Top ten lines from “The Empire Strikes Back”
10. “Having trouble with your droid?” – Lando Calrissian’s sarcastic understatement when he notices the heap of C3-PO parts.
9. “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three thousand, seven hundred and twenty to one.” – C3-PO’s panicked assessment of Han’s improvised plan to elude the Star Destroyers chasing them. Han’s reply: “Never tell me the odds.” By the way, how did Han and Chewbacca pilot the Falcon? There was no stick, no yoke, no steering wheel. Discuss.
8. “Oh, you will be. You will be.” – Yoda, using his scary/serious low-register growl (and appearing very un-Muppet-like) when replying to Luke’s cocky “I’m not afraid” claim about the dangers that awaited him.
7. “Impressive. Most impressive.” – Darth Vader, upon realizing that Luke’s made an unexpected last-minute escape from carbon freeze and perhaps taken a few meager steps on the road to becoming a Jedi. A wise-ass Generation X staple, this quote can be used in a variety of settings and situations in which one has surprised another.
6. “Would it help if I got out and pushed?” – Princess Leia’s generous offer to help get the Millennium Falcon up and running when they’re making their fast getaway from Hoth. Han, who must always have the last word and get the bigger laugh, replies, “It might.”
5. “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, struggling again with Luke’s whiny immaturity as he tries to learn the ways of the Jedi. The runner up is surely this exchange: Luke breathlessly mutters “I don’t believe it” and Yoda replies, with a touch of weary regret, “That is why you fail.” In Luke’s defense, do you have any idea how heavy a frickin’ X-wing must be?
4. “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” – Luke’s instant-classic cry of disbelief when told Darth Vader is his father. Also a textbook example of adding insult to injury since Luke gets this awful “impossible!” news right after losing his right hand to a lightsaber. Mark Hamill’s bleary-eyed, slobbery shriek is devastating on first viewing, but the more you see this moment, the more ridiculous it gets. It couldn’t be any more over the top. Poor Mark Hamill. He could just barely keep his acting head above the water in these movies.
3. “And I thought they smelled bad... on the outside.” – Han’s observation about the relative odors of a Tauntaun as he tries to save Luke’s life by, you know, shoving him inside the steaming guts of a dead animal. Yucky.
2. “What is thy bidding, my master?” – Darth Vader, kneeling before the Emperor’s hologram. When you’re 8 years old in 1980 and you suddenly learn that the personification of evil has an even more evil boss, well, your whole world is rocked.
1. “I know.” – Han Solo’s answer to Princess Leia’s proclamation “I love you” just moments before he’s put into deep carbonite freeze (he’ll be perfectly safe assuming he survives the freezing process). It’s a brilliant line: tragic, romantic, with just the right touch of wry humor to leaven what is surely the original trilogy’s most disturbing and dark moment. Rumor has it Harrison Ford made it up on the spot after a number of other alternatives weren’t satisfying.
The blog Writer Joshua James takes a close look at the plot of The Empire Strikes Back and suggests that one reason it's so memorably dark and tragic is that every character fails to get what they want.
See also: "The top ten lines from Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan."