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

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 4 mins

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In this sequel to the first Star Wars movie, the adventures and exploits of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and the others continue, as their troubles did not end with the destruction of the Death Star. As they continue their battle against the Imperial forces, they find that the destruction of the death Star have angered the Empire. Fighting back, the dark forces have since driven the Rebels to hide on the ice world Hoth. But even on such an icy, backwater world, they cannot escape the evil Darth Vader's eyes for long, and he devastates the Rebel base in an assault with the Imperial AT-AT walkers. Luke flees to Dagobah to begin Jedi training with Master Yoda, while Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3PO run the blockade of Imperial Star Destroyers in the Millennium Falcon. The Imperials pursue them across the galaxy and eventually catch up with them on Bespin. Now Darth Vader plans to use them as bait to lure Luke Skywalker to him, and turns Han Solo over to Boba Fett as a prize to be delivered to crime lord Jabba the Hutt. Luke learns a terrible family secret after losing a sword-fight with the Dark Lord. Will he - and the others - escape the Empire's clutches?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Crew: Irvin Kershner (Director), Peter Suschitzky (Director of Photography), John Williams (Music Director)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Release Dates: 21 May 1980 (India)

Tagline: The battle continues...

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Did you know? In an interview with Cinescape magazine, director Irvin Kershner said he had no interest in films with special effects. However, he was won over by George Lucas, although Kershner was determined to make the film more about characterizations than hardware. Kershner spent several months working on the script, pushing the writers into humanizing the characters more (something that Lucas has often been criticized for failing to do). Read More
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
6-Track 70mm, Dolby
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
The battle continues...
The Star Wars saga continues...
The Adventure Continues...
Goofs:
Audio/Video Mismatch
Shortly after the Millennium Falcon's escape from Bespin, when it is flying alongside the Executor, several shots strike it. However, these shots make no noise of any kind.

Audio/Video Mismatch
After Luke cuts off the Wampa's arm he begins to stagger out of the cave into the snow, deactivating his lightsaber as he goes. The sound of the saber deactivating occurs but the saber is still completely active.

Audio/Video Mismatch
One of Lando's lines don't match his jaw movements very well in the carbon-freezing chamber part.

Audio/Video Mismatch
In the Dagobah scene, before Luke and R2-D2 have found Yoda (or Yoda found them), Luke plugs something into R2 then says: "Now, all I gotta do is find this Yoda - if he even exists." When he says: "If he even exists.", Luke's mouth doesn't move. The DVD tried to fix this by adding a little more texture every few half-seconds to Luke's mouth, but it is barely visible; they couldn't fix it without ruining the shot.

Character Error
According to the credits, Luke's gunner in the Snowspeeder is named Dak. However, all other spin-off media (games, books, etc.) spells the name as Dack, which now seems to be official. Later versions of the movie (special edition, DVD release, etc.) do not correct this.

Character Error
Towards the end when Chewbacca tries to go up the ramp of the Falcon and into the ship, C3-PO's head bumps one of the lights "attached" to the Falcon. As soon as he bumps it, it goes out.

Character Error
While Luke assists Wedge in attacking an Imperial Walker, he says, "Steady, Rogue 2." Wedge is "Rogue 3." Later when Luke assists Zev, he correctly calls him, "Rogue 2."

Continuity
As Han is about to be frozen he is handcuffed, two Ugnaughts seem to fidget with the cuffs but Han is clearly still cuffed in the shot where he is being lowered in to the freezing chamber. When he resurfaces in a frozen state his hands are not cuffed and appears to have "grasped" at the moment he was frozen.

Continuity
On Vader's Star Destroyer near the end of the movie, the rank insignia of the Imperial officers changes sides repeatedly. (This has been fixed on the 2004 DVD release.)

Continuity
The ladder that Luke uses to climb into his cockpit when leaving Dagobah disappears.

Continuity
Several times, during the escape from Cloud City, stormtroopers are shot, but no blast marks are left on their armor. In addition, the intenisty of the guns' blasters against the stormtroopers progressively decreases and increases during the episode.

Continuity
The sounds for lasers and lightsabers change throughout the movie, even with same weapon being used more than once in a scene. A good example is Han's blaster in the asteroid cave, which makes at least two completely different noises when firing.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When the AT-AT that Luke destroys with a thermal detonator begins to fall over, a stick can be seen popping up through the ground from under the walker's left back leg to tip it over.

