Taglines: The Adventure Continues…
The second entry in George Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy finds Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the green-as-grass hero from the first film, now a seasoned space warrior. Luke’s Star Wars cohorts Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are likewise more experienced in the ways and means of battling the insidious Empire, as represented by the brooding Darth Vader (body of David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones). And, of course, “The Force,” personified by the ghost of Luke’s mentor Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness), is with them all.
Retreating from Vader’s minions, Luke ends up, at first, on the Ice Planet Hoth, and then the tropical Dagobah. Here he makes the acquaintance of the gnomish Yoda (voice of Frank Oz), whose all-encompassing wisdom comes in handy during the serial-like perils of the rest of the film. Before the film’s open-ended climax, we are introduced to the apparently duplicitous Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and are let in on a secret that profoundly affects both Luke and his arch-enemy, Vader. Many viewers consider this award-winning film the best of the Star Wars movies, and its special-effects bonanza was pure gold at the box office.
The Empire Strikes Back (also known as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back) is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan wrote the screenplay, with George Lucas writing the film’s story and serving as executive producer. The second installment in the original Star Wars trilogy, it was produced by Gary Kurtz for Lucasfilm Ltd. and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.
The film is set three years after Star Wars. The Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the villainous Darth Vader and the Emperor, is in pursuit of Luke Skywalker and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. While Vader chases a small band of Luke’s friends—Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and others—across the galaxy, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. When Vader captures Luke’s friends, Luke must decide whether to complete his training and become a full Jedi Knight or to confront Vader and save them.
Following a difficult production, The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980. It received mixed reviews from critics initially but has since grown in esteem, becoming the most critically acclaimed chapter in the Star Wars saga; it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. The film ranks #3 on Empire’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.
It became the highest-grossing film of 1980 and, to date, has earned more than $538 million worldwide from its original run and several re-releases. When adjusted for inflation, it is the second-highest-grossing sequel of all time and the 13th-highest-grossing film in North America. The film was followed by a sequel, titled Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1998.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Directed by: Irvin Kershner
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker
Screenplay by: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan
Production Design by: Norman Reynolds
Cinematography by: Peter Suschitzky
Film Editing by: T.M. Christopher, Paul Hirsch, George Lucas, Marcia Lucas
Costume Design by: John Mollo
Set Decoration by: Michael Ford
Art Direction by: Leslie Dilley, Harry Lange, Alan Tomkins
Music by: John Williams
MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action violence.
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 21, 1980