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Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition)

721 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For the first time ever and for a limited time only, the enhanced versions of the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi will be available individually on DVD. Plus, these 2-Disc DVD's will feature a bonus disc that includes, for the first time ever on DVD, the original films as seen in theaters in 1977, 1980 and 1983.

The 2006 limited-edition two-disc release of The Empire Strikes Back is not only the first time the movie has been officially available by itself on DVD. It marks the first-ever DVD release of Empire as it originally played in theaters in 1980. What does that mean exactly? The film is without the various "improvements" and enhancements George Lucas added for the theatrical rerelease in 1997 as well as the DVD premiere in 2004. So no more of Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor) replacing Clive Revill with slightly revised lines, or Temuera Morrison rerecording of Boba Fett's minimal dialogue.

What do you lose by watching the 1980 version? Dolby Digital 5.1 EX sound, for one thing (only 2.0 Surround here), and digital cleanup. But for home-theater owners, the biggest frustration will be from the non-anamorphic picture. On a widescreen TV, an anamorphically enhanced (16x9) picture at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio will fill the screen with the exception of small black bars on the top and bottom. The original edition of Empire, however, on a widescreen TV will have large black bars on the top, the bottom, and the sides unless you stretch the picture (and distort it in the process, especially considering the substandard picture quality). If you're watching on a standard square-shaped (4:3) TV, though, you won't notice a difference.

Yes, it's true that serious home-theater lovers who want spectacular sound and anamorphically enhanced picture can always watch the 2004 version of the movie also included in this set. But chances are good that they already picked up the trilogy edition of all three films, so their decision to buy the 2006 two-disc edition depends on how much they want the original film. The official LucasFilm stance is that this is an individual release of the 2004 version of The Empire Strikes Back, and the 1980 version of the film is merely a "bonus feature." Common speculation is that the only reason the original versions are seeing the official light of day at all is to undercut the booming black market for the laserdisc version. Star Wars fans will have to decide for themselves if that's worth the purchase. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Disc 1:
  • **Widescreen Feature (Enhanced Trilogy Version)
  • **Commentary by George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Ben Burtt, Lawrence Kasdan, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
  • **Easter Egg - Credit Roll
  • Disc 2:
  • **Widescreen Feature (For Both Versions Full Screen and Widescreen) - original theatrical movie version in dolby 2.0 surround
  • **XBox Playable Game Demo
  • **Lego Game Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels
  • Directors: Irvin Kershner
  • Writers: George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Leigh Brackett
  • Producers: Gary Kurtz, George Lucas, Jim Bloom, Rick McCallum
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (721 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,087 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Limited Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

184 of 215 people found the following review helpful By M. French on May 27, 2006
Format: DVD
Lucasfilm is marketing this trilogy release on the inclusion of the unaltered versions of the films when in fact this is a shoddy laserdisc transfer on a bonus disc and the buyer is forced to purchase, yet again, the 2004 versions also. This is essentially retail fraud given that Lucasfilm holds itself as a bastion of home video quality and film preservation - these transfers are 13 years old, non-anamorphic and substandard. YOU WILL BE PAYING $[...] FOR OLD LASERDISCS TRANSFERRED TO DVD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. You will not be able to watch them on a widescreen TV with adequate quality - this is shameful and shameless marketing taking advantage of buyers. DO NOT BUY!
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194 of 228 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Aguilar on September 11, 2006
Format: DVD
So after waiting 11 years or so, we finally get a re-release of the original The Empire Strikes Back in all it's unaltered glory. Just as fans have been dreaming about since the advent of DVD.

Well, um...I don't think any fan was dreaming about this particular release.

The original release version of The Empire Strikes Back (the only reason to buy this set as most all fans will already have one of the previous Special Edition releases) is relegated to bonus material on disc two. Ouch! But wait, it gets worse.

George Lucas, the champion of pristine presentation in the theatre and at home has released the film that made him a legend in the state of the art of technology circa 1993.

Yes, that's right. This transfer is from the laserdisc release of '93. Even worse, the film is not anamorphic like just about every other modern day DVD. What does that mean? Well a non-anamorphic DVD has a low visual clarity and the image won't fill a widescreen TV. To make a movie anamorphic takes very little time and money. That Star Wars is not anamorphic shows a disregard for the film that is troubling.

Star Wars fans expect these landmark films to be treated just like many other films (Vertigo, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Snow White, etc.) that have gotten detailed restorations that cleaned up dirt, grime and audio ticks and presented the films in today's state of the art. This is the release most fans were dreaming of. A release that showed the film some modicrum of respect.

