Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Movies Sequels Better Than the Originals Empire Strikes Back
A publicity still of David Prowse as Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. 20th Century Fox

The Empire Strikes Back is the reason people love the Star Wars saga as much as they do.

The wonderful first Star Wars is kind of a kid’s movie: a fun, plucky, wonderfully inventive, tongue-in-cheek space caper and crowd pleaser that deserved its massive box office. But The Empire Strikes Back is about growing up.

Easy decisions are often the wrong ones. Everyone is constantly calculating current sacrifice against future reward. And just when things start to seem simple, they become incredibly, impossibly messy.

It also contains the flat-out best reveal of any movie, ever. If you saw it as a kid, in a theater, as I did, without knowing what was coming in Cloud City, then you know what it’s like to have a story viscerally and completely explode your simple childish beliefs.

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