empire Strikes back is the ultimate family Sci-fi film.
  35. Oct 26, 2012
    the best star wars movie of all time with a fantastic ending yeah!!!! but one thing is very akward in this movie, leia........why you kissed your brother???
  36. Aug 18, 2012
    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.
  37. 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.
  38. Jul 12, 2012
    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.
  39. May 28, 2012
    I don't consider it to be the best Star Wars but it is still among the best in the sci-fi genre. This Star Wars presents a lot of unanswered questions that are answered in episode VI. Its a ton of fun to watch.
  40. Apr 7, 2012
    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.
  41. Apr 3, 2012
    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!
  42. Feb 8, 2012
    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.
  43. Jan 30, 2012
    The twist at the end almost makes me wish that I was older when I first watched this. Maybe it would have impacted me more? But then I think, "it is mandatory for all children to see the Star Wars films". And I certainly wont be denying my future children the opportunity to see them just so they can "understand" them better. While I enjoyed all 6 (yes, ALL 6 films), I think that I've determined this one to be my favourite. When I first saw it at age 6 or 7, there was a point late in the film where I was terrified of what might come next... The film had such an impact on me, that I didn't watch it again for quite a while. This is a good thing. And yes, I kind of contradicted myself with the whole "impact" thing... but that's what Star Wars will do to you. Expand
  44. 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).
  45. Dec 9, 2011
    Without doubt, the best Star Wars film, which takes the struggles with the Empire now to a snow-laden planet, where we are bombared with thrilling action and further character development. The light-saber battle with Lord Vader at the end is epic, and it is a film that will leave you craving for the next development in the world of Star Wars.
  46. Nov 21, 2011
    Its just as good as the first film imo. Far more action as well and a lot of classic scenes. The acting has improved quite a bit as well. However there are a few boring scenes and it can make you lose interest through out the film.
  47. Sep 24, 2011
    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!!!
  48. Aug 9, 2011
    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.
  49. 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
  50. Apr 25, 2011
    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.
  51. Mar 19, 2011
    A great way to follow episode IV, it's enjoyable to watch and will keep you hooked, while it's not as good as the first it's still fantastic, a must watch.
  52. Mar 4, 2011
    Very good. I really liked the battles. The earth shattering truth about who Darth Vader was was the best part of the movie.
  53. Nov 2, 2010
    great follow up to A New Hope.
  54. 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.
  55. Aug 30, 2010
    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 all time. 10/10 Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 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.
  2. 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]
  3. It's a big, expensive, time-consuming, essentially mechanical operation.