George, the fan base you have worked so hard to woo over the years is fed up with your shoddy treatment of these films.
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237 of 293 people found the following review helpful By James W. on June 27, 2006
Format: DVD
If you love the original Star Wars trilogy as much as me, it is time to send a loud and clear message to Lucas that you will not endorse a subpar, inferior product. Do not get too excited when you pop this DVD into your player to watch on a widescreen TV. The 1980 version will appear as a tiny, low-resolution image. It is a non-anamorphic transfer (which in 2006 is NOT an industry standard), so it is NOT enhanced for 16x9 viewing. Get ready to enjoy Star Wars like you never have before - as if you were watching it through a mail slot!!!

Boycott this DVD until Lucasfilm acknowledges and corrects this. This trilogy's most loyal fans deserve better.
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103 of 130 people found the following review helpful By MATTYG on July 13, 2006
Format: DVD
to paraphrase darth vader " I find Mr. Lucas lack of faith in the oot disturbing"

out of all the three at least empire deserved the gold standard when It came on dvd in it's orginal version. But non anamorphic for one of the greatest sequels in movie history please!

again thanks for nothing mr. lucas.

Please somebody stop him before film history is erased forever by a so called film preservationist activist, who often likes to re-write history and cgi the crap out of it.

Please AFI and the DGA stop this madness! Lobby him to perserve these films as they deserve to be treated not as bastard children he once disowned.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Troy on June 23, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First off, I already have the special/altered movies on dvd. IF I bought this latest release, it would only be to obtain the ORIGINAL theatrical release (with all the matte lines/primitive technology). The original version is all that I'm missing from my collection & my only motive to purchase this dvd.

DVD has a maximum resolution of 720x480 dots on the screen; did Lucas take advantage of that improved hi-res technology for this "first time on dvd" original theater version?? NO of course not. He's giving us the original movie in laserdisc resolution:


(analog letterboxed). That's only *50%* the pixel resolution that DVD can offer!!! What a royal ripoff. Are we fans supposed to be happy about getting an inferior-quality print of the original movie? Fat chance. The original movie was recorded with 6-track surround & on hi-resolution 70mm film <---- THAT'S what we want, not some inferior 540x320 blurry picture from an old 1980s laserdisc.

Get with the program George.
You should have released the originals in hi-resolution 720x480. You should have taken advantage of DVD's full potential, not dump some inferior/blurry/lo-resolution video on us.
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Format: DVD
First off I have no problem with George Lucas altering his films. They are HIS films after all but I do take issue with Lucas not making the original films that a generation (or two) grew up on available in a restored form.

Fans should be aware that while a marked improvement on the laserdisc edition (which appears to be from the same source elements)the image is improved by being transferred digitally vs. analog. The film looks decent although no where near as good as the digitally enhanced edition included here. Why Lucas could not have had these anamorphically enhanced is beyond me (it would probably have required another transfer however and that does cost $$).

However, there's some issues with the print being unstable at times with the resulting image shakey on screen. Colors are bolder here than on "Star Wars" more than likely because the film elements survived the passage of time better (and the fact that they are a bit younger as well). The bigger your widescreen monitor is the more noticeable the flaws are in the prints, the transfer (it's nonanamorphic which basically means there's less clarity, less detail and inferior image quality). Anamorphic is the standard for DVD and improves the image quality signficantly so I'm a bit surprised that Lucas didn't at least try and upgrade these to an anamorphic transfer in some way shape or form.

The digitally altered version looks terrific. It's interesting because the fact that Lucas presents the original with minimal digital clean up and no restoration is kind of like an unhappy child being forced to hand over something they don't want to--they make sure it's in as bad of shape as possible so that no one will want it. It's almost as if Lucas is saying, "see I was right about how bad these things looked".
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Topic From this Discussion
high-def preservation of the 1997 Theatrical SE Empire Strikes Back.
If it's the 1997 version, it shouldn't need much if any color correction as the horrible blue tint happened in 2004.

Having this version in HD would be very impressive as it has much proper coloring and contrast levels, features a true film restoration and has a lot of the compositing shots... Read More
Sep 14, 2011 by Knightmessenger |  See all 2 posts
Best Sequels Ever
Toy Story 2 should be on that list...
Jun 6, 2010 by Braydyn Niewiadomski |  See all 2 posts
Why the complaining?
Fans are upset primarily because the films haven't been restored and they are being released from inferior masters. The original negatives were in bad shape (at least for the first film episode IV)but that doesn't prevent Lucas from doing a restoration. The fans that want to see them in their... Read More
Sep 12, 2006 by Wayne Klein |  See all 7 posts
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