Crew/Equipment Visible
Reflected in C-3PO's head as it travels down the conveyor belt in Cloud City, and also during the carbon-freezing scene.

Crew/Equipment Visible
In the letterbox version, when the wampa's arm swings into frame to kill Luke's tauntaun, the end of the "glove" can be seen at the bottom left, as well as the top of the head of the crew member wearing it. Afterwards, when he is grabbed by the monster's arm, for a short time you can see the real arm of the person who is wearing the wampa arm.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Han, Leia, and Chewbacca go outside to explore the cave in the big asteroid, a tarp is visible on the left side of the screen through all the mist.

Factual Mistake
Denis Lawson's name is misspelled as Dennis in the credits, and this was not fixed in the 1997 Special Edition or on the 2004 DVD release.

Miscellaneous
Despite having his dialogue rerecorded by Ian McDiarmid for the DVD release of the film, Clive Revill is still credited as "Voice of Emperor" in the DVD version's credits.

Revealing Mistakes
When the Millennium Falcon enters the asteroid field, a shot shows the asteroids through the Falcon's cockpit window. One of the "asteroids" coming from the lower left is the Falcon itself.

Revealing Mistakes
Vader kills Captain Needa for losing the Millenium Falcon. When two Imperial soldiers come to carry his body away, the corpse steps up.

Revealing Mistakes
When the Millennium Falcon is inside the worm and a tremor makes Princess Leia fall on Han Solo she says, "Captain, being held by you isn't quite enough to get me excited", Han Solo is mouthing her line.

Revealing Mistakes
In the carbon-freezing room fight, after Luke forces Vader off the platform, Luke steps back after peering over the edge and turns off his light-saber (we hear the sound effect of the saber shutting down). As he walks back from the edge beyond sight of the camera, you can see the tip of the fighting prop saber swing into view momentarily as a stage hand swaps Luke's "fighting prop" (with shaft) for the "shut off" belt prop (without shaft) out of view of the camera.

Revealing Mistakes
As Lando, Leia, R2, Chewie, and 3PO start boarding the Falcon to escape Bespin, you can see a blaster mark on the chest of one of the Stormtroopers firing at them from the doorway. Seconds later, Leia shoots the Stormtrooper in the exact spot and he falls down.

Revealing Mistakes
When C-3PO interrupts Han and Leia's kiss on the Millennium Falcon, you can see parts of the Threepio costume break off and fall off at the elbow.

Revealing Mistakes
When seeing Darth Vader in the dining room in Bespin, when Chewbacca roars at Vader, you can see two holes in Chewie's mouth that let Peter Mayhew breathe through the costume.

Revealing Mistakes
During Darth Vader and Lukes light saber battle, Darth knocks Luke down a flight of stairs. Darth then leaps through the air and the wires attached to his back are visible.

Revealing Mistakes
In the updated special edition TESB, as Han, Leia, Landa and Chewy are walking to the trap Vader has set, they walk past one of the new "visualisations" with a lift going up and a view of Bespin. Yet in the following shot, when you see Han holding his gun, the original browny white background is back in its place.

Revealing Mistakes
Just before cutting off Luke's hand, Vader cuts through a piece of equipment on the bridge. As the top of the pipe falls off, both cut ends are wrapped in what appears to be duct tape, most likely to hold it in place for multiple takes. When the scene cuts to a new angle, the duct tape is gone.

Revealing Mistakes
After being switched off on the Falcon, C-3PO can be seen breathing during Han and Leia's dialogue about Lando.

Revealing Mistakes
When Vader amputates Luke's hand with his lightsaber you can see that Vader's saber actually misses Luke's hand.

Revealing Mistakes
After having his right hand cut off by Darth Vader, falling through a tunnel and reaching the end of the tunnel, you can clearly see Luke Skywalker's right arm, with the hand completely intact.
Trivia:
When Han Solo is about to be frozen, Princess Leia says, "I love you." In the original script, Han Solo was supposed to say, "Just remember that, Leia, because I'll be back," but at the time of filming, Harrison Ford wasn't entirely certain he did want to come back for a third film. There is a recurring legend that his line, "I know", was ad-libbed; however Alan Arnold's book "Once Upon A Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of The Empire Strikes Back" includes a transcription of the discussion between Ford and Irvin Kershner in which Ford suggested the line.

