in about 100 words or less
US 129m, Colour
Director: Irvin Kershner; Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz
As the second of the three original Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back is a dark bridge between the original Star Wars (1977) and the Return of the Jedi (1983). It also offered up Darth Vader’s true identity and introduced Yoda as a largely immobile but lovable scene stealing puppet who gives Luke a crash course on the ways of the Jedi. While relying on practical special effects, The Empire Strikes Back is a remarkable technical achievement which still looks pretty good (notwithstanding Lucas’s computer generated meddling). While there are arguably better science fiction films, the Star Wars franchise is the most influential, widely recognized and culturally significant set of science fiction films yet made (Klaus Ming January 2012).