Every George Lucas movie ranked by IMDb score

Christopher Baggett
Solo (2018) is set ten years before Han and Chewie walk into the Mos Eisley cantina.

Legendary filmmaker George Lucas turns 80 today. The Star Wars director has had a prolific career in filmmaking, but that’s not really something we need to explain to you. 

Despite that prolific career, though, his filmography seems almost thin. That’s because much of Lucas’ career was spent as a writer on other projects. In particular, he spent a lot of time working behind the scenes as the shepherding force on Star Wars

While his career as a producer and a writer is massive, his work as a director may best be described as lean and mean. It’s not all hits, but some of the most important movies ever created were made under Lucas’ watch. 

Every movie George Lucas directed, ranked by IMDb score

To celebrate the esteemed director’s birthday, here’s a look at every movie George Lucas directed and how they stack up according to IMDb users

6. Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace – 6.5

Darth Maul with his two-sided lightsaber in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

In what should not be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the franchise, the lowest-rated George Lucas directorial effort is 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. 

The Phantom Menace has long been the punching bag of Star Wars, and whether or not it’s been justified is up to the viewer. While many have found the film lacking, a recent critical reappraisal has seen fans celebrate it as a milestone in the franchise for the concepts and characters it introduces. 

What’s not up for debate is how technically impressive the film remains, even by today’s standards. The ways in which The Phantom Menace expands upon the technology of the era were truly revolutionary and impact the way we make films even today. 

5. THX 1138 – 6.6

Robert Duvall in THX 1138

Before Star Wars, George Lucas ventured into the realm of sci-fi with the mind-bending THX 1138. The film follows the titular THX 1138, a factory worker who rebels against a dystopian future. 

It wasn’t all rosy for this sci-fi cornerstone, though. THX 1138 was a flop in 1971, but who can be surprised? At the time, the film was up against literal juggernauts of the era like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Without the benefit of Lucas’ later body of work, THX 1138 may have been lost to time. 

Much like The Phantom Menace, the film has developed a following over the years. Today it’s hailed as an essential sci-fi film, with many praising Lucas’ depiction of a weird and unsettling sci-fi future. 

4. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones – 6.6

Anakin and Padme fight in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Attack of the Clones had a lot working against it. The film released in 2002, in a year punctuated by massive blockbusters like Spider-Man and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It also had the unenviable task of being the follow-up to The Phantom Menace. 

Nonetheless, Attack of the Clones was a multimedia blitz. The film was everywhere for months, and fans excitedly turned out for the next chapter. What they got, unfortunately, was more of a melodrama about Anakin Skywalker and the temptations of the dark side. 

Against all odds, Attack of the Clones did do better than its predecessor, but the drop-off was significant. Though many have come around on concepts like Jango Fett and Obi-Wan’s detective adventure, this middle child of the prequel trilogy still falls short for many fans. 

3. American Graffiti – 7.4

Ron Howard in American Graffiti

American Graffiti stands out in Lucas’ filmography as both the black sheep of his films and perhaps the best example of his strengths as a filmmaker. 

Following two high school graduates on the final night before they leave town for college, American Graffiti tells its story via a series of interconnected vignettes rather than one running narrative. 

American Grafitti was a massive hit when it was released, earning Lucas his first Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. The film is hailed as a cultural milestone today and considered one of the most important movies of its era. 

2. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – 7.6

Palpatine talks to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith.

Though numerous fans felt burned by the prequel trilogy, it’s hard to deny the fervor surrounding Revenge of the Sith’s release. Everyone knew the payoff here, the final fall to the Dark Side as Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader at long last. 

It is, in many ways, an exhausting movie, but in all the right ways. The final lightsaber dual between Obi-Wan and Anakin isn’t perfect, but the emotion and drama throughout are undeniable. The performances are top-notch, too, but especially Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

To call Revenge of the Sith the “best” of the prequel trilogy only feels like damning praise. Still, it can’t be denied that it’s the one that arguably lived up to the hype. For all their flaws, the prequels promised a haunting fall for Anakin Skywalker, and Revenge of the Sith delivered in spades. 

1. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – 8.6

Luke Skywalker receives his father's lightsaber from Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope

Obviously, of all the films George Lucas directed, the original Star Wars (or A New Hope, if you want to be more specific) tops the list. And what a triumph that is, considering the film was infamously difficult to create. 

Star Wars revolutionized how we think about making movies. The care and attention that went into the visual effects here deserver applause, and the techniques used only exist today because the Star Wars team invented them. In much the same way The Phantom Menace pioneered the use of green screen and CG, Star Wars changed how filmmakers thought about compositing and models. 

One could argue that without Star Wars, there is no modern cinema as we know it. While Spielberg’s Jaws may be considered the first blockbuster, Star Wars cemented the idea of a tentpole blockbuster film in the summer. It’s #1 because it changed movies forever; for that, Lucas will always be a powerhouse in filmmaking.

Every George Lucas movie ranked by IMDb score

MovieRoleIMDb Rating
Strange MagicStory by, Executive producer5.7
Radioland MurdersStory by, Executive producer6.1
Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullStory by, Executive producer6.2
The Phantom MenaceDirector, Writer, Executive producer6.5
THX 1138Director, Writer6.6
Attack of the ClonesDirector, Writer, Executive producer6.6
WillowStory by, Executive producer7.2
American GraffitiDirector, writer7.4
Indiana Jones & the Temple of DoomStory by, Executive producer7.5
Revenge of the SithDirector, Writer, Executive producer7.6
Indiana Jones & the Last CrusadeStory by, Executive producer8.2
Return of the JediWriter, Executive producer8.3
Raiders of the Lost ArkStory by, Executive producer8.4
Star WarsDirector, Writer, Executive producer8.6
The Empire Strikes BackStory by, Executive producer8.7

Every movie George Lucas made may not have been a hit, but it’s hard to say any of them are truly unwatchable. Many are available on Disney+ now, too, so it’s easier than ever to catch up on his filmography.

If you’re in the mood for more Star Wars to celebrate Lucas’ birthday, you can check out our breakdown of every upcoming Star Wars movie and TV show, our ranking of the best Star Wars characters, and why it’s time for a Star Wars horror movie.