Friday, May 21, 2010

Images From My All Time Favorite Films: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

It is extremely hard for me to believe but today marks the thirtieth anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. Yes, it was thirty years ago today that a countless numbers of kids, teenagers and adults crowded theaters across the world to see the follow-up film to, what was at that point, the biggest film of all-time. I had just turned seven and, like many kids my age, I was was an absolute Star Wars fanatic and The Empire Strikes Back haunted my dreams before and after I saw it.
I probably saw Empire at least 3 or 4 times on the big screen in that Summer of 1980 and my memories of the excited and awestruck little boy that I used to be stick with me.
The Empire Strikes Back remains far and away my favorite film of the Star Wars trilogy (I refuse to even acknowledge Lucas's dismal prequels) and one of my all-time favorite films in general. It's an astonishing film that is filled with more creativity, bravado and genius than almost any other American film before or since, with much of the credit going to Irvin Kirshner's startling direction of the film.
As The Empire Strikes Back is a major masterpiece and one of the key films of my youth, I couldn't let its anniversary slip by without offering up a tribute to it. I am extremely happy to include it in this series because it is indeed one of my favorite films and it remains one of the most triumphant pieces of pure cinema I have ever seen. The Empire Strikes Back is the most mesmerizing art-house blockbuster ever released and it is one film that will always burn...



















3 comments:

MovieMan0283 said...

Great images. I much enjoy all the Star Wars films, particularly when I stumble across them on TV and a big grin lights up my face - but it's the first one I keep coming back to as a masterpiece. Perhaps one thing that's checked Empire's sway with me, somewhat unfairly, is my wariness with the tendency of blockbusters to go dark, unable to quite balance their attempts at philosophical weightiness and moody style with the fantastical underpinnings and broad strokes of the stories they're telling. Empire manages better than most, of course, but it's an approach that the 00s have beaten into the ground so maybe that adds to Star Wars' freshness from today's perspective (there are other factors, too, of course - including the fact that Star Wars stands alone the best while the others, the prequels ridiculously so, struggle to evoke a bigger-than-one-film universe, another and perhaps even more pronounced trend which Empire kicked off and today's blockbusters make ubiquitous).

Joe Valdez said...

I waited in line to see The Empire Strikes Back for at least three hours with my parents outside the Alabama Theatre in Houston. I remember nothing about watching the movie, but I recall the wait.

Like many movie houses in 1980, the Alabama had one screen, so we didn't have the option that kids do today of catching a show 20 minutes later. I could be wrong but I think my parents liked that theater and refused to take me and my brother to such an eagerly awaited movie at the mall.

The Alabama went on to become a Bookstop for many years -- the media section was on what used to be a balcony -- and today it is being turned into an office supply store, which is a sad commentary on a city. Which would you rather live next to, a movie theater, bookstore or office supply store?

Sorry about that, Jeremy, but your excellent post took me back. Thanks for posting that!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks so much guys for the terrific and interesting comments. I greatly enjoyed reading both of them...