I Ranked the Star Wars Movies So You Don’t Have To

I Ranked the Star Wars Movies So You Don’t Have To

I ranked all Star Wars movies from worst to best, from A New Hope to The Rise of Skywalker. So here they are, the best and worst films from a galaxy far, far away.

Looking for all the Star Wars movies ranked, worst to best?

I've got your back! We've seen the Star Wars universe explode over the last few years, and what started as an independent movie no one expected would do well, has now expanded into a huge cinematic universe. The collection now has numerous movies spanning multiple eras and featuring a lot of different characters. Good news if you're a fan, but a bit frustrating if you want to rewatch all the episodes. 

In total, there are 12 Star Wars movies - minus TV classics like Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (which we don't count) - so if you're watching them all, you don't have time to watch the duds. There are a bunch of Star Wars movies that you probably don't want to watch again, even if they're among the best ever. 

This is where my ranking of all Star Wars movies comes in. Check out my Star Wars saga guide, from movies to miss, to ones you can't miss.

12. Attack of the Clones

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


Let's get the worst Star Wars movies over with. Attack of the Clones is the worst. I didn't like the overuse of CGI, the numerous boring Senate scenes, the awkward, supposedly romantic conversations between Anakin and Padmé ... I could go on and on. Attack of the Clones is one of the worst Star Wars movies for so many reasons, but they all boil down to a single thing: it's a middle movie. 

As with other trilogies, the first and third Star Wars movies at least knew what they wanted to do. Attack of the Clones tries to bridge the gap between Anakin, the cute, innocent kid in Episode I, and Darth Vader, the ultimate bad guy, in Episode III, but Hayden Christensen and the script just couldn't get it done.

There was so much ground to cover in carrying the plot that the ‘grown-up’ Anakin, his forbidden love with Padmé, justifying his gradual transition to the dark side and his falling out with Obi-Wan was rushed and ingenuous. Plus the constant flipping of Senate and Jedi scenes. By far, Attack of the Clones is the smelliest stain on the Star Wars franchise.

11. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


This first prequel Star Wars movie has a lot of the same problems as Attack of the Clones, especially when it comes to the CGI (like Jar Jar Binks?) and the fact that the main actor can't actually act. In The Phantom Menace, Jake Lloyd was only 10 years old, but it's painful to watch any scene he's in. He’s so far down the ‘chipper’ end of the spectrum that he paints Hayden Christiansen into a corner to make his decline into evil believable. 

He isn't the only problem, though. Fans didn't notice first since they were too excited about Star Wars returning after a long hiatus. But it's not that interesting to tell the story of a 10-year-old Darth Vader before he turns evil. To be perfectly honest, the subplot drives the prequel trilogy and Palpatine gets more mysterious cool factor than Anakin does character development. Honestly, Obi-Wan gets more developed than Anakin, who the films are supposedly about.

Also, it has to be said that Jar Jar and the Viceroy are SUPER racist looking depictions. I mean, watch it again and say I’m wrong. Oh, and Qui-Gonn and Obi-Wan hit warp speed on foot within the first 15 minutes of the film and this ability to run at 80km/h IS NEVER MENTIONED EVER AGAIN. Plus the midichlorian thing was answering questions we literally never asked.

There's only one reason this movie made the cut over Attack of the Clones: it didn't make us sit through a bazillion senate scenes. Plus, Darth Maul has a cool look to him.

10. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


Here's why Revenge of the Sith isn't higher on our list of all Star Wars movies ranked: CGI, pantomime-like acting from the lead, and the fact that the majority of it is just talking to each other. Fans were really looking forward to this movie because it was the one where Anakin turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader, so it really should have been better.

In the end, Anakin's journey to the dark side was just a mix of terrible relationship advice and killing kids with no apparent inner turmoil. Vader’s “NOOOOOOOOO!” was so cringe I wanted to start pulling out my fingernails to dull the pain in my ears.  In the end, the whole thing just came off as ridiculous and unbelievable. 

So, why is it the best of the Star Wars prequels? Ewen Mcgregor is fantastic as Obi-Wan and I feel like I should have said this sooner. But even his performance couldn’t save the other prequels and he makes the finale’s end bearable and heartfelt. 

9. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


A CGI one? But I just trashed the CGI in the prequel trilogy???

At least with this they go all in. It’s exactly what you think it is and not a betrayal of the fantastic set-pieces and locations of the original trilogy.

