Special Report

50 Best Movie Sequels of All Time

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

A successful film franchise can ensure box office earnings like few other movie offerings can. For this reason, major movie studios are almost certain to follow up a successful blockbuster with at least one sequel. The upcoming release of “Frozen 2” — scheduled for a November 22 release — is testament to this fact.

Producers churn out sequels to capitalize on an initial film’s success — and fan base — and in this way create a franchise for generating future profits. These films expand and further explore cinematic worlds that have already found favor with audiences. Many of the top-grossing films of all time — including “Jurassic World” (2015), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), and “Return of the Jedi” (1983) — are sequels. These are the top 100 grossing movies of all time.

Of course, some sequels are better than others. 24/7 Tempo has identified the 50 best sequels of all time based on critic and audience ratings on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Rotten Tomatoes.

In some cases, these sequels are better received than their predecessors. Filmmakers may be given larger budgets to better realize their visions. Other times, new talent is brought in to offer a fresh perspective on a story or set of characters.

In other cases, the original film remains the most critically successful, yet the sequel still does well. These films are still considered wins for movie studios, as they may contribute to audiences’ overall positive view of a franchise. These are the top grossing movie franchises of all time.

Click here to see the 50 best movie sequels of all time.

To determine the best movie sequels of all time, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 10,000 total user ratings on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews, and be classified as a sequel by IMDb. Editorial discretion was then used to determine which movies did not fully meet the qualifications of a sequel, such as the case with reboots or film franchises that feature a consistent character but are otherwise unrelated with regards to storyline.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

50. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
> Directed by: Len Wiseman
> Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 6.8 out of 10

Released just less than 30 years after the original “Die Hard” (1988), “Live Free or Die Hard” still packs a punch as an over-the-top action flick with Bruce Willis in the lead playing Detective John McClane. Numerous critics agree that the sequel may not be quite as much fun for those who are not fans of the action genre, however.

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Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

49. The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
> Directed by: Leo McCarey
> Starring: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.3 out of 10

Bing Crosby revisits his role as Father Chuck O’Malley in this sequel to “Going My Way” (1944) in which he is sent to assist the financially struggling St. Mary’s Academy. Crosby didn’t win an Oscar for his performance as he did for the earlier film, though he was nominated again.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

48. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.3 out of 10

Harrison Ford returns as the adventurous Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones in the series’ second chapter, which proves a darker affair than its predecessor. A substantial 85% of audiences rating on Rotten Tomatoes liked it — though it is largely considered a step down from the beloved “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

47. Army of Darkness (1992)
> Directed by: Sam Raimi
> Starring: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.0 out of 10

The third entry in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise trades in real horror for chaotic comedy, while retaining the series’ penchant for violence. Bruce Campbell once again stars as the offbeat hero, Ash, solidifying the character’s status as a cult figure.

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Source: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

46. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
> Directed by: Chad Stahelski
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.3 out of 10

Keanu Reeves reprises his role as an assassin who returns to the criminal underworld to repay a debt only to find out there’s a price on his head. Adding star power to the sequel, which received a critics Freshness rating of 89%, are Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, and Bridget Moynahan.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

45. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
> Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.5 out of 10

The fifth film in the Mission: Impossible franchise finds Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his team facing off against revolutionary terrorist organization the Syndicate. An exceptional 93% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a positive review, with an average score of 7.5 out of 10. Audience opinion was not as stellar, but still a respectable 87% of those reviewing the film on Rotten Tomatoes gave it the thumbs up.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

44. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
> Directed by: David Yates
> Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.1 out of 10

This is the seventh of the eight films featuring cinema’s favorite wizard. Harry and friends, Ron and Hermione try to destroy the evil Lord Voldemort’s secret to immortality. The film grossed almost $296 million domestically and 85% of audiences on Rotten Tomatoes liked it.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

43. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
> Directed by: Brad Bird
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.7 out of 10