Mark Hamill had to bang his head 16 times on the ceiling of Yoda's hut before the director was satisfied.

In order to avoid sharing creative rights, George Lucas decided to avoid using a major studio to finance this film. Instead, he bankrolled the $33 million production himself, using a combination of his profits from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and a bank loan. Although the move was risky, it paid off several times over. Lucas recovered his million investment within three months of the film's release. He then showed gratitude far beyond the Hollywood norm, by sharing the profits with his employees (nearly $5 million in bonuses).

Han Solo is the only non-Jedi/Sith in the entire original trilogy to ever use a lightsaber when he cuts open the tauntaun's belly.

The shots where Luke uses his Jedi powers to retrieve his lightsaber from a distance were achieved by having Mark Hamill throw the lightsaber away and then running the film in reverse.

To preserve the dramatic opening of the Star Wars movies, George Lucas insisted on moving all the credits to the end of the film. However, although the Writers' Guild and Directors' Guild had begrudgingly allowed this on Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) (because that film wasn't expected to be very successful), they resented the trend being continued on this film. First they tried to pull Empire from release, but were unsuccessful. They then fined Lucas heavily, and tried to fine Irvin Kershner, but Lucas paid all the fines himself (nearly $250,000). Lucas then bitterly dropped his membership in the Writers' Guild, Directors' Guild, and the Motion Picture Association of America, a move that has hindered his hiring choices on later films (see also Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi (1983) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)).

In the asteroid scene, one of the asteroids is actually a shoe. The rumor is that George Lucas asked the SFX people to redo the scene so many times that they got annoyed and one of them threw in their shoe.

The carbon freezing chamber is the only time in the original trilogy that Darth Vader and C3PO can be seen on screen together.

Carrie Fisher stood on a box for many of her scenes with Harrison Ford in order to make up for the height difference and have her appear in the frame with him. Carrie Fisher is about a foot shorter than Harrison Ford.

During the filming of the Battle of Hoth, the Echo Base troops were actually Norwegian mountain-rescue skiers. In exchange for participation in the film, Lucasfilm made a donation to the Norwegian Red Cross

Having Han Solo frozen in carbonite was (at least in part) due to the fact that they were not sure that Harrison Ford would return for a third film. When the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was made Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill were signed for a three picture deal, but Harrison Ford refused. Ford even requested George Lucas to kill off Solo, since the character had played its part already, but Lucas refused, saying that he still had a heroic part for Han Solo to play in Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi (1983).

In the DVD commentary, Carrie Fisher relates that during some of the London filming, she stayed a house rented from Eric Idle. Idle and the Pythons were filming Life of Brian (1979) at the time. One evening, Idle had a small party, including Harrison Ford and The Rolling Stones, and served a potent liquor (which the Pythons had been distributing to extras on their film, to help boost morale) that he referred to as "Tunisian Table Cleaner". They stayed up most of the night drinking and having fun. The first scenes shot the next day were the arrival at Cloud City, which she says helps explain why she and Ford were so happy in those scenes. Idle is said to be pleased that he had a small hand in how the finished film turned out.

An oft-quoted myth is that the Wampa attack on Luke was devised to explain real scars on Mark Hamill's face because he had been involved in a car crash and had to have reconstructive surgery. Hamill did indeed survive a serious car crash in January 1977 but did not have any visible scars by the time Empire began filming over two years later.

In an early outtake, when Vader entered the Hoth base, he tripped over a cable and fell down face-first.

At 30, has the lowest body count of the entire Star Wars saga.

There seems to be many stories behind Alec Guinness and his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi. In George Lucas's original treatment (when it was ALL one story instead of a trilogy), Obi-Wan lives throughout the whole story (a fact confirmed by Lucas in the DVD commentary). However, Obi-Wan ends up getting killed off in the first film (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Episode IV: A New Hope). There are many stories as to why Lucas changed it. There are some stories that either Guinness demanded that Obi-Wan was killed off so he wouldn't have to appear in any sequels or Lucas did it on his own much to the bitterness of Guinness. In the Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Episode IV: A New Hope DVD Commentary, Lucas says that he felt it was a waste of Guinness's talents to have him stand beside Leia in the control room during the Death Star battle (as it was scripted) and too outlandish to have the elderly Obi-Wan join the dogfight. So he killed off Obi-Wan in order to spur Luke on to going into Jedi training and defeat the Empire. In any event, when it came time to make Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), in which Luke begins his training, Lucas drew from the "ugly creature with mystical powers" mythological archetype (as he did when creating Star Wars) and created Yoda as Luke's new Jedi master. Alec Guinness still makes appearances in the sequels as a Force spirit.

