Star Wars Movies Ranked According to Rotten Tomatoes

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of CriticalBlast.com or its management.

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Everyone has their own list. As soon as a new Star Wars movie is released, its success is immediately measured by where it ranks among the others that came before it.

And to say STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is as divisive as BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, would be a slight understatement. Not even Mustafar is as fiery as the passion of most Star Wars fans. And when they begin debating the merits of Rian Johnson's entry, much like a Jedi or a Sith, they choose a side and refuse to be tempted by the other.

While Rotten Tomatoes receives a fair amount of criticism from fans, one thing is true: it aggregates the average score of critics and fans alike. So taking that into consideration, let's do the math and find out how the critics rank the Star Wars saga with rating in parathesis:

Critics:

  1. Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (94)
  2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (93)
  3. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (93)
  4. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (93)
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (85)
  6. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (80)
  7. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (79)
  8. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (66)
  9. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (55)

Critics appear to be slightly more objective than the following audience rankings.  While Episodes v and IV remain constant in the top two spots, respectively, after that the movies get shifted around. While there is a 3-way tie for Episodes IV, VII, and VIII, I placed them in order of appearance for the sake of argument and no real tie-breaker available. Box Office was something I considered but given inflation, and the fact that A NEW HOPE has been released and re-released...it wouldn't be a fair way to judge. In the end, Empire continues to be the favorite and THE PHANTOM MENACE continues to be the trash at the bottom of the compactor.

Now for the fan rankings:

Fans:

  1. Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (97)
  2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (96)
  3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (94)
  4. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (88)
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (87)
  6. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (65)
  7. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (59)
  8. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (57)
  9. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (56)

Fans of the franchise are far less forgiving than critics, when it comes to Star Wars. And they're rather predictable as well. Nothing beats the original trilogy, the prequels were trash and everything else falls in-between. The Last Jedi is the lone exception, although after only a weekend of audience reviews, I expect that by the end of its run it will rise above the prequels.

And, just for kicks, here is my personal ranking:

  1. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  2. Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  4. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  5. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  6. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  8. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  9. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

I didn't like the idea of putting RETURN OF THE JEDI so low on the list, because it looks as though I'm knocking the movie. There's nothing wrong with it, really. Maybe it's because the Empire gets wrecked by an army of teddy bears, but overall it's still a really good movie and Luke shines as a hero. All that said, REVENGE OF THE SITH gives us the showdown between Obi-Wan and Anakin that we've all been waiting for and THE FORCE AWAKENS resurrected the franchise perfectly.

I struggled with placing THE LAST JEDI at the top because for so many years I said EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was my favorite. Nothing even came close. A NEW HOPE was really good but not good enough. After my second viewing of TLJ, I was emotionally moved and my breath was quite literally taken away. I had never felt this way during a Star Wars movie. And the underlying themes were so powerful, it was easy to overlook several missteps.

For me, ROGUE ONE is the 'mendoza line' (to borrow a baseball reference) for Star Wars. It was good, but I had to remind myself that its a Star Wars movie. If you're above that line, being in last place isn't a knock against you, it's a credit to the movies that were better. Being below that line is the dark side. And I don't intend to stray down that path any time soon. Critics, Fans, and myself all seem to have something in common when ranking the movies. Episodes I & II are always in the bottom 3 and Episodes IV & V are always in the top 3. Everything else is a matter of opinion.

Now that THE LAST JEDI is in theaters, if you've seen it, what are your updated rankings?