Star Wars Movies Ranked

Star Wars Movies Ranked (1977-2019)

After the Skywalker saga, which spanned nine major films and two spin-off feature films, finally came to an end, we decided to make – as usual – the best and most authoritative list of the eleven films that marked and raised not just one, but many generations of film lovers. And therefore – May the Force be with you and enjoy!

In 1977, Star Wars movie (later renamed Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) ravaged American theaters. George Lucas, the creator of the idea for the film and the entire franchise that will follow, has gained star status among Hollywood directors, and the Star Wars phenomenon will soon gain the status of a cult pop culture phenomenon.

The new genre of space opera soon delighted fans around the world, so sequels soon followed – the cult The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Lucas started his series from the middle – with episodes IV, V and VI – and characters like Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Ben Kenobi, R2-D2 and others became a worldwide favorite. It took a full 16 years – from 1983 to 1999 – for Lucas to revitalize his life project and finally launch the so-called The Prequel trilogy, which offered the titles The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, which in turn complemented the story that Lucas began in 1977, gave context to certain characters and events and built the universe they then already loved by all.

The prequels were concluded in 2005, after which it was rumored for years that Lucas had three more films up his sleeve, but that he never intended to release them to the public. As time went on, the rumors gradually subsided, until the spectacular news of the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney happened, which included a package of three films that should conclude the whole saga. Lucas officially retired, however he was a consultant about the story and the fate of the characters, so despite his absence the so-called The Sequel trilogy had its stamp.

Ten years after Revenge of the Sith, enthusiastic fans (including my little one) rushed to see how J.J. Abrams realized Episode VII, The Force Awakens. A furious pace followed for this franchise, when in a period of only four years, as many as five films were released – three from the main continuum and two anthology films, which followed the main series. In December 2019, after 42 years and 11 films, with the release of The Rise of Skywalker, the saga of the Skywalkers came to an end, and with it the Star Wars as we knew it and as George Lucas envisioned it.

Clearly, Disney has an idea how to continue the franchise and cash in on Lucas’ idea well, but it will all be some new Star Wars, it will be some new characters and some new stories that I believe we will also love, but which would not be without stories that in this top list we pay the highest possible honor!

The rules and ranking criteria are identical to my previous lists – the quality of the film itself, historical significance, consistency in narration and character development, originality in approach and so on – with the proviso that this list, unlike the previous ones, will not have ratings, but the films will only be ranked by their quality, with explanations.

The reason for this is the fact that, and I have to admit this openly, I’m not objective enough to give ratings to individual films, as I could with earlier charts. Star Wars is much more to me than a regular movie series and I tend, even when I might not need to, to ignore the shortcomings and share higher ratings for these films, because they are so much more than any single film. They are – Star Wars! (Now imagine Williams’ introductory composition playing and enjoy the top list.)

11. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

Directed by: George Lucas
Screenplay: George Lucas, Jonathan Hales
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Natalie Portman (Padmé Amidala), Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine), Frank Oz (Yoda), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks), Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa)

Explanation: Lucas’ Episode II is probably the biggest mess of all Star Wars movies, which acted as some kind of weird blend of children’s movies and what Star Wars should be. Although she had her own narrative role and fine-tuned the stories of Anakin and his mentor Obi-Wan, the fact is that the final product was below average and quite uninteresting compared to the other films.

On the positive side, we should certainly point out the genesis of Stormtroopers, as well as Young and Boba Fett and the introduction of Count Dooku, but everything else, unfortunately, was unworthy of the rest of the series.

10. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Directed by: Ron Howard
Screenplay: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Composer: John Powell
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Woody Harrelson (Tobias Beckett), Emilia Clarke (Qi’ra), Paul Bettany (Dryden Vos), Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), Thandie Newton (Val), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) , Ray Park (Darth Maul)

Explanation: This second anthology film wasn’t all that bad in itself – it had great scenery, good action, and a story that very nicely filled in the gaps in the history of Han Solo and Chewbacca – but after watching it you can’t help but think that the film was missing something big. Although he used a lot of proven formulas from Lucas’ films, as well as inserted an element of anti-tyranny, Solo simply failed to break through the dimensions of the commercial, action spectacle.

Good new characters, great Donald Glover, as well as the return of Darth Maul, managed to give the film a certain charm, but not enough for a higher place on the list, but it was better than its predecessor only due to the fact that the story of this film was more complete than Episode II.

9. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Screenplay: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, J. J. Abrams, Chris Terrio
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren / Ben Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Richard E. Grant (General Pryde), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) , Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Katana)

Explanation: Objectively, Episode IX is the worst sequel to the so-called The Sequel trilogy, which, much like Episode VII, copied a lot, being even less successful than Abrams’ first Star Wars movie. Although it rounded off the story well and served as the perfect epilogue to the Skywalker saga, this film, viewed as a stand-alone work outside of its serial context, deserves no more than ninth place.

8. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Screenplay: Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren / Ben Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn), Domhnall Gleeson (general) Hux), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Katana), Max von Sydow (Lor San Tekka), Andy Serkis (Snoke)

Explanation: The long-awaited revitalization of the Star Wars series came by J.J. Abrams, who brought this film its usual quality and spectacular production, but not the soul of Lucas’ films. Although Episode VII was almost a plagiarism of Lucas’ Episode IV with new faces and a slightly changed narrative, it was at the same time enough to offer some initial enthusiasm, but also not enough to permanently valorize such a lack of originality.

Like Episode IX, Episode VII is by no means a bad movie, but it is too sure and too famous for great new characters (Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron, Snoke) and beloved legends (Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker) to have some more lasting significance.

7. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

Directed by: Ryan Johnson
Screenplay: Rian Johnson
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren / Ben Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), John Boyega (Finn), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Katana), Andy Serkis (Snoke), Laura Dern (Amilyn Holdo), Benicio del Toro (DJ), Frank Oz )

Explanation: This is the first film whose placement I really doubted, given the fact that this is by far the bravest, if not the best part of the so-called Sequel trilogy. Johnson made a different Star Wars film and, miraculously, he did it quite well, with which the vast majority of the world’s critics agreed. Mark Hamill masterfully performed his role and really brought out the whole film, showing how Luke Skywalker – despite all the comic and at first perhaps atypical scenes for him – really matured into a true Jedi master, who can stand alongside his mentors, Ben Kenobi and Yoda.

While I’m sure it could have made it a little higher on the list, I put Episode VIII in this place solely because Lucas’ original trilogy has undeniably greater historical and cultural significance. However, Ryan Johnson’s courage, good story, outstanding production, and a new series of powerful acting interpretations make this film worthy of all praise and a potentially cult classic for decades, when impressions subside and its actual quality is objectively valorized.

6. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

Directed by: Richard Marquand
Screenplay: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse / James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Alec Guinness (Ben Kenobi), Frank Oz (Yoda), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2)

Explanation: Although I’m a big fan of Ewok, Episode VI ultimately seemed to me to be the weakest part of Lucas ’original trilogy. Although it had everything that the previous two films had, including an emotional and strong ending, Episode VI had the problem that in relation to New Hope and – especially – Empire Strikes Back it offered absolutely nothing new, but used a well-constructed story and a proven formula to conclude the trilogy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the fact is that other films are better because of that.

5. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Directed by: George Lucas
Screenplay: George Lucas
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn), Natalie Portman (Padmé Amidala), Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine), Frank Oz (Yoda), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Ray Park (Darth Maul), Terence Stamp (Finis Valorum)

Explanation: Although critics mostly state that Episode I is the worst part of the whole series, it seems to me that with age the beginning of the so-called prequel trilogy experienced numerous apologies. This film offers a lot – great Qui-Gon Jinn and young Obi-Wan Kenobi, the beginning of the story of Palpatine and Darth Vader, great set design, creepy Darth Maul – and I think in retrospect it was one of the more daring Star Wars films.

The Phantom Menace is different, but it has everything that an introduction to such a big saga should have, and if Lucas also commercialized the saga a bit with this film – he shouldn’t be blamed so much. After all, when a movie offers you a song like “Duel of the Fates,” then you don’t complain, just sit back and watch with enthusiasm.

4. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Directed by: George Lucas
Screenplay: George Lucas
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse / James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), Peter Cushing (the great Moff Tarkin), Alec Guinness (Ben Kenobi), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2)

Explanation: The film, which was officially introduced in 1977 under the title Star Wars, marked the beginning of the greatest film story ever told. Although critics disliked it at first, believing that a film like this, in an era when Hollywood explored complex, dark dramas, seemed childish, George Lucas’ vision turned out to be more enduring than many of its competitors. With some beginner’s mistakes, Episode IV offered enough in the field of characters, production, set design, and, most of all, narration to become a timeless classic and one of the most important films in history.

3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Screenplay: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Starring: Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso), Diego Luna (Cassian Andor), Ben Mendelsohn (Orson Krennic), Donnie Yen (Chirrut Îmwe), Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso), Alan Tudyk (K-2SO), Riz Ahmed (Bodhi Rook), Forrest Whitaker (Saw Gerrera), Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Spencer Wilding / James Earl Jones (Darth Vader)

Explanation: Rogue One is without a doubt the best movie from the “Disney era” of Star Wars. Gareth Edwards picked up the best from Lucas, including that essence (which turned out to be very complex to copy!), And completed the story between Episodes III and IV in the best possible way. With a tense story, extraordinary production, and the best that modern technology can give in terms of scenography, Rogue One did “waste” its characters, but it did it in the best way, because it managed, with only one film, to make Jyn, Cassian and of the inimitable K-2SO that we truly miss as worthy members of the Skywalker saga.

2. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Directed by: George Lucas
Screenplay: George Lucas
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader), Natalie Portman (Padmé Amidala), Ian McDiarmid (Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious), Frank Oz (Yoda), Samuel L. Jackson ( Mace Windu), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks), Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Matthew Wood (General Grievous)

Explanation: Episode III concluded in the best possible way the so-called Prequel trilogy and offered some of the best parts of Lucas’ vision we’ve seen over four decades. With a tense story, (un) expected twists and a story about the death that gave birth to the Empire, Revenge of the Sith is a masterfully made film that best portrayed the collapse of the Republic and the essence of the struggle between the Jedi and the Sith. The sword fight scenes are wonderfully complemented by Williams’ music, and the protagonist’s excellent acting interpretations make this film the second-best work in Lucas’ saga, which is an indispensable part of that great puzzle.

1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Directed by: Irvin Kershner
Screenplay: Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan
Composer: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse / James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), Marjorie Eaton / Clive Revill (Emperor Palpatine), Alec Guinness (Ben Kenobi), Frank Oz (Yoda), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)

Explanation: Empire Strikes Back is not only the best film in Lucas’ story, but without further thought, it is one of the best films ever made. Lucas’s mentor, independent filmmaker Irvin Kershner, did a masterfully unique directing job and brought Star Wars closer to art film as much as possible.

With a beautiful story that took us through the wonderful space scenery (the segment on Hoth is still one of the best parts of the whole saga), a display of all the power and danger that Darth Vader and the Empire carried with them, introducing new characters, Lando Calrissian, Yoda) and shocking discoveries, Episode V also managed, in the best possible way, to embody the essence of this series, successfully combining it with the best and most impressive production, which is why it is unrivaled in this place, just like the timeless, cult classic.

Scroll to Top