Four years prior to the release of “Rogue Nation,” Tom Cruise starred in the swift and sleek fourth Mission: Impossible film, “Ghost Protocol.” The movie follows Cruise’s Ethan Hunt as his organization, the IMF, goes underground after being falsely associated with a terrorist bombing. The vast majority of critics on Rotten Tomatoes (93%) liked it, frequently citing its exceptional action set pieces.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

42. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
> Directed by: Dean DeBlois
> Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.3 out of 10

The well-received final motion picture of the animated three-film trilogy finds the story’s hero Hiccup and his dragon Toothless fighting to protect all that they hold dear. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Freshness rating of 91% and 87% of audiences liked the film. The movie grossed $55.5 million over its debut weekend in February.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

41. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
> Directed by: Paul Greengrass
> Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.2 out of 10

The second movie in the Bourne Trilogy sees Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in a distraught position, being forced to resurrect his role as a trained assassin. Although both critics and fans preferred the original “The Bourne Identity” (2002) just slightly more — the earlier film has a 7.9 rating on IMDb compared with the later movie’s 7.7, for instance — most agree that the sequel is a thrilling, worthy successor.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

40. Finding Dory (2016)
> Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
> Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.7 out of 10

Following on the success of Disney’s “Finding Nemo,” “Finding Dory” brings back many of the same characters. Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, is a forgetful blue tang fish searching for her parents, who gets assistance from her friends Marlin and Nemo. The sequel has a 94% Freshness rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who called the film in the Critics Consensus “funny, poignant, and thought-provoking.”

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

39. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
> Directed by: Jonathan Frakes
> Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.4 out of 10

“Star Trek: First Contact” is a hit for both die-hard fans of the franchise and the less initiated. Critic Wesley Lovell writing for Cinema Sight notes that the flick is “not just the best of the Next Generation movies, but one of the best of the entire franchise.” The movie follows Picard and crew as they pursue the Borg, who are intent on traveling to the past to prevent Earth’s first contact with extraterrestrials.

Source: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

38. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)
> Directed by: Chad Stahelski
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.5 out of 10

The latest edition of the successful saga of hitman John Wick (starring Keanu Reeves) finds Wick pursued by assassins after he kills a member of the international assassin’s organization. The movie resonated with critics, who gave a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and said in the Critics Consensus the action in the motion picture was “brilliantly choreographed” — 86% of audiences liked the movie. The film grossed more than $56 million in its opening weekend and has grossed more than its predecessors.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

37. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
> Directed by: J.J. Abrams
> Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.4 out of 10

Director J.J. Abrams focused on sleek visuals and satisfying action in this 2013 Star Trek flick. Captain Kirk, played by Chris Pine, leads the Enterprise and crew in an epic battle against a terrifying villain. The movie’s 84% approval amongst critics and 89% amongst audience members makes it an exceptional entry to the uneven franchise.

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Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

36. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
> Directed by: Francis Lawrence
> Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.6 out of 10

In the second installment of the dystopian Hunger Games trilogy, heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and a compatriot are the targets of the government after their victory in the Hunger Games triggers a revolt. According to the Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, the sequel is “smart” and “smoothly directed.” Reviewers awarded it a Freshness rating of 89% and 89% of audiences liked it. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” caught fire with filmgoers, as the film grossed $158 million in its opening weekend.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

35. After the Thin Man (1936)
> Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
> Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.7 out of 10

Released in 1936, “After the Thin Man” is a beloved sequel from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The second Thin Man film again stars William Powell as detective Nick Charles and Myrna Loy as his wife, Nora, as they work to solve a murder mystery with the help of James Stewart’s David Graham. The movie currently has a perfect 100% Freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

34. The Raid 2 (2014)
> Directed by: Gareth Evans
> Starring: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.4 out of 10

After a policeman takes down one group of gangsters in Jakarta, Indonesia, the officer must confront corruption with the city’s police force in this Indonesian and American-produced crime/thriller sequel. Critics gave “The Raid 2” a Freshness rating of 80%, saying the sequel delivered the goods on action sequences that appealed to audiences in the original, and 87% of audiences liked it.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

33. A Shot in the Dark (1964)
> Directed by: Blake Edwards
> Starring: Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, George Sanders
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.0 out of 10

Bumbling Inspector Clouseau — played by Peter Sellers — takes the lead in “A Shot in the Dark,” released less than a year after 1963’s “The Pink Panther.” Not only is it a great standalone film, but Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus states that it’s “often regarded as the best of the Pink Panther sequels.”

