Star Wars from Best to Worst

by AbnryAcehilm | created - 21 Mar 2014 | updated - 23 Oct 2020 | Public
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1. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

90 Metascore

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness

Votes: 1,370,915 | Gross: $322.74M

It is interesting to see the phenemenon of Star Wars today, and to then look back at this film. The franchise has garnered a reputation of being this large, complex, and somewhat convoluted (okay, VERY convoluted) storyline. But at its heart, the 1977 original Star Wars film is merely an innocent adventure, a self-contained story with no need prequels for context, or sequels for a complete experience.

2. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

82 Metascore

After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued across the galaxy by Darth Vader and bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 1,298,439 | Gross: $290.48M

What makes this film the best, or at least a strong contender for the best, is how active and vibrant the direction and pacing are. No scene goes on for too long or is too short. The direction allows for smalls nuances that give life and depth to the characters and the worlds around them. Despite all of this wordy jargon, the film itself never crosses into being too full of itself. It knows what it is, and knows what it isn't. Overall, it is an exciting, fun-filled, and occasionally heartwarming space adventure that's a little closer to home than you would expect.

3. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

58 Metascore

After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy the second Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.

Director: Richard Marquand | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 1,059,534 | Gross: $309.13M

What hurts this movie is its lack of originality and poor pacing in the Endor section. It also struggles to find something to do with majority of the main cast. The extra material forced into the Special Edition do the movie no favors either. However, it still has it trademark Star Wars moments, and still ends the Classic Trilogy on a satisfying note, even though there is still a lot of room for improvement.

4. Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

84 Metascore

The Star Wars saga continues as new heroes and galactic legends go on an epic adventure, unlocking mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher

Votes: 637,053 | Gross: $620.18M

The very first Star Wars movie where I had no idea what was going to happen upon my first watch. Overcrowded in some areas, and a little muddled in others, but still a thematically intriguing experience. It pulls many ideas from the prequels that were either utilized poorly or not utilized at all and explores them to their maximum potential. It's the first of the Disney Star Wars films where I find myself legitimately caring for the characters involved, and find their development throughout surprisingly thought-provoking and introspective. Despite popular opinion, this is easily my favorite Disney Star Wars film thus far, and it finally sparked life back into this well-worn and weary franchise.

And porgs. Porgs are cute.

5. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)

PG | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

54 Metascore

Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé Amidala, while Obi-Wan Kenobi investigates an assassination attempt on the senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Lee

Votes: 716,932 | Gross: $310.68M

A long list of great ideas dashed by a poor script containing bland action and unlikable characters.

6. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

PG | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

51 Metascore

Two Jedi escape a hostile blockade to find allies and come across a young boy who may bring balance to the Force, but the long dormant Sith resurface to claim their original glory.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd

Votes: 811,239 | Gross: $474.54M

The best thing The Phantom Menace has going for it is its aesthetic and soundtrack. It is my favorite of the prequels because it is the closest of the three to find a proper balance between CGI and practical effects. John Williams delivers an excellent score, and it might just be my favorite of the series. The story, however, suffers from dull characters acting out a mostly uneventful story. It is pretty to look at though.

7. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

80 Metascore

As a new threat to the galaxy rises, Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, an ex-stormtrooper, must join Han Solo and Chewbacca to search for the one hope of restoring peace.

Director: J.J. Abrams | Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson

Votes: 935,677 | Gross: $936.66M

Like Return of the Jedi, what hurts this film is its lack of originality and nonsensical story elements. I am also not a huge fan of J.J. Abrams' previous works. However, it is paced decently, not allowing a moment of boredom. The returning characters are well utilized and the new ones are fun. However, there is too much petty fan service throughout for me to love it.

8. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

68 Metascore

Three years into the Clone Wars, the Jedi rescue Palpatine from Count Dooku. As Obi-Wan pursues a new threat, Anakin acts as a double agent between the Jedi Council and Palpatine and is lured into a sinister plan to rule the galaxy.

Director: George Lucas | Stars: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson

Votes: 797,569 | Gross: $380.26M

Borders more on a "so bad it's good" level. Ian McDiarmid shines as an over the top, cackling hyena of an Emperor. This movie falls flat on its face otherwise. The story (and the rest of the prequel trilogy for that matter) completely hinges on the audience to like and feel sympathetic for Anakin Skywalker. However, Anakin was never written as a particularly likable or sympathetic character, so the attempt here is unfortunately all for nothing.

9. Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

PG-13 | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

53 Metascore

In the riveting conclusion of the landmark Skywalker saga, new legends will be born-and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.

Director: J.J. Abrams | Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver

Votes: 456,175 | Gross: $515.20M

10. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

PG-13 | 133 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction.

Director: Gareth Edwards | Stars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen

Votes: 644,991 | Gross: $532.18M

A compilation of all the bad things about Star Wars: bland characters, uncreative direction, slow pacing, abuse of CGI (Tarkin and Leia are the most terrifying things ever put into a movie) petty fan service, and attempting to alter or "enhance" the original trilogy, which does not need anymore "enhancement" than it already has.

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