The 50 greatest Star Wars scenes

The best scenes in the best film series?

In case you've somehow missed it, there's a new Star Wars movie in the cinemas at the moment. So in celebration of the big daddy of all sci-fi movie franchises, we've compiled this list of its 50 greatest moments.

When putting this together we decided to leave out Expanded Universe (RIP) stuff or moments from Clone Wars and Rebels those are deserving of their own lists. And no, there's no Holiday Special either. Instead, what we have here is the very best of the first six movies, from A New Hope (aka Star Wars) through to Revenge Of The Sith before The Force Awakens...

The arena

The Scene: In Attack Of The Clones, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme are all tied to towering stone columns in a colossal colosseum. Then giant monsters are released into the arena. To think Russell Crowe only had to fight tigers

The Awesome: It's Episode II's Rancor moment, and a neat little set-piece that includes Padme saving herself instead of waiting for the boys to rescue her.

Han's torture

The Scene: In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader and his evil minions hold Han Solo hostage and torture him with very pointy things. His screams will give you chills all over.

The Awesome: Theres no end to Vaders evil, and this is just one example of how far hes willing to go in order to acquire information.

Sacking the Jedi temple

The Scene: Anakins turned to the darkside (in the uber-dark Episode III), and thousands of Jedi are dead. How to get the message across? Show a shot of the Jedi Temple burning in the distance, sending plumes of black smoke up into the ether.

The Awesome: We watch the building burn at the same time that Padme does, pondering the devastating implications of the temple's destruction alongside her. Did we mention that Episode III is dark?

The pit of Carkoon

The Scene: Hovering over the pit of Carkoon (in Episode VI ), Luke, Lando and a useless Han (well, he has just been defrosted from carbonite) take on Jabbas lackies. Luke walks the plank, and Boba Fett meets a sticky end (possibly).

The Awesome: This is basically a reprise of the trash compactor scene in A New Hope, as all of our heroes are banded together and put in peril.

Poor Padme

The Scene: Lost to the darkside and brimming with paranoia in Sith, Anakin uses the Force to choke Padme almost to death. Though she survives his wrath, Padme later dies after giving birth to the twins her heart broken by Anakin's betrayal.

The Awesome: Anakins completely lost it here. If we hadnt already seen the original trilogy, wed be chomping at the bit to find out what else hell do.

Choke on that

The Scene: Vaders so powerful that when hes choking somebody to death, he doesnt even need to make physical contact with them. Such is true in this scene from A New Hope when he chokes Admiral Motti by making a death grip in the air with his hand.

The Awesome: Not only does Vader do that, but he also delivers the super-cool line: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Forest flying

The Scene: A stand-out action sequence from Return Of The Jedi. On Endor, Han and Leia hop onto Imperial flying vehicles and are chased through the forest by stormtroopers. In 1983 this was the greatest thing we'd ever seen.

The Awesome: The chase doesn't exactly serve much of a purpose, but its really cool.

Mad march

The Scene: A small moment that drips with atmosphere and foreboding, as Anakin and the clone army march into the Jedi temple in Revenge Of The Sith. Awesome even without factoring in Anakins scary snake eyes.

The Awesome: Theres no turning back now. Anakins descent into the darkside is almost complete, and its gripping stuff.

Chilly visions

The Scene: A quiet little moment in The Empire Strikes Back, but notable because of the appearance of Obi-Wan Kenobi. As Luke lies freezing in the snow of Hoth, Obi-Wan appears to him and instructs him to visit the Dagobah system. And we all know where that leads.

The Awesome: Its Alec Guinness, for a start but this is also the first time we see a Jedi phantom.

Will Salmon
Comics Editor

Will Salmon is the Comics Editor for GamesRadar/Newsarama. He has been writing about comics, film, TV, and music for more than 15 years, which is quite a long time if you stop and think about it. At Future he has previously launched scary movie magazine Horrorville, relaunched Comic Heroes, and has written for every issue of SFX magazine for over a decade. He sometimes feels very old, like Guy Pearce in Prometheus. His music writing has appeared in The Quietus, MOJO, Electronic Sound, Clash, and loads of other places and he runs the micro-label Modern Aviation, which puts out experimental music on cassette tape.