Movie sequels are trending in the Hollywood film industry these days. Whether you are a fan of fantasy, superhero theme, action drama, sci-fi or horror, you will find movie trilogies of all kinds in the movie industry.
It’s not a new trend, but in the past decade or two, this trend has picked up in Hollywood and converted into a huge franchise by big production companies lately.
Well, it is difficult to trace down the first trilogy film series in the history of Hollywood but if I am not wrong then it was J. Searle Dawley’s three silent films released in 1913 could be credited as the first trilogy in Hollywood. These three films were Chelsea 7750, An Hour Before Dawn, and The Port of Doom.
Although the term sequels or trilogy wasn’t highlighted during those days, the name got popular as many such trilogy films gained popularity and formed a cult around them.
This could be the reason we see a lot of reboot of different franchise films that are produced for the new younger generation.
Today, we will be looking at the best movie trilogies that have earned cult status owing to the popularity of such films.
Table of Contents
Best Hollywood Movie Trilogies of All Time
Only a few movie trilogies in Hollywood follow the same storyline split into three parts, whereas most of them simply repeat the characters through the trilogy but follow a completely different story.
Some of these films may have few connecting plots for continuity, but basically, these films are independent movies and could be watched separately without losing any interest.
Well, there’s a third kind as well. Such franchises aren’t trilogy films though as most of them are more than three film series.
Movie franchises like Final Destination don’t share any storyline but only the theme of the film. Hence, we haven’t included any such franchise on our list that doesn’t qualify as a trilogy.
So, let’s not waste any time and get to the final list of best movie trilogies ever made in Hollywood.
The film series that stands out from the rest on the list will be the Godfather trilogy. The film series followed a story about a fictional New York crime family and was based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo.
It features Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as father-son duo whereas the films focus on the journey of Pacino’s character Michael Corleone’s journey of becoming a ruthless mafia boss.
The films in the Godfather trilogy are:
- Godfather (1972)
- Godfather II (1974)
- Godfather III (1990)
The Dark Knight Trilogy
For a Batman fan, the best depiction of Batman in a live action movie was The Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan. If Christian Bale’s Batman avatar wasn’t enough, then there was Heath Ledger’s Joker, Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul, or Tom Hardy’s Bane avatars to spice things up. The Dark Knight Trilogy opened new gateways for films based on DC Comics and set a benchmark for superhero themed movies throughout Hollywood.
The films in The Dark Knight Trilogy are:
- Batman Begins (2005)
- The Dark Knight (2008)
- The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
In terms of impact and popularity, nothing can beat Lord of the Rings film franchise. Basically, the films are based on the novel The Lord of the Rings authored by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Comprising of three films, Lord of the Rings is set in the fictional world of Middle Earth and features the journey of Frodo Baggins who is bestowed upon the responsibility of destroying the One Ring and thereby put an end to its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron.
Over the time, the film series has become an epic saga and continues its legacy through The Hobbit trilogy.
The films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy are:
- The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- The Two Towers (2002)
- The Return of the King (2003)
Star Wars Original Trilogy
Star Wars is an epic film series that began in 1977 and the franchise is still a huge hit among the fans around the globe. Whether it’s the Yoda quotes, lightsaber toys, or Darth Vader helmets, these things are still huge in demands even today.
While we are talking about movie trilogy, you might be wondering how Star Wars can qualify because this popular film franchise consists of 6 films in total and a reboot has already begun with 1 movie already released and 2 movies in production.
The Star Wars trilogy films are:
- IV – A New Hope (1977)
- V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
The Matrix Series
The Matrix series must be credited for taking Sci-Fi genre to a whole new level. The special effects in the movie developed a futuristic theme and displayed it on screen with perfection.
Well, it’s a total fiction but when the first Matrix movie was released, all of us believed that it can be real in the near future.
The films in the Matrix series are:
- The Matrix (1999)
- The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
- The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The Bourne Trilogy
The Bourne series is a series of action spy thriller films based on the Bourne novel trilogy authored by Robert Ludlum. While there are other books as well as a couple of other movies in the Bourne series, the original trilogy remains the films adapted from Robert Ludlum’s three Bourne novels.
The films in the Bourne Trilogy are:
- The Bourne Identity (2002)
- The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Terminator series began in 1984 with the release of The Terminator featuring a war between humans and Android Assassins called Terminators. After the initial success and the age of technology, it inspired the producers to turn it into a franchise by releasing a series of films within the same storyline.