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

32. Incredibles 2 (2018)
> Directed by: Brad Bird
> Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.9 out of 10

The Oscar-nominated, long-awaited sequel to the hugely successful Pixar-animated “The Incredibles” finds a reversal of roles in the hero family, with dad Bob Parr managing the house, while wife Helen saves the world. Released 14 years after the original — which was awarded a 97% Freshness rating by critics on Rotten Tomatoes — “Incredibles 2” received a Freshness rating of 94% from critics. “Incredibles 2” grossed about $180 million in its opening weekend, topping “Finding Dory” for highest grossing weekend for an animated film.

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Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

31. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
> Directed by: Matt Reeves
> Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.9 out of 10

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is the sequel to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which is a reboot of the Apes franchise. In the Oscar-nominated sequel, humans in San Francisco try to stay alive following a plague that has devastated humanity and threatens the apes. The sequel received a Freshness rating of 91% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who said in the Critics Consensus the film “expanded on its predecessor with an exciting and ambitious burst of sci-fi achievement.”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

30. Creed (2015)
> Directed by: Ryan Coogler
> Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.0 out of 10

Nearly 40 years after the release of “Rocky” (1976) — and with five sequels in between — Sly Stallone resurrects the character of Rocky Balboa for “Creed.” The film finds the iconic boxer acting as trainer and mentor to Apollo Creed’s son Adonis, played by Michael B. Jordan. The film has the highest Rotten Tomatoes Freshness rating of the entire Rocky franchise at 95%, beating even the original film.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

29. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
> Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
> Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.9 out of 10

In the third of the eight Harry Potter films, the teen wizard is pursued by Sirius Black, a convicted murderer who has escaped prison. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” a Freshness rating of 90%, and 86% of audiences liked the movie. The film grossed almost $250 million domestically.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

28. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
> Directed by: Dean DeBlois
> Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.7 out of 10

Following the success of the first “How to Train Your Dragon” film, Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, and much of the original cast returned for another adventure. The film earned a 92% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

27. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
> Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
> Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.8 out of 10

In the second of Quentin Tarantino’s homage to various movie genres such as martial arts films, blaxploitation movies, and spaghetti Westerns, the Bride, played by Uma Thurman, continues her vengeance against her assailants and boss and ex-lover, Bill (David Carradine). Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes said the film delivered “a suitably hard-hitting sequel,” and critics gave it a Freshness rating of 84%.

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Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

26. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
> Directed by: Richard Marquand
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.2 out of 10

Despite falling just short of its predecessors “A New Hope” (1977) and “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) in terms of online ratings, “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” is still beloved by fans. The movie currently holds an audience score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.3 out of 10 rating on IMDb, the latter of which is higher than all other Star Wars movies aside from the first two.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

25. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
> Directed by: Peter Jackson
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.7 out of 10

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” is the third installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This film continues the plot of “The Two Towers,” with Frodo, Sam, and Gollum journeying toward Mount Doom in Mordor to destroy the One Ring as their friends throughout Middle-earth continue to wage epic battles against the dark forces of Mordor. The film won 11 Academy Awards, tied for the most of any film. Film critic Roger Ebert called the film “a crowning achievement, such a visionary use of all the tools of special effects, such a pure spectacle…”

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

24. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
> Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
> Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.1 out of 10

After the first Star Trek film disappointed fans and critics, the iconic TV sci-fi program found its film footing with “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Ricardo Montalban gives a legendary performance as the villainous Khan, a role later reprised by Benedict Cumberbatch in the most recent Star Trek franchise.

