Top 10 Favorite Movie Trilogies

One of the rare things to see in the world of movies is a set of three connected films forming a trilogy - that are all good. A lot of times there is that one film (usually the third) that drags the entire tower down to the point were you just cannot call the whole trilogy great, but there still have been some that managed to pulled it off and today we are looking at 10 of them... or should I say 9 and a half... more on that later.

Of course I cannot, I will not and I do not want to please everybody because this is my own personal list. If you do not agree with me - cool, go ahead and tell me why in the comment section below but always keep in mind that this is my own personal list based on what I think of each film on their own and (most importantly) how they work as a trilogy. This could be how they set up the next film or how they all tie together, anything that makes it awesome to bingewatch them all on a Friday night. I have a couple of rules, if a trilogy gets another installment like 20 years after the third film's initial release then I will discount it (an example of this is 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'). The movies basically just have to feel like a trilogy, a set of three movies that clearly belong together in one way or another. So without further ado, time to begin the countdown. 

10. The 'Before' Trilogy
Before Sunrise(1995)
Before Sunset (2004)
Before Midnight (2013)

Definitely the most unique trilogy on the list, Richard Linklater's 18 year project paid off as all three films are examples of some of the most realistic portrayals of a relationship I have ever seen on the big screen. Being pretty much completely dialogue driven it would have been really easy for these films to just fall apart by the third film but the screenplays are so well written that it is like they literally took real life conversations from three different stages in a couple's life and made a movies out of them. With Oscar calibre performances, inspired direction and one of the most realistic portrayals of a relationship ever captured on film, The 'Before' Trilogy is more than deserving to be on this list.

9. The Godfather Trilogy
The Godfather(1972)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part III (1990)

When I said "9 and a half"... this is the trilogy I was talking about. It is quite weird to put a trilogy that has two of the best movies of all-time on the ninth place but sadly the third film really failed to live up to such unimaginable expectations and for me, to get higher up on a "Top 10 Trilogies" list requires that every installment in the trilogy are consistently fantastic movies. Yes, there are definitely films that I put higher up on this list that I do not like as much as 'The Godfather' and 'The Godfather Part II' - but those movies are still more consistently good so I consider them to be better trilogies overall. Now the actual films, is there really anything I can say about them that has not already been covered to death? The first two movies are masterpieces, we all know this. 'nuff said.

8. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Okay, flameshields up. In my opinion The Lord of the Rings trilogy is NOT the best trilogy of all time. However this does not mean I do not like these movies - they are awesome and I adore watching them! They are just not my personal favorites. This is another set of films that there really is not a lot to say that has not already been said. From a technical standpoint, this trilogy is a marvel to behold - despite the surprisingly "low" budget ($279 million - for the WHOLE trilogy), it still looks better than movies made today that cost the same as all three films combined. I do not think anybody can doubt that this is one of the most impressive accomplishments in cinematic history. 

7. The Star Wars Trilogy
Star Wars (1977)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Return of the Jedi (1983)

The silly low budget little science-fiction film that was saved in editing ended up becoming one of the most influential films in the history of cinema and also got one of the best sequels ever made. The original 'Star Wars' trilogy are great films. Yes 'Return of the Jedi' threw too much out there and does not come close to the magnitude of the the first two films - but that is still a good movie nonetheless. It is the classic tale that revolutionized the way movies were made and it is an adventure that will never be forgotten or become unimportant.

6. The Evil Dead Trilogy
The Evil Dead (1981)
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Army of Darkness (1992)

This is such an odd trilogy but you just cannot help yourself from loving it. Going from a movie that tried to be a horror to a movie that mixes horror with comedy to a movie that is just all comedy, this trilogy was never really aware of the fact that it was going to be a trilogy but it somehow works. Ash Williams is one of the best characters ever put on the screen, 'Evil Dead 2' is one of the best horror and comedy movies ever made and nobody will forget any of the iconic scenes in any of these movies (there are too many to list). Lets just hope that 'Ash vs Evil Dead' can somehow live up to this magnitude. 'The Evil Dead' trilogy is simply... groovy.

