Star Wars is one of the biggest movie franchises in history, with characters who have become pop culture icons and moments that audiences never forget. The franchise has been around for more than 40 years, since the release of A New Hope in 1977. Since then, Star Wars has remained popular across multiple movie trilogies, animated and live-action TV series, literature, video games, and more.
One of the defining aspects of Star Wars is its impressive soundtrack. Composed by John Williams, the soundtracks for each film in the three trilogies – particularly the main score – are instantly recognizable, right from the first note. For the anthology films, John Powell was brought in for Solo: A Star Wars Story and Michael Giacchino scored Rogue One, each adding their own musical touch to the franchise’s overall chorus. Here’s where every film score in the Star Wars franchise ranks.
11 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Attack of the Clones is the second film in the prequel trilogy and focuses on a 35-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi and a teenaged Anakin Skywalker who are fighting against the evil Sith. The film was one of the less well received installations in the franchise and although the soundtrack is not bad, it’s one of the weaker ones overall.
10 Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo: A Star Wars Story focuses on a young Han Solo and is a unique entry within the Star Wars universe. The film features a film score that is a collaboration between Powell and Williams, who create a large score of songs that add to the overall excitement of the film.
9 Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi was responsible for modernizing the franchise and follows the stories of old and new characters as they fight against the First Order. The film features long-time composer Williams as the driving force behind the soundtrack, which amplifies the tensions in the film.
8 Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
The Rise of Skywalker is the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga, and it follows Rey as she and a redeemed Kylo Ren lead the rebels to victory against Palpatine’s army. The film was one of the lowest-rated Star Wars movies, per Rotten Tomatoeshowever, the Williams-composed soundtrack is something everyone agrees was a highlight of the movie.
7 Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens was the first film of the Disney-led franchise in the Star Wars universe, and there was a lot of hype leading up to the release of the film, with anticipation from fans being sky-high. Williams returned as the composer, which excited fans too, and the film – and its soundtrack – was well received.
6 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi was the final installment in the original Star Wars trilogy, which saw Luke Skywalker battle the Galactic Empire. The film is one of the more emotional additions in the franchise, so John William’s soundtrack had the task of conveying this underlying current, a task which he completed successfully.
5 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One paved the way for lots of other live-action films that came after it, and is the only woman-led movie in the Star Wars franchise. The film focuses on a gang of resistance fighters who have a plan to find the blueprints for the Death Star. The film is one of the few additions that does not rely on Williams for the soundtrack, instead using the talents of Michael Giacchino. His soundtrack is highly emotional and works well for the film.
4 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith acted as the final installment in the prequel trilogy, which shows Anakin Skywalker’s journey descent into the Dark Side. The soundtrack is impactful and adds to the layers we discover about the characters. John Williams was enlisted once again as the soundtrack’s composer, and he is very successful at setting the darker tone of the trilogy.
3 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
The first film in the series, chronologically speaking, The Phantom Menace tells the story of Anakin Skywalker’s childhood and the circumstances in the Republic that would lead to the rise of the Sith and the downfall of the Jedi. The film divides fans, however, the soundtrack is one of the strongest in the franchise, with special praise given to “Duel of the Fates.”
2 Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
A New Hope was such a pivotal moment in cinema history, and elevated film to new levels in SFX, imagery, and action, which had never been seen before on such an epic scale on-screen. John Williams made the incredible soundtrack, which includes the iconic opening ‘Main Theme’, which has remained relevant all throughout history.
1 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V)
The Empire Strikes Back has a musical score that has gone down in history, introducing audiences to the signature “Imperial March,” which accompanies Darth Vader and his reign. The soundtrack is undeniably the most well-known and deserving of the top spot on the list.