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The Empire Strikes Back - Greatest Movie of All Time?





  • Yes.

    Greatest movie in several categories:

    • Star Wars
    • Sci-Fi
    • Within a Trilogy
    • Bad Guys Win
    • Special Effects


  • Those are some pretty specific categories. Did you watch the video? This guy presents evidence for why he believes it's one of the greatest films of all time. I am inclined to agree. 😉



  • @zeb-stark said in The Empire Strikes Back - Greatest Movie of All Time?:

    Those are some pretty specific categories. Did you watch the video? This guy presents evidence for why he believes it's one of the greatest films of all time. I am inclined to agree. 😉

    I can get behind that. It's my favorite movie of all time.

    The film structure is top notch which is one reason why I am hopeful for the Han Solo movie since it's written by the same screen writer. The details of what makes ESB an all-time great is that you are so invested in the heroes and to see them "fail" is a shock to the system. Rarely do heroes have to overcome an onslaught of bad events and yet still stay heroes.



  • Thanks for that post, Zeb. That was an excellent little video and youre right he makes a good case.

    But. (you knew there was "but" coming, its me..)

    Well, before I get to my objection let me qualify it by saying Empire Strikes Back on the whole is my favorite Star Wars film (though the throne room duel in Return of the Jedi might be favorite individual scene, and the first film will always be THE FIRST). Everything in that video and more is what make it so.

    In my opinion though it has one restriction that really disqualifies it for being "the greatest film of all time".

    Its a simple fact. The Empire Strikes Back doesnt stand alone. If you have not seen Star Wars (fuck that A New Hope shit, thats not what the title crawl said when I saw...you cant rail against the changes Lucas made but then go all in on THE TITLE CHANGE)..anyway..if you havent see Star Wars.. youre lost. Who is this guy? Who is that guy he's talking to? Wait..how did he just make that laser sword thingy move? Why is that guy in space samurai armor sure Skywalker is there. Perhaps worse..if you dont see Return of the Jedi..well.. that lack of resolution would probably drive you insane. Theyd find you in a mental institution years later writing things like "Han is alive..Han is alive" on the wall.

    The Empire is a great movie, and obviously its by design..but the fact you cant watch it on its own means it cant be the greatest movie of all time. And by the way, this is perhaps one of two areas that Star Wars is better if youre talking cinematic theory. Star Wars is the only movie that stands alone just fine. Even Rogue One, a "stand alone" movie doesnt.

    Side note.. a lot of the cool stuff pointed out in the video used to be considered sort of fundamental movie making and it shows you how much first George Lucas forgot..and also how much Hollywood know simply wants to make money making machines and isnt real concerned with making art anymore. Empire is a great example of cinematic art.



  • I 100% disagree with @Veda-the-Moor that a movie has to be a standalone thing in order to be considered greatest of all time.

    I argue that if all things need to be standalone in order to be considered "great" we would lose out of so many things; especially a movie that has done more for universe/world building than any other movie.

    I can't think of another movie franchise that world-built things like Star Wars has without the help of source material like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc.



  • Its not just that Empire Strikes Back isnt "stand alone".. I mean, it doesnt tell a complete story. Its the middle of a story. Lots of movies have some context, but you can watch them, and them alone, and "get it". The Godfather is a great film..and its based on a book..but you dont need to read the book to appreciate the film. And though it has a sequel, you dont need to see the sequel to get it. This is actually an interesting example because it is Godfather Part II that started the naming trend of calling second films "2".. in this case it was actually meant to indicate you had to see the first movie to make sense of the second one.

    You dont lose anything ..I didnt say anything NEEDS to be standalone. I love The Empire Strikes Back.

    Im looking at the very narrow question of "Is it / can it be..the greatest film of all time?" And in my opinion art shouldnt have prerequisites. Thats all I mean.



  • We can't unsee A New Hope or Return of The Jedi so it's kind of impossible for any of us to imagine exactly what it would be like to watch Empire with zero context. What if it's better? We should commission a study.



  • I am under the belief that not all stories have to have an ending.

    As @Zeb-Stark states, I can't unsee Star Wars or Return of the Jedi... I wish I could unsee the Prequels, but the point remains that our heroes live to fight another day and that's enough to make a great movie. Yes, it's a cliff hanger but it's not enough to deter the greatness of the movie. We talked about it and while there are movies where the "bad guys win" it's never the high stakes of ultimate-good vs. ultimate-bad like it is ESB.

    I can look at a moment in a football series and use that to propel a game into "best of all time" or "worst of all time." Greatest is not always the sum-of-all-parts in my mind.

    While you don't need to read the Godfather, it was adapted from something. Star Wars is built on multiple stories and previously created portions of sci-fi but never the grand spectacle.

    If you have to ask a narrow question to disqualify something, then you are looking at reason to knock it down than prop it up. It's a fair exercise to do but I can't think of a movie that is not only amazing but really changes movies as a whole.



  • I'll tell ya what, even if Empire isn't one of the greatest movies of all time (it is), this surely is one of the great debates.



  • When I get to a computer I will write a proper review. You're twisting what I'm saying. I'm not being overly narrow to purposely knock Empire. I've said multiple times it's my favorite movie in the series. But you have to have particularly strong blinders on to ignore the constraints in it given its place in a trilogy.

    If you never saw Star Wars and you never saw Return of the Jedi what would you think of the film? Art needs to be stand in its own merit. Like escaping but not defeating a monster that may or may not be his father.. Han Solo in Carbonite because Harrison Ford can't decide if he will come back fur another movie.. these are great set ups. But that's an episode not a movie. A story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. Unless you're watching French art house films.

    If you're old enough, and I am, you spent three years waiting.. essentially for the end of Empire Strikes Back.

    Best Trilogy of all time. Best second act. But still to my mind disqualified because it doesn't have a beginning and even more so doesn't have an independent.


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