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Some of my favourite Star Wars quotes of all time - Original Trilogy (1977 - 83)

Updated: May 18, 2022


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Perhaps no other film franchise has entered our collective consciousness or more made such an indelible mark on popular culture quite like the Star Wars saga. From humble beginnings in 1977 to the multi-million dollar franchise status it now enjoys, it is I think quite fair to say that Star Wars has become a bona fide global phenomenon unprecedented in the history of cinema. It helped usher in the dawn of the blockbuster, and was the progenitor of the summer popcorn flicks that appeal mainly to young audiences; the cinema of mass consumption. The Star Wars Empire (pun intended) now spans films, books, comics, games, toys, cartoons, t-shirts, and any other form of merchandising imaginable. It stands to reason, then, that key phrases from the films have become part of the pop culture lexicon; indeed, a lot of the dialogue is infinitely quotable (the arguably dubious quality of the dialogue itself makes for another discussion entirely, though of course I have my definite views on the subject). However, classics such as "May the Force be with you" or "Do or do not. There is no try" are used by fans as everyday figures of speech. A good percentage of these have been proliferated, parodied and recycled ("These aren't the androids you are looking for" is a great recent example), further cementing the lasting and far reaching appeal of the saga. What follows, then, is a list of my favourite Star Wars quotes of all time. For the purposes of this article, I have limited myself to the original feature films released from 1977 - 1983, so you won't find anything here from the Prequels, Sequels or Expanded Universe. Ladies, gentlemen and Jedi, let us begin...

THE QUOTE:

May the Force be with you. / The Force will be with you, always.


THE SPEAKER: Obi-Wan Kenobi/Luke Skywalker/Han Solo/General Dodonna/Admiral Ackbar.


THE FILM: Practically every Star Wars film ever made.


THE BACKGROUND: Whether a pantheistic expression of God, a meditation on Eastern philosophy or treatise on spirituality (and perhaps a combination of all the above), the Force is woven through the fabric of the Star Wars saga like a richly knit tapestry. It is mostly said/mentioned by believers in the Force when parting from loved ones and friends in times of trouble. After blowing up the Death Star, the disembodied voice of Obi-Wan assures Luke that the Force will always be with him. Even Admiral Ackbar gets in on the action in Return of the Jedi by uttering his own variation of what is arguably the most recognizable phrase in the entire Star Wars pantheon.


FUN FACT: Obi-Wan never says "May the Force be with you" verbatim in A New Hope, but Captain Dodonna does, at the rebel assembly before the attack on the Death Star.

THE QUOTE: The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.


THE SPEAKER: Obi-Wan Kenobi


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: After Luke is attacked by a member of the Sand people, Obi-Wan takes him back to his home to recover. While there, Obi-Wan reveals to Luke that he is a Jedi Knight, the same as his father was. He then entreats the youngster to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi as well. Luke then asks what the Force actually is, and Obi-Wan obliges, describing the Force as a mystical energy field that binds all living things together. And look, not a midi-chlorian in sight.


FUN FACT: This is the scene in which Obi-Wan gives Luke his father's lightsaber in accordance with his wishes. He also explains how Anakin Skywalker was betrayed and murdered by Obi-Wan's apprentice, Darth Vader.

THE QUOTE: No. I am your father.


THE SPEAKER: Darth Vader


THE FILM: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back


THE BACKGROUND: Vader and Emperor Palpatine have hatched a plot to turn Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side. To ensnare the young would-be Jed, Vader lures Luke into a trap on the cloud city of Bespin: his plan, to encase Luke in carbonite in preparation for his journey to the Emperor. Luke's arrival in Cloud City leads to a first confrontation with Darth Vader, a duel in which the young Jedi apprentice finds himself outmatched by the Dark Lord of the Sith and having to learn a hard lesson. With Luke defeated and humiliated, Vader delivers a sucker punch that's completely out of left field; the revelation at the heart of the entire Star Wars saga. He reveals who Luke's true father is: himself. Chilling.


