GameSpot Q&A: What's Your Personal Ranking of the Star Wars Films?

Welcome back to GameSpot Q&A, a section where we ask our staff and readers an interesting discussion question about video games or entertainment. Look at this as a forum where you and others can discuss and compare your opinions of this beloved hobby of ours. Let us know what your answer is to this week’s question in the comments below!

This round’s question is:

What’s your personal ranking of the Star Wars films?

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally out, we’ve begun to wonder how every film in the series ranks overall. Do your old favorites still reign supreme? Or has Episode 7 ascended the ranks as your new favorite? Check out what we had to say on the matter.

Mary Kish, Senior Producer

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. A New Hope
  3. Return of the Jedi
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. The Phantom Menace
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. Attack of the Clones

People hate on Jar Jar, but do you know what I hate? Saaaaannnnd. Attack of the Clones was the most cringeworthy, most upsetting Star Wars movie ever. I can’t stand to watch it without drinking heavily. Forced romance is bad, forced romantic writing is unforgivable. But just above that is Episode 3 because they couldn’t have made Anakin more of an imbalanced evil dude. The Force Awakens is smack dab in the middle, not bad, not great. I love the characters, but some of the humor was a bit too over-the-top for me. While I’m a big fan of Jabba, Return of the Jedi sits in third place, followed by A New Hope for being the original space opera. The Empire Strikes Back reigns supreme, though, because of Cloud City and its tremendous character build up.

Rob Handlery, Producer

  1. Return of the Jedi
  2. The Empire Strikes Back
  3. The Force Awakens
  4. A New Hope
  5. Revenge of the Sith
  6. The Phantom Menace
  7. Attack of the Clones

Kick it off with Return of the Jedi, no problem. That movie made me a Star Wars fan, specifically the Endor space battle and when the Mon Calamari cruiser turns after “It’s a trap!” I was 10 when my older cousin pointed at the screen and said: “Look how cool it turns.” It all started there.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

However, The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie. It has the best Han and Chewie banter, the first light saber duel, and one of the bests plot reveals in film history. The Force Awakens hit every Star Wars nerve I have, and it’s fairly hard to find issues with it. A New Hope goes under it not because it’s a bad movie, but I just don’t enjoy watching it as much as Episode 7.

Oh boy, but Revenge of the Sith goes before the other prequels only because of its tie-in moments with the original trilogy. The remaining two prequels on my list are interchangeable. The podracing in The Phantom Menace is F’ING SICK, but JarJar and Anakin ruin it. Attack of the Clones has the Slave I and the seismic charges sound effects, but it’s hard to fully appreciate those elements when that film’s love story scenes are the most cringeworthy moments I’ve ever experienced.

Zorine Te, Associate Editor

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. n/a
  3. n/a
  4. n/a
  5. n/a
  6. n/a
  7. n/a

I recently saw my first ever Star Wars movie: The Force Awakens. It triggered my interest enough for me to want to go back and eventually watch the other films, just so I could better appreciate what seems like a very rich universe. I heard that there’s the release order, Machete order, and chronological order–I suppose that makes my journey the Zorine order? That being said, I enjoyed my first foray into the incredibly well-presented Star Wars universe. For a few hours I could almost believe that this galaxy really existed somewhere, someplace. Despite not ever having seen a Star Wars film, I was able to follow the plot quite easily, even if the reappearance of some seemingly significant characters–if the gasps from my friends were anything to go by–went over my head. I look forward to watching the others with gusto so I can better appreciate the next few films to come, however many there are!

Scott Butterworth, Editor

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Return of the Jedi
  3. A New Hope
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. The Phantom Menace
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. Attack of the Clones

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Listen, The Force Awakens unquestionably succeeds as a Star Wars movie: it’s overflowing with fan service, hits on all the major themes that characterize the original trilogy, establishes two worthwhile new heroes, and features cameos from all the major players. Longtime fans, myself included, have plenty of reasons to cheer at the screen.

But as a film–just a piece of cinema, divorced from its role within the Star Wars franchise–it has some problems. Chief among them: it doesn’t really tell its own story. Instead, it basically rushes through the same series of events found in A New Hope. So as cheesy and silly as that movie might feel by today’s standards, I’ll still take the well-paced original over its modern day imitator.

Don’t get me wrong, though, the gap between my third and fourth choices is far, far smaller than the gulf between my fourth and fifth spots.

Ty Root, Production Manager

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. A New Hope
  3. The Force Awakens
  4. Return of the Jedi
  5. Revenge of The Sith
  6. The Phantom Menace
  7. Attack of the Clones

Nostalgia is a powerful FORCE. Yet, I can still appreciate what The Force Awakens does to the Star Wars saga. J.J. Abrams has successfully resurrected a franchise that frankly hasn’t seen a really good film in over 35 years. The Empire Strikes Back still reigns supreme, but Episode 7 revitalized the series and breathed new life into what many consider to be the greatest sci-fi fantasy of all time. True, it’s a beat-for-beat CLONE of A New Hope, but it’s better than the original in many regards, and sets up Episode 8 nicely.

Josh Shaw, Producer

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. A New Hope
  3. Return of the Jedi
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. The Phantom Menace
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. Attack of the Clones

The Empire Strikes Back barely edges out A New Hope. The Cloud City clash between Vader and Luke will remain my favorite moment in all of Star Wars. The Force Awakens is a great movie, and it was a close fight with Return of the Jedi for third place. Episode 7 has to prove it can stand the test of time before it challenges the original trilogy. It crushes the prequels, though. Crushes them.

While I had my issues with the new movie, I’m not even sure I like the prequels at all. And they only ever get worse each time you watch them. I will say that Episode 1 is the best of the lot. Darth Maul, while cheesy, is ten times the villain Dooku ever was. Also, the podracing scene is possibly the only scene in the prequels that stands the test of time. The cinematography and CG are passable, but the sound design is absolutely incredible.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Derek Koehler, Social Media Producer

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Return of the Jedi
  3. Revenge of the Sith
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. A New Hope
  6. Attack of the Clones
  7. The Phantom Menace

While The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are obvious choices, I loved Revenge of the Sith. It had such a tall order of bridging the two trilogies and transitioning Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. I thought it did a stellar job. Anakin’s seduction to the Dark Side by Emperor Palpatine came from a very real, very understandable place: the overwhelming desire to save his wife after he failed to save his mother. I’ll admit, my own allegiance to the Jedi Order started to waver during the opera scene after hearing about the potential of Darth Plagueis. In addition to the Obi Wan vs. Anakin Skywalker duel on Mustafar–which in my opinion was the greatest lightsaber fight in the series–we were also treated to the Yoda vs. Darth Sidious fight and the Obi Wan/Anakin vs. Count Dooku rematch. And who could forget R2D2 racking up a kill count of his own by lighting up those Super Battle Droids?

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