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Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

The Adventure Continues... 

Year: 1980 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Irvin Kershner 
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher  
An image from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Regarded by many as the best Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back takes us deeper into the Star Wars universe with action and drama that are trademarks of the space opera series. Since it is the middle film of the original trilogy, it is easy to assume that it will spend most of its time on noncommittal subplots, letting the last film in the series have the best of the action. However – true to form of its predecessor, A New Hope – that is not the case.

The film starts on the desolate icy planet of Hoth, where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) are continuing to help the Rebel Alliance along with Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). However, the arrival of Imperial forces soon breaks the peace, forcing the Rebels to fight for their lives once again.

Luke travels to Dagobah to further his Jedi training, looking for someone called Yoda who he believes will teach him. Unfortunately it seems that Luke is willing to forsake completing his training to help his friends and confront Vader, where his anger and impatience may draw him closer to the dark side of the Force.

The odds are stacked against our heroes throughout the film as Han, Leia, Chewbacca and co try to evade the grasp of the Empire. They venture to Cloud City where they seek the help of an old friend, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams); but with Darth Vader (David Prowse) and new enemies in pursuit, will Han’s signature luck run out?

This genre-defining classic retains its relevance today, with exceptional set and costume design, as well as visual effects pioneered by Industrial Light and Magic, allowing the film to age very well indeed. John Williams’ legendary soundtrack is a perfect fit for the on-screen action and the story as a whole. Overall, the film is a must-see for Star Wars fans, and definitely worth a watch for all others as an iconic piece of cinema history.

Callum O'Sullivan

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Screenings of this film:

1982/1983 Spring Term (35mm)
1982/1983 Spring Term (35mm)
1985/1986 Summer Term (16mm)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (digital)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (digital)
2022/2023 Autumn Term (digital)
2022/2023 Autumn Term (digital)