All 12 Star Wars film ranked from worst to best

In a distant galaxy and a time long ago, the iconic phrase “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” has the power to evoke a sense of childlike wonder and nostalgia. Star Wars, a franchise that spans generations, emerged as a powerhouse in the realm of storytelling, reshaping science fiction into something more relatable and emotionally engaging. With its inception, Star Wars has managed to maintain its relevance through three blockbuster trilogies, along with spin-offs and ventures into various other media.

The sheer magnitude of the saga, coupled with its non-chronological nature, can make it challenging to keep track of its various installments. To aid in navigating this expansive universe, we have taken a fresh look at the films within the monumental Star Wars saga and arranged them in reverse order of their greatness. From the groundbreaking originals to the controversial sequels, this article provides a comprehensive review and ranking of every Star Wars film.

12. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (George Lucas, 1999)

The prequels hold a special place in the hearts of Gen-Z Star Wars fans, often fueled by nostalgia and internet memes. However, within the franchise, this trilogy remains its lowest point. Wooden performances, dated visual effects, and inconsistent plots characterize these films, with no other film embodying these shortcomings as much as The Phantom Menace. Despite its bloated exposition and lack of action, the film gains some redemption through its score and a climactic ending that finally brings relief after a seemingly endless journey.

11. Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (George Lucas, 2002)

While Attack Of The Clones is frequently labeled as the weakest entry in the Star Wars saga, it ranks slightly above The Phantom Menace due to its larger-scale events. However, the film’s flat acting and contrived plot, along with what is arguably one of cinema’s most awkward love stories, remain unforgivable. Infamous lines like “I don’t like sand…” continue to linger in memory for all the wrong reasons.

10. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Dave Filoni, 2008)

Serving as a backdoor pilot for the Clone Wars TV show, this film deserves credit for exploring the intergalactic conflict that occurred between Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith. It manages to add depth to Anakin Skywalker’s character, but the film’s haphazard narrative structure, resulting from stitching together planned TV episodes, makes for a disjointed viewing experience.

9. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (J.J. Abrams, 2019)

The sequel trilogy faced criticism from fans since its inception. Unlike the prequels, these films demonstrated convincing acting and practical effects. However, The Rise Of Skywalker further highlighted the lack of a coherent creative vision for the series. The film’s reintroduction of Palpatine lacks justification, and its excessive onscreen resurrections dilute the significance of death. The rushed nature of the film is evident through its hurried plot developments.

8. Solo: A Star Wars Story (Ron Howard, 2018)

Solo provides exactly what one might expect from a film marred by years of behind-the-scenes turmoil. While featuring impressive action sequences such as the space western train robbery, this Han Solo origin story feels unnecessary, burdened by trite dialogue and an overly extended runtime. The film’s attempts at fan service, such as explaining Han Solo’s name and reviving Darth Maul, appear unimaginative and lazy.

7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017)

Following The Force Awakens, which mirrored the original Star Wars for a new generation, fans hoped for innovative directions in its sequels. Director Rian Johnson introduced a distinct voice and vision, but some of his creative choices fell flat. The premature demise of Snoke, the overarching villain, and Luke Skywalker, coupled with the seemingly pointless Canto Bight subplot, left audiences divided.

6. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (George Lucas, 2005)

Revenge Of The Sith shares many issues with its prequel counterparts, prioritizing CGI over emotional depth and containing occasional awkward dialogue. Nevertheless, its faster pace and darker tone contribute to a more engaging viewing experience than its predecessors. Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christianson excel in their roles despite subpar direction, while the film’s remarkable fight choreography takes center stage.

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams, 2015)

Although resembling a modern reimagining of the first Star Wars film, The Force Awakens met the audience’s expectations upon release. It reintroduced practical effects and a tightly focused narrative centered on the conflict between good and evil. Lead actors, both new and returning, breathed life into this new chapter, resulting in a galaxy inhabited by relatable characters. Regrettably, the subsequent trajectory of the series detracts from this promising start.

4. Return Of The Jedi (Richard Marquand, 1983)

While some were disappointed by the shift to a lighter tone following the mature Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi provides a satisfying conclusion to the original trilogy, driven by its rich character development. The introduction and subsequent defeat of the Emperor by Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader marked a heartfelt conclusion. The Endor subplot, serving as a metaphorical Vietnam allegory, showcased the Ewoks’ resilience against a more advanced Empire.

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

Rogue One accomplishes the very purpose of a prequel: enhancing the original narrative. Gareth Edwards’ rendition of “Star Wars Episode 3.9” transforms a plot hole from the first film into a poignant tale of betrayal, daring heists, and self-sacrifice. The film handles its material with respect, leading to an emotionally resonant experience. The final Darth Vader scene remains a highlight that never fails to excite audiences.

2. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)

George Lucas’ groundbreaking space opera broke away from the scientific intricacies found in other science fiction works, crafting a fantastical journey. Star Wars sidestepped complex technology to deliver a fast-paced narrative of an ordinary farm boy’s transformation into a galaxy-defending hero. This departure from the norm paved the way for accessibility, resulting in a megahit. The chemistry between the cast, alongside John Williams’ iconic score, keeps audiences returning to this timeless classic.

1. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)

The Empire Strikes Back, often likened to The Godfather Part II and Terminator 2, stands as a superior sequel—a trinity of cinematic excellence. This film elevates the bombastic nature of Star Wars into a compelling character-driven drama. It delves into the complexities of relationships, such as Han Solo and Princess Leia’s romance, while exploring Luke Skywalker’s internal struggle between his Jedi training and the well-being of his friends. Amidst a constant battle against a relentless Empire, the film maintains a sense of impending disaster. The film encapsulates the essence of its predecessor, amplified by its grandeur and imaginative effects. One might even argue that The Empire Strikes Back transcends being merely the finest Star Wars film—it could well be one of the greatest films ever made.


The Star Wars saga’s journey through cinematic history has been marked by highs and lows, with each film contributing to the universe’s rich tapestry. From its inception as a groundbreaking space opera to its evolution into a multi-generational phenomenon, Star Wars continues to captivate audiences around the world. As fans eagerly anticipate future installments, they can reflect on the diverse array of films that have left an indelible mark on the world of storytelling.

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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