4. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
It’s no secret how impactful the Star Wars franchise has been to cinema but it’s its second installment that truly defied expectations. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980 and it changed the game for Star Wars, movie sequels, and film itself, becoming a welcome chapter of each of those categories.
The ironic thing is that it wasn’t as well-received as its predecessor initially, with many critics disliking its darker approach and more mature themes before it was retroactively appreciated for the groundbreaking gem that it is. It wasn’t the last time this happened either as iconic films such as Predator and The Thing weren’t as beloved as they are now upon release. Thankfully, they also received their flowers as the years went on.
The Empire Strikes Back is bigger, grander, and more harrowing than A New Hope and that makes it a much more powerful watch. It’s also a captivating adventure that never quite stops and features one of the most infamous (and iconic) plot twists in cinema history – one that is still heavily quoted by fans of the franchise.
This one was so bold that audiences weren’t quite ready for it back in 1980. Thankfully, we can all show it the love and respect it deserves today.