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23. Evil Dead II (1987)
> Directed by: Sam Raimi
> Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.0 out of 10

No longer restrained by a shoestring budget, as he was while making “Evil Dead” (1981), director Sam Raimi further realized his special effects-laden horror-comedy vision in the follow-up “Evil Dead II.” The inventive sequel — about one man’s efforts to survive demonic attacks in an isolated cabin — received approval from 97% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

22. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
> Directed by: George Miller
> Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.4 out of 10

In its Critics Consensus, Rotten Tomatoes describes “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” as the rare sequel that is “even more intense and exciting than its predecessor.” Director George Miller brings audiences back to the post-apocalyptic Australian outback for another round of vehicular mayhem, starring Mel Gibson.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

21. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
> Directed by: Paul Greengrass
> Starring: Matt Damon, Edgar Ramí­rez, Joan Allen
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.0 out of 10

Though its two predecessors — “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy” — were both certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes, “The Bourne Ultimatum” is the top-rated film of the five Jason Bourne movies. Matt Damon plays the titular Jason Bourne, a trained killer with no memory on a mission to find out who he is and who is out to get him.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

20. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
> Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.4 out of 10

While most movie franchises would have gotten stale by the sixth installment, Mission: Impossible just keeps getting better. Stylish and packed with stunts, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” earned a 97% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes — the best reviewed film of Tom Cruise’s storied career. The film was so popular that two more M:I films have already been announced.

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Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

19. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
> Directed by: J.J. Abrams
> Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.3 out of 10

One of the most anticipated films of all time, “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” finally delivered a universally enjoyed Star Wars film, after the prequel trilogy was universally panned. Fans and critics each enjoyed returning to a galaxy far, far away, giving the film 86% and 93% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. The film features newcomers like Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as well as stars from the original Star Wars trilogy, like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

18. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
> Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.2 out of 10

A worthy companion to the 1982 sci-fi classic that came before, “Blade Runner 2049” hit theaters 35 years after the original “Blade Runner.” Despite terrific reviews from critics and audiences, “Blade Runner 2049” was a box office disappointment. The same could be said of the original, though it has since attained cult status.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

17. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 7.9 out of 10

The third film of the Indiana Jones franchise enlisted legendary actor Sean Connery to play Jones’ (Harrison Ford) father. This time, Indy and his allies must prevent the Nazis from acquiring the Holy Grail. The pairing of Connery and Ford met approval of critics who liked the fact that the sequel was “lighter and more comedic than its predecessor,” according to Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” received a Freshness rating of 88% from critics, while 94% of audiences liked the movie.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Independent Pictures

16. Before Sunset (2004)
> Directed by: Richard Linklater
> Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.3 out of 10

Years after the whirlwind romance depicted in “Before Sunrise,” Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) reunite for another romantic encounter. “Before Sunset” ranks among IMDb’s top 250 movies of all time. It was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

15. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
> Directed by: Christopher Nolan
> Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.0 out of 10

In the final film of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, an aging Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is brought out of retirement to face Bane (Tom Hardy) and save Gotham yet again. Nolan assembled an all-star cast, featuring Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, and more. Though not the highest rated film in the trilogy, critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Freshness rating of 87% and 90% of audiences liked it.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

14. Before Midnight (2013)
> Directed by: Richard Linklater
> Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.7 out of 10

A sequel to another film on this list, “Before Sunset,” “Before Midnight” again follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy). Nine years after the previous film, this movie provides a powerful meditation on long-term commitment. “Before Midnight” resonated with critics, who gave it a 97% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

13. Toy Story 2 (1999)
> Directed by: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.7 out of 10

The Toy Story franchise helped establish Pixar’s reputation as the creator of entertaining and endearing films that people of all ages can enjoy. Buzz, Woody, and the rest of Andy’s toys return for another adventure — this time in an attempt to rescue Woody from a toy collector. The Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes hailed the film as “The rare sequel that arguably improves on its predecessor” and awarded it a 100% Freshness rating, while 86% of audiences liked the film.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

12. Paddington 2 (2017)
> Directed by: Paul King
> Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.8 out of 10

It’s not often that a children’s movie sequel is so charming, entertaining, and well-done that moviegoers are genuinely upset it is not nominated for the Oscars. But “Paddington 2” is such a film. The talking bear in a coat charmed audiences and critics, earning a rare 100% Freshness rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