While it has 5 films in the series, the first 3 film of the series are considered epic and thus the Terminator series makes it to our list of best Hollywood trilogies of all time.
The films in the Terminator series are:
- The Terminator (1984)
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Mission Impossible Series
Mission Impossible is an action spy thriller film series featuring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt and is based on the 1966 television series of the same name. All the films in this series follow a similar storyline where Ethan Hunt leading a team of IMF (Impossible Missions Force) goes to some of the deadliest and unattainable missions.
Despite a series of more than 5 films, the MI series makes it to the list for the first three films which were totally epic because of the action sequences, terrific plots, conspiracy, and suspense build around the films.
The films in the Mission Impossible series are:
- Mission Impossible (1996)
- Mission Impossible 2 (2000)
- Mission Impossible 3 (2006)
Jurassic Park is a film franchise that brought back the age-old dinosaurs back into our lives. In total, there are 4 films in the franchise with a fifth film in the production; the main element and excitement around dinosaurs got extreme in the first 3 films.
After the third film, the Jurassic Park film franchise got a reboot with fresh faces but with the similar storyline that featured around dinosaurs’ theme park.
The films in the Jurassic Park series are:
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
- Jurassic Park III (2001)
Also read: Best Movies directed by Steven Spielberg
Transformers film series is based on Transformer toy line created by Hasbro. The films are purely science fiction featuring the war between the heroic Autobots and villainous Decepticons, which are two different factions of alien robots who have come to the Earth and disguised themselves by transforming into everyday vehicles.
A teenager named Sam Witwicky gets caught up in the war and the film series is all about how Sam helps Autobots to win over Decepticons and at the same time saves the world.
Although the original trilogy consisted of first three films, the fourth film acts as a reboot of the Transformers film franchise.
The films in the Transformers Trilogy are:
- Transformers (2007)
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Back to the Future Trilogy
Time traveling has always been considered as cool and all thanks to the Back to the Future trilogy. The films in the trilogy basically focus on the life of high school student Marty McFly played by Michael J. Fox, who uses the DeLorean time machine along with a scientist Dr. Emmet L. Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, and travels back to different periods of time. The films try to explain in a comical way about what happens if we aren’t careful with time.
The films in the Back to the Future trilogy are:
- Back to the Future (1985)
- Back to the Future Part II (1989)
- Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy
Superhero characters are famous worldwide and one such popular superhero is Marvel’s Spider-Man. It was no surprise when the first of three films in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy released and it attracted a lot of attention globally.
The huge success of the film inspired the filmmakers to turn it into a trilogy with two more Spider-Man movies in the series. Although the franchise had a reboot twice, the new films couldn’t grasp the same excitement that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy did.
The films in the Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy are:
- Spider-Man (2002)
- Spider-Man 2 (2004)
- Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Indian Jones is a film series about the adventures and experiences of Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, portrayed by Harrison Ford in all the films. While there are 4 films in the series, the original trilogy is considered as the first three films as the fourth film was just released after a decade to simply reboot the franchise. All the films in the series were directed by Steven Spielberg.
The films in the Indiana Jones trilogy are:
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
- Temple of Doom (1984)
- The Last Crusade (1989)
Evil Dead Trilogy
Evil Dead is yet another film franchise created by Sam Raimi. While Spider-Man was a superhero-themed film, Evil Dead series comprises of horror films. The story of these films is based upon Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient Sumerian text that creates havoc among the cabin inhabitants in the woods of Tennessee area.
The original trilogy is written and directed by Sam Raimi, however, the franchise has expanded into other formats such as games, comic books, TV series, as well as musical. The reboot film of the Evil Dead franchise was released in 2013.
The films in the Evil Dead trilogy are:
- The Evil Dead (1981)
- Evil Dead II (1987)
- Army of Darkness (1992)
Mad Max Trilogy
Mad Max trilogy is set in the dystopian era and follows the adventures of Max Rockatansky, a police officer in future Australia. The world is suffering from a societal collapse resulting from war and lack of resources.
The film takes you to the world where chaos is on the rise resulting from lack of necessary resources for all. The titular role is portrayed by Mel Gibson in the original trilogy, whereas Tom Hardy was roped in for the reboot of the Mad Max franchise.
The films in the Mad Max trilogy are:
- Mad Max (1979)
- Mad Max 2 (1981)
- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Share, your favorite Hollywood Movie Trilogy in the comment section, you can also recommend more trilogies in the comment section.