Let’s Rank All 7 ‘Star Wars’ Films

(Featured image courtesy of Info•Rama)

Enough time has elapsed since The Force Awakens dominated the box office to get not only a second opinion out of it, but probably also a third and fourth from many dedicated fans of the series. But what might not be so easy for many is figuring out where to rank it on their personal favorites list. This is Geekritique’s ranking of the 7 canon Star Wars films from worst to best. This list reflects the editor’s personal opinions, and we understand that not all will agree.

7. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
It’s incredibly easy to point a finger and say, there, that’s the worst Star Wars film there is. Midichlorian counts, aged graphics, dumb droids, bad acting, Jar Jar Binks, and the list goes on (but really, Jar Jar ruins it). But I’m not a prequel basher. It didn’t tarnish what came before, nor was it such an inconceivable story to be considered outrightly dumb. But it is quite childish. For many of my generation of kids, this was their first introduction to Star Wars. I have a fond place in my heart for it, because even though I had seen the original trilogy, this felt like ‘my Star Wars,’ instead of ‘my parents Star Wars’ – though I’ll admit it is undoubtedly the last on my list to rewatch.

6. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Although it must be said that of the three prequel films this is by far the best, I rank it second among them for purposes of rewatch value. It’s the tragic tale of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker succumbing to the Dark Side of the Force, and becoming what he was always fated to become: Darth Vader. And despite the film’s strength amongst the Star Wars canon, it’s simply not as much fun as a Star Wars film should be. Though it ends with the hope of the Skywalker children making it out alive, it’s still a very dark film. I hope that moving forward we don’t see another Episodic entry as dark as this one got.

5. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
My favorite of the prequel trilogy, Attack of the Clones stepped back from the more childish mundanity of The Phantom Menace and replaced it with an even greater sense of adventure. We get a lot of Jedi action – perhaps the most Jedi action in any film. We get Jedi going on missions, Jedi fighting in colosseums, Jedi training kids, Jedi dying, Jedi flipping, Jedi… There’s a lot of Jedi action in this film, and say what you will – it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting as much of a Jedi oriented film for quite some time. But Attack of the Clones did give us some of the worst cringe-inducing scenes in the entire Saga when it came to Anakin and Padmé’s forbidden love.

4. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Here’s where my ranking might get a bit controversial. I love Return of the Jedi. It reached a level of maturity within the original trilogy that helped breathe much life into the eventual Expanded Universe. But it isn’t all perfect. And no, I have no hate for the Ewoks, but as soon as the Rebel party drops down onto the forest moon of Endor, the movie loses much of that maturity, and slows down dramatically. This slowing does pair well with the eventual confrontation of Luke with the Emperor, however the drag in the second half is notable. Still a far better film than any of the prequels managed, but it is essentially two different films entirely (one on Tatooine, the other on Endor).

3. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Yes, I do indeed rank The Force Awakens higher than one of the original trilogy films. And here’s why: the magic first evident in the original film was fully realized in The Force Awakens. Argue anything against the film, but you can’t argue that. You felt like you were back in that same galaxy that the original trilogy placed you in for the first time in 30 years. The atmosphere was perfect. It felt like Star Wars. The search for Luke Skywalker was the running theme throughout the film, and aided by the enigma of Rey, we were given two wholly new mysteries that will lead us through an all new generation of Star Wars storytelling. The fact that they were capable of getting the old gang back together over 30 years later, along with bringing back more of the practical effects of old says quite a lot about the lengths the new film was willing to go to bring Star Wars back into the collective consciousness of today.

2. Episode IV: A New Hope
The 1977 classic that started and shaped pop culture as we know it, Star Wars is undoubtedly one of the very best, if not the best. It was a pioneer of special effects, it revolutionized cinema forever, and is still such a good movie. It introduced us to the entire Galaxy far, far away, and to some of film’s greatest and most endearing characters. There’s really nothing bad to be said about this entry in the Saga.

1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
What else could be my number 1 pick? The Empire Strikes Back not only lives up to the magnitude of A New Hope; it betters it in just about every way possible. It has given us some of film’s greatest moments, and undoubtedly has science fiction’s best onscreen twist, that being Luke’s lineage. Empire gave us the budding relationship between Han and Leia, the Battle of Hoth, Force Ghosts, and best of all Yoda. This was the first time we got to see some of what Jedi training must have looked like. It’s the classic among classics. And it’s my all time favorite.

Hopefully we’ll see the day when a new Star Wars film actually tops The Empire Strikes Back, but it’ll be difficult to top. What do you think of our official list? We’re excited to see where Rogue One falls onto it. Where do the Star Wars films rank for you? Let me know in the comments below!

