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May the Fourth be with you: Ranking the best films of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise

How do the films from a “galaxy far, far away” stack up?

<p><em>The Spectrum</em> ranked the “Star Wars” movies in honor of May 4.&nbsp;</p>

The Spectrum ranked the “Star Wars” movies in honor of May 4. 

Happy “Star Wars Day!” May the Fourth be with you. Let’s celebrate by ranking the best films from a galaxy far, far away…

As one of the highest-grossing movie franchises of all time, the “Star Wars” saga has been a staple of pop culture for almost 50 years. Fans will debate their favorite films for hours, and critics relish the opportunity to dish their intergalactic takes to the world.

In honor of May 4, here’s the “Star Wars” saga ranked, from best to worst:

1. “Episode IV: A New Hope” (1977)

The movie that started it all. Five decades later, this film remains one of the greatest and most influential of all time, in any genre. It introduced iconic characters like Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca and featured one of the greatest soundtracks in film history. It’s hard to imagine a world without the original “Star Wars.”

2. “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)

Episode V — arguably one of the greatest sequels ever — ranks only behind “The Godfather Part II” on IMDB’s best sequels. Given the success of the original film, it’s especially impressive that “Empire” lived up to the hype and cemented “Star Wars” as a juggernaut movie series. And of course, no “Episode V” review would be complete without mentioning one of the most shocking and shockingly misquoted twists in film history — “No, I am your father.”

3. “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)

Although the prequel trilogy is hated by many “Star Wars” fans, “Episode III” aged particularly well. The epic lightsaber battles, Vader’s backstory and 21st-century technology make this film a necessary evolution of the franchise that kept it relevant nearly 30 years after the saga’s debut.

4. “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (1983)

“Episode VI” is a fantastic finale to the original trilogy that gives closure, redemption and revenge to fans and characters alike. It picks up from the rebellion’s low point in “Empire” and flips the script, with family and the good triumphing over evil. “Jedi” is  a feel-good ending to a legendary run of films by director George Lucas.

5. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)

“Rogue One” is easily the best of the Disney-made “Star Wars” films. This movie earns a top-five spot for the “Vader Rage” scene alone, but it also introduces new, lovable characters that show there is so much more to the “Star Wars” universe than a Skywalker bloodline that’s been milked dry by George Lucas and Mickey Mouse. 

6. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)

The best film of the sequel trilogy but dragged down by the films that followed it.

7. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Cool for bringing Luke Skywalker back, but this film strays so far from the originals that it takes viewers out of the action.

8. “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Forgettable. Harrison Ford is the only Han Solo.

9. “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999)

Ambitious reboot of the franchise but held back by child Anakin. Darth Maul stole the show in this one.

10. Episode II: Attack of the Clones

“I don’t like sand.” Space politics and ghastly acting by Hayden Christensen drag this film down to one of the saga’s worst.

11. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

By far the worst plot of the franchise.

Ryan Tantalo is the senior sports editor and can be reached at ryan.tantalo@ubspectrum.com 


RYAN TANTALO
tantalo-2023

Ryan Tantalo is the managing editor of The Spectrum. He previously served as senior sports editor. Outside of the newsroom, Ryan spends his time announcing college hockey games, golfing, skiing and reading.

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