5. The Dollars Trilogy
For a Fistful of Dollars (1964)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966)

It took me quite a long time to see the whole trilogy as I for the longest time just focused on 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' which has remained one of my favorite movies of all-time for several years. Once I finally did check out the other two I just knew I had discovered another golden movie trilogy were all the installments are fantastic. When I think "western" my mind immediately goes to these movies. Clint Eastwood gives a better performance with just his eyebrows than most actors do in their whole career, Sergio Leone's direction practically shaped the way I look at western movies and the soundtrack in the final film is some of the best composited scores ever put on film.

4. The Indiana Jones Trilogy
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Growing up, this was probably my favorite trilogy for quite a while. A lot of people look down on 'Temple of Doom' but honestly - that one might be my personal favorite. Of course the nostalgia might be talking there seeing as it was the first one I saw but I just love how unapologetically dark it goes and it contrasts really well inbetween the other two. 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' speaks for itself and 'The Last Crusade' again took some chances by including Indy's father, a chance that definitely paid off. This series could very easily have just aped off the success of the first film but they continuously made sure to try something new with each installment. Whenever I think of the genre "adventure", these are the films that comes to my mind first because really, they are the epitome of that genre.

3. The Cornetto Trilogy
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Hot Fuzz (2007)
The World's End (2013)

These are the least connected movies on this list but they are still part of a confirmed trilogy and they are also by quite a large margin - the funniest. In terms of screenplays, these films may outshine everything else on the list (I am dead serious). If you are an aspiring screenwriter - make sure that you study each installment because you will find some of the most tightly crafted movies... possibly ever. Not a single line of dialogue is wasted - everything sets up, pays off or has a meaning behind it in one way or another and that is the most amazing part about them. They are extremely efficient and they put so many modern comedy movies to absolute shame. 

2. The Toy Story Trilogy
Toy Story (1995)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy Story 3 (2010)

Seriously, who does not love these movies? With an average rottentomatoes score of 99.666% (I am serious, go check it out yourself) these films are all practically perfect pieces of cinema. It is rare that a WHOLE trilogy would make a "favorite X movies" list but if I were to ever make a "Favorite Animated Movies" article then you can be damn sure that you will be seeing all of these movies on that list. The characters are all wonderful, the animation in all three films were top of the line when they were released, the writing is some of the best in modern cinema and I also do not think it needs to be said that the original songs in these films are excellent as each installment got a "Best Original Song" nomination at the Oscars ('Toy Story 3' even ended up winning the award for "We Belong Together"). 

1. The Dark Knight Trilogy
Batman Begins (2005)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Where you honestly surprised this would top the list after not finding it anywhere else? The common thing to point out with this trilogy is that 'The Dark Knight Rises' is not as good as the first two. I respectfully disagree as I find it to be superior to both previous installments in a lot of different ways. For me it is definitely not a weak link - none of these movies are "weak" links. There is practically no way I would change anything in these films that could possibly make them better that is not just extremely nitpicky. Sure there are flaws in all three but none of these films really at their core run completely on logic. In every installment of The Dark Knight Trilogy there is something else going on other than the plot. This is what really transcends them from being JUST dumb action movies. They introduce so many different themes and metaphors for deeper things. 'The Dark Knight Rises' is not a movie about a maniacal group of people attempting to blow up Gotham City, no it is a movie about overcoming depression. Bane is not Bruce Wayne's main villain in that film - the main villain just happens to be himself. 'Batman Begins' is not JUST an origin story, it is about overcoming fear and turning that fear into something good. These are not just big dumb action movies, there is so much more under the surface of each installment that makes it so much more fun to re-watch them on a regular basis. Let us also not forget that they are some of the most well made movies of the 21st century in general. They are all masterpieces and combined they bring a beginning, a middle and an end for one of the greatest characters ever conceived and it is a story you cannot live your life without witnessing just once.


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