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28 thoughts on “Let’s Rank All 7 ‘Star Wars’ Films

  1. Great list and good reasoning. I disagree with some of your rankings, as I feel Episode 2 was by far the weakest of the entire series. Yes, even Episode 1 with all of the Jar Jar junk didn’t make me turn away after 2 viewings. I’d order them like this:
    7)Episode 2
    6)Episode 1
    5)Episode 3
    4)Episode 4
    3)Episode 7
    2)Episode 5
    1)Episode 6
    I have to place Jedi first because it was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. I still remember hiding behind the seat in front of me when the rancor first appeared!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I pretty much agree with the rankings here of the Star Wars films. Empire Strikes Back remains the firm fan favourite and I think the inclusion of Yoda takes this to a new level. The Hoth battle is epic of course…but A New Hope also has so many cool moments like the Cantina, Death Star Run, finding Obi Wan Kenobi out in the dunes. A good review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m another dinosaur who was around for the original theatrical release of what became IV, and that adjusts my appreciation. From high to low:

    IV– because I also remember what was in the theatres before this kicked the door open;
    V– because it may have been a slightly better film in objective terms, but it also had the luxury of leaning on a previous film’s world-building. There’s not much to choose, though– this is almost a tie, but the one that arrived first gets an advantage;
    VIII– because it lifts the curse of the prequels, even if it is somewhat derivative of IV and not entirely without moments of prequel-style head-scratching and the open question of whether Kylo Ren’s powers derive from mastery of the Force or from advanced Petulant Angst;
    VI– Ewoks get zero love from me. They are at best a brake on the narrative, and at worst a sign of the trouble that was to come.
    III– tolerable, with moments of interest.
    II– has the sole virtue of underlining that the events of I could have been dealt with in three unconnected minutes of expository dialogue. Other than that, too much droid “comedy” (to the point that I actually pined for Jar Jar), too much artificial, chemistry-free romance, a flying R2 and a purely pandering midriff revelation. Bah;
    I– at one point I actually rated this higher than II, because it was done after years of not making these things, while II didn’t have the excuse of being out of practice. But… NOTHING in this ends up mattering, and much of it contradicts things established in IV-VI. Midichlorians are at odds with the Force as described by Obi-Wan and Yoda. Obi-Wan recalls Anakin to Luke as “already a great pilot when I met him”, which is a faintly ridiculous inflation of the Wacky Races. Parliamentary debate (yawn). The senseless blockade of Naboo (if it’s a small, out of the way planet, how does it affect the (yawn) tax dispute of the Trade Federation?). The stacking up of the veiled racism. The derailing of the narrative to indulge in Wacky Races. There’s just SO MUCH WRONG with this film.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While my rankings are a bit different (I have Return of the Jedi ahead of The Force Awakens by a few spots and Revenge of the Sith ahead of Attack of the Clones by one spot) I love the analysis you provide for your rankings.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No love for the Ewok movies?

    My list is is pretty conventional;

    1. The Empire Strikes back.

    What an incredible move, AT-AT walker on the North Ridge, the asteroid chase, Bespin, Degobah, Han’s farewell to Leia, Boba Fett, Yoda… T was also my first experience of a cliff hanger. And the soundtrack. Still my favourite after all these years.

    2. A New Hope.

    A total game changer for Hollywood and for me personally. It gave me a love and a hobby that has endured for 39 years.

    3 The Phantom Menace

    An off choice. ROTJ remains closer to my heart, but after 25 years of waiting, The excitement I felt going to see TPM still stays with me to this day. Some incredible set pieces. The PT gets a lot of flak, most of it is totally undeserved.

    4. Return Of The Jedi.

    A great movie, but definitely the weakest of the original trilogy.

    5. Revenge of the Sith

    Great effects and some real heart wrenching moments. Especially the slaughter of the younglings. I thought the final lightsaber battle was a little too force and it could’ve done without the posturing.

    6. The Force Awakens

    Good fun, even if it is a rehash of the original trilogy. A rekindle of the Star Wars brand that’s going a long way.

    7. Attack Of The Clones

    I liked this movie, as I enjoyed the rest of the PT, but I just can’t forgive the awful scripting of that love story.

    8. Caravan of Courage. Enjoyable enough, but definitely a kids film. Some nice concepts, though.

    9. Battle For Endor.

    I’ve never seen it.

    I think that Rogue One is going to be incredible and may even enter my top three. Time will tell. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d move Return to spot 3, possibly even spot 2 because I watch it so much more than the other two it’s crazy. But otherwise, this is pretty much my list as well. I felt my like of the Phantom Menace is probably mostly nostalgia based, but oh well.