In the original script when Lando is about to lead Han, Leia, and Chewie into the trap set by Darth Vader, Lando offers his arm to Leia, as a gesture to lead her down the hallway and she accepts it. Harrison Ford ad-libbed Han coming up behind Leia and offering his arm to her at the exact same moment to imply that Han was jealous.

None of the bounty hunters are ever referred to by name in the film. Every time Boba Fett is mentioned, he is simply referred to as "bounty hunter".

George Lucas was so impressed by Frank Oz's performance as Yoda that he spent thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign to try and get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Lucas's campaign ultimately failed because it was felt that a puppeteer wasn't an actor.

Another of the asteroids is actually a potato. It appears just as the Millennium Falcon first enters the field. Two asteroids travel from the top left to the bottom right corner of the screen. Just after the second asteroid leaves the screen a third one appears in the top left corner. This is the potato.

With the exception of being sucked out of a Cloud City window, Mark Hamill did all of his own stunts.

One of the bounty hunters that Darth Vader hires to find Han Solo, IG-88, can be seen in the Cloud City. IG-88 is a droid, and his dead body is sitting next to a furnace in the room where C-3PO is dismantled.

The bounty hunter dressed all in white is named Dengar. His backstory is that he was once a fierce rival of Han Solo's, and was badly beaten by him. He vowed revenge and has been hunting Solo for some time.

Mark Hamill's wife gave birth to their first son (Nathan Hamill) early one morning, and Mark went straight from the hospital to shooting. This was the day they filmed the shots of Luke climbing out of his snowspeeder before it is crushed by the Imperial walker, and Hamill broke his thumb during the stunt.

George Lucas had originally planned to only Executive Produce and finance the film, leaving the directorial duties in the hands of Irvin Kershner and day-to-day producing duties to Gary Kurtz. Directing the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) had left Lucas exhausted and sick, and he had intended to take time off to start to focus on the expansion of the Lucasfilm company and spending more time with his then-wife Marcia Lucas, so that they could start a family and finish construction on Skywalker Ranch. However, when production on this film ran overbudget and behind schedule, Lucas had to step in and take a more hands-on role, going on location to oversee filming and even directing portions of the film. A disastrous rough cut of the film proved incoherent during screenings, and facing the possibility of financial ruin, Lucas then re-edited the film himself with even worse results. Extensive reshoots and further post-production effects work put enormous strain on his health, his marriage, and his relationships with Kershner and Kurtz. Though the film proved an enormous critical and commercial success, Lucas would never work with Kurtz again, and his marriage dissolved a couple of years later.

When shooting on location in Norway, a fierce snow storm hit the hotel where cast and crew were staying. This would have normally halted filming, but director Irvin Kershner thought these weather conditions were an excellent opportunity to film the scene where Luke wanders through the snow after escaping the Wampa cave. He did this by sending Mark Hamill outside into the cold, while he and the cameraman stayed and filmed inside the hotel's front hall.

Yoda's iconic manner of speech has the parts of speech in Object Subject Verb order. Very few languages on Earth use this and most are based in the Amazon river basin.

In an interview with Cinescape magazine, director Irvin Kershner said he had no interest in films with special effects. However, he was won over by George Lucas, although Kershner was determined to make the film more about characterizations than hardware. Kershner spent several months working on the script, pushing the writers into humanizing the characters more (something that Lucas has often been criticized for failing to do).

The entire Millennium Falcon was built live size for the first and only time for this installment (only half of the spacecraft was constructed for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and just part of it was used for the deleted sandstorm scene in Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi (1983)). It measured 65 feet in diameter and 16 feet in height with a mandible giving it an overall length of 80 feet. The Falcon's weight was 23 tons.

"May the Force be with you" is only said once. Its the last line of the movie, spoken by Luke.

Carrie Fisher traveled to the filming location of Finse, Norway, even though she was not scheduled to take part in any outdoor scenes.

