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The Star Wars Holiday Special

50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Unaltered original version, as aired in 1978 (comercial free) with bonus material. The most infamous 2 hours of Star Wars programming ever to grace television sets! This show was so bad that it was never re-aired, and has become a cult classic among Star Wars fans.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew (II)
  • Directors: David Acomba, Steve Binder
  • Format: NTSC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JOIP
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,735 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Star Wars Holiday Special" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 30, 2005
Format: DVD
Let my preface my review by saying that I actually do remember watching this as a wee lad back in 1978 and loving it. Specifically, I remember that Han was trying to get Chewie home for Xmas (well, Life Day - what ever the hell that is) and that Chewie's tree-house dwelling family members were "captured" by storm troopers. I also remember all the major characters being in it (except of course Governor Tarkin and Ben Kenobi who bought the farm in the movie). Call it selective memory, but I LUCKILY didn't remember anything beyond this. Seeing that I had fond childhood memories of this special, I was curious to see how it would play almost 30 years later. Boy, was I surprised...

It starts off OK. Our heroes, Han & Chewie are in the Falcon fleeing 2 imperial star destroyers (déjà vu?). The cockpit is the cheaped out TV version and actual movie footage of the space ships are used but no big deal. At this point, I'm just amazed that Harrison Ford agreed to this. Obviously, stardom had not hit yet. And then Boo-yah! They jump to hyper space and all is well. Then the open credits role and announces the cast and "special guests": Bea Arthur (what?), Harvey Corman (are you serious?), Art Carney (Norton in a galaxy far far away?), Dianne Carroll (who?) and the Jefferson Starship (no!!!!!!!!). At this point, I'm thinking so far so good - maybe it won't be as bad as they say it is...............WRONG.

Back from commercial break, we go to the first scene at Chewie's tree house. We are introduced to Chewie's family, wife = Mala, his cute yet annoying as hell son Lumpy (very creative name) and lumpy's perverted grandpa Itchy (OK, heads need to roll for this!). Now begins the 15 plus minutes of pure torture with grunting wookies playing house.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rottenberg's rotten book review on November 29, 2006
Format: DVD
Why 5 stars? What were we Rotten Reviewers thinking? It seems unfair to penalize the creators of "Star Wars" for a mistake they perpetrated, but also ones that fans preserved and propagated. Yes, the "Star Wars Holiday Special" is a horrible mistake, an utter train-wreck to watch. Never officially released on video, it would have vanished into obscurity had its release occurred before the advent of home video recorders. Now ofcourse, those who've somehow gotten their hands on this "too bad for even MST3K" can provenance their copy by watching for the all-important "station identification" label. (My first copy hails from Kansas City, as revealed mid-way through the all-important animated short.) Thanks to bootlegs and sci-fi conventions, those attached to this holiday-time horror can never escape their ignominy - they have been forced to relive their worst nightmare, become the victim of their own worst holiday special. So the answer is, 0 stars for quality, five sympathy stars.

So how bad is it? It's tempting to excuse TSWHS by admitting that all holiday specials are inherently evil, and that they age poorly even when compared to sit-coms and variety shows. It's also tempting to consider how negligible TSWHS's faults would appear had SW itself not become such a legend - and comparisons would have been inevitable. Neither of those theories, however, answers the overarching question of "why" it was made. It appears that nobody knew why they were making a holiday show based on SW, and that instead of trying to find out, simply threw the same lame elements of similar celebrity specials over a threadbare Star Wars story.

The result? A bag of tricks that's utterly painful to watch.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Don't tread on me on December 25, 2006
Format: DVD
I remember seeing this when it was on television (I think I was in the 6th grade). I was thrilled to have something Star Wars on television (this was LONG before the days that movies made it to VHS in 4 months or less like now). I was so thrilled that I did not realize just what kind of nightmare of a 'Holiday Special' it was.

So, you are wondering, why did this idiot give it 5 stars???? Well, I belive that it deserved the 5 stars from its legacy status only. It is one of the most pirated movies on EBay. George Lucas has stated that he wishes he could hunt down every black market copy and destroy them. He has also vowed that it will never see the light of day as a DVD or VHS. I hope he is wrong on that.

If you have never seen this before and can get it, watch it to join the ranks of us who know what the snicker is that people do when they hear 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' mentioned anywhere (as it was in the background of the ABC Family movie 'Chasing Chritmas'). It truly is one of the bad classics of all time. It even out does 'Santa Claus conquers the Martians'.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Hank on May 7, 2006
Format: DVD
When the "classic" versions of the original Star Wars trilogy were remastered and released on VHS and laserdisc back in 1995, the advertising tagline was "The Original...One Last Time." Following the 1997 theatrical release of the "Special Edition" versions of the original trilogy, and their subsequent appearance on VHS and DVD, a small but annoyingly persistant and vocal legion of Star Wars fans has demanded that George Lucas rerelease the original cuts of the films on DVD, something that up until last Thursday (May 4th), Lucasfilm spokespeople insisted was NEVER going to happen. makes one now question the credibility of similar proclaimations that have been repeatedly made about the "Star Wars Holiday Special".

It's fascinating how a tiny handful of Betamax and VHS recorders back in 1978 apparently managed to capture a television special that has never again been officially screened within the United States. Are these the most duplicated home video recordings of all time? Probably. Considering the technical limitations inherent in a 30 year old home video master, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of suprisingly good quality versions of this program floating around. An official "Star Wars Holiday Special" release, however, would put this entire subindustry out of business.

It's fashionable to bash the the "SWHS", although it's not that much worse (and a lot more interesting) than a lot of other prime-time network TV schlock that has passed for high art over the years.
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