The empire strikes back in film poll

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The space-age swashbuckler Star Wars and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, have been voted the greatest two films of all time by readers of Empire magazine.

George Lucas's intergalactic classic, which charts the battle between Luke Skywalker and the evil empire of Darth Vader, came top in a poll of the magazine's readers. The original film, starring Mark Hamill as Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Sir Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi, broke box-office records when it was released in 1977. It spawned a hugely popular series of follow- ups, starting with The Empire Strikes Back, which came second in the poll.

The third in the series, Return of The Jedi, was 40th. Lucas is currently working on a series of prequels which began with the critically panned but commercially successful Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 1999 and will continue when the next instalment, Attack of the Clones, reaches cinemas in the spring.

The powerful prison drama The Shawshank Redemption came third in the Ultimate Movie Poll published in the November issue of the film fans' magazine. Citizen Kane, widely acclaimed by critics as the finest movie ever made, came 28th.

The American mobster dramas The Godfather, Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction all made the top 10 but there was no place in the top 50 for the British gangster hit Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Ridley Scott's swords and sandals adventure Gladiator was the only film directed by a Briton to feature in the readers' top 10.

Robert De Niro, Kevin Spacey and Al Pacino were voted the top three male actors, alongside leading ladies Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster and Sigourney Weaver. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Alfred Hitchcock were judged film's finest directors.

Lucas has played down the success of Star Wars, saying: "It just has to do with people happening to like dumb movies." Certainly not everyone is a fan of his special-effects blockbusters. Visitors to the Internet Movie Data Base website, where Star Wars is currently ranked seventh, have voted The Godfather as their all-time favourite film.

The Top 40

1 Star Wars

2 The Empire Strikes Back

3 The Shawshank Redemption

4 The Godfather

5 The Matrix

6 Fight Club

7 Gladiator

8 Goodfellas

9 Breakfast at Tiffany's

10 Pulp Fiction

11 Raiders of the Lost Ark

12 The Usual Suspects

13 Jaws

14 American Beauty

15 Casablanca

16 Blade Runner

17 The Godfather II

18 Se7en

19 Aliens

20 Saving Private Ryan

21 Silence of the Lambs

22 Schindler's List

23 Alien

24 Some Like it Hot

25 LA Confidential

26 Apocalypse Now

27 Magnolia

28 Citizen Kane

29 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

30 It's a Wonderful Life

31 Braveheart

32 Leon

33 2001: A Space Odyssey

34 Titanic

35 The Big Lebowski

36 Lawrence of Arabia

37 Taxi Driver

38 Gone With the Wind

39 Fargo

40 Return of the Jedi