These are the 10 best moments of the original Star Wars trilogy

Alex LaFreniere


It’s hard to put into words how profoundly the original Star Wars trilogy changed the world of movies. For the first time, audiences were introduced to a world of Jedi, Sith, aliens, space battles, and lightsabers. Names like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo would soon become commonplace, and the glowing lightsaber would become one of the most iconic weapons of all time.

It’s hard to condense the great moments of these legendary films into a single list, but without further ado, here are the 10 most unforgettable moments of the original Star Wars movies.

10. The Throne Room Duel – Episode VI

darth vader luke skywalker throne room
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

It was all leading up to this. As the battle rages around them, Luke Skywalker finally faces off against the evil Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader in a throne room high atop the second Death Star. Having grown from an unassuming farm boy into a wise and skilled Jedi Knight, Luke faces down his own father in a climactic battle of good against evil.

The best moment of the fight comes when father and son fight side by side to take on the true evil, sending Emperor Palpatine plummeting to his death in a massive chasm… or at least, so we thought.

9. The Carbon Freezing Chamber – Episode V

carbon freezing chamber han leia
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

Lured into an ambush on Bespin, things are looking pretty bleak for our heroes. With Darth Vader waiting in the wings, bounty hunter Boba Fett comes to collect on Han Solo’s head. Before making the trip across hyperspace to Tatooine, Han is slated to be frozen into a slab of carbonite.

In their last moments before Han goes under, Han and Leia share a kiss and Leia professes her love for him. Han unforgettably replies, “I know.” (Leia echoes that line back to him in “Return of the Jedi” during the battle on Endor.)

This iconic scene comes with an even more iconic setting: a smoky, dark chamber lit from beneath with an ambient orange glow. It’s a striking backdrop for both this moment and the later duel between Luke and Vader.

8. Training with Yoda – Episode V

yoda luke dagobah training
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

The tiny green alien Yoda made an instant impression on audiences when he first appeared in Episode V. After finding himself on the swamp planet Dagobah, Luke stumbles upon the wise old master in hiding from the Empire. Though appearing to be somewhat doddering and absent-minded, Yoda also provides Luke with the training he needs to fully become a Jedi. “Do or do not. There is no try.”

7. Trash compactor – Episode IV

trash compactor death star
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

In what is easily one of the most nail-biting moments of Episode IV, our heroes escape from a squadron of Storm Troopers on the Death Star only to find themselves in an even deadlier predicament. Trapped in a trash compactor, the group soon finds that they aren’t alone. Some kind of alien creature is stirring in the sludge beneath.

As if that’s not enough, the compactor itself soon activates, threatening to flatten all three heroes between the unyielding metal plates. It’s only after some hair-raising and claustrophobia-inducing moments that the compactor is deactivated and the heroes live to fight another day.

6. Jabba’s Palace – Episode VI

jabba leia palace
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

Jabba’s Palace is pretty much one unforgettable moment after another. From Princess Leia’s iconic golden bikini to the rancor pit to the corpulent form of Jabba himself, the atmosphere in the crime lord’s palace on Tatooine is one of violence and debauchery.

It’s also a fairly important moment story-wise: it’s the first time Luke returns to Tatooine since leaving with Obi-Wan and Han, and illustrates to audiences just how far the young Jedi has come since first leaving on the Millenium Falcon.

5. Mos Eisley Spaceport – Episode IV

mos eisley cantina spaceport
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Obi-Wan’s summation of Mos Eisley is pretty spot-on. It’s Luke’s first introduction to the galaxy at large, as well as the audience’s. Here, we meet a colorful variety of aliens, criminals, Storm Troopers, and other thugs.

We’re also treated to our first meeting with the inimitable Han Solo… not to mention that catchy cantina tune that’s almost impossible to get out of your head.

4. Death Star trench run – Episode IV

death star trench run x-wing tie fighter
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

In the climactic moments of Episode IV, the Death Star is lining up to fire on the rebel headquarters on Yavin IV. All looks lost for the rebellion. Their only hope is a small squadron of fighters, led by Luke Skywalker. The plan is to exploit a small flaw in the Death Star’s armor that could completely overload the station.

It’s an unbelievably intense battle sequence, made even more so when Darth Vader himself appears in his personal fighter and begins picking off the rebel pilots one by one. Soon, Luke is the only pilot that remains, and all looks lost… if not for the last-second arrival of Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon. The supposedly invincible Death Star is destroyed in spectacular fashion, exploding into thousands of twinkling fragments.

3. Vader vs. Obi-Wan – Episode IV

obi wan vader duel death star
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

The Vader vs. Obi-Wan battle is a truly legendary moment, where the two former comrades face off on opposite sides of the battlefield. It’s a moment made even more compelling if you’ve watched the prequel trilogies and seen the bond between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first hand.

The fight itself is a tense showdown between two skilled duelists, and the first time that the two have faced off since their final showdown on Mustafar. It’s hard to create a moment any more epic than this, but one fan created this incredible reimagining to show what it would look like if the two masters fought at full speed.

2. Battle of Hoth – Episode V

at-at battle of hoth
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

Out of all the battles that have taken place in the Star Wars universe, the Battle of Hoth is probably the coolest… and no, that isn’t a pun.

For starters, we’re introduced to the intimidating AT-ATs, which are essentially giant walking tanks that resemble mechanical camels. The Empire fields quite a few of these beasts against the Rebel base on Hoth, hoping to wipe them out in a single stroke.

All the Rebels have to defend themselves are tiny Snowspeeders… which Luke Skywalker puts to good use by using their tow cables to tangle up the legs of the AT-ATs. This David-and-Goliath moment takes the battle from just another altercation to something truly creative and original.

1.”I am your father” – Episode V

darth vader bespin i am your father
Image courtesy Lucasfilm/Disney

It’s an unforgettable line from one of the most memorable moments in movie history. As Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker face off on Bespin, Vader corners Luke above a massive drop, slicing off his hand and driving Skywalker onto a precarious antenna array hanging over the chasm.

Up to this point, the audience has been led to believe that Darth Vader killed Luke’s father, Anakin, long ago. Vader then reveals the truth: he and Anakin Skywalker are one and the same. I

t was the plot twist heard ’round the world, and remains one of the most shocking and unexpected scenes in cinema.

So, did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments what your favorite moments were, and be sure to check back with Softonic for all the latest news from a galaxy far, far away.

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