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11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
> Directed by: David Yates
> Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.3 out of 10

The eighth and final film of the Harry Potter series was also by far the best reviewed. The teen wizard series finally culminates with an epic battle between our heroes and Voldemort and his followers. Terrific visual effects and powerful, grounded acting performances give this epic saga the finale it deserved.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

10. Toy Story 4 (2019)
> Directed by: Josh Cooley
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.4 out of 10

The Toy Story films have always been popular, and the series’ fourth installment is no different. The film is the ninth-highest grossing digitally animated movie of all time, when adjusting for inflation. As with the preceding films, “Toy Story 4” combines humor, adventure, and emotional storytelling to create a winning movie, which was enjoyed by 97% of critics and 94% of audience members, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

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Source: Courtesy of United Film Distribution Company

9. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
> Directed by: George A. Romero
> Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.7 out of 10

Master of horror George A. Romero returns to a zombie-infested Pennsylvania for “Dawn of the Dead” a decade after releasing the seminal horror classic “Night of the Living Dead.” The film is able to not only deliver frights, but incisive social commentary as well. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the gore-fest a Freshness rating of 93%, and 90% of audiences liked the film.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

8. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
> Directed by: Peter Jackson
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.5 out of 10

“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” is the highest rated of all Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, receiving 95% positive reviews from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie focuses more on action than its predecessor while maintaining its emotional core, delivering viewers a wholly satisfying experience.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

7. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
> Directed by: James Whale
> Starring: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 9.1 out of 10

James Whale’s “Frankenstein” (1931) was a hugely influential movie. The director followed it up with a wildly inventive and popular sequel, “Bride of Frankenstein.” Writing for Time Out, critic Geoff Andrew called the funny and suspenseful film “Whale’s most perfectly realised movie.”

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6. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
> Directed by: James Cameron
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.5 out of 10

James Cameron’s early directorial effort “The Terminator” (1984) was a huge success, and currently has a perfect Freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes. As he did with “Aliens,” Cameron delivered an action-packed and visually exceptional sequel with “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991). The movie would win four Academy Awards.

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

5. Toy Story 3 (2010)
> Directed by: Lee Unkrich
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.9 out of 10

As a result of its “comedy, adventure, and honest emotion … ‘Toy Story 3′ is a rare second sequel that really works,” according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus. Ninety-eight percent of critics liked the movie, which again starred Tom Hanks and Tim Allen voicing the lead roles of Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

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Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

4. Aliens (1986)
> Directed by: James Cameron
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 9.0 out of 10

The original “Alien” (1979), directed by Ridley Scott, is a frightening classic that holds positive ratings from 97% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Its follow-up, “Aliens,” directed by blockbuster master James Cameron, manages to gain even more favor, with a 99% Freshness rating. The sequel maintains the tension of the original while introducing an increase in overall action. Both movies received 94% positive reviews from audiences.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. The Dark Knight (2008)
> Directed by: Christopher Nolan
> Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 8.6 out of 10

Director Christopher Nolan reinvented the world of Gotham City with his dark and atmospheric “Batman Begins” (2005). He perfected it with “The Dark Knight,” thanks in part to the work of actors Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, and the late Heath Ledger, who delivered an iconic performance as the Joker. On Rotten Tomatoes, both critics and audience members gave it a 94% approval rating.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

2. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
> Directed by: Irvin Kershner
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 9.0 out of 10

One of the most beloved and exciting films of all time, “Empire Strikes Back” built upon the smash-hit success of the original Star Wars film “A New Hope.” The film delivers classic lines, memorable characters, amazing new planets, and one of the greatest twists in film history.

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
> Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
> Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall
> Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 9.6 out of 10

Nevermind sequels, “The Godfather: Part II” is widely hailed as one of the greatest films of all time. The film chronicles Vito Coreleone’s (Robert De Niro) rise to power in the Mafia along with the struggle of his son (Al Pacino) to maintain power decades later. The film won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro, and Best Director for Francis Ford Coppola.

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