The Best Movie Trilogies

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15. The Matrix Trilogy

The series began with 1999’s The Matrix. The film, directed by the Wachowski brothers and produced by Joel Silver, was highly successful, earning $460 million worldwide and beating Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for the Academy Award for Visual Effects. In addition, by 2000, the DVD release of the film reached three million sales, the first DVD release in North America to do so.

The film’s mainstream success led to the making of two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. These were filmed simultaneously during one shoot, and released in two parts in 2003. The sequels were produced under the project codename “The Burly Man” (which later led to the name of the Wachowski brothers’ comic book production company, Burlyman Entertainment). The first film’s introductory tale is succeeded by the story of the impending attack of the human enclave of Zion by a vast machine army. Neo also learns more about the history of the Matrix, his role as the One and the prophecy that he will end the war.

The sequels also incorporate longer and more ambitious action scenes, as well as improvements in bullet time and other visual effects. The series depicts a cyberpunk story incorporating numerous references to philosophical and religious ideas. Other influences include mythology, anime, and Hong Kong action films (particularly “heroic bloodshed” and martial arts movies). -wikipedia.org

14. Rambo Trilogy

Rambo is an action film series based on the David Morrell novel First Blood and starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran and former Green Beret who is skilled in many aspects of survival, weaponry, hand to hand combat and guerrilla warfare.

The series consists of the films First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988) and Rambo (2008), with a fifth installment in development. David Morrell says that in choosing the name Rambo he was inspired by “the sound of force” in the name of rambo apples (for etymology, see rambo apple) which he encountered in Pennsylvania.

Peter Gunnarsson Rambo sailed from Sweden to New Sweden (SE Pennsylvania/Southern NJ/Northern Delaware) in the 1640s, and soon the name would flourish in New Sweden. Today, many of his descendants can still be found in this region of the US. Morrell felt that its pronunciation was similar to the surname of Arthur Rimbaud, the title of whose most famous work A Season in Hell, seemed to him “an apt metaphor for the prisoner-of-war experiences that I imagined Rambo suffering”. -wikipedia.org

13. Superman Trilogy

Superman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective Comics, Inc. in 1938, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games. With the success of his adventures,

Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book. The character’s appearance is distinctive and iconic: a blue, red and yellow costume, complete with cape, with a stylized “S” shield on his chest. This shield is now typically used across media to symbolize the character.

The original story of Superman relates that he was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father Jor-El, moments before Krypton’s destruction. Discovered and adopted by a Kansas farmer and his wife, the child is raised as Clark Kent and imbued with a strong moral compass. Very early he started to display superhuman abilities, which upon reaching maturity he resolved to use for the benefit of humanity. -wikipedia.org

12. Mad Max Trilogy

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller and written by Miller and Byron Kennedy. The film’s starring role is played by the then relatively unknown Mel Gibson. Its narrative based around the traditional western genre, Mad Max tells a story of breakdown of society, murder and vengeance.

It became a top-grossing Australian film and has been credited for further opening up the global market to Australian New Wave films. The movie was also notable for being the first Australian film to be shot with a widescreen anamorphic lens. It has had a lasting influence on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. The first in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max spawned sequels Mad Max 2 in 1981 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. -wikipedia.org

11. Die Hard Trilogy

The Die Hard series is a series of four action films beginning with Die Hard in 1988. All four films are centered around the character of John McClane (portrayed by Bruce Willis), a New York City detective who finds himself fighting a group of terrorists in each episode. There are also several video games based on the films, as well as a comic book series released in August of 2009. 

Die Hard is adapted from the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Nothing Lasts Forever is a sequel to the novel The Detective which was also adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra. Both novels are about a private detective named Joe Leland. Die Hard 2 was adapted from the 1987 novel 58 Minutes, by Walter Wager. Die Hard With A Vengeance was adapted from a script called Simon Says. -wikipedia.org

10. Jurassic Park Trilogy

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. The film centers on the fictional Isla Nublar (Spanish for “Cloudy Island”), in Costa Rica, where billionaire philanthropist John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) and a team of genetic scientists from his company have created an amusement park of cloned dinosaurs.

Threatened with legal action over the accidental death of an island worker, Hammond invites a trio of scientists — paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) — to inspect the park (and appease the company lawyers) before its public opening. During a storm that evacuates most of the island, except for the visitors and a small team of employees, sabotage engineered by a rival company sets the dinosaurs loose, and the island’s few inhabitants attempt to escape the island under peril. -wikipedia.org

9. Spider-Man Trilogy

Spider-Man is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962). Lee and Ditko conceived of the character as an orphan being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and as an ordinary teenager, having to deal with the normal struggles of youth in addition to those of a costumed crime fighter.

Spider-Man’s creators gave him super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, shoot spider-webs using devices of his own invention which he called “web-shooters,” and react to danger quickly with his “spider-sense”, enabling him to combat his foes.  -wikipedia.org

8. The Terminator Trilogy

The Terminator” refers to a number of fictional characters portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger – a cyborg, initially portrayed as a programmable assassin and military infiltration unit. “The Terminator” character first appeared in the 1984 movie of the same name, directed and co-written by James Cameron, and its sequels.

The first film in the series features only one cyborg: the one portrayed by Schwarzenegger, although a second Terminator played by Franco Columbu is shown in a future flashback scene. In two sequels, Schwarzenegger’s Terminator is pitted against other Terminators, and appears briefly in the fourth as a CGI model. In the sequels, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Schwarzenegger reprises the role, but with a twist: Schwarzenegger is the hero instead of the villain playing a different but visually identical Terminator in each of the three films.

