Best Movie Trilogies Of All Time
Here's our list of the best movie trilogies of all time!
Honorable Mention: Star Trek Reboot Trilogy
J.J. Abrams managed to do what most thought impossible: reboot a popular sci-fi franchise for a modern audience and successfully recast some of the most recognizable characters in movie and television history. This cast isn't just decent at playing the characters though, they make them their own and give us a deeper understanding of each one of them while retaining the spirit the original actors brought to the roles. These movie are a blast, injecting new life into the old franchise while keeping the philosophical depth. It's an excellent trilogy because each movie can be viewed without seeing the others, but the three films together give the entire crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise great character arcs.
10. The Man With No Name Trilogy
Also known as The Dollars Trilogy, these spaghetti westerns from indie film director Sergio Leone revolutionized the Western genre and catapulted Clint Eastwood to super-stardom. Every movie in this trilogy can stand on it's own, but watching all three together gives you a richer experience. Most don't know that The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is actually a prequel to A Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More. So, you can start with the GBU or close with it. I recommend closing with it, since it's by far the most well-made and iconic of the bunch and also has the longest runtime.
9. Mad Max Trilogy
Visionary director and writer George Miller gave Mel Gibson his breakout role in the Mad Max trilogy. The Aussie actor and director both made waves with these three movies about a drifter surviving in the dangerous and deadly desert after an apocalyptic event. Each of the movies is wholly unique while also clearly taking place in the same world and focusing on the same character. They can each be viewed individually making for separate entertaining adventures, but when all seen together they make for an even richer experience as you get Max's backstory in the first installment, his heroic rise to legendary status in The Road Warrior, and the culmination of his journey in Beyond Thunderdome. This trilogy is a stunt spectacular with great stories and unforgettable characters making them the best post-apocalyptic movies ever made.
8. Back to the Future Trilogy
In 1985, Robert Zemekis made THE movie about time travel. Michael J. Fox is perfect in the lead role of teenager Marty McFly who gets transported back in time when his eccentric friend Doctor Emmett Brown, who's also played to zany perfection by Christopher Lloyd, invents a time machine out of a DeLorean. All three movies are dramatic, hilarious, and action-packed featuring great music and fantastic special effects. It's a rare film that incorporates many different elements to make a completely satisfying motion picture. The first is a classic by itself, but the second and third installments, in which they travel into the "future" of 2015 and the past of the Old American West, are both fun and complex narratives which reveal more about the characters pasts and futures. These can't really be seen individually, but when you watch them all, it's a totally awesome experience.
7. The Bourne Trilogy
These first three Bourne movies are the best action films of the 21st century. Making Matt Damon an action star, Doug Liman's first movie told the story of an amnesiac assassin who's trying to survive while also looking for answers. Paul Greengrass took over directing duties for Supremacy which brought all the fight scenes, shootouts, and car chases to another level. Concluding the story in a dramatic way with Ultimatum, Greengrass made a compelling film and gave us satisfying answers to the questions we all had since the beginning. Damon does some of his best acting work in all three of these films with an incredible supporting cast behind him, and the best stunt team in the world. All of these are must-see movies and should be viewed together.
6. Captain America Trilogy
What many thought may end up being the biggest joke of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America's movies actually turned out to be the best films Marvel Studios has made thus far. While the Iron Man trilogy nearly made this list, The Avengers is too important to the plot of Iron Man 3 to make it stand completely alone, but Cap's trilogy doesn't require you to see the first Avengers film or it's sequel Age of Ultron, although watching those films certainly helps a bit. Chris Evans nails the heroic, good-guy role of Steve Rogers and his growth throughout the films is a joy to witness. The First Avenger is still one of the best origin stories ever because of it's unique WWII setting and style from The Rocketeer director Joe Johnston. The Russo Brothers then took the helm of the franchise with The Winter Soldier which is still the best MCU movie ever, and one of the best superhero films to date as it seamlessly weaves a political thriller storyline into the comic book genre. Capping things off with Civil War was the icing on the cake since it feels like an Avengers movie, but still manages to keep the focus on Cap's relationships while balancing huge action and tons of characters with intimate drama and an intense plot.
5. The Dark Knight Trilogy
Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is hailed as one of the best superhero movies for a reason. However, Batman Begins is still perhaps the best superhero origin ever and The Dark Knight Rises is an overlooked, wrongly-criticized, epic ending to an amazing trilogy. Acting performances are stellar in each one of these movies with Christian Bale's intense portrayal of Bruce Wayne holding it all together. The scripts are superb, action sequences are both exhilarating and terrifying, and the musical score adds so much weight to the events on screen. A grounded and realistic approach to a superhero without superpowers, these films are actually some of the best crime dramas of the decade. It's not just the greatest superhero trilogy, it's a great movie trilogy period.
4. Toy Story Trilogy
The folks over at Pixar know how to make quality films and they've been doing it since their start back in 1995 with Toy Story. The fact that they made two more Toy Stories, neither of which failed in any way, is a truly astonishing fact. These three movies are funny and dramatic in so many ways because both kids and adults can both enjoy them on so many different levels. Every voice actor delivers an outstanding performance, especially Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as Woody and Buzz, who are perhaps two of the best characters the actors have ever played their respective careers. The animation is stunning, the music is unforgettable, and all of these movies can be viewed individually, but seeing them all in order, especially years apart just like Andy experiences in the movie world and those of us who grew up with the films did in the real world, is the most effective way to experience them.
3. Indiana Jones Trilogy
Legendary actor Harrison Ford's most iconic and recognizable role is that of globe-trotting archaeologist, Indiana Jones. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas came up with the idea and brought back the classic adventure with these three movies set in the 1930s. They're some of the best films ever made as each one blends drama, romance, comedy, and action into a supernatural story of intrigue, exploration, and adventure. Indy is a great movie hero because he gets beat up, is afraid of snakes, and not everything goes according to his off-the-cuff plan, making him vulnerable, and therefore relating him to the audience. The series started with Raiders of the Lost which introduced audiences to the brilliant and brash Nazi-fighting hero, then went on to the prequel Temple of Doom bringing the franchise to a darker, more mystical place, and Last Crusade finally brought Sean Connery on board as Indy's father for a comedic and heartfelt finale. Each one of these movies stand on their own, but experiencing the whole trilogy gives us a better understanding of each of the characters and their relationships, also growing and stretching our hero from film to film.
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Turning J.R.R. Tolkien's classic book series into a film franchise seemed like a daunting task, but Peter Jackson and his cast and crew took on the challenge and the outcome was three magnificent films. These movies are made to marathon, although it'd last about 9 hours with the theatrical versions, or 12 hours with the extended editions, because they're all telling one long story. Everything from writing to acting, effects to makeup, set design to costumes, and cinematography to music is just perfect all around. Shot in New Zealand, the lush country gives the movie it's beauty and grandeur. A classic story of good versus evil, friendship, and sacrifice, this trilogy is a must-see for anyone, anywhere.
1. Star Wars Original Trilogy
Star Wars is the greatest trilogy of all time. The original three films consisting of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi are some of the best examples of movie-making in history. From an idea by George Lucas, the young writer and director made this film after the success of his first major feature, American Graffiti. Envisioned as a throwback to the old sci-fi film serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, but with Lucas' own twists and flare, the series is a space opera filled with action, romance, comedy, and drama. There's something for everyone in these fantasy films whether you're man or woman, young or old. The story is wonderful, the acting performances are solid, the special effects are revolutionary, and it's all grounded in the heart of a hero's journey.