Annal: 1981 Hugo Award for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Results of the Hugo Award in the year 1981.

Film:Star Wars: Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Episode 5: Empire Strikes Back

George Lucas

Considered the most morally and emotionally complex of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back continues creator George Lucass epic saga where Star Wars: A New Hope left off.

The Rebel Forces—which include young adventurer Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), rogue pilot Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and the beautiful but seemingly humorless Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)—have been successful in destroying the Evil Empires Death Star. However, the Empires top commander, the terrifying Lord Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), is scanning the galaxy for the Rebels’ secret location. After a visually stunning showdown on the ice planet Hoth, the Rebels are forced to flee, and Luke separates from Han and Leia. Masterful storytelling weaves multiple, archetypal plotlines that pit Vader against Han and Leia as he desperately attempts to capture Luke for political—and, secretly, personal—reasons. Luke, meanwhile,…[more]


Cosmos: Television series hosted by Carl Sagan

Adrian Malone

When Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980, our world—and the context of Carl Sagan’s eloquent “personal journey”—was a different place. The late Dr. Sagan would be pleased to witness the cooling of the cold war, the continued exploration of space, and ongoing efforts to curb our destructive dependence on fossil fuels. For Sagan’s series is far more than a guided tour through “billions and billions” of stars and galaxies. It remains a profound plea for the unity of humankind, for the recognition that “we are a way for the universe to know itself,” with an…

Film:Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon

Mike Hodges

When the totalitarian planet of Mongo decides on a whim to obliterate Earth, it’s up to the lunk-headed quarterback Flash Gordon and his oddball companions to make the universe safe for democracy. Based on the classic (and infinitely more reputable) comic strip and its ‘30s screen serialization, this cotton-candy-colored trash classic deserves immortality for Queen’s unforgettably pulsating soundtrack alone. The legendary Max von Sydow appears to be having a blast as the evil Ming the Merciless, while Ornella Muti, as his daughter, is the living embodiment of…

Film:The Lathe of Heaven

The Lathe of Heaven

David R. Loxton, Fred Barzyk

“Antwerp!” For science fiction fans, the long-awaited VHS and DVD release of The Lathe of Heaven is a dream come true. This haunting adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s genre-classic novel was broadcast but once on PBS in 1980 before rights and other legal snafus relegated it to the archives. Reportedly PBS’s most requested program, the made-for-TV film was at last rebroadcast in 2000. Set in Portland, Oregon, in the near future, The Lathe of Heaven stars Bruce Davison as George Orr, who, to put it mildly, has a dream problem. Not only do his dreams…

Film:The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles

Michael Anderson

With each passing year, this 1980 miniseries becomes more for those who have read Ray Bradbury’s landmark novel. The three-part, nearly five-hour series keeps its brainy science fiction roots; this story (and the 1940s novel) is not about laser battles and exciting action pieces. Bradbury’s novel is galvanized by the cold war nightmare: at the end of the 20th century, an earth teetering on world war begins to colonize Mars without much knowledge of the new world. Hard science is left for other stories, and director Michael Anderson (Logan’s Run) keeps this…

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