FUN FACT: Secrecy and security was extremely tight on set in order to avoid the plot twist getting out to the general public. Apparently, David Prowse (the actor portraying Darth Vader) was instructed to say something along the lines of "You will come with me "or "Obi-Wan killed your father"; the real line was then dubbed in post-production. Guess it was a bit easier to keep a secret before the days of Internet and social media...

THE QUOTE: Do not be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant, next to the power of the Force.


THE SPEAKER: Darth Vader


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: During a meeting of Imperial officers aboard the Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin and his cronies discuss the theft of the technical plans of said battle station by the Rebels. Admiral Motti, supremely overconfident on the firepower of the Death Star, boasts that an attack on it would be a futile gesture on behalf of the Rebels. Darth Vader, however, knows the peril of relying solely on technology , no matter how advanced it may seem. I mean, how many times has a PC shut off or refused to even boot up for no particular reason at all? It's happened to me one too many times. Technology, for all its greatness, can let us down sometimes. Darth Vader understands this.

THE QUOTE: I find your lack of faith disturbing.


THE SPEAKER: Darth Vader


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: Admiral Motti, not one to be dissuaded (even by a Dark Lord of the Sith) actually mocks Vader, the Force and the Jedi religion: "Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you enough clairvoyance to find the rebels' hidden fortress", he says. Vader promptly proceeds to choke him, and we are disappointed, I think, when Grand Moff Tarkin commands Vader to release him.

THE QUOTE: Here goes nothing.


THE SPEAKER: Lando Calrissian


THE FILM: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi


THE BACKGROUND: Han Solo and his strike team finally deactivate the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor with the help of the Ewoks - yes, the Empire's finest are defeated by a bunch of cute, furry teddy bears. Anyway, the shield generator was protecting the Death Star from the attacks of the Rebel fleet, so its destruction allows Lando Calrissian and his fighters to penetrate into the main reactor. As he pilots the Millennium Falcon into the Death Star, Lando utters these famous words: words that have now become synonymous with attempting something with little or no hope of success.

THE QUOTE: I have a bad feeling about this / I got a bad feeling about this.


THE SPEAKER: Han Solo/Princess Leia/Luke Skywalker


THE FILM: Practically every Star Wars film ever made.


THE BACKGROUND: Something of a running gag in the Star Wars series, this well known phrase is uttered by several key characters throughout the saga when they feel something bad is a about to happen.


FUN FACT: This popular phrase has actually transcended the Star Wars film franchise and is actually used in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and even the Monkey Island games.

THE QUOTE: These aren't the droids you're looking for.


THE SPEAKER: Obi-Wan Kenobi


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: Obi-Wan uses the Force to get by an Imperial checkpoint at the Mos Eisley space port on Tatooine. The Force, Obi-Wan explains, can have a strong influence on the weak-minded. Indeed, Obi-Wan. Indeed. Just don't try to sell us any Death Sticks...

THE QUOTE: Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.


THE SPEAKER: Yoda


THE FILM: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back


THE BACKGROUND: To be honest, I could have taken a whole bunch of quotes from Luke's Jedi training on Dagobah, but I'll limit it to a couple of ones that really resonated with me for the purposes of this article. Luke has arrived in Dagobah looking for Yoda, the Jedi Master that trained Obi-Wan. Irritable and cranky, Luke sets up camp in the swampy marshlands, and soon meets Yoda. Being the wise Jedi master that he is, Yoda immediately senses that Luke is headstrong and restless, and is initially reluctant to train the young would-be Jedi. One perhaps feels that Yoda senses in Luke an inclination to rush headlong into things without thinking them through patiently and calmly, hence the above words of wisdom. Although Yoda eventually agrees to train Luke, he is soon proved right in his suspicions when Luke rushes to save his friends on Bespin.

THE QUOTE: No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.


THE SPEAKER: Yoda


THE FILM: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back


THE BACKGROUND: Luke has finally begun his Jedi training with Yoda; the latter is trying to teach him patience and control. It is not going well. Luke is still somewhat grumpy and irritated, and these frustrations are compounded when his X-Wing begins to sink into the swamp, which makes him lose concentration on the exercise he was doing. "We'll never get it out now!" Luke grumbles. He is clearly sceptical about his ability to move the X-Wing out of the swampy water using the Force, and Yoda goes about teaching Luke a valuable lesson. "I'll try", Luke says to Yoda's command to lift the X-Wing out of the bog. Yoda sternly replies with the above words of wisdom.

