Ranking the Star Wars Movies

Everybody loves ‘em, everybody knows ‘em. The Star Wars movies! They are the central pillars of Star Wars fandom. We decided to rank the movies from worst to best, after looking at polls and lists online. (Spoiler: At the end of this article we will tell you how to win a free Star Wars costume.)

Star Wars Movies
Which Star Wars Movie will earn the #1 spot?

#6: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Coming out in 2002, Episode II continues the saga of young Anakin Skywalker. This is the first place controversial placement on our list, but many people (including yours truly!) believe that Episode II is weaker than Episode I. Foremost is the cringe-worthy dialogue present through most of the movie, but especially between Anakin and Padme Amidala, whose forbidden romance plot is just barely more interesting than staring at a wall. A weak story full of plot holes and bad acting plague this movie from nearly beginning to end.

Positively, Episode II has the exciting Geonosis battle, the first time we get to see Jedi in all-out war. Christopher Lee as Count Dooku marks the best bit of acting, and his battle with Yoda is a sight to behold. Not as much Jar-Jar.

Did you know? Jar-Jar Binks, standing in for Senator Amidala, puts forth the motion that gives Palpatine supreme powers. This means that Jar-Jar, the most hated character in the Star Wars canon, is indirectly responsible for the fall of the Old Republic and the near-annihilation of the Jedi order.

#5: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Just slightly edging out Attack of the Clones, The Phantom Menace was the most hyped movie of 1999, and suffered for a great many reasons: Boring trade and politics talk, bad acting and dialogue, and an overabundance of special effects. Jake Lloyd, playing young Anakin, proved to be the wrong choice for such an important character. With the inclusion of several heavily-derided characters and special effects that overloaded some viewers, it’s common to find this movie at the bottom of the list.

Yet it has some advantages over Episode II. Darth Maul, though underused and killed off, created a stunning enemy for the Jedi. The Naboo battle, while failing to recreate the exciting end of Episode VI, still proves to be a fun scene.

Did you know? During filming, Ewan McGregor made lightsaber noises as he dueled. It was noted and corrected during post production.

#4: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Here’s the second instance of a possible controversial placement. What many consider the weakest movie in the original trilogy, this 1983 movie still has more than enough charm to raise it above most of the trilogy. The Jabba scenes, Endor attack, and final battle aboard the Death Star Mark 2 are all high points of this film.

However, the movie isn’t without its negatives. The Ewoks don’t have a very strong fanbase, and some criticism has been leveled at Mark Hamill’s varying success playing an older Luke. The fanbase is somewhat conflicted over whether this movie, or Episode three, is more deserving of a higher spot.

Did you know? The word “Ewok” is never said during the movie. The name appears in the novelization, the movie’s credits, and other material.

#3: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith

Clearly the greatest of the prequels, Episode III even has some details that rival the original movies. Nobody can deny the feeling of the Sith’s plot coming together is one of great emotion and importance, the initial battle above Coruscant to rescue the Chancellor is an amazing spectacle (without overloading the viewer), and the battle between Obi-Wan and Lord Vader on Mustafar can be just as exciting as the battles in the original trilogy. The scene of the clone troopers betraying the Jedi has the suddenness and power of the Godfather’s similar climax.

Still, with all these good things, it’s far from perfect. Subpar acting is all too apparent, and the story itself raises several plot holes, such as Leia’s supposed memory of her mother, and how Padme died of “a broken heart.”

Did you know? George Lucas deliberately made the Darth Vader suit top-heavy (for instance adding weight on the helmet) to make Hayden Christensen not appear “too accustomed” to it in the movie.

#2: Episode IV – A New Hope

The first! Originally simply “Star Wars”, Episode IV kicked off the brand we know and love today in amazing style! The plot is a classic hero’s journey as described by Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” an archetypal story that many cultures exhibit. There’s not much to say about the beauty of this movie: it introduced the characters we love, gave us plenty of exciting scenes, and led to even more exciting with the movies to follow.

Did you know? Episode IV is the only Star Wars movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award, and the first ever science fiction film to be nominated for Best Picture.

#1: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Frequently shown to be the best Star Wars movie, Episode V was actually voted the best movie ever earlier this year, beating out The Godfather and more. From the battle on Hoth to the betrayal at Cloud City and the duel between Luke and his father, viewers are taken on an emotional ride, from fear and anger to happiness. It contains what many people consider the major spoiler of movies from that era, and fans continue to enjoy it to this day.

Did you know? Mark Hamill had to bang his head 16 times on the ceiling of Yoda’s hut before the director was satisfied.

There you are! The six Star Wars movies ranked. We know that plenty of you have your own opinions about the series. Make them known in the comments!

Extra!

The Clone Wars Movie: While a moderate box office success, the animated Clone Wars film was a critical failure, existing as little more than a plug for the upcoming (and much better received) Clone Wars animated series. The movie serves as an introduction to Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s padawan during the series.

The Star Wars Holiday Special: Spoken of in the hushed tones of myth, the Star Wars Holiday Special is critically derided, and has never been shown on US television, or released on home video. George Lucas has said he wouldn’t mind every copy being tracked down and burned.

From Boba Fett’s first appearance in Star Wars lore, to guest appearances by Jefferson Starship, Art Carney, Bea Arthur and more, and adding on Carrie Fisher’s clearly drunk performance as Leia, it is only the wildest fans who can watch the credits roll and think “I enjoyed that.”

Contest:

As promised we will reveal how to win a Free Star Wars Costume.  Head over to our Facebook page to enter!

2 thoughts on “Ranking the Star Wars Movies

  1. On my grading curve, each movie is generally successively better than the previous one (in story order). I (C), II (B-), III (A-), IV (A), V (A+), VI (A+).
    (I) From racist Neimoidians and Gungans to special fx as crutch syndrome.
    (II)The worst-“acted” romance of all time and more stilted/forced dialogue and acting. (III) Dramatically powerful, but still sometimes ponderous and dragged down by the legacy of the previous films’ flaws.
    (IV) Classic stuff, but merely a simple, self-contained taste of the awesomeness to come. (V) For all of the most-often-stated reasons.
    (VI) An epic second half to V; fun with Jabba; I had no problem with mature Jedi Luke; speeder bikes! — and cool new spaceship designs; the Emperor made an impact as a major villain (one of the most quotable of all time); the Ewoks were actually okay here, being a quasi-parable on Vietnam; best space battle ever, complete with John T. Williams’ most impressive and longest-sustained action scoring ever.
    I suspect episode VII (VIII? IX?) will break this pattern, and I’ll probably end up ranking them between Ep.s 2 & 3, unless Abrams screws it up terribly (hence VIII? IX?)…….

    1. Thanks for your comment! Your rankings are very good, where would you put The Clone Wars in all of that? We are hoping Episode VII will score at least an (A-) better than Episode III, in your rankings (High hopes).

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