Taking place after Attack of the Clones, Clone Wars tries (and fails) to make the best of the time between Obi-Wan discovering the clone army and Anakin turning to the dark side. Unfortunately, in an attempt to stay away from the boring talkative scenes from the prequel, it went too far the other way and is just a collection of pointless fight scenes. Still, we love a good lightsaber fight and there’s a bunch of them.

This had the potential to bridge the gap in the rushed and confusing fall of Anakin to the dark side but instead, it’s a salad of lightsabers and Count Dooku being Saruman in space. The trusty and familiar characters don’t feel familiar. It’s not the Yoda we know. Or the Ewen McGregor that was the flower growing out of the pot of dirt that are the prequels.

Despite being a bit repetitive, The Clone Wars did introduce one of our favourite Star Wars characters, Ahsoka Tano, and eventually gave birth to a pretty decent TV spin-off series of the same name. It's also considerably shorter than any of the prequel movies, so we can give it a pass. I mean, not much.

8. Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


Personally, I hated this film. But I am trying to make an objective list so here goes...

It’s good for a movie that is irrelevant. Or, if you want to flesh out Han, do it in a series. The film is super Disney-fied and Han isn’t anywhere near enough of a rogue and fluffer nerf herder as he should be to make him affable and magnetic. Sure he’s still handsome, but that seems to be the only selling point by the Disney execs.

Han is, for the most part, an anti-hero before the end of A New Hope.

This movie is a betrayal to that end and the transformation of Han that led to the gravity of the ending. “The a**hole came through!” and saved the day, the last thing you’d exp3ect from someone so self-obsessed and arrogant. 

It's hard to make a movie about someone who was basically a baddie until he bumped into Luke Skywalker that inspires hope because it's hard to make a movie about someone you loved from the original Star Wars movies. 

While Donald Glover gives a great performance as Lando Calrissian and his droid sidekick L3 is a welcome addition to the galaxy, it doesn't make up for the fact that Solo is more or less a watered-down version of Han Solo. You might like Solo if you're a Star Wars completist, but it's not the best movie. A galaxy far, far away from it actually. 

7. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


There's a good chance you think The Rise of Skywalker should be higher on this list. But it shouldn't be. Sadly, the final movie in the Skywalker saga (to date) wiped out all those controversial yet bold choices. Rather than explore new storylines, it goes back to the old Skywalker storyline... and by Episode 9 it starts feeling a little stale. 

Yes, there are some great, if predictable, moments, such as Kylo Ren reforming. Even though the filmmakers' hands are somewhat tied by Carrie Fisher's sad passing, too much of this movie feels like a patchwork quilt of all the Star Wars films that have come before it, but without the meaning. Also, Palpatine's return felt a bit desperate and ridiculous - how can he be alive again? In terms of great filmmaking, The Rise of Skywalker is more than just a little behind The Last Jedi.

6. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


The Last Jedi is probably the most controversial of the Star Wars movies, and not without good reason. It basically threw all the sacred history of Star Wars out the window by making Rey's parents "nobodies," taking the magic out of the Force and killing off Luke Skywalker. This rule-breaking makes it one of the best Star Wars movies because it was the first one in a while that felt like it had something new to say.

Now, it is an interesting and *controversial opinion* needed take on the tired Star Wars lore. But doing it in the middle of a trilogy??? Sure, we can understand the need to freshen it up and fight back against the middle movie curse (see Attack of the Clones above), but it’s a little too wild a take for the position of the film. I’d have loved to see a well thought out trilogy with this take.

It’s certainly not without its flaws. Finn and Rose’s storyline is very ‘Netflix’  and if you cut their scenes out of the film, it literally changes almost nothing about the progression of the plot or consequences. 

But… The Last Jedi broke the rules in new and exciting ways, and it did it with style. It made Ben Skywalker a more developed character, which fellow middle movie Attack of the Clones couldn’t with Anakin. Love or hate it, you can’t deny it’s an unforgettable entry in the Star Wars saga and definitely not one to be missed.

5. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens ushered in a new generation of fans (and rekindled the existing one), just like the prequels did before it, but this time it was a triumphant return to the galaxy far, far away. We get reintroduced to the heroes we know and love from the original trilogy (I mean, how good did it feel to watch Han and Chewie back behind the wheel? ), but we also get a whole new set of heroes who are just as badass. Kylo Ren is a cool character, but somehow providing the evil masked villain with a shockingly human side only made him scarier. 

