Hello Interwebs! I love movie franchises. When you fall in love with a movie world and the characters within them, it’s hard to resist coming back for more– especially if the follow-ups are any good. But what are my favourite worlds to come back to? Read on to find out!
14. DC Animated Universe (1992- Present)
Although I love the films, most of their best work is on TV.
13. Star Trek (1966- Present)
I’ve seen every episode of every show released in the last 50 years, but still haven’t watched all of the original movies. I know… I’m a fake fan.
12. Planet of the Apes (1968- Present)
I’ve only seen the original movie + the reboot franchise. Some fantastic sci-fi right here!
11. The Godfather (1972- 1990)
A masterfully crafted crime saga, but a franchise which doesn’t resonate with me like the following ones…
Joe’s Top 10 Movie Franchises
10. Mad Max (1979- Present)
George Miller’s post-apocalyptic saga explores the hellish remains of a human society which has reverted back to a survivalist mindset. Gasoline, water, and ammunition are the survivors’ main commodities, and few people are to be trusted. All hope should be lost for this world, but one lone wanderer –a psychologically damaged Road Warrior– can’t help but save other people wherever he goes, whether he wants to or not. The series’ riveting car chases, eccentric characters, and a unique visual style propel Mad Max beyond your typical post-apocalyptic franchise.
There’s more than a little of this film’s influence in my Planet of the Beavers films. The story of a reluctant wanderer in a post-apocalyptic society with a mythical reputation might or might not have had its origins with Mad Max…
MY FAVOURITE FILM: The Road Warrior (1981)
9. Toy Story (1995- Present)
“To infinity and beyond!” Pure childhood nostalgia right here. Fond memories are often tinted by rose-coloured glasses, but how many people can honestly say these films aren’t awesome? The adventures of Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and the rest of the gang are emotionally resonant and heartwarming. I’m a grown man now, but the third and fourth installments of this franchise about living toys nearly brought me to tears!
Anybody who thinks animation is just for kids ought to change their perspective. A good story well told is a good story well told, no matter the medium! And here’s four awesome tales in one franchise.
MY FAVOURITE FILM: Toy Story 2 (1999)
8. Mission Impossible (1996- Present)
Dun Dun, Dun dun dun dun, Dun dun duuuuun (boo doo doo, boo doo doo, doo doo)! Sue me. I love that song… And don’t lie– you were singing it in your head! How many franchises get better with every movie? Not many. Tom Cruise et al seem to top themselves every time with bigger stunts, better action, and crazier plots. We’ve come a long way from Ethan Hunt hanging from a wire! That used to be the franchise’s most intense stunt. It looks like baby stuff now.
Plenty of series have entertaining action, so why does MI stand-out? For me, it’s the franchise reputation for legitimate stunt-work and practical effects. When you see Tom Cruise hang from a building, or a plane, or H.A.L.O jump, or fly a helicopter, you know he’s actually doing those things! The plots of Mission Impossible movies are just an excuse to see how far Mr. Cruise will push himself. And the danger always feels real because it kinda is!
MY FAVOURITE FILM: Fallout (2018)
7. Lord of the Rings/ Middle Earth (2001-2014)
I’ll admit it: I still haven’t seen all The Hobbit movies… But the original LotR trilogy is so good that the franchise makes the list based solely on those three films. I’ve never seen a story feel so epic in its scope! From The Shire to Mordor, every location feels unique and lived-in. Middle Earth is alive with different species and environments and long histories for all of them. The characters are lovable and iconic, and the quest is simple/ noble as they come: save the world. How can you go wrong?
Beyond simple entertainment, these films are a masterclass in film-making. The action, creature-designs, special effects, costuming, music, and set-work are among the best ever put to screen!
MY FAVOURITE FILM: The Two Towers (2002)
6. Indiana Jones (1981- Present)
Two of my favourite Hollywood creative personalities (Steven Spielberg and George Lucas) teamed up to create this classic series of films. They based the franchise on old adventure serials which they grew up with, yet ended up creating (arguably) the best adventure series ever made!
Strange relics, nail-biting action sequences, and globe-trotting antics abound in these movies. What can I say? It’s just plain fun! But the movies are also intelligent and competently produced. These aren’t just throw-away action flicks. Even Harrison Ford likes them, and that’s not a given.
MY FAVOURITE FILM: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
5. Batman (1966- Present)
Holy reboots! Admittedly, I’m cheating a bit by including every live-action iteration of the Caped Crusader… One aspect of this franchise I love is its different levels of accessibility for varying ages. My first exposure to Batman was the child-friendly Adam West movie and the goofy Joel Schumacher films. I was slightly older when I watched the decidedly more violent, intellectual Christopher Nolan movies, and didn’t see the Gothic/ unsettling Tim Burton films till I was a teenager! I’m excited to see Matt Reeves’ take on the character going forward (NOTE: I don’t count Ben Affleck’s Batman in here because he never got his own solo film).
Batman inspired my younger self to seek out justice, always do the right thing, and dress up like a bat. All such things have served me well through life!
MY FAVOURITE FILM: The Dark Knight (2008)
4. Rocky/ Creed (1976- Present)
Few things are more rousing than a good Rocky training montage! But seriously– I find these movies inspiring. They’re uplifting stories about working hard to achieve your ambitions. The characters are also down to Earth, relatable, and easy to root for. The Rocky/ Creed movies take big swings and contain more depth and plot developments than you might expect.
I’m not a sports fan. I don’t even watch boxing. Still, Rocky/ Creed invests me in its world and manages to make me excited for its climactic battles. And further– this franchise is one of few with worthy “legacy” installments. The Creed movies are just as important to the story as the originals and I’m glad they exist!
MY FAVOURITE FILM: Rocky (1976)
3. MCU (2008- Present)
The Marvel Cinematic universe is one of few franchises I grew up with which followed me into adulthood. I jumped on the Marvel bandwagon all the way back in 2008 (when I was 9 years old) and I’m still here! It’s been an emotional ride, from the galaxy-wide conflicts of Infinity War to small-scale heist films like Ant-Man.
The MCU changed franchise film-making forever with its interconnected universe– a formula which resulted in both critical and commercial success. With over 20 films behind them, the consistent quality of their films keeps audiences coming back in droves. If you’ve got a friend who wants to marathon these movies with you, then there’s only one correct response: “I can do this all day.”
MY FAVOURITE FILM: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
2. Back to the Future (1985- 1990)
My all-time favourite movie is in this franchise. It had to rank high. But I love every installment of this story! It’s an exhilarating ride from start to end, and no longer than it needed to be. BTTF is one of few Hollywood franchises to maintain its creative integrity and avoid any remakes/ reboots. The story is perfection just as it stands and I’d be happy if it got to stay that way.
MY FAVOURITE FILM: Back to the Future (1985)
1. Star Wars (1977- Present)
Star Wars inspired me be a filmmaker when I was just a little kid! The spectacle captured my imagination in a way few movies have before or since. As for quality of films, it’s probably the least consistent franchise on this list, but I don’t care. The idea of Star Wars will always be bigger than the actual movies. It’s the cumulative work of multiple generations’ best film-making talents and –no exaggeration– changed cinema as we know it. This is the bar I aim to shoot for in my professional career!
MY FAVOURITE FILM: A New Hope (1977)
What are the best film franchises you’ve ever seen? Leave your lists below! And what are some other franchises you think I should check out? If you have any ideas for future articles, or any questions, let me know. Also be sure to Like this article on Facebook and share if you enjoyed!
Till next time,