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10 Best Movie Trilogies of All Time

Samuel Ting



Best Movie Trilogies

In the world of films, a trilogy refers to three connected films. Trilogies were frontrunners to the franchise, a more common term today. Here is a list of the ten best trilogies of all time: 


  • Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings trilogy consists of three films- Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. They are fundamentally based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels of the same name. The basic premise is the dark lord Sauron’s attempts to rebuild his armies and expand his reign over the land. To prevent this from happening, a league of heroes comes together to destroy the ring, which is the foundation of Sauron’s powers. 

Frodo and Sam begin their journey to Mordor, accompanied by Merry and Pippin, fellow elves. Gandalf, Aragorn, and Legolas also join them. The three movies follow different subplots across the three films without deviating from the main story. Lord of the Rings is a cinematic marvel and one of cinema history’s most significant trilogies ever.   


  • The Godfather 

The Godfather trilogy narrates the story of the Corleone family, bosses of the Italian mafia in the U.S. In the film’s first installment, Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, is shot by enemies and hospitalized. His youngest son, Michael Corleone, is forced to lead the family from this point. The rest of the film and the remaining installments showcase how Michael navigates through the different crises in his career as a mafia boss. 

The movies stand out for their unique treatment of the subject, which later became textbook study material for many directors worldwide. A continuous motif in these films is the question of loyalty, as Michael Corleone consistently faces disloyal family members and friends. Godfather inspired many gangster films in different parts of the world. Francis Ford Coppola directed all three films. 


  • The Star Wars 

The basic story of the original Star Wars trilogy is about two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, escaping the galactic civil war. They meet a young Luke Skywalker and a Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Aided by Han Solo, a local smuggler, they go on to rescue Princess Leia. The narrative then focuses on their attempts to fight against Darth Vader, the leader of the Imperial Fleet. 

The original Star Wars trilogy (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and The Return of the Jedi (1983), were huge successes across Hollywood. The Star Wars trilogy can still be assessed as the benchmark in the Sci-Fi genre. The films, directed by George Lucas, can also be interpreted in the classical sense. It follows the hero’s journey, Luke Skywalker, from a nobody to being the superior Jedi. 


  • Indiana Jones Trilogy

Harrison Ford plays the titular character in all the Indiana Jones films. The trilogy follows his adventures across the globe in finding artifacts, much before they reach the wrong hands. In the first part of the trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones journeys to Egypt to find the Ark of the Covenant. He faces stiff competition from a rival archaeologist, a Gestapo Officer, and a team of Nazis. 

In the second installment, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he travels to India to save a village from the cult of Kali. In the third installment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, he attempts to save his father from the grasp of Nazis while searching for the Holy Grail. Indian Jones blends mythology, fiction, and history to perfection under the direction of Steven Spielberg. 


  • Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park trilogy begins with the 1993 film directed by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park. It is located on an island where a philanthropist has funded the creation of cloned dinosaurs. The security at the park is compromised, and the visiting group of scientists and the founder’s grandchildren are left to fend for themselves. They face several dangerous dinosaurs on the way back. 

In The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), dinosaurs come into direct contact with civilization, and chaos follows. In the third installment, Jurassic Park III (2001), paleontologist Alan Grant is back on the island of Isla Sorna to find a missing boy. The Jurassic Park trilogy is considered highly innovative in its approach to adventures. All the films inherently posit the question of scientific ethics and principle. Steven Spielberg directed the first two films, while Joe Johnston directed the third.


  • Back to the Future

Back to the Future is another name in the sci-fi genre, and it has a reputation for being a huge success. It narrates the story of a teenager, Marty McFly, and his scientist friend, Dr. Emmet Brown. Dr Brown invents a time machine through which Marty reaches 1955. He meets his parents and attempts to get them together. 

The trilogy is a mix of nostalgia, dystopia, and pop-culture references, and it managed a significant fan following after its release. The two friends travel back and forth in time to fix the timeline. 


  • Dollars’ trilogy

Clint Eastwood plays the role of the gunslinging cowboy bounty hunter in this Spaghetti Western Trilogy. The installment begins with A Fistful of Dollars (1964), where his character is introduced. He plays two rival gangs against each other and ultimately manages to eliminate them. 

The other two films in the series, For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), are not directly connected with the first film. However, the films are considered a trilogy in spirit due to their subsequent releases and Eastwood reprising his role as the man with no name. Sergio Leone has managed to revolutionize the Western genre with this trilogy, supported by the music by Ennio Morricone. 


  • The Dark Knight Trilogy

The Dark Knight Trilogy is Christopher Nolan’s adaptation of the story of Batman and Joker. Unlike the comic book routine that has followed recently, Nolan created this trilogy, giving enormous cinematic elevation to the characters he adopted. He begins with a retelling of the origin story of Batman in Batman Begins (2006). 

This was followed by The Dark Knight (2009), where the character of Joker was introduced. The series culminates in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), providing his ending to the story of Batman and Gotham. Today, the franchise is well-known for the iconic villain, The Joker, played by Heath Ledger.


  • Before Trilogy

Before the trilogy is among the most original trilogy in the history of films; directed by Richard Linklater, the initial installment, Before Sunrise (1995), was inspired by his experience traveling across Europe. It is regarded by many as the most romantic of any other trilogies. It focuses on the romance between Jesse Wallace and Celine, who meet on a train journey in Europe. 

They meet again in the second installment, Before Sunset (2004), where they take up their romance further. In Before Midnight (2013), they are shown as a couple with grown children discussing their marriage. The originality of this trilogy lies in the conversations these characters have across the three films. 


  • The Matrix Trilogy

The Matric trilogy is another set of films that inspired several copies worldwide. People are taken into the world of Matrix in the first installment, The Matrix (1999). Neo, a computer programmer and hacker, is contacted by Morpheus and welcomed into the world of Matrix. 

The Matrix is a simulated reality powered by the energy of humans. Neo becomes part of a rebel group against the machines. The second and third installments, The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), follow philosophical questioning of the circumstances. The Wachowski Brothers directed all three films.