THE QUOTE: I know.


THE SPEAKER: Han Solo


THE FILM: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back


THE BACKGROUND: Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and the droids fly to Bespin in order to flee the clutches of the evil Galactic Empire. Little do they know that they are walking into a trap set by Darth Vader as a means to lure Luke to Bespin. The plan is for Luke to be frozen in carbonite and taken before the Emperor. Before this happens, Vader wants to test it on Han Solo. As Solo is lowered into the carbonite chamber, Leia blurts out, "I love you", finally confessing her true feelings for Han Solo just before he's frozen and put into perpetual hibernation. Han's succinct reply is: "I know". Brash and cocksure to the end.


FUN FACT: The line was an on-set collaboration between director Irwin Kershner and actor Harrison Ford. The original script called for Han to say something along the lines of "Just remember that, Leia, because I'll be back". However, at the time Harrison Ford wasn't sure he wanted to return, so the line was changed. I think we can all agree that it suits Han's character better the way it was finally filmed. Another fun fact, the situation is reversed in The Return of the Jedi. Here, it's Han who says "I love you" with Leia replying, "I know".

THE QUOTE: The Force is strong with this one. / Use the Force, Luke.


THE SPEAKER: Darth Vader/Obi-Wan Kenobi


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: The Rebel fleet is attacking the Death Star, their goal to fire a couple of missiles down an exhaust vent in order to trigger a chain reaction that will result in the explosion of the Death Star. There is only one problem: the exhaust vent is at the end of a long trench filled with laser cannons, while the X-Wing fighter pilots find themselves being picked off one by one by Darth Vader and his flight team. Only Luke remains. As Vader sets his sights on Luke's ship he senses that the Force is strong in him. Later, after Vader is knocked out of the park by the timely arrival of the Millennium Falcon; the disembodied voice of Obi-Wan advises Luke to use the Force. The rest as they say is history.

THE QUOTE: I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.


THE SPEAKER: Darth Vader


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: The Millennium Falcon has been pulled into the hangar bay of the Death Star by its tractor beam. Obi-Wan volunteers to go shut down the tractor beam while Han and Luke go off in search of Princess Leia. No sooner has the Falcon landed that the evil Lord Vader senses the presence of his old master. He tells Grand Moff Tarkin that he must face him, alone. Obi-Wan successfully completes his mission and doubles back to the ship. In the hallway stands the tall figure of the Lord of the Sith, finally intercepting Obi-Wan. This is the first time that these two have met in nineteen years (although that might change with the release of the Obi Wan series on Disney+). The tension between them is palpable; the silence is only broken by Vader himself when he utters the above words. "Only a master of evil", Obi-Wan coolly replies. Then, in a flurry of lightsabers, battle is joined. This is going to end badly for one of them...

THE QUOTE: De wanna wanga.


THE SPEAKER: Bib Fortuna


THE FILM: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi


THE BACKGROUND: Spoken by Bib Fortuna, the tentacle headed servant of vile gangster Jabba the Hut, to a surprised C3PO after he and his counterpart RD-D2 are admitted into the palace at the start of ROTJ. Probably millions of fans around the world wondered just what the hell he said to poor C3PO, but apparently it wasn't something too rude, as the fun fact below states.


FUN FACT: Bib Fortuna is speaking Huttese, the indigenous language of Tatooine. Bib Fortuna basically asks CP30 to state what his business is.

THE QUOTE: You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again.


