On May 21, 1980, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back made its theatrical debut. To celebrate the classic film’s landmark 40th anniversary, StarWars.com presents “Empire at 40,” a special series of interviews, editorial features, and listicles.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is filled with iconic lines uttered by our favorite heroes and villains. From Yoda’s wisdom, to Han Solo’s effortless swagger, to Darth Vader’s shocking revelation, chances are high that you already know quite a few quotes from the 1980 sequel to Star Wars: A New Hope. In honor of a momentous 40 years, here are 40 quotes from The Empire Strikes Back that are as timeless as the movie itself.
1. “There isn’t enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser.” – Han Solo
Ah, that ol’ Han Solo brashness comes out as soon as the movie starts. Not only does this conversation tell us a little bit about the rebels’ new hidden base, this easy back and forth shows that Han and Luke have formed a real friendship in the past three years.
2. “A death mark’s not an easy thing to live with.” – General Rieekan
General Rieekan states the obvious. It’s also a good reminder that Jabba the Hutt hasn’t forgotten about Han Solo — or the credits he’s owed.
3. “Yes, Your Highnessness?” – Han Solo
Han Solo and Leia Organa continue their quippy jabs at each other from A New Hope, even when it looks like they may be parting ways. There’s a lot of emotion brimming under their bickering.
4. “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.” – Leia Organa
Han Solo calls out Princess Leia on her feelings for him, and she can’t help but be defensive…and maybe a little bit embarrassed. (Also, we don’t doubt that Chewbacca does give a good kiss.)
5. “Then I’ll see you in hell!” – Han Solo
Han Solo’s defiant attitude is one thing, but his willingness to do whatever it takes to help a friend is quite another. Han knows that Luke needs him, and he’ll find him — even at the cost of his own life.
6. “You will go to the Dagobah system.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
Ben Kenobi appears to Luke for the first time since his death at Vader’s hand. He delivers the first mention of Yoda in Star Wars along with a peek into his past as a Jedi.
7. “I thought they smelled bad on the outside!” – Han Solo
One of the most classic lines from The Empire Strikes Back comes from a beleaguered and freezing Han Solo. Did we mention he’ll do whatever it takes to save a friend?
8. “I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain.” – Leia Organa
Woe be to any person who finds themselves at the receiving end of Princess Leia’s anger.
9. “Laugh it up, fuzzball.” – Han Solo to Chewbacca
Another quote that’s instantly recognizable, Chewbacca’s chuckle makes it all the more delightful.
10. “Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking…nerf-herder!” – Leia Organa
If you had to sum up Han and Leia’s relationship in just one exchange, this is probably the one.
11. “He is as clumsy as he is stupid.” – Darth Vader
Darth Vader has no time for mistakes. Admiral Ozzel might have had a long career that started in the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars, but all it takes is one blunder too many to instantly get on the bad side of the Dark Lord of the Sith.
12. “Our first catch of the day.” – Imperial Officer
The Empire’s haughtiness is personified by this smug officer.
13. “The first transport is away.” – Rebel Alliance Announcer
14. “Would it helped if I got out and pushed?” –- Leia Organa
The only thing reliable about the Falcon’s hyperdrive is that it’s unreliable.
15. “Punch it!” – Han Solo to Chewbacca
Show off your Star Wars knowledge to your friends by spouting this popular quote correctly.
16. “Never tell me the odds!” – Han Solo
Han Solo might not use the Force, but he definitely has his own kind of luck.
17. “You said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake. Well, this could be it, sweetheart.” – Han Solo
The asteroid field is yet another one of Han Solo’s quick decisions that gets our heroes out of one jam and straight into another.
18. “Ah! A great warrior. Wars not make one great.” – Yoda
Yoda might be putting on an act for Luke, but there is an air of truth to this thoughtful line.
19. “Aww, cannot get your ship out?” – Yoda
Yoda is a master… at teasing Luke.
20. “Sir, I don’t know where your ship learned to communicate, but it has the most peculiar dialect.” – C-3PO
A remnant of L3-37’s distinctive personality or just the result of the storied history of the Millennium Falcon? We may never know for sure.
21. “You like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.” – Han Solo
The most romantic scene in all of Star Wars unfolds in a dingy corner of the Millennium Falcon.
22. “The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.” – Emperor Palpatine
This conversation with the Emperor — the first time movie audiences ever laid eyes on him — reveals not only a hint of his machinations, but how Darth Vader might be feeling about the discovery of another Skywalker.
23. “For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained!” – Yoda
If Yoda has a pet peeve, it’s being told who to train.
24. “Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things.” – Yoda
Yoda tells Luke and the audience to get the swashbuckling adventurer image out of their heads when it comes to the Jedi. These knights are keepers of the peace, not crusaders or super heroes.
25. “I am not a committee!” – Leia Organa
Han takes aim at Leia’s political past in this quick but unforgettable exchange.
26. “You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. No disintegrations.” – Darth Vader
Boba Fett is a man of little words, but this conversation (with some vigorous finger pointing) hints at an unspoken past between the bounty hunter and Dark Lord of the Sith.
27. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
This is one of Yoda’s most profound statements and one of those quotes you could spend hours pondering.
28. “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” – Yoda
Yoda gives Luke (and us) a reminder that we are all more than just what you see on the outside.
29. “You do have your moments. Not many, but you do have them.” – Leia Organa
This line is the closest Princess Leia comes to giving Han Solo a compliment.
30. “Hello, what have we here?” – Lando Calrissian
The ol’ smoothie treats us to one of his most famous quotes the first time he sets eyes on Princess Leia.
31. “There is another.” – Yoda
This line probably blew the minds of the audience the first time they heard it uttered, and it’s still one of the most iconic Star Wars quotes today.
32. “He’s no good to me dead.” – Boba Fett
We learn a little bit about Jabba’s plans for Han Solo with this callous protest from Boba Fett. (Did you catch it echoed in the first season of The Mandalorian?)
33. “This deal’s getting worse all the time.” – Lando Calrissian
We start to see the heart of gold underneath Lando’s opportunistic exterior as he continues to argue for Princess Leia and Chewbacca’s well-being.
34. “I know.” – Han Solo
Famously not in the script, Han Solo’s response to Leia’s confession of love captures the character. Harrison Ford suggested the line himself to director Irvin Kershner before filming, calling it “beautiful and acceptable and funny.”
35. “All too easy.” – Darth Vader
It’s clear Vader doesn’t think a lot of his opponent, expecting the young Skywalker to be effortlessly outmatched…
36. “Impressive. Most impressive.” – Darth Vader
…but Luke earns a small amount of grudging respect from the Dark Lord of the Sith.
37. “I am your father.” – Darth Vader
The most attention-grabbing and momentous line in all of Star Wars.
38. “Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.” – Darth Vader
Vader’s true ambitions are revealed as the shocking revelations continue. Does Darth Vader harbor some love for his son, or does he simply intend to take the galaxy for himself?
39. “It’s not my fault!” – Lando Calrissian
Echoing Han Solo, the badgered baron can’t help but defend himself to his new friends. (It’s really not his fault.)
40. “I’m standing here in pieces, and you’re having delusions of grandeur!” – C-3PO
Will C-3PO ever realize that his best friend is one of the biggest heroes of the Rebel Alliance?
Kelly Knox is a Seattle-based freelance writer who loves creating Star Wars crafts with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox.
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