Top 10 Star Wars Movies
With the recent Blu Ray release of Star Wars: Rogue One, and the annual Star Wars Celebration happening last week, we figured it was time to dive into the Star Wars movies. We previously talked about Star Wars with our 10 Great Options for Star Wars Gaming, which you can read here. I’ve been a Star Wars addict since I first laid eyes on A New Hope back in my youth and I must have seen the original trilogy at least 20 times before I turned 18.
Once the prequels hit when I was in college, I was still excited to see every new movie and I’m not ashamed to admit, I saw The Phantom Menace 7 times in the theater. Even bad Star Wars movies managed to suck me in.
Now that we actually have a solid crop of movies, I figured it was time to rank them from worst to best. However I should note that as there are not quite 10 “real movies” released yet, we are going to have to pad this list a little. I’m guessing we will come back to revises this list as Disney gives us better material to consume. On to the list!
Top 10 Star Wars Movies
10. Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In 1985, George Lucas took us back to Endor in a made for TV movie called Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. Taking place after Return of the Jedi and The Ewok Adventure. Ewoks: The Battle for Endor follows the adventures of Cindel and Wicket as they attempt to take on an army of Marauders. While not as insane as the Star Wars Holiday Special, The Battle for Endor was far from a masterpiece. If you liked Ewoks, then at least you have a watchable movie in the Star Wars universe. However, it’s ultimately forgettable and has been removed from the Star Wars canon once “the mouse” took over.
9. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Now we are past the filler material. Star Wars: The Clone Wars sits along the original 6 movies as the only thing left in Star War canon once Disney took over. The Clone Wars was actually a pretty good Star Wars animated tv series and in 2008, director Dave Filoni brought us The Clone Wars movie, which severed as an introduction to the TV series. Set in the time between Episode 2 and 3, The Clone Wars follows the exploits of Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. While the movie was far from good, at least it spawned a really good TV show. So we got that going for us.
8. Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Now we get into the real meat of the list. Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars movie released in over 15 years. To say we were excited was an understatement. The movie made absolute bank in the box office, but looking back, we can all agree that it was far from a good movie. The plot was somewhat weird, both the main villain and leading jedi didn’t even make it to the next movie, and it forced the whole midicholrian thing down our throats. The best thing it had going for it was the lightsaber due set to the Duel of Fates score. Up until now, we had only seen an untrained boy and a broken down old man fight with light sabers. Darth Maul and the two Jedi showed us what a lightsaber duel really is.
7. Episode II – Attack of the Clones
The second movie of the “prequels” actually wasn’t horrible. It got rid of the young jake lloyd as Anikin Skywalker (thankfully) and replaced him with Hyden Christinsen, now a teen Anikin. I’m still unsure if Hyden is a really bad actor or was just given terrible dialogue. Regardless, much of the dialogue in the movie isn’t going to excite you. However, the movie does succeed in sucking you in at the end with the exciting battle for Geonosis. This brought us a massive land battle, an army of clone troopers, and we finally got to see Yoda fight for the first time. The Attack of the Clones was definitely a slow build up, but it’s climax was some of the best of the prequels.
6. Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
I had a hard time deciding if Revenges of the Sith should be 6 or 7 on this list, but I ultimately landed it at the top of the prequel stack. It had some exciting moments, such as a duel between Darth Sidious and Yoda where they destroy the senate, Anikin’s fall from grace, and his fight between him and Obi-Wan…which resulted in the birth of Darth Vader as we know him. Unfortunately, all that is marred by more of George Lucas’s terrible writing. The love affair between Anakin and Padmae was never really believable and many of Anakin’s lines were cringeworthy. Still, Revenge of the Sith sets us up nicely to transition into A New Hope.
5. Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
As a kid, I loved the Return of the Jedi. You had a fantastic space battle, a glorious lightsaber duel, and an army of the Ewoks. What kid didn’t love those furry little teddy bears. However, looking back on Jedi as an adult, and I can see the holes in the plot. Namely an entire legion of the empire’s best troops getting beat by some muppets with sticks and rocks. Still, I can set that aside and enjoy the movie for what it was. A great conclusion to a series that I loved. Return of the Jedi did wrap up the original trilogy nicely, even if there is no way the Empire would be able to afford that second death star.
4. Star Wars: Rogue One
The first movie to take place outside of the Skywalker storyline was a pretty good one. I had some trepidation on how well the Star Wars story could work without the main characters we’ve come to know and love, but my fears were unfounded. You can read our full thoughts on Rogue One here, but suffice to say, I enjoyed it. And frankly, Rogue One has one of the best endings of any of the Star Wars movies. It leads in perfectly to A New Hope and that Vader scene still gives me chills.
3. Episode IV – A New Hope
Some may consider it blasphemy to put A New Hope only at #3, but that’s where I feel it belongs. Overall it’s still a great movie. It introduced us to to the jedi (assuming you watch them in release order), lightsabers, and the force. Luke Skywalker, star of the trilogy, is about as whiney and annoying as it gets. Fortunately, his character is offset by the fantastic Sir Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan and Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Ford does an absolutely amazing job playing the scoundrel and rogue that is Han Solo. The pacing is great in the film, and the climax with the death star trench run has been replayed in video games for decades since. How can you watch this movie and not want to fly an X-wing.
2. Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Yes I’m putting The Force Awakens above A New Hope. I’ll admit that they are both very similar movies, which I’m sure was intentional. Almost 40 years since A New Hope debuted, The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars movie since the Disney acquisition. It was almost a reboot of the series, so the movie contained both a lot of throwbacks to A New Hope, but also a good amount of torch passing. But the characters the torches were pasted too were all fantastic. You had the redeemed stormtrooper in Finn, a roguish X-wing pilot in Poe, and of course the stellar performance by Daisey Ridley as Rey. Not only was she an exciting lead character, but I feel like she was a positive female heroine that the series has never really had outside of Carrie Fisher’s supporting role. Great characters, entertaining dialogue, and lots of action help make this one of my favorite Star Wars movies.
1. Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
And now we get to the top spot, The Empire Strikes Back. This movie builds on everything from A New Hope, but ratcheted up the excitement and intrigue to a whole new level. The movie opens with the Battle of Hoth. This brought us the AT-AT walkers that have since become iconic to the star wars universe. Then, Luke Skywalker meets Yoda and begins his jedi training. Yoda sets the benchmark of how an animated (or puppeted) character should act (which completely failed with Jar Jar). And then we have the climax of the movie. Luke confronts Darth Vader too early in his training, as the fight with him is far from balanced. This all tops off with the reveal of Luke’s father and Han’s betrayal by his friend Lando. Finally, the movie ends on a huge cliffhanger of Han Solo being kidnapped, luke finding out who his father is right after getting his hand cut off. If ever a Star Wars movie had you wanting the next installment ASAP, this was it.