It was a perfect blend of old and new. Almost everyone who watched had their moments of goosebumps and the nostalgia was palpable on the first watch. It paid a beautiful homage to the original trilogy set pieces and background characters which give the Star Wars universe depth and context.

The first Star Wars movie was a hit for a reason. There are those who point out that it's just a remake of A New Hope (a lonely boy on a desert planet ends up in a space adventure with the destruction of a gigantic alien spaceship). In The Force Awakens, we got to rediscover why we love the Star Wars universe so much.

4. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


Before I say anything good about Return, the Ewok ending is really bad. But equally how absolutely awesome the beginning is at Jabba’s palace.

The third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy might be the worst out of the three, but it's still awesome. With one of the best opening scenes ever as Luke and co save Han from Jabba the Hutt, and a redemption moment between Luke and his father, Darth Vader, Return of the Jedi has definitely earned its place as one of the best Star Wars movies ever. 

One of the highlights of the last movie is the comradeship between Luke, Han, and Leia as they take down the Empire. Something that was never present in the prequel or sequel trilogies (the union of Rey, Po and Finn is pretty cringe IMO.) Low points? Well, despite how nostalgic we feel right now and like I said, the Ewoks were kinda ridiculous, and Leia's gold bikini is a bit off-putting in hindsight. Fair enough Jabba was exploiting her, but it made her an object when she was a strong woman in a time when women were adjusting to being strong women.

Despite PG incest and teddy bear guerilla warfare against a galactic imperial army, Return of the Jedi shouldn’t be missed, whether you’re watching all the Star Wars movies for the hundredth time or the first.

3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


Fans wanted movies based on Star Wars stories, but the one about the Rebels who stole the Death Star plans Luke used to destroy it in A New Hope wasn't at the top. Thankfully, the decision to step away from the traditional Star Wars movie tropes (no opening crawl or screen wipes) and adopt a gritty (but not too gritty) war movie approach paid off for us, giving us one of the best Star Wars movies to date.

Rogue One succeeds where Solo failed by perfectly balancing nods to the original movies with very un-Disney moments from its heroes to balance out their weakness in contrast to a Jedi or Sith. I mean, Cassian kills a friend when we very first meet him because the Rebellion is above all when you’re a simple human fighting a war much larger than your ability. The lives of the people inside the galaxy are realised. They have hopes, dreams and a say in the future of the galaxy even if they don’t share a magical genetic disposition to levitate things and use laser swords.

It's a great movie because of Felicity Jones and Diego Luna's chemistry, and the final scene is my favourite. It’s a film about the power of sacrifice. From people in a better position than Luke who don’t get everything handed to them (like the force and a lightsaber). And there's no way you won't get goosebumps watching the end of Rogue One meet the start of A New Hope. If you do, you’ve fallen to the dark side.

2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


It all started with A New Hope. This alone ensures it a top spot on our list of every Star Wars movie ranked, but Episode 4 is so much more. Simple but effective. We could all be Luke, the heroic kid trying to be part of something bigger. As a result of him ditching his mundane life and joining forces with a scoundrel with a golden heart to save a princess, it's easy to see why audiences loved A New Hope. 

With a story set in space, a princess who's more than a damsel, and a villain recognizable by just his breath, it's no wonder why this movie would go on to inspire sequels, spinoffs, and endless merchandise. The original Star Wars movie has everything you could possibly want in a movie, and that's why fans return again and again.

1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

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Copyright: © Lucasfilm Ltd.


You haven't been paying attention if you don't know what the best Star Wars movie ever is. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back upped the action and heart from the first film, delivering a rare sequel that's better than the original, and with a downer ending where the baddies essentially win!

There's the epic opening battle on Hoth, Lando Calrissian's introduction, Leia telling Han she loves him (and Han’s reply is the most Han thing EVER: "I know"), and the biggest shock reveals in cinema history as Luke finds out Darth Vader is his father.

Episode 5 isn’t just the best Star Wars movie ever, but one of the best movies of all time. When it comes to ranking every Star Wars movie from worst to best, there really is no competition. The Empire Strike Back is masterful. It’s one of the best middle movies of all time. It carries the plot into a finale, it’s a bittersweet ending, friends are lost and the depth of characters revealed to thicken the tapestry of the overall picture. 

Please feel free to argue in the comments either about what movie is number one or why the prequels aren’t crap. 

And cheers to Kath for editing this.

Forever yours, in a galaxy really, really close,

Clint the Intern


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