Boba Fett's action figure was originally to have had a rocket-firing mechanism, but after a child choked to death on a similar toy, Kenner dropped the mechanism and made the rocket stationary. A trace of the rocket launcher survived to the completed toy, however, as there is a rectangular area on the backpack in which the rocket launcher would have been embedded. The version with the mechanism is now considered the longest-running unobtainable action figure; contrary to popular belief, it was never sold to the public.

The Dagobah set needed to be elevated to give Frank Oz and three other puppeteers room to control the Yoda puppet from below. For proper interaction, Mark Hamill was given an earpiece so he could hear Oz doing Yoda's voice. On numerous occasions, Irvin Kershner would give a direction to Yoda by mistake and Oz would have to remind him who to talk to.

Darth Vader was ranked #3 on the AFI's list of 50 Greatest Villains.

After an extra fell sick, Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) was called in as a replacement to the Imperial Guard who escorts Princess Leia and pulls her into the elevator after she screams "Luke! It's a trap!". He's the same Imperial Guard who is captured by Lando Calrissian's men.

Han Solo's use of his mount's entrails to keep Luke warm is actually an American Indian trick. According to legend, an Indian hunter had killed a bear and then became trapped by a sudden blizzard. He cut open the bear's stomach and climbed inside and stayed warm and safe until the storm had subsided.

The AT-AT Imperial walkers were all animated through traditional stop-motion techniques, except for the scenes where they fall (e.g. the walker which is "tripped up" by cables and falls on its face, or the one that Luke throws a grenade into, which falls on its side). These were filmed in real-time on high speed cameras with precision-timed mini-pyrotechnic charges.

As Yoda and Obi-Wan urge Luke to stay on Dagobah to finish his training, Luke pulls a snake from his spaceship. Irvin Kershner assured Mark Hamill that the snake was harmless, though it did bite him during one take.

Luke is upside-down at the beginning (Wampa cave), in the middle (training on Dagobah), and at the end (below Cloud City). He uses the Force each time.

Darth Vader's meditation chamber is said to be a hyperbaric chamber which charges the interior air to greater than one atmospheric pressure, thus allowing him to remove his helmet and breathe normally for limited periods of time. This was not as originally presented in the film, however, which featured an additional breathing mask for Vader in the chamber, which was notoriously shown for only a split second and never made it into the official continuity.

Temuera Morrison who played Jango Fett in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) re-dubbed Boba Fett's lines for the 2004 DVD.

One of the first ideas for Lando Calrissian was to have him as a clone who survived the Clone Wars who leads legions of clones on a planet they settled on. Another idea had Lando as the descendant of survivors of the Clone Wars, born into a family who reproduced solely by cloning. Originally, his name was "Lando Kadar".

Principal photography lasted over 180 days, the longest shoot of any of the "Star Wars" movies.

The only Star Wars film not to gross $300 million domestically, not adjusting for inflation. When adjusting for inflation, it is actually the second highest grossing Star Wars film domestically with an adjusted gross of over $780 million as of 2014, and is the 12th highest grossing film of all time in North America.

The only movie in the original Star Wars trilogy in which the Jedi mind trick is never used. In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Obi-Wan Kenobi uses the Jedi mind trick to get past the Stormtroopers on Tatooine, and in Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi (1983), Luke Skywalker uses (and attempts to use) the mind trick several times inside Jabba's palace.

The lightsaber fight scenes set in the carbon freezing chamber tend to focus on Luke. This is because during many of the shots, Bob Anderson (Vader's fight double) was not wearing the Darth Vader helmet, as it made it difficult for him to breathe.

According to the Dutch director Paul Verhoeven at a Q&A session in Helsinki, Finland during the 2012 Night Visions Film Festival, he was under consideration to direct The Empire Strikes Back, based on his work on the 1977 film -Soldier of Orange (1977)_. He was invited for a meeting with the producers and brought with him his newest film Spetters (1980), that he was proud of and wanted to screen for the producers. After the screening he never heard from them again and the film would eventually be directed by Irvin Kershner.

In the Hoth command center, Han makes a reference to "That bounty hunter we ran into on Ord Mandell". An audio drama based on this, "Rebel Mission to Ord Mandell" was released in 1983 as an NPR radio drama, and later on 33 1/3 LP. It featured the voices of many of the original cast.

Boba Fett has only four lines.
Movie Connection(s):
Followed by: Star Wars: Episode VIII (English)
Followed by: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (English)
Followed by: Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (English)
Follows: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (English)