With the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters this week, we rank all of the previous Star Wars movie from worst to best.
If you ask any Star Wars fan to rank the past films from worst to best, you’ll most likely get dozens of different rankings from each and every person. The early films are always preferred over the prequels, since the prequels are often seen as massive letdowns, but there are still some people who enjoyed them.
It’s very possible that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will shake up these rankings in a huge way, as it’s looked incredible during Disney’s promotion. So before the film hits theaters this week we thought we’d rank the past films from worst to best.
‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’
Easily the worst Star Wars film to date. The Phantom Menace is so hated that there are some fans who ignore it entirely in the franchise’s history. It’s the first film chronologically in the series, which sees a young Darth Vader played by Jake Lloyd, who was almost unbearable to watch.
Although, it’s difficult to blame the young actor due to the fact that he was inexperienced and given a terrible script with even worse dialogue. While it did have some highlights, like Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn, as well as actor Ray Park as Darth Maul, it’s easily the worst Star Wars movie ever created.
Also: Jar Jar Binks
‘Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones’
While Attack of the Clones was a slight improvement over The Phantom Menace, it still included some of the worst dialogue ever heard in a Star Wars movie. Star Wars is known for notoriously poor dialogue, with a young Hayden Christensen saying lines like, “I killed them. I killed them all. They’re dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children, too. They’re like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals. I HATE THEM!”
It was essentially impossible to take anything serious that these actors said, and starring opposite Natalie Portman you’d think she’d be capable of bringing the poor dialogue up a notch with her acting talent, but even the Oscar-winner couldn’t do these lines justice.
‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith’
Revenge of the Sith looked like it might finally redeem the prequel disasters, but dialogue was still abysmal with lines including: “You underestimate my powerrrrr!” By then everyone assumed it would be terrible based on the previous two films, and while the final fight sequence was interesting and the CGI was finally up to standards, fans hoped to see a great conclusion which would lead us into the first Star Wars from 1977.
We did get to see how Darth Vader became his bionic self, but Hayden Christensen’s acting never improved and the dialogue didn’t help. The final scene may have been the only redeeming point of this film, as we see Vader working with his Sith Lord to create the Death Star.
Ranking: You underestimate my powerfully bad lines!
‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’
The Empire Strikes Back is often considered the best of the original trilogy, but we have it a little lower due to the fact that some of the excitement had left the films by the time it was released.
It did have one of the biggest reveals, after Luke and Vader engage in an epic lightsaber duel which ends with Luke losing a hand as he hangs dangerously in the air shaft. As if it wasn’t enough, Luke is told by Vader that he is his father, which causes him to jump down the air shaft.
This leaves Darth Vader upset that his son refuses to join him on the dark side, but Leia helps Luke survive and gets him home safely. One of the more exciting scenes is seeing Luke get his bionic hand, which would become a staple in the Star Wars films, and even in The Force Awakens we see a bionic hand in one of the earliest trailers.
This film is certainly one of the best of the six, but we imagine it’ll drop a slot when The Force Awakens hits theaters. The Empire Strikes Back is probably the most controversially ranked Star Wars film, so we expect to hear from our readers about where they would put the second film of the originally trilogy.
Ranking: Best fight scenes
‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’
Return of the Jedi had some of the best moments in the series, with Luke Skywalker telling Yoda goodbye in one of the saddest parts of the film, where he also confirms that Darth Vader is a fallen Jedi, as well as his father. It is also revealed that there is another Skywalker, and Princess Leia finds out that she is Luke’s brother.
Han Solo is rescued from his carbonite prison, and he has some of his best moments with Lando. Leia has her most heroic moment when she strangles the hideous Jabba to death with her slave chain, and Luke destroys Jabba’s barge as the rest of the group escapes.
Return of the Jedi is a great film, and one of the best in the series, due most to the fact that so many great moments happen in one movie. It was also able to avoid being plagued by what we normally see in the finale of trilogies nowadays, and so it stands at #2 on our list because it was able to avoid the final movie curse.
Ranking: Best collection of great moments
‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’
The first film in the series is easily the best. In 1977 it was like nothing ever seen before, and despite the lack of technology, George Lucas was able to achieve some pretty impressive CGI, as well as his use of puppeteers.
Star Wars was not only a phenomenon because it was so unique, but because it took the tale of a regular guy finding out he’s destined to be a hero and intertwined it with science fiction and space travel. The actors also had a lot to do with the success of the film, especially Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.
Ford was in his mid 30s when he played Solo in the first film, and he essentially created the transition of western cowboy to science fiction hero. The film also gave women someone to look up to in a time where women weren’t being given roles such as Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. She got the opportunity to portray a powerful woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, and her personality just jumped off the screen.
The beginning of Star Wars will always rank at the top of most fans’ lists, due to the fact that the nostalgia is still strong with us, but also because it was a well-executed film in a time where other science fiction films were laughably bad. While it holds the top spot for us right now, it’s very possible The Force Awakens may bring so much to the table that it could knock Star Wars off the top spot that it’s held for so long.
Ranking: Best Star Wars movie to date
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters this weekend.