Star Wars: The Films Ranked


Brennan Griffin, Features Editor and Media Reviewer

Star Wars is the franchise that took the nation by storm. People did not expect this franchise to be as successful as it has become. It is a series unknown by few with so many interesting characters and iconic moments. Star Wars was the franchise that started the trend of film promotions typical of blockbuster films today. The revolutionary original trilogy would change how people wanted to make films. However, the entire series is not perfect, and many of the fans are aware of that. Here is my ranking of all six Star Wars films from the worst to the best.

#6. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

After years of being off the screen fans were ecstatic with the return of their beloved franchise in a galaxy far far away. The film they received, however, did not live up to their expectations. The Phantom Menace introduced us to a young Anakin Skywalker who was more often annoying rather than interesting. The film also brought in a prophecy about Anakin that we all knew would not be true. The Phantom Menace was also responsible for the inclusion of Jar Jar Binks into the Star Wars universe. The film did have a new villain that fans thought would be able to rival Darth Vader, until he was killed in a rather anticlimactic fashion. The only notable expansion of the Star Wars universe was the introduction of Mace Windu. Many of the characters were emotionless and boring, and the film featured poor dialogue that would plague the rest of the prequels.

#5. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

The second installment of the prequels featured many of the same issues as the first. However this time we had a unemotional Hayden Christensen as Anakin. I could rant about the issues with that alone for hours, and so could every other Star Wars fan The dialogue at times was often cringe-worthy and the senate scenes were both boring and unimportant. The inclusion of both forces mostly consisting of  indispensable soldiers took away any caring for when troops were killed or were losing. However this film did give us more backstory to the fan favorite Boba Fett. Attack of the Clones also allowed us to see multiple Jedi Knights fighting side by side.  The fight between Count Dooku and Yoda angered many as it went against Yoda’s pacifistic ideology. There were sections of this film that didn’t seem necessary (It was rumored that George Lucas came up with one of the fight scenes on his way to the set).

#4. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The final prequel film was the only one to feature decent pacing. Hayden Christensen was actually tolerable as Anakin although viewers still had to be creeped out by him staring at Queen Amidala and his emotionless acting. There is a large plot hole in this movie with Obi Wan Kenobi being about 30-40 years younger than when he was in the first Star Wars, which takes place only sixteen years later. We did get to see large battles with the Wookies, which was a nice inclusion. The dialogue is still, at many points in the film, laughable. This film serves to segway into the original series. Many of the events that take place only happen to explain why certain characters survived and were present in the rest of the films. However, it is a large improvement over the previous two prequel films and has some very entertaining action and interesting ties to episodes 4-6. There are some standout scenes, one of which that involves Anakin and Padme looking at each other while on opposite ends of Coruscant is one of the highlights. This film has faults, but it can still be enjoyed.

*I would like to note here that while the next film may be ranked one higher than the prequels the films that follow are leagues better*

#3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

The last film canonically, until The Force Awakens continues the plot line, is a great conclusion to this film series. Luke is now well trained in the force while the Empire is working on rebuilding the Death Star. All of the major characters return, along with Lando Calrissian to put an end to Darth Vader and the Emperor. This film has the small problem of  including Ewoks. They made the film feel a little too childish at times. However, this does not take away from the film too much. Han Solo remains the coolest character of the bunch and his witty dialogue with the others provides for some of my favorite moments in this film. The final fight between Darth Vader and Luke is not as well choreographed as the one from The Empire Strikes Back, but it is even more emotional. This film serves as a great end to a great trilogy, but is not the best of the trilogy.

#2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

The first film in George Lucas’ epic trilogy in a galaxy far, far away was a film nobody expected to be a success. However, audiences and critics loved the film and made it so profitable that the trilogy we know and love was able to continue. This film introduced us to some of the most memorable characters in cinema including one of the greatest villains with Darth Vader. A New Hope starts off Luke Skywalker’s hero’s journey and immediately gets the audience involved in the battle between the Empire and Rebel forces. The first entry managed to find the balance between storytelling and expanding its universe. There are numerous iconic moments from the first time we get to see the Death Star (Which is not a small moon), the destruction of Alderaan, and Han Solo and Greedo’s encounter at Mos Eisley Cantina (Han Shot first). There is a sense of wonder while watching A New Hope because it created a universe that people still want to live in to this day. While this film has some flaws (Or if you’re watching one of the remastered versions, many unnecessary additions) it is still one of the most important films of the twentieth century.

#1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes back sees our group of heroes going through a series of losses. Right from the beginning Battle of Hoth, we see the Empire doing everything they can to stop the Rebel forces. This film benefitted from having a lot more humor than the original. The characters conversations will often have many jokes that do not take away from the film’s feeling of hopelessness. Darth Vader is at his best in this film, he shows how far he is willing to go to crush the people that destroyed the Death Star. However, it is also in The Empire Strikes Back that we begin to see more humanity in him. Many of the best scenes involve Han Solo as he has some of the best quips in the movie (Don’t call him scruffy looking). Yoda is introduced in this film, in a rather hilarious way, and soon becomes an immediate fan favorite. His philosophies he uses while teaching Luke are iconic, most notably his  “Do or do not, there is no try”. However, the most important inclusion in this film is that of the bounty hunter with less than twenty minutes of screen time, Boba Fett. The scene in which he is first introduced immediately lets people know that he has a reputation, and he soon became one of the most beloved characters in the series. This film was also able to be vague about many plot points that would be expanded upon in the The Empire Strikes back has one of the greatest reveals in movies (Although viewers who could speak German might have picked up on this earlier). The battle preceding this is by far my favorite lightsaber battle in the series. Everything from the cinematography, the choreography, to the general fear for Luke’s life (Something you don;t often fear for with a main character) all come together perfectly to create an incredibly memorable scene.

The Star Wars films have become iconic pieces of cinema that continue to draw in fans. There are still toys made that are based off of the original characters. It is a series that has defined the childhoods and imaginations of countless children. There are few people who would miss a reference to this science fiction series. The upcoming continuation of this highly worshipped franchise comes in December and looks to be an excellent addition to our favorite galaxy far, far away. Did you agree with this ranking? How would you rank the Star Wars films? Sound your opinion in the comments and see how others view the quality of the series.