As any true fan of the Star Wars universe will tell you, this 1980 sci-fi epic is the best of the first six movies. It’s the darkest (although Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, is almost as bleak), it has the best lines and it also has the entirely believable budding romance between arrogant Han Solo (Ford) and icy Princess Leia (Fisher) – after all, who else would put up with either of them?
The action begins shortly after A New Hope left off. The rebels are hiding out on the remote ice planet Hoth, planning their next attack on the evil Empire. But they are discovered – cue a superb battle sequence as giant walking machines (AT-ATs to aficionados) trudge through the snow – and the group are soon hurtling off to different parts of the galaxy. Luke and pint-sized robot R2-D2 set out to find Yoda, a Jedi Master who will school him in the ways of the Force, while a bickering Han and Leia, along with Wookiee Chewbacca and droid C-3PO, take off in the Millennium Falcon.
With that revelation (‘Luke, I am your father’) at the end, which was jaw-dropping to audiences at the time, top-notch effects and some truly edge-of-the-seat moments, this is superb stuff, though perhaps a bit too scary for little children (unlike the original, A New Hope, or the overly cute Return of the Jedi).
Is Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Luke is attacked by an ice creature on Hoth and we then see him trapped, hanging upside down.
Young viewers may find it a bit gross when Han slashes open the belly of the dead Tauntaun, revealing intestines.
When Luke arrives on Dagobah, it is quite dark, murky and scary.
The scene in which Luke enters the tree cave and is confronted by visions is quite scary.
It is also tense when Vader confronts Han, Chewie and Leia on Bespin.
SPOILER! All viewers will be upset when Han is frozen in carbonite (it’s not too scary though) and during Luke and Vader’s battle.
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