The Star Wars saga is one of the most-quoted franchises in movie history. Alongside John William’s swooping scores and the films’ blockbuster space action, many memorable characters have added lines to pop culture over the past four decades.
Star Wars changed cinema forever when it was released in 1977. Since then, its dialogue has worked its way into other films, media, and the internet memes we see every day. But what makes the best Star Wars quotes? Some lines are more memorable than others, and some are now more misquoted than not.
This list picks out the quotes that work in the Star Wars films but also left an impression in the wider universe.
“I know.” – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Often thought to be improvised, Han Solo’s famous response to Princess Leia was thought up by Harison Ford and director Irvin Kershner. Two simple words capture the pair’s relationship at an emotional point. Alongside all the action and noise, it’s a great example of why the space opera component of Star Wars is so important.
“And you, young Skywalker; we shall watch your career with great interest.” – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Chancellor Palpatine’s chilling line at the close of the first episode is the icy spine of the prequel trilogy. Many Star Wars fans knew exactly who this seemingly benevolent politician would turn out to be, but for other viewers, these words were just the start.
“Wyaaaaaa.” – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
What do you mean you’ve never quoted Chewbacca? Star Wars’ blockbuster success set off Wookiee impressions on playgrounds for years to come. It’s the heroic Wookiee that closes the original film, yelling triumphantly during the award ceremony, except all Wookiee sympathizers know that he’s actually asking where his medal is. What is the Wookiee language called? Shyriiwook, of course.
“Why do I get the feeling you’re going to be the death of me?” – Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones
The prequel trilogy isn’t as quotable as the original sequence, but there are a few classics. Ewan McGregor’s weary Obi-Wan Kenobi was a highlight, and this line shows a franchise aware of its legacy and power of prophecy.
“Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.” – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Despite the redemption at the heart of the Skywalker story, the Empire and New Order remain arrogant until their ends. That’s never been better demonstrated than Grand Moff Tarkin’s famous last words to a subordinate in the original film. He proved wrong instantly and explosively.
“Oh no, I’ve been shot!” – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Empire’s suspense is expertly built as soon as the crew of the Millennium Falcon arrives on Cloud City. Chewbacca reactivates the badly damaged C3PO, unlocking these shocked words out of time and context. Another example of Star Wars brilliantly combining levity and threat.
“Nice shooting, kid. Try not to get cocky.” – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Almost every Han Solo line drills right into the essence of his loveable and antiheroic character. We can all understand this response to young upstart Luke’s excitement. It’s a necessary warning that reflects on the older smuggler, the soon-to-be Jedi, and sets up the Rebel dynamics for The Empire Strikes Back.
“Unlimited power!” – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
Palpatine wrapping his force-mangled lips around this line as his political mask falls is irresistible. It’s a roar of triumph that shows that Ian McDiarmid has contributed as much to Star Wars impressions as James Earl Jones.
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
A significant part of the original Star Wars film’s success was its simple plot and classic storytelling. It was this line, from a feisty princess in distress, that launched the franchise.
“I know what you’re going to say⏤I changed my hair.” – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing before The Last Jedi’s release left a massive challenge for the completion of Leia’s journey. Whatever you think of the outcome, the actress and legendary script doctor had already made sure she’d left her touch on the sequel trilogy’s dialogue. Her improvisation captures and brilliantly undermines the long-awaited emotional reunion of brother and sister.
“No, I am your father.” – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
The brilliance of this infamous twist line is that it’s frequently misquoted. Quickly removed from the scene’s iconic context by popular culture, it’s taken on a life of its own.
“Never tell me the odds.” – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
It’s lines like this that made the production of a Solo film, following the young smuggler’s adventures, inevitable. But it also shows the enormous legacy that the original trilogy left for subsequent entries.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” – Most Star Wars Movies
A running in-joke, this line has appeared in almost every Star Wars film since the 1977 original. Another sign that the franchise was well aware of its pop culture position early on, this line is said by Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa during the films. BB-8 even gave us the binary version in The Last Jedi. And it’s no mistake that this is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first line in Episode I.