Star Wars creator George Lucas has said it is a "privilege" to see The Empire Strikes Back top a poll of the greatest movies of all time.
The film, which came out in 1980, beat competition from 301 other titles in Empire magazine's survey of 250,000 fans.
Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather came second.
Batman sequel The Dark Knight, starring Heath Ledger, came in third, with The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction rounding off the top five.
Lucas said: "The fans like The Empire Strikes Back the best, partly because it is so dark.
"It's an overall story and as it happens in the second act, things get dark.
"I never really planned it to be three separate films but when it became three separate films, it had an interesting effect of each film having its own personality, caused by the plot."
Other films in the top 10 include the first Star Wars film, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Jaws.
Empire's editor-In-chief Mark Dinning said he was "delighted, if not surprised" The Empire Strikes Back came out on top.
"This is a movie that when it was released managed to make Star Wars both bigger and more intimate all at the same time," he said.
"Today it retains all of its power, wit, heart and spectacle."
JJ Abrams is currently filming the latest movie in the franchise, Episode VII.
Last week he launched a competition for a fan to win a small part in the production and film a scene at Pinewood Studios.