Star Wars movie have fascinated the public for decades, since first opening in theaters in 1977. Whether you are a fan or not, the six films were historic in many ways, from transforming the art of cinematography to creating one of the largest fan bases in Hollywood’s history.
As the release of a new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, nears, with all the excitement of such a highly–anticipated event, it is a good time to look back and see how the original trilogy and prequels rank with fans and critics alike.
Undoubtedly, because they were unlike anything moviegoers had ever seen before, the Star Wars movies that have made the most impact, thus far at least, are the ones of the original trilogy. Not many disagree that those are the best in the saga for multiple reasons. One of the most important is that, with these, creator George Lucas introduced us to the galaxy far, far away. The newness of it all took the world by storm and Lucas became an overnight sensation.
Let’s take a look at how the Star Wars movies are ranked according to the Inquisitr.
6. STAR WARS: EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999)
Perhaps because it was the first Star Wars movie released after the super successful original trilogy, The Phantom Menace is, according to many, the weakest link in this multi-billion dollar franchise. Even though box office revenue statistics show this is the second highest grossing of the six films, according to Box Office Mojo, a great number of critics agree that Episode I is by far the worst Star Wars movie of the bunch.
In this story we learn about what took place before Star Wars: A New Hope and the plot centers on a young Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), who is a Jedi apprentice under the direction of Qui-Con Jinn (Liam Neeson). Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father, who later turns into Darth Vader, is just 9-years-old. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 57 percent tomatometer.
5. STAR WARS: EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002)
This Star Wars movie is where we meet Luke Skywalker’s parents as adults, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), the arrogant, yet skillful Jedi, and Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), who narrowly survives an assassination attempt. The plotline also centers on Emperor Palpatine’s rise to power.
One of the biggest complaints fans had about Attack of the Clones was Christensen’s less-than-passionate portrayal of the legendary Jedi and the lack of chemistry with his co-star, Natalie Portman.
4. STAR WARS: EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005)
The climax of the prequels takes place in the last 20-minutes of this Star Wars movie and the dramatic events in which Anakin, is finally and irrevocably seduced by the Dark Side, is the best part of this film and possibly the entire trilogy.
Once again acting issues earned fans’ complaints the most, as well as a general dark turn in the story, but nonetheless, Sith has made $497.7 million worldwide (adjusted for inflation), Box Office Mojo says, making it the second-lowest ranking Star Wars movies of them all.
3. STAR WARS: EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)
The last of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi was the Star Wars movie most criticized of the original trilogy. Reviewers agree and Rotten Tomatoes lists it at 79 percent on the tomatometer, while Metacritic gives it a 52, just one percent point higher than Phantom Menace.
As the last chapter in the intergalactic saga, Return of the Jedi is the launching pad for the much awaited The Force Awakens.
2. STAR WARS: EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977)
Even thought this is the first ever Star Wars movie, it misses the title of best in the saga just by a hair. It’s not that the film lacks, on the contrary, the excitement fans felt watching this never-before-seen space adventure and meeting all the incredible characters, makes this the unmistakable favorite of millions of fans.
Nobody that saw this as a child will ever forget meeting Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), along with Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), R2 D2 (Kenny Baker), C3PO (Anthony Daniels), lightsabers, X-Wings, and the Millennium Falcon for the first time. It is unforgettable.
1. STAR WARS: EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)
This is almost universally considered the best Star Wars movie of all time. It not only shows in the box office revenues, which top $1 billion, making it also the most successful financially, but it was the one which solidified the franchise.
Besides, the title is probably the best one as well and perfectly reflects the plotline. The Empire Strikes Back is also the one that reveals Darth Vader’s true identity and makes fans wonder if they will see the end of Han Solo, a favorite of millions. It doesn’t get any better than this.
With the impending arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans eagerly wait to see what director J.J. Abrams has done with the story George Lucas brought to the world almost 40-years ago.
Do you agree with our ranking of Star Wars movies? Let us know below.
[Image via Lucasfilm]