4. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the movie that kicked off the interstellar saga, is like the cool grandparent of the Star Wars family. It's the one that started it all, introducing us to a galaxy full of quirky droids, mystic forces, and epic space battles.
Coming in at number 4 among the 11 movies isn't just a nod to its pioneering spirit - it's a high-five to its timeless charm and the way it hooked generations of fans into the Star Wars universe. This movie didn't just launch a franchise, it launched a cultural phenomenon, complete with its own lingo, fashion (hello, Princess Leia buns), and a legion of fans ready to debate anything and everything having to do with the saga.
But, if it was that groundbreaking, why does it sit at number 4? Well, as incredible as A New Hope was, the Star Wars saga is like a fine wine - it's gotten more complex and nuanced with age. The movies that outshine it in the rankings bring in deeper character development, more intricate plots, and special effects that make A New Hope look like it's cruising at sublight speeds.
There are also the little tidbits you pick up while watching the movie, like our amazing Space Mom Carrie Fisher having a hard time deciding if Leia was going to have a British accent or not, changing it mid-movie. There's also the introduction of Obi-Wan Kenobi and what it means to be a Jedi, and while Kenobi's character grew in novels, animated shows, and the prequels, He doesn't even make it through the entire movie before dying in a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader - a duel that was lackluster compared to those of the prequels and sequels, but it was the introduction to what it'd be like to see Jedi and Sith fighting.
Yet, without the foundation this original masterpiece laid down - introducing us to the Force, the Skywalker lineage, and the epic struggle between the Rebels and the Empire - none of the later movies could have flown as high. It's a testament to the movie's enduring legacy that, even with its simpler story and now-retro special effects, it remains a beloved cornerstone of the saga, holding a firm spot in the top tier of Star Wars rankings.