Star Wars: Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi

  • Review Date: February 8, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 135 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Ewok-filled finale less Force-ful than previous.
  • Review Date: February 8, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 135 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

Luke Skywalker successfully resists giving in to the dark side of the Force, and he repeatedly asserts that there is still good remaining in his father, the diabolical Darth Vader. Both the roguish Han Solo and Lando Calrissian end up in heroic leadership roles. The Empire is composed entirely of white males, while the rebels are a blend of genders, races, and species.

Positive role models

Clear line between good and bad. Luke's struggle with negative emotions and his ultimate success at remaining positive and on the side of good is a good example of self discipline.

Violence & scariness

Explosions of spacecraft and ground weapons. Light-saber fighting results in loss of limbs. Speedy airborne craft slam into trees, and soldiers are shot down by blaster fire, and one Ewok dies. Robots and pig-like aliens are dismembered and devoured in Jabba the Hutt's dungeons. Jabba is strangled slowly by a chain.

Sexy stuff

Scantily clad harem girls dance suggestively in the lair of Jabba the Hutt, including Princess Leia.

Not applicable

There was an Empire of toy tie-ins and cartoon spin-offs.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

None, unless you count the hookah pipes in Jabba's place.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there are two versions of this feature, the original 1983 release (on VHS and Laserdisc) and a later one on DVD to which George Lucas added enhanced special effects -- some of the aliens are obvious puppets, others are obvious CGI. Both feature abundant fantasy violence, from spaceship dogfights and light-saber duels to guerrilla-style war waged with primitive weapons by the cute Ewoks (which is played largely for laughs, though one Ewok is shown dead). Deaths of prominent characters in the series, including a peaceful one in bed for Master Yoda and a more dramatic exit (and funeral pyre) for Anakin Skywalker.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

EPISODE VI: THE RETURN OF THE JEDI begins with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the other Rebel Alliance heroes and robots assembling one by one to rescue their friend Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from his frozen state of suspended animation in the palace of a gross, sluglike galactic gangster called Jabba the Hutt. Once again, the terrible galactic Empire has a Death Star under construction and the rebels seek to destroy the monstrous doomsday weapon and the sinister Emperor (Ian McDiarmid). Luke knows that this will be his chance to again confront the Emperor's evil cyborg disciple Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones), who is really Luke's long-lost father Anakin, once a noble Jedi Knight. Luke refuses to believe that his parent has gone over forever to the dark side of the Force. In the action-packed three-battle finale, Luke duels with Darth under the gloating gaze of the Emperor while the Rebel Alliance throws every ship they have against the fleet of the Empire and on the forest moon of Endor, Han and friends strive to blow up a power plant generating a force field that protects the Death Star. To the rescue are the Ewoks, cute little alien primitives who look like teddy-bear monkeys, and who come to our heroes' aid.

Is it any good?


EPISODE VI: THE RETURN OF THE JEDI concluded (so far) the mighty Star Wars saga, conceived by George Lucas, a film series that changed movie history and raised the bar for special effects, science-fiction wonderment, blockbuster earnings, and movie marketing. It's a properly triumphant finale, filled with action -- and yet, coming after the best and emotionally richest chapter, The Empire Strikes Back, a slight disappointment. If only the filmmakers put as much imagination into the main plotline as they did in the film's lengthy opener. Still, making the fight for the souls of the two Skywalkers as important as the Rebels vs. the Empire is a nice bit of dramatics, as is the idea of Luke struggling to avoid feelings of anger and revenge that might lure him to the dark side.


You can see the infatuation with visual gimmickry, cute/silly aliens and robots, plotlines apparently written to be video-game ready, and a disinterest in good acting; a toymaker mentality that continued when Lucas picked up the storyline again in prequels beginning with The Phantom Menace. While each individual stage of the finale is thrilling, cutting back and forth among the scenes disrupts the overall flow of the film.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the characters' choices and motivations. Why do you think Hans and Lando both put aside their roguish swaggers to play heroes? Are there any role models in this movie?

  • Talk about the hype surrounding the Star Wars franchise. Is it deserved? What is the appeal?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 25, 1983
DVD release date:September 12, 2004
Cast:Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill
Director:Richard Marquand
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Adventures, Robots, Space and aliens
Run time:135 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:sci-fi action violence

This review of Star Wars: Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi was written by

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
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Adult Written byWaterNymph March 18, 2011

Weird Sex Stuff Leia and Jabba the Hutt

I can't believe people are letting their children watch this movie...there's an extremely inappropriate scene with Jabba the Hutt making Leia wear a bikini and trying to make her drink and make out with him. It's way too intense for children!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old February 2, 2011

Best of the first 3.

My friends and I are willing to watch this one over and over. Not as good as Revenge of the Sith or Attack of the Clones, but the 3rd best. Genius. Iffy for 5+.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written by4kidshater September 30, 2010

A very good movie, but not like "A New Hope"

I Like this movie. I like the little Ewoks, but the cutting between scenes slows it down. I like the Lapti Nek sequence. Don't get the Special edition. I highly reccomeded it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models


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