Within the Terminator universe created by Cameron, Terminators of the same “model” share identical characteristics. In the production of the films, this has allowed multiple Terminators to be portrayed by Schwarzenegger. In the context of the stories, this plot device provides a certain continuity for the human characters, by exploiting their emotional familiarity with a particular “human” visage. -wikipedia.org

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7. X-Men Trilogy

The X-Men film series is a series of superhero films based on the fictional Marvel Comics team of the same name. The films star an ensemble cast, focusing on Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, as he is drawn into the conflict between Professor Xavier and Magneto, who have opposing views on humanity’s relationship with mutants: Xavier believes humanity and mutants can coexist, but Magneto believes a war is coming, and intends to fight. The films also developed subplots based on the comics’ Weapon X and Dark Phoenix storylines. -wikipedia.org

6. The Bourne Trilogy

The Bourne films are a series of spy films based on the character Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin suffering from psychogenic amnesia, created by author Robert Ludlum. All three of Ludlum’s novels were adapted for the screen, featuring Matt Damon as the titular character in each.

Doug Liman directed The Bourne Identity (2002), Paul Greengrass directed The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), and Tony Gilroy co-wrote each film. The series is noted for its realism, in contrast to the growing use of CGI in the action genre. -wikipedia.org

5. The Man with No Name Trilogy

The “Man With No Name”, as personified by Eastwood, embodies the archetypical characteristics of the American movie cowboy — toughness, exceptional physical strength or size, independence, and skill with a gun — but departed from the original archetype due to his moral ambiguity. Unlike the traditional cowboy, exemplified by actors John Wayne, Alan Ladd, and Randolph Scott, the Man with No Name will fight dirty and shoot first, if required by his own self-defined sense of justice.

Although he tends to look for ways to benefit himself, he has, in a few cases, aided others if he feels an obligation to, such as freeing a couple held captive in A Fistful of Dollars and comforting a dying soldier after the bridge explosion in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. He is generally portrayed as an outsider, a mercenary or bounty hunter, or even an outlaw. He is characteristically soft-spoken and laconic.

The character is an oft-cited example of an anti-hero, although he has a soft spot for people in deep trouble. While rescuing the young mother Marisol (Marianne Koch) in A Fistful of Dollars, he responds to query about his motives with a curt “I knew somebody like you, once … and there was no one to help.” This, along with the comment “I never found home that great” and stating that he hails from Illinois, sums up the only personal history the viewer ever receives about the character. -wikipedia.org

4. Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy

Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of adventure films directed by Gore Verbinski, written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. They are based on a Walt Disney theme park ride of the same name, and follow Captain Jack Sparrow (portrayed by Johnny Depp), Will Turner (portrayed by Orlando Bloom), and Elizabeth Swann (portrayed by Keira Knightley). The films started with their first release on the big screen in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

After the unexpected success of the first film, Walt Disney Pictures revealed that a trilogy was in the works. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was released three years later in 2006. The sequel proved to be very successful, breaking records worldwide the day of its premiere. In the end it acquired a total of $1,066,179,725 at the worldwide box office, becoming the fourth and fastest film to reach this amount. The third film in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was released in 2007. So far, the film franchise has grossed over $2.79 billion worldwide. -wikipedia.org

3. Indiana Jones Trilogy

The Indiana Jones franchise, based on the historical fantasy adventures of the eponymous fictional archaeologist, began in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. A prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, followed in 1984 and the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989.

In 1992, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles began airing on television. A fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released on May 22, 2008. The series was created by George Lucas; the films star Harrison Ford and were directed by Steven Spielberg. -wikipedia.org

2. Star Wars Original Trilogy

The prequel trilogy follows the upbringing of Anakin Skywalker, who is discovered by the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn. He is believed to be the “Chosen One” foretold by Jedi prophecy to bring balance to the Force. The Jedi Council, led by Yoda, sense that his future is clouded with fear, but reluctantly allows Qui-Gon’s apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi to train Anakin after Qui-Gon is killed by the Sith Lord Darth Maul. At the same time, the planet Naboo is under attack, and its ruler, Queen Padmé Amidala, seeks the assistance of the Jedi to repel the attack. The Sith Lord Darth Sidious secretly planned the attack to give his alias, Senator Palpatine, a pretense to overthrow the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.

The remainder of the prequel trilogy chronicles Anakin’s fall to the dark side, as Sidious attempts to create an army to defeat the Jedi and lure Anakin to be his apprentice. Anakin and Padmé fall in love and secretly wed, and eventually Padme becomes pregnant. Anakin soon succumbs to his anger, becoming the Sith Lord Darth Vader. While Sidious re-organizes the Republic into the Galactic Empire, Vader participates in the extermination of the Jedi Order, culminating in a lightsaber battle between him and Obi-Wan.

After defeating his former apprentice, Obi-Wan leaves Vader for dead. However, Sidious arrives shortly after to save him and put him into a suit of black armor that keeps him alive. At the same time, Padmé dies while giving birth to twins. The twins are hidden from Vader and are not told who their true parents are. -wikipedia.org

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy consists of three live action fantasy epic films: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003). The trilogy is based on the three-volume book The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. While they follow the book’s general storyline, the films also feature some additions to and deviations from the source material.

Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the three films follow the hobbit Frodo Baggins as he and a Fellowship embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring, and thus ensure the destruction of its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron. The Fellowship becomes divided and Frodo continues the quest together with his loyal companion Sam and the treacherous Gollum. Meanwhile, the wizard Gandalf and Aragorn, heir in exile to the throne of Gondor, unite and rally the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, who are ultimately victorious in the War of the Ring. -wikipedia.org

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