      I haven’t watched the Ewok movies since I was like ten though, so I can’t really comment on those


  6. My list is very similar to your list. I would, however go (from best to worst): IV, V, VI, VII, III, II, I. Empire is the *best* movie of the bunch, but the original is airtight, not a single wasted frame, and is more fun to watch than Empire (although it’s darned close). I originally had VII over VI, but, in retrospect, VI just has a better final two reels — the Emperor/Vader/Luke showdown is way better than the Kylo Ren business. While I would have loved a crack at rewriting the dialogue for III, the final two reels are still breathtakingly tight, which is something that the overlong II just lacks. IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting list, and more or less similar to my own in the lower end. I think I’d rank them as follows:
    7: The Phantom Menace. I can tolerate even Kid Anakin and the dreadful Jar-Jar Binks, but the Midichlorians break this movie for me. And the galactic politics (which also drags down RotS and AotC). Cinematically great, but the plot needed work.
    6: Revenge of the Sith. Great film in many ways, but I totally agree with you. Too dark for me.
    5: Attack of the Clones. We match so far. Now, here’s where I get less certain, and we diverge
    4: The Empire Strikes Back. Don’t get me wrong; any of the top 4 I’m willing to rewatch at the drop of a hat, but ESB always felt like it was suffering a little from Middle Book Syndrome. Yes, there’s the classic duel, but it falls between Death Stars. The Rebellion’s not doing much except running away for the nth time.
    3: Return of the Jedi: I was young enough at the time to enjoy the Ewoks, and this has a lot of nostalgia value for me personally. I still enjoy it.
    2: The Force Awakens: Three words: Finn, Rey, and Maz. I love all the nods to the classic trilogy, I love the way they seem to have woken up and remembered that the Jedi are Knights, I love the humanising of the stormtroopers. Great film. Almost number 1.
    1: A New Hope: It started the whole saga, showed us an epic struggle of darkness and light played out on the scale of a galaxy with interesting characters that we wanted to like. It defined Special Effects for my generation, and introduced some of the most classic spacecraft of all time. Sorry, TFA; I think I have to give it to A New Hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My number one has to be A New Hope. It’s the one that started it all, and is probably the movie I’ve watched the most out of all of the series. It feels the most complete out of the originals – one that you could watch and not need to watch the others.
    My second is actually The Force Awakens because of Rey. I love her character and am excited to see where the series takes her! And I also loved the addition of Finn. And I loved how they respected the original series and all the little nods towards the original.
    After that I’ve got Empire Strikes Back and then Return of the Jedi. I love these two so much, it’s really difficult to rank them! I love the addition of Lando and I really loved the ewoks as a kid.
    Then comes the prequels, all grouped together because I’ve only seen them in the theaters and have never felt the need to rewatch them.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. 1st Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
    2nd Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
    3rd Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
    4th Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
    5th Star Wars(: Episode IV – A new Hope)
    6th Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
    7th Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

    Liked by 1 person

      1. With the prequels, George Lucas seemed to making Star Wars as he wanted it to be, rather than what the studio wanted it to be. An analogy I like to use is that the original trilogy is the BBC, and the prequels are Big Finish.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. If the prequels are Big Finish, then “The Phantom Menace” is “The Sirens of Time”. Unmitigated garbage (but, unlike you two, I was old enough to see the original Star Wars, Episode IV, theatrically).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hmm, interesting list. I think mine would be:

    7. Attack of the Clones
    6. Phantom Menace
    5. Return of the Jedi
    4. Revenge of the Sith
    3. A New Hope
    2. Empire Strikes Back
    1. Force Awakens

    The reason I would put The Force Awakens above all the others comes down to a single word–a name, actually: Finn. Because in all six prior Star Wars movies, Storm/clone troopers were faceless drones who could be mowed down with impunity. As far as the films were concerned, they weren’t people, just mooks whose lives didn’t matter in the slightest, people you could slaughter freely without it counting as even one step down the path to the Dark Side.

    And that’s because Star Wars’ moral universe is a dangerously simplistic one, where Our Guys are The Good Guys and therefore everything they do is by definition Good(tm), while Their Guys the Bad Guys so everything they do is by definition Evil(tm). Even when both sides are doing the same thing (killing lots of people, for example). And yes, I agree, there’s a difference between killing people who are trying to kill you and just killing people without provocation. But you’re still killing people either way, and I don’t think you can really qualify as a Good Guy without at least considering that fact. (See also Harry Potter, Use of “Unforgivable” Curses by.)

    But then Finn comes along, a stormtrooper who chooses not to be. Suddenly things aren’t so simple anymore, and that makes me very happy.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Everyone seems to choose Empire Strikes Back as their number one. Personally my favorite is Return of the Jedi, likely the residual emotional attachment from when I was a kid, me and my brother would watch that one in VHS over and over again.

    Liked by 2 people

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