Since its original release on May 26, 1977, "Star Wars" has ingrained itself into the very fibers of pop culture. This timeless science fiction story created cinematic history and spawned ten sequels, multiple television shows, countless books, toys, merchandise and even "Revenge of the Sith"-branded toilet paper.
"Star Wars" defined my entire childhood growing up and it still does now as a twenty-year-old kid, which is why the time has come to rank this beautiful, beautiful series.
11. "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"
The first time I saw "Rise of Skywalker," I was absolutely in love with it. I overlooked every insipid plot point and missed opportunity because I wanted to be entertained and satisfied.
Retrospectively, I have come to consider this to be the worst entry in the franchise. It’s a mediocre, rushed finale that severs character development and thematic depth in service of a planet-hopping story with no rhyme or reason to it other than lazy plot reveals. However, the conclusion to Ben Solo’s arc remains supreme.
10. "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones"
Very much synonymous to "Rise of Skywalker," "Attack of the Clones" is a deeply flawed and a borderline bad film, but it’s an okay "Star Wars" movie. Despite its wooden dialogue and cringe-worthy acting, it has some cool moments and perfectly leads into the stellar animated shows.
9. "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace"
This is a pretty fun "Star Wars" film, but it isn’t necessarily a good movie. However, Lucas manages to tell a story that is full of intrigue, podracing and heart. The characters are endearing and give the film life, even the infamous Jar Jar Binks. The introduction of Maul and “Duel of the Fates” are excellent additions to the universe as a whole. Overall, "The Phantom Menace" is a flawed, but undeniably enjoyable film that still manages to leave a smile on my face (despite the fact that I’m really just happy it’s over).
8. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Despite "Rogue One" being pretty much barren of characterization, it’s a thrilling and wild emotional rollercoaster that was unfortunately plundered by studio executives and rewrites, but thankfully, director Gareth Edwards and cinematographer Greg Fraser still manage to craft an immaculately looking "Star Wars" story that gives viewers a triumphant look into the Rebellion’s first massive victory
7. "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
"Solo" is an absolute joy from start to finish. From a scene-stealing Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian to the infamous Kessel Run, this film is filled with B-movie thrills but soars high above them. It is completely predictable (minus the awesome Maul reveal), but I love it so much and will always hold on to the idea that a sequel will happen.
6. "Return of the Jedi"
This conclusion to the original trilogy works in all the ways that "Rise of Skywalker" did not. It may not be as innovative or jaw-dropping as its predecessors, but it is one of the coolest installments in the series. Ewoks aside, of course.
5. Stars Wars: The Force Awakens
In 2015, J.J. Abrams resurrected "Star Wars" from the grave. He injected every shot, prop, set, explosion, dogfight, lightsaber duel, etc. possible. It brings the series back to basics and introduced a new set of already classic characters all while retaining the old characters and aesthetics that made the original film so successful.
4. Star Wars
A classic of not only blockbuster filmmaking, but cinema in general. George Lucas’ cultural touchstone is one of the most innovative and influential films in cinematic history as it redefined what kinds of stories can be shown to audiences and what motion pictures can do.
3. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
If you can’t quote the exchange from Anakin and Obi-Wan’s final duel, are you even a "Star Wars" fan?
Jokes aside, "Revenge of the Sith" is the most tragic and heartbreaking entry in the series. One of my all-time favorites.
2. The Empire Strikes Back
"The Empire Strikes Back." Jeez. What a picture.
This is the ultimate sequel. A game-changing and pathos-driven powerhouse full of thrills and chills. This was the first "Star Wars" film I ever saw as a kid. From that moment on, I was a fan. I remember sitting down and watching the whole film without moving a muscle.
1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Look, I know some people really despise this movie, but I also know that it’s really hard admitting that you’re wrong.
Since initially seeing it on opening night in theaters, "The Last Jedi" has remained my favorite film in the franchise by miles and miles. It’s a breathtakingly nuanced, bold and gorgeously composed sequel that feels like the culmination of everything the series stands for. Even its minor structural flaws are circumvented by director Rian Johnson’s intimately brilliant storytelling that captures the very essence of this beloved franchise.