Rebecca Harrison, The Empire Strikes Back, British Film Institute, BFI Film Classics, 2020.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy, is often cited as the ‘best’ and most popular Star Wars movie. In her compelling study, Rebecca Harrison draws on previously unpublished archival research to reveal a variety of original and often surprising perspectives on the film, from the cast and crew who worked on its production through to the audiences who watched it in cinemas.
Harrison guides readers on a journey that begins with the film’s production in 1979 and ends with a discussion about its contemporary status as an object of reverence and nostalgia. She demonstrates how Empire‘s meaning and significance has continually shifted over the past 40 years not only within the franchise, but also in broader conversations about film authorship, genre, and identity.
Offering new insights and original analysis of Empire via its cultural context, production history, textual analysis, exhibition, reception, and post-1980 re-evaluations of the film, the book provides a timely and relevant reassessment of this enduringly popular film.
Table of contents
Chapter One. Introduction
Chapter Two. Creating an Empire
Chapter Three. In Production
Chapter Four. The Film
Chapter Five. Seeing Star Wars
Chapter Six. Critics Write Back
Chapter Seven. Number Five at Number One
Appendices. Bibliography, Filmography, Film Credits