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

119m, 124m, 125m, 127m (special edition)
35mm film, Panavision (anamorphic), “color by DeLuxe”, 2.35:1
Dolby Digital, DTS, SDDS (Special Edition); Dolby, English

An American science fiction film directed by Irvin Kershner. Production began on 5 March 1979 1Variety 11 April 1979 p.34 and it was first released in the USA on 21 May 1980.

Plot Summary

After being routed by the Empire on their new base, the Rebellion scatters – Luke Sywalker and R2-D2 go to the planet Dagobah where he meets and is trained by ageing Jedi master Yoda, while Han Solo, Princess Leia and the others head for Cloud City where Solo hopes to win the support of an old friend. But they are walking into a trap which, when sprung, will have far-reaching consequences for all of them.


* = uncredited

Director: Irvin Kershner
Lucasfilm Ltd
Executive Producer: George Lucas
Producer: Gary Kurtz
Special Edition Producer: Rick McCallum
Associate Producers: James Bloom, Robert Watts
Script: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan
Story: George Lucas
Director of Photography: Peter Suschitzky
Editors: Paul Hirsch, George Lucas *, Marcia Lucas *
Music: John Williams
Sound: Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker, Peter Sutton
Costume Designer: John Mollo
Make Up: Stuart Freeborn
Special Creature Designer: Stuart Freeborn
Special Effects: Industrial Light and Magic
Production Designer: Norman Reynolds

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)
Harrison Ford (Han Solo)
Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa)
Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian)
Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)
David Prowse (Darth Vader)
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
Kenny Baker (R2-D2)
Frank Oz (voice of Yoda)
Alec Guinness (Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi)
Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett/Lieutenant Sheckil)
John Hollis (Lobot)
Jack Purvis (Ugloste (Chief Ugnaught))
Des Webb (wampa snow creature)
Kathryn Mullen (Yoda puppeteer)
Clive Revill (voice of Emperor Palpatine)
Kenneth Colley (Admiral Piett)
Julian Glover (General Maximillian Veers)
Michael Sheard (Admiral Crane Ozzel)
Michael Culver (Captain Lorth Needa)

Alternative Titles

The Empire Strikes Back
Das Imperium schlägt zurnck
– Germany
L'impero colpisce ancora
– Italy

Sequel to
Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

See also
Army of Darkness (1992)
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
The Avengers (1998)
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Deep Rising (1998)
Droids (1985)
Galaxy Quest (1999)
George Lucas in Love (1999)
Gumby: The Movie (1995)
Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)
Kung Fu Kenobi (1997)
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000)
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
Spaceballs (1987)
Santa vs the Snowman (1997)
Star Tours (1987)
Strange Brew (1983)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle (1999)
THX 1138 (1970)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Troops (1998)
Wild Wild West (1999)

Extracts included in
Wow! (1990)
Precious Images (1986)
Special Effects: Anything Can Happen (1996)



  • Empire May 1997 p.42 – review (by Angie Errigo)
  • Film Review May 1997 p.17 – review (by James E. Brooks)
  • Screen International no.223 (12-19 January 1980) p.12 – credits (January music recording)
  • Screen International no.233 (22-29 March 1980) p.2 – note (West End openings)
  • Screen International no.234 (29 March-5 April 1980) p.2 – note (West End openings)
  • Starburst no.49 (September 1982) pp.26-27 – illustrated review (by Phil Edwards)
  • Total Film no.2 (March 1997) p.13 – illustrated preview
  • Total Film May 1997 p.90 – review (by Gary Whitta)
  • Variety 11 April 1979 p.34 – credits (Film production)
  • Video Today December 1984 p.21 – review


  • Diario de Noticias, Programas 11 April 1997 – review (by Jose De Matos-Cruz)
  • Diario de Noticias 13 April 1997 – review (by Eurico De Barros)
  • Expresso, Cartaz 12 April 1997 – review (by Manuel Cintra Ferreira)


  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.360 – illustrated credits, review
  • The Best 80s Movies by Helen O'Hara pp.18-19 – illustrated review
  • Elliot's Guide to Films on Video by John Elliot p.258 – review, credits, UK video data
  • Film Review 1981-1982 by F. Maurice Speed p.151 – credits
  • The Films of the Eighties by Douglas Brode pp.37-38 – illustrated credits, review
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.167
  • Ghosts and Angels in Hollywood Films by James Robert Parish pp.86-87 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.118-119
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.454-456
  • The Stop-motion Filmography by Neil Pettigrew pp.211-217
  • Trick Cinematography by R.M. Hayes pp.251-255