It is May the fourth, and in honour of such a day, you might be after a Star Wars movie or TV show to watch. But you don’t want to waste your precious time on just any movie, you want the best of the best. To help you figure it out, we’ve compiled a list of Star Wars titles ranked from best to worst according to their score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The review aggregator is a fairly faithful litmus test of whether a movie is good or not, so let’s see which Star Wars movie critics deem to be the best.
The best Star Wars movies and shows, according to Rotten Tomatoes
1. Star Wars Rebels
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Coming in at the top of the list is Star Wars Rebels, which has accumulated an almost perfect score over its four seasons.
If you haven’t seen Rebels, you are in for a treat. The animated series delves into the actions of the rebel forces in the time prior to A New Hope, focusing on a ragtag team that includes, Jedi, droids, Mandalorians and more.
Throughout their adventures, the group comes across many iconic Star Wars characters, from Ahsoka Tano to Darth Vader himself.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
It’s hard to put a score on Star Wars: Visions. Being an anthology series of short films, it has both hits and misses, but it’s also one of the first times that creators have been allowed to run completely wild with the Star Wars IP and that resulted in some pretty incredible stories.
Each of the Visions films comes from a different animation studio, bringing a blend of different styles to the Star Wars universe, and the outcome is some beautifully artistic tales.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%
Andor comes in strong as the best live-action Star Wars TV series to date. The story, which is set prior to the events of Rogue One, follows Cassian Andor and the events that led him to become one of the rebels that stole the plans for the Death Star.
Andor was a darker turn for Star Wars, taking the sci-fi saga into a more mature direction, and the audience loved it.
4. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Widely considered the best Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back also sits at the top of the Rotten Tomatoes rankings.
The second film in a trilogy is often the hardest to perfect, but Empire Strikes Back proved it could be done with an incredible story that expanded the Star Wars world with more characters, more locations and more twists.
If you’re looking for a perfect Star Wars movie it’s hard to go past Episode V.
5. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Coming in second in the film rankings is the first movie in the sequel trilogy: The Force Awakens. After 10 years, Episode VII was the first return to the Star Wars universe on the big screen, and the first film produced by Lucasfilm after the Disney acquisition.
JJ Abrams brought to life a whole new era of the Star Wars universe, where the Empire has fallen but the First Order has risen to take its place. Jedi are still few and far between, but a new Force user named Rey may be the answer to everyone’s prayers.
Regardless of how you feel about the sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens started it out strong.
6. The Clone Wars
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
The Clone Wars can get off to a bit of a slow start, but it’s well worth persevering with. Not only does it give us more depth to the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, but it introduces us to one of the most important characters in Star Wars canon, Ahsoka Tano.
7. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
The story that started it all. In 1977, A New Hope changed the world with its vision of a sci-fi space adventure set in a galaxy far, far away. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford became household names and the sound of mechanical breathing struck fear in the hearts of audiences everywhere.
If you’re looking for a Star Wars movie to watch this May the fourth, you can’t go wrong with the original.
8. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
One of the more polarising films in the saga, The Last Jedi introduced some radical ideas into the franchise.
The movie introduces our new hero Rey to the legend himself, Luke Skywalker, who isn’t exactly the Jedi we remember. Meanwhile, the remains of the rebel forces are on the run from the First Order.
Regardless of whether you think these decisions are for better or for worse, The Last Jedi is a fun ride.
9. The Mandalorian
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Disney’s first foray into Star Wars live-action television brought us the excellent The Mandalorian, a western-action-sci-fi adventure starring a bounty hunter and the bond he forms with his target.
The Mandalorian has become one of the event series in the Star Wars universe, with some truly incredible action sequences and star cameos that deserve their place in the history books.
While the third season wasn’t as well received as the rest, causing it to slip down the list, it’s still ranked quite highly on Rotten Tomatoes.
10. The Bad Batch
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Coming hot off its second season is the animated series, The Bad Batch, a saga detailing an elite group of Clone troopers, all with their own special abilities. The series is set in the aftermath of Revenge of the Sith, where the galaxy is changing from the effects of Order 66 and the rise of the Empire.
11. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
Rogue One is easily one of the best Star Wars movies outside of the main saga.
The entire story is based upon one line from the opening crawl of A New Hope, which dictates that a band of rebels stole the plans for the Death Star. How did they do this? Rogue One explains with a mix of gritty action, likeable characters and one of the best third-act Star Wars battles in history.
12. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Rounding out the original trilogy is Return of the Jedi. The film gives us the payoffs we’ve been waiting for – Luke vs Darth Vader, Ewoks vs Stormtroopers and a second (??) Death Star.
13. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%
Ewan McGregor’s return as Obi-Wan Kenobi is the highest-rated out of all his appearances as the character.
The prequel to the sequels and the sequel to the prequels (still with me?) is a six-episode series following Obi-Wan in the aftermath of Revenge of the Sith, which sees him evading his nemesis, Darth Vader, and his Sith team of Inquisitors.
14. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
How did Darth Vader become… well, Darth Vader? Revenge of the Sith answers that question.
It’s hard not to be sucked into Anakin’s journey to the dark side as he turns against his friends and mentors in favour of power. Not to mention it has one of the most iconic Star Wars battles ever created – the fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin on Mustafar.
15. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%
Han Solo is one of those characters who probably didn’t need his own origin story, but nevertheless, Solo is a fun watch.
We’re treated to the stories behind things like Chewie and Han’s friendship, where Lando and Han’s rivalry began and the legendary Kessel Run. It’s the perfect choice if you’re after just one (solo) Star Wars movie.
16. The Book of Boba Fett
Rotten Tomatoes score: 66%
Everyone thought Boba Fett’s time came to an end after Episode VI, but in fact, he had a lot more story to tell.
The Book of Boba Fett follows the iconic bounty hunter as he attempts to establish his reign over Mos Espa. Naturally, not everyone is happy about that and Fett faces threats from the surrounding crime lords who all challenge his rule.
Boba Fett isn’t the best-executed character series, but it’s a fun one nevertheless.
17. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%
Sitting on the lower end of the scale is Attack of the Clones, the middle film in the prequel trilogy.
Unfortunately, like most of the prequels, Attack of the Clones is weighed down by so many uninteresting political plotlines and cliche dialogue (“I hate sand”) that it falls flat. However, it’s still worth watching for the development of the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin alone.
18. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
Rotten Tomatoes score: 52%
Rounding out the sequel trilogy is The Rise of Skywalker, which unfortunately undoes all the goodwill the two previous movies had built.
While a lot of burning questions are answered in Episode IX, the movie trades satisfying character arcs for CGI action battles, which is unfortunate for the characters we’ve come to know and love.
19. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Rotten Tomatoes score: 51%
Coming in at the lowest spot is Episode I. The Phantom Menace introduced us to the young versions of Anakin, Obi-Wan and their mentor Qui-Gon Jinn. Unfortunately, it also gave us Jar Jar Binks.
The Phantom Menace is one of the lesser Star Wars films, but it’s part of the saga nevertheless and did give us incredible sequences like the Darth Maul lightsaber battle, so don’t rule it out completely.
Do you agree with the Rotten Tomatoes critics? Is this order of the Star Wars films and shows correct? Let us know in the comments.
If you’re looking to undertake a full binge, here’s how long it will take you to watch all the movies and TV shows from a galaxy far far away.
And if you’re wondering where you can find these titles, Disney+ is the streaming home of all things Star Wars in Australia.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.
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