Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) – Film Review

The Star Wars saga draws to a close...

The final of the entire Star Wars saga came way back in 1983. A child of the age, Return of the Jedi ties up the loose ends of the previous instalments. The galaxy faces continued turmoil whilst the dark side carries on gaining strength. Will Luke and co achieve the impossible and lead the rebel alliance to victory? If you don’t already know, it’s time to watch the film.

For those of you still wiping the sleep from your eyes after being frozen and kept by Jabba the Hut, here’s the basic story. The rebel alliance’s continuing efforts to thwart the Empire are reaching a climax whilst Jedi Luke, with the help of Leia, C3PO and other familiar faces, travels to Tatooine to free the frozen Han Solo. Of course the rescue mission doesn’t quite go to plan and their efforts result in a restrained (but unfrozen) Han, battles with viscous space monsters and Leia donning that outfit.

Luke is still receiving guidance from the omniscient Obi Wan and, when visiting a dying Yoda, discovers that Leia is in fact his twin sister (let’s hope his infatuation with her was just a crush). The rebels plan to destroy the second death star currently in development and, thanks to their attempts, we’re greeted with the cuddly tribe of Ewoks who pack a surprising punch.

Whilst on the planet of Endor Luke gives himself up in order to meet his father once again and convince him to leave the dark side forever. Darth Vader has other plans however and soon Luke finds himself face to face with Palpatine, leader of the Empire. When it is clear Luke won’t join the dark side, Palpatine attacks him inspiring Vader to retaliate and succumb to the peaceful ways of the Jedi (via pushing old Palpatine to his death). Mass celebration scenes follow, including a neat revisiting of important locations from the previous five films.

John Williams manages to serve up another ace soundtrack here and it serves George Lucas’s story well. Director Richard Marquand deals with what is essentially a space opera expertly and provides the audience with an entertaining but evocative finale. Although the Ewoks proved to be a bit like marmite with the Star Wars community their irrefutable ‘cuteness’ doesn’t detract from the epic feel of the film. It’s easy to forget that characters such as Jabba were in fact puppets and this acts as testament to the power of the story at the heart of the film.

Having created the saga’s prequels back in the noughties only time will tell whether Lucas will serve up a trilogy of sequels. For now, however, we’re left with a lasting legacy to sci-fi and one of the most well-loved cinematic sagas of all time.


Best light sabre scene: Luke vs. Vader.
Best line: ‘Sister!’
Best character: The ewoks!

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