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Still shot from the movie: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

When the Empire attacks the Rebel base and scatters their forces, Han and Leia flee, while Luke seeks further Jedi training. But Darth Vader will stop at nothing to find them (especially young Skywalker) in this sci-fi action/adventure film that acts as a story bridge between the first Star Wars film, Episode IV: A New Hope, and Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B+ --
Violence: C
Sexual Content: A-
Language: A-
Drugs/Alcohol: A
Theater Release: 20 May 1980
Video Release: 11 Sep 2006
MPAA Rating: PG
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If your family is looking for "out of this world" video entertainment, then try the "good versus evil" franchise that translated smoking guns and dueling swords into a universe of laser-blasters and lightsabers.

The successful 1977 Star Wars left the public anxiously waiting for the Empire to Strike Back. George Lucas obliged, crafting a sequel by carefully combing out vague strands found in the original story, weaving them into an intricate plot, and planning a third installment to tie them up. With past financial success pointing to future prosperity, a "bridge" movie was born.

Debuting in 1980, the yarn picks up with the heroes lying low after having inflicted serious damage on the Empire's galaxy conquering plans. Hiding from Imperial armies who leave no star unturned in the search for revenge, the Rebel Alliance's hopes go up in smoke when a deep space probe detects their base on a frozen planet. Faster than light speed, Imperial Storm Troopers attack. During the ensuing evacuation, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) decides not to rendezvous with his friends, but instead seek out more training from a mysterious Jedi Master in a distant star system. Meanwhile, attempting to avoid the evil intentions of the Emperor's henchman Darth Vader, Han (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fischer) take flight aboard the mechanically challenged Millennial Falcon.

Even after a three-year intermission, audiences were not disappointed. Sitting on the edge of their seats they rode the plot twist roller-coaster, dodged asteroids with the Falcon's intrepid crew, and felt Luke's pain when he came up short-handed in his fight against the Force's dark side. With plenty of spacecraft dogfights, weapons, explosions, and a brush with a Yeti-like creature, the movie presented more violence than its predecessor. Yet fans' biggest complaint was -- not unlike one of the main characters -- they were left hanging another 36 months for the concluding episode.

Viewers can now consume the entire trilogy in one three-course marathon -- proving some people can't get enough of a good thing. Speaking of which, there's a certain déjà vu about the next generation of Star Wars.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back is rated PG:

Director: George Lucas
Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer
Studio: 1980 Lucasfilm Ltd.

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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