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

4.2 out of 5 stars 809 customer reviews

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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.

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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, Howard G. Kazanjian, Jim Bloom
  • 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 (809 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FQJAJG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,765 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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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:

540x320

(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
We are given 2-DVD releases where the films in the much sought-after original 1977/83 STAR WARS Trilogy are relegated to the status of "bonus discs," a remarkably cynical move even for Lucas and Fox, who know full well that very few people actually want the dreadful 1997/2004 revisions that have been around on DVD for two years. These "bonus discs" are largely non-cleaned-up, low-definition, non-anamorphic transfers based on the 1993 laser discs. The picture is actually not bad, all things considered--better, in fact, than any other issuance of the originals (which admittedly appeared in media far inferior to the DVD); but with a little effort, they could have been so much better--especially for folks with 16x9 TVs. The 2.0 sound is more than adequate--actually rather clearer than the 5.1 mess that was produced for the 2004 disasters. Ironically, it is the 2.0 mix, not the 2004 5.1 remix, which is more similar to, though less complex than, the 6-channel, non-digital, non-surround stereo that was heard theatrically 30 years ago.

A couple of interesting details: one reviewer felt that these DVDs were worse than the 1995 VHS tapes, which he remembered as having been better cleaned up. In point of fact, the LDs from 1993 and the LDs/VHS tapes from 1995 were the *same* THX remasterings--just packaged differently; having seen both, I can say confidently that neither are nearly as good as these still-below-par DVDs. Moreover, the 1993/5 THX versions from which these DVDs were transferred are full of print damage at the same points--odd for a THX mastering; it means that even for what he said would be the *final* release in 1995, Lucas *already* didn't care about the old versions, as he was about to embark upon his 1997 distortions!
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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
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
Best Sequels Ever
Toy Story 2 should be on that list...
Jun 6, 2010 by Braydyn Niewiadomski |  See all 2 posts
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