Muppet Mania: The Muppet Movies Ranked
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Animal are fun, lovable characters adored by many. Created in 1955 by Jim Henson, these zany puppets have graced the screens of television and cinema to delight audiences worldwide. Since 1979, there have been seven Muppet movies, and some were received better than others.
1. "The Muppets"
Released in November 2011, "The Muppets" is the most recent addition to the Muppets filmography. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones along with the crew of Muppets. Having loved the Muppets since childhood, Gary (Segel), gets the opportunity to tour the Muppet Studios. When he learns of a rich oil tycoon's plan to destroy the historic theater, Gary teams up with Kermit to reunite the Muppets and save the beloved venue.
With a box office gross of $165 million, "The Muppets" is the highest-grossing film of the franchise and for good reason. The film received an Academy Award for Best Original Song and nominations for a Grammy and a Critics' Choice Award. In addition, the film boasts a star-studded list of cameo appearances from Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Mickey Rooney and many more.
Released in June 1979, "The Muppet Movie" marked the first feature-length Muppets film. Inspired by a talent agent, Kermit sets off on a cross-country trip from Florida to Los Angeles in hopes of finding success in show business. Throughout his voyage, Kermit is joined by other Muppets as he tries to dodge the movie's main protagonist, the owner of a French-fried frog legs restaurant franchise.
The film grossed more than $76 million and was nominated for two Academy Awards for its musical score and the song "Rainbow Connection." Critics highly praised the movie for its humor, and audiences loved the cameo guest stars that included Big Bird, Mel Brooks, Milton Berle, Dom DeLuise, Bob Hope, Cloris Leachman, Richard Pryor and many more.
3. "Muppet Treasure Island"
"Muppet Treasure Island" was released in February 1996. Directed by Jim Henson's son Brian, the film is based on "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson. Kermit the Frog stars as Captain Abraham Smollet, the leader of a crew that must defend themselves against Long John Silver (Tim Curry) and his pirate gang.
Grossing more than $34 million at the box office, "Muppet Treasure Island" was hailed by critics for its humor, action-packed plot and excellent soundtrack which includes a reggae number by Ziggy Marley.
4. "The Great Muppet Caper"
Released in June 1981, "The Great Muppet Caper" was the second movie of the Muppets franchise. The film is the only one of the franchise to be directed by Jim Henson. Filmed in England, the movie stars Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear who are newspaper reporters assigned to cover the story of a well-to-do fashion designer's stolen jewels. Kermit finds himself falling in love with the designer's secretary, Miss Piggy, and must prove her innocence as the jewel thieves frame her for their crimes.
"The Great Muppet Caper" grossed more than $32 million at the box office and offers cameos from Jim Henson, John Cleese and Oscar the Grouch. The film received mixed reviews from critics. Some found it entertaining, while others noted its predictability and overdone plot.
5. "The Muppet Christmas Carol"
"The Muppet Christmas Carol" was released in December 1992, and is based on the well-known novella by Charles Dickens. Directed by Brian Henson and released by Walt Disney Pictures, the film adds a touch of comedy to Dickens' work. Played by Michael Caine, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts to remind him about the true meaning of Christmas. The Muppets fill in key roles from the original story such as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.
"The Muppet Christmas Carol" brought in a modest $27 million at the box office, but critic reviews of the film were mostly positive. While they agree that it's not the most refined version of Dickens' tale, the story is both heartwarming and funny, and is a great way for parents to introduce their children to the popular story.
6. "The Muppets Take Manhattan"
The third film in the franchise, "The Muppets Take Manhattan" was released in July 1984. As they graduate from college, Kermit and his crew head to New York in an attempt to get their show on Broadway. The Muppets face a few dilemmas on their way to success.
The film topped only $25 million at the box office, but critics were generally impressed by the story. While they admit that the plot is overdone, many critics appreciated the soundtrack and the use of New York City imagery throughout the film.
7. "Muppets From Space"
The least popular of the Muppet movies is "Muppets From Space," released in July 1999. While all other Muppet films focus on Kermit the Frog, this one revolves around The Great Gonzo. After determining that he is an alien, Gonzo vows to reunite with his extraterrestrial family. It is up to Kermit and the gang to rescue Gonzo after he is captured by an alien-studying government agency.
"Muppets From Space" made only $23 million at the box office despite its $24 million budget. While many critics admitted that the film was funny, they lament that it is not up to par with other films in the franchise. Despite cameos by David Arquette, Hulk Hogan, Ray Liotta and Kathy Griffin, this film ranks at the bottom of the list.
Whether you are looking for a fun movie to watch with your little ones or you're just a kid at heart, Muppets movies are guaranteed to delight. With great casts, exciting cameos, sensational soundtracks and jokes galore, your family is sure to love any Muppet movie you choose.