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The Best Star Wars Movies Ranked (Episodes 1-6)
Space saga Star Wars has captivated us for decades. The series contains exciting starship battles, intense lightsaber duels, and plenty of drama, romance, and redemption. I've watched each film dozens of times, and honestly, I enjoy all of them. Yes, even the prequels. Still, some are certainly better than others, and each has its own flaws. So, here are the six films ranked from worst to best!
Only minor spoilers are ahead, so don't fret about having twists revealed.
6. Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
Episode 1 stars Jedi Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, who try to protect the queen of a peaceful planet from an evil and powerful corporation, while menacing figures pull strings in the background..
Alright, let's face it: tons of people cannot stand this movie. And yes, it's my least favorite. But I still have trouble fathoming why it gets so much hate. Side character Jar Jar Binks is grating, and some people don't like the young Anakin Skywalker, but there are a lot of positive aspects to the film, too. Qui-Gon is an interesting and unorthodox Jedi, Darth Maul was a formidable villain, the Podrace was exciting, and the final duel was thrilling. Additionally, I like the film's costumes and designs as well as the soundtrack. Overall, I understand if you don't favor Episode 1, but it deserves some credit for things it did right.
You can tell I love Star Wars when I'm defending the bottom entry in the countdown. Next up is..
5. Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones
Episode 2 features a teenage Anakin and his Jedi Master, Obi-Wan, trying to protect both the galaxy from war and a young senator from assassination. It's the longest of the 6 movies, and admittedly some scenes should have been cut or edited. Plus, I like a lot of the characters from Episode 1 more than 2; I find Qui-Gon and Darth Maul more interesting than Obi-Wan and Count Dooku.
However, this movie wins out because of its varied and breathtaking settings (check out the stormy planet Kamino and the peaceful Naboo), better pacing, and extreme lack of Jar Jar (here he has, what, 3 or 4 lines?). If you can overlook a few mediocre actors mixed in with some great ones, Episode 2 offers an exciting chapter for the series.
4. Episode 3: Revenge Of The Sith
We're steadily increasing chronologically, aren't we? This movie again features Anakin and Obi-Wan attempting to keep the galaxy together during a time of war. Anakin must make a crucial decision that will determine the fate of the entire galaxy..
The movie has the most action (and lightsaber fights) of any Star Wars film, and contains excellent choreography. Some moments are truly moving, but unfortunately there's a handful of overacted and corny performances.
Still, minus a few cheesy moments, most of the movie is captivating and tragic, and the action is definitely great. All in all, a good watch. I also highly recommend the novel, written by Matthew Stover, which has more time than the silver screen to flesh out characters and explain motivations.
3. Episode 4: A New Hope
The original film is certainly old, but its amazing special effects hardly look it. We have great actors playing interesting characters, such as young farmboy Luke Skywalker, cocky smuggler Han Solo, and wise Jedi Ob-Wan. The only criticisms I have are the sluggish beginning and the lackluster lightsaber duel.
Nevertheless, the climatic Death Star assault is memorable, the cast likable, and the score captivating. Definitely give Episode 4 a watch, even if Chewbacca doesn't receive the medal he's due at the end. Seriously, he helped rescue Leia just like Luke and Han. Is the Rebellion as anti-Wookie as the Empire?
2. Episode 6: Return Of The Jedi
Episode 6 starts off a bit slow, but after our heroes leave the desert planet Tatooine, I love every second of the movie. The space battle, the confrontation between Luke, Vader, and Palpatine, the speeder bike chase, and even the Ewoks. Some find the small, fuzzy creatures to be annoying, but I never had a problem with them; they offer a look at a primitive yet sentient species, and give the Rebellion the unexpected edge they needed.
Did you know the film was originally going to be called Revenge of the Jedi, and Luke's new lightsaber would mimic his last one's blue color? They changed the title because Jedi shouldn't seek revenge (even though sometimes they do), and the blade's color to contrast better against the blue skys of Tatooine. I highly recommend Episode 6, but the greatest Star Wars movie yet is..
1. The Empire Strikes Back
Our number one film is the classic Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back. What doesn't this movie do right?
- Varied environments
- Thrilling space battles
- Budding romance
- Spectacular lightsaber fight
Plus, we're introduced to the quirky yet wise Yoda. Episode 5 has good pacing, good dialogue, great music, and a climatic lightsaber duel that concludes with a compelling plot twist. I have high hopes for the future of Star Wars, but I'm not sure anything will ever be able to top Empire. One criticism? The scene where the twins kiss is pretty awkward in hindsight.
Which film from the galaxy far far away do you prefer?
Future of Star Wars
I tried to create this list without bias, but of course we'll each have our own favorites. No matter which order you rank these movies in, we can all celebrate our appreciation for these fantastic adventures.
With new films continuing to release chronicling new stories, we can expect more great things from the galaxy far, far away for years to come.