15 Best Trilogies of All Time (No, We Did Not Pick "The Godfather")

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
June 18th, 2014

From sci-fi thrillers to slice-of-life comedies, the trilogy format allows directors to explore their chosen subject matter in a way that often isn't possible with stand-alone films. Longer character arcs, the chance to progress forward in time and catch up with a story in progress, and multi-generational heroes all spell out great things for movie makers and fans alike.


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Hannibal Lecter

The "Hannibal Lecter" trilogy is unmatched in its chilling narrative and portrayal of one of the most nightmarish and simultaneously gentlemanly villains of all time.



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The Jersey Trilogy

"The Jersey Trilogy." composed of "Clerks," "Mallrats" and "Chasing Amy," chronicles the various stages of lackluster life in suburbia. While "Clerks" captured what it's like to be seeking more in a small town while working a dead-end job, the trilogy progressed and ended on a high note with "Chasing Amy," a film that proves love finds everyone eventually.



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Austin Powers

"Austin Powers" is one of the most well-known comedic trilogies of all time. Packed with humor, action and impossible plots, "Austin Powers" appeals to a wide range of adult audiences, especially fans of 1960s spy films. In spite of his horrible teeth and homely features, super spy Austin Powers is irresistible to the damsels in distress he rescues from dastardly villains.


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Star Wars 1, 2, 3

The first three films of the "Star Wars" trilogy may not have been aired in order, or even within the same decade as the second half of the series, but they certainly struck a chord with moviegoers. The first "Star Wars" trilogy was packed with elements audiences have always loved, from moral lessons to bravery in the face of inevitable doom. The crew behind the films used complex animatronics and miniatures to bring the vast world of "Star Wars" to life.


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Evil Dead

The "Evil Dead" trilogy has been rebooted to please a modern crowd, and each film pits a new cast against the unspeakable evil that lurks in the woods. "Evil Dead" has had many adaptations, but the core Sam Raimi trilogy remains one of the most frightening horror trilogies of all time.


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Bourne Trilogy

"The Bourne Trilogy" is packed with suspense and chaos, all artfully executed as Jason Bourne attempts to learn about his true identity while on the run from the very people who hid it from him. This trilogy proves that sometimes, a story contains too many thrills and too much intrigue for just one film.


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Leone/Eastwood Trilogy

Often known as the Dollars Trilogy, the Leone/Eastwood Trilogy was directed by the legendary Sergio Leone and starred Clint Eastwood. The trilogy followed the life of "The Man with No Name" as he fought his way down a lonely and dangerous road, making it the most iconic Western trilogy of all.


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The "Alien" trilogy is known for one of the most iconic movie heroines in film history. Sigourney Weaver's character, Ellen Ripley, grew through the three films in the "Alien" franchise to not only battle extraterrestrial menaces but her own inner demons as well.


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The Matrix

Few trilogies have managed to capture the collective imagination quite as much as "The Matrix," a film that led to as many new cinematography techniques as it did philosophical discussions. With an iconic leading man and a witty yet action-packed storyline, it's hard to imagine "The Matrix" being packed into anything less than a trilogy.


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Star Trek

Director J.J. Abrams has made sci-fi fans around the world ecstatic with the news of the "Star Trek" film franchise being made into a trilogy. Critics were skeptical about a film reboot for the original series, but Abrams managed to pull the first two films off with equal parts nostalgia and contemporary sensibility. Now, fans and critics alike are eagerly discussing the possibilities for the third film.


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Toy Story

Even though the "Toy Story" series was created for families, its heart and humor appeal to audiences of all ages. Pixar created the first "Toy Story" film when computer-generated animation was beginning to develop, and audiences were enthralled with the technology. Thanks to unforgettable characters like Woody the loyal cowboy and Buzz the astronaut who always overestimates his abilities, kids and adults alike couldn't help but fall in love with this series even after the technology it used was outdated.


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Star Wars 4, 5 and 6

Because George Lucas wanted to wait to create the three "Star Wars" prequel films until technology had caught up with his vision, the second trilogy was released long after the first. Audiences who had fallen in love with the characters were thrilled to see into their pasts. The "Star Wars" prequel trilogy revolves around Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi boy prodigy who would grow up to be Darth Vader, the main antagonist of the first "Star Wars" films.


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Back to the Future

In the first "Back to the Future" film, Marty McFly takes an odd errand from an eccentric scientist and goes on an adventure back in time where he meets his mother and nearly prevents his own existence. In both following films, Marty is forced to go back in time and undo the chain of events his first trip set into action.


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Indiana Jones

"Indiana Jones" is known as one of the greatest trilogies of all time thanks to its dashing leading man that audiences can't get enough of. From one film to the next, Indiana uses his wit and daring to uncover ancient ruins and foil evil.


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Lord of the Rings

It's difficult to find a fantasy fan who wouldn't list "The Lord of the Rings" as the favorite trilogy of all times. With a massive world-building effort and astounding character development across the three films, "The Lord of the Rings" epitomizes what it means to make use of the trilogy format.

If the third time is the charm, these blockbuster trilogies are proof of it. Each trilogy offers fans something they wouldn't otherwise have had with a single film or a continuing series.