THE SPEAKER: Obi-Wan Kenobi


THE FILM: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi


THE BACKGROUND: Before I go any further, I must confess that my nostalgic view of the Return of the Jedi video game from 1984 has probably influenced my decision to include this quote on the list here. It was one of the first times that I'd heard a voice sampling from a movie in a video game, and I was absolutely blown away by it. The gist of it is this: Yoda has just died, given up his spirit to the living Force, but not before confirming that Darth Vader is indeed Luke's father. Luke is obviously conflicted. He doesn't want to kill his father, and Obi-Wan appears to him in his moment of indecision. Kill Vader or not, it's Luke's destiny to confront him once again if he is to become a fully-fledged Jedi Knight.

THE QUOTE: No. Leave them to me. I will deal with them myself.


THE SPEAKER: Darth Vader


THE FILM: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi


THE BACKGROUND: Another quote on the list that's no doubt coloured by nostalgia. I make no apologies for that. The makers of the Return of the Jedi video game sampled this speech for their game, and it's been stuck in my mind ever since. The background here is simply this: The Rebels have stolen an Imperial scout ship with which they plan to smuggle the strike team onto the forest moon of Endor. Of course, Vader sees through the Rebel plot but sensing his son is on the shuttle, allows them to land on Endor anyway.

THE QUOTE: Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?


THE SPEAKER: Princess Leia


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: The Death Star's tractor beam has caught the Millennium Falcon and has brought it into the hangar bay. Obi-Wan decides to go and disable the tractor beam. Meanwhile, Luke discovers that that Princess Leia is being held captive in one of the prison cells. He, Han Solo and Chewbacca decide to go rescue her, disguised as stormtroopers; they pretend that Chewbacca is a prisoner they're transferring from one block to another, while C3PO and R2-D2 hack into the Death Star's computer mainframe to aid them in their mission. Talk about computer hacking in a galaxy far, far away... Anyway, eventually they discover which cell Leia is held in. Luke opens the cell door and looks at her for a moment, perhaps stunned by her beauty, we think. Leia, who until that moment had been chillaxing on the bed, looks up at Luke and basically calls him a shorty.


FUN FACT: 1138 is the number of the cell block that Luke claims he's transferring Chewbacca to. This is a reference to George Lucas's first film, THX 1138.

THE QUOTE: That's no moon. It's a space station.


THE SPEAKER: Obi-Wan Kenobi


THE FILM: Star Wars: A New Hope


THE BACKGROUND: Obi-Wan and company arrive at Alderaan only to find it has been exploded out of existence. While in the Alderaan system, they encounter a lone TIE fighter that zooms up and away from them as the look out of the cockpit. Our heroes speculate as to how it has come to be on its own in the further reaches of space. Luke speculates the fighter was part of a convoy that was lost. However, as he says this, something huge and looming appears in the distance, something that the TIE fighter is heading for. A small moon, Han reckons. Suddenly, Obi-Wan realizes in horror what it is it; too late as it turns out. The Death Star already has the Millennium Falcon held in its tractor beam. You should have paid more attention in astronomy class, Obi-Wan; perhaps you wouldn't have misplaced an entire planet either...


So there you have it, a few of my favourite Star Wars quotes from the original trilogy. I might make similar lists for the prequel and sequel trilogies, but I do honestly believe that the lion's share of quotable dialogue is to be found within these three films. It seems to me that a lot of the dialogue in the prequel trilogy is simply not all that memorable, bar several that I do like. Same with the sequel trilogies Still, I don't believe for a moment that my list is complete or exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination, but they are the quotes that resonate most in my mind when I think of Star Wars in relation with the space available in this article. Here are a few more honourable mentions from the original trilogy:


Grand Moff Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life

(Star Wars: A New Hope)


Obi-Wan: Who's the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him?

(Star Wars: A New Hope)


Han Solo: Great, kid. Don't get cocky.

(Star Wars: A New Hope)


Yoda: Wars not make one great.

Yoda: Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Yoda: If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

(Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)


Princess Leia: Luke! Luke! Don't! It's a trap! It's a trap!

(Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)


Luke: There's nothing to see. I used to live here, you know.

Han Solo: You're gonna die here, you know. Convenient.

(Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi)


And with that, we've come to the end of the article. Do you guys have a personal list of favourite quotes? If so, please feel free to contribute them in the comments below. And remember, the Force will be with you, always.



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