Ranking the Star Wars movies: No. 3


Sam Dunham


The holiday season is upon us and that means only one thing. No, not presents or sledding or chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Star Wars returns to the big screen yet again, and promises to be bigger and better than ever.

But before we look to see what Disney puts under our tree this year, it is only appropriate that we reflect on the Star Wars of Christmas (and Summers) Past. This science-fiction franchise has been a centerpiece of Hollywood since the 70s, and to this day is perhaps the most quotable and recognizable brand in all of America. Whether it’s the iconic lines, beloved protagonists, or infamous villains, everyone remembers Star Wars for something. Through its ups and downs, this timeless story has been just that: timeless. So without further ado, here is every Star Wars film ranked from worst to best.

Note: Not included in these rankings are the two animated films “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Clone Wars” (yes, there’s a difference) since they are not a part of the complete saga. Also excluded is the 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special”, a movie so horrendous that it should never be associated with any Star Wars list.

3) “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”

The culmination of a legendary and cherished trilogy, Return of the Jedi is a fantastic finale to perhaps the best trio of sci-fi movies ever.

The movie itself resolves the trilogy well, seeing most loose ends tied up. Han and Leia finally get to be together. Luke has become a Jedi and conquered the great evil of the galaxy as well as redeemed his father. Chewy continues being awesome.

The scenes between Luke, Vader, and the Emperor are emotionally investing and some of the most intense, suspenseful, and outright well-made scenes in movie history. Again, the visual effects are some of the best of that era. Who didn’t shiver when they saw Jabba? However, the hate on the Ewoks seems a bit excessive. Movie characters can be deadly and adorable, as made obvious by Groot, The Iron Giant, the Gremlins, and many others that don’t start with “G”.

While it isn’t quite as perfected as “New Hope” or “Empire”, with a few muddled scenes and plot points, it still maintains the overall feel of a Star Wars movie and is innovative and creative enough for it to remain captivating for the entire run time. “Return of the Jedi” was a great way to cap off a vastly successful trilogy.

To read Dunham’s previous rankings:

No. 4:  “The Force Awakens”

No. 5:  “Revenge of the Sith”

No. 6:  “Attack of the Clones”

No. 7:  “The Phantom Menace”