Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

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

In director Irwin Kershner's superior entry - the second film (chronologically) of the entire franchise, and considered one of the best episodes:

  • the opening prologue scroll about the episode: "It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy..."
  • the entrance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) riding across the cold and lonely ice plain of the planet Hoth on his Tauntaun (snow lizard); and then soon after, discovered hanging upside-down after an encounter with a giant Wampa ice monster/creature (Des Webb)
On the Planet Hoth
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)
AT-AT Walkers
  • the surprise attack and battle on the ice fields of the planet Hoth between AT-ATs (giant mechanized Imperial-Walkers) and small Rebel Alliance Snow Speeders
  • the appearance on the Imperial fleet of Darth Vader/the Dark Lord (David Prowse/voice of James Earl Jones), commanding the Executor through space with Imperial Star Destroyers and TIE fighters alongside, setting his sights on Hoth - and the brief glimpse of the back of the Dark Lord's scarred head as his helmet was put into place
  • the subsequent scene of Han Solo's (Harrison Ford) freighter ship the Millennium Falcon outmaneuvering pursuing Imperial Star Tie Fighters/Destroyers in a thrilling near-suicidal flight through a dense asteroid field
  • Luke Skywalker's difficult training to learn to be a Jedi knight, first on the Ice Planet of Hoth, and then after crash-landing in a boggy marsh on tropical Dagobah, where he met up with the wise and dimunitive Jedi Master Yoda (voice of Frank Oz)
  • during repairs on the Falcon, Princess Leia's (Carrie Fisher) admission that Han was all right when he didn't spitefully call her "Your Worship," or act like a "scoundrel" - Han responded: "You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life"; after she quipped back: "I happen to like nice men," he claimed to the contrary that he was a "nice man" and coaxed a kiss from her as she mildly protested, but reciprocated
  • the scene of Darth Vader's discussion with the ominous Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) hidden by a dark robe, and appearing as a giant blue hologram - who warned: "There is a great disturbance in the Force...We have a new enemy, the young rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker....He could destroy us....The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi"
  • and later, the scene of the Falcon finding itself almost ingested in the gullet of a giant space worm, that snapped at it with its jaws as the vessel escaped from its cavernous innards
  • the shocking scene of Luke's failed test (a dream sequence foreshadowing his future light-saber duel with his main adversary) in which he "battled" Darth Vader in a cave - and after cutting off the dream figure's head, Luke's own face was revealed in Vader's severed helmet
  • the panoramic floating, gas-mining colony of Cloud City ruled by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) - "a card player, gambler, scoundrel"
  • the humorous scene of the golden droid C-3PO (voice of Anthony Daniels) blasted into pieces, and then put back together by the Wookiee Chewbacca or "Chewie" (Peter Mayhew) - but reconstructed at first with his head on backwards!
  • Han Solo's test frozen encasement in carbonite (in a carbon-freezing unit) preceded by his romantic goodbye to Princess Leia: (Leia: "I love you." Han: "I know"); he was put "in perfect hibernation"
Leia: "I love you"
Han: "I know"
  • the exciting light-saber duel/showdown on Cloud City between Darth Vader and Luke, when Vader threatened Luke's defeat ("You are beaten. It is useless to resist. Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did"); and then Luke's right hand was struck at the wrist with Darth Vader's saber, and his hand was amputated; Vader then entreated: "Luke, you do not yet realize your importance....Join me, and I will complete your training"; and then Vader emotionlessly announced the greatest revelation of the entire film series - a startling and stunning moment of revelation of a surprise relationship: "No, I am your father" (a much misquoted line -- with Luke's horrified reaction: "No! No! That's not true. That's impossible"); Vader's urged Luke to join him: "Join me and together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son"
The Light-Saber Duel/Showdown: Luke vs. Darth Vader
Saber Lunges
Loss of Luke's Right Hand
"No, I am your father"
  • the final, evocative shot of Luke, Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 (voice of Kenny Baker) at a wide viewport on a Rebel ship watching Lando Calrissian departing with Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) in the Falcon in their quest to rescue Han, and to confront Jabba the Hutt and bounty hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch)

Opening Scroll

Darth Vader

Yoda on Dagobah

Romance Between Leia and Han

The Emperor (Ian McDiarmid / voice of Clive Revill)

The Giant Space Worm

Dream Sequence: Luke's Face in Vader's Severed Helmet

C-3PO Reconstructed Backwards

Han Encased in Carbonite

Ending Image


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