Special Report

The 25 Best Movie Sequels of All Time

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
> Directed by: James Cameron
> Worldwide box office: $1.1 billion (inflation-adjusted)

James Cameron’s early directorial effort “The Terminator” (1984) was a huge success — it currently has a perfect Freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes. As he did with the first movie of the series, Cameron similarly delivered an action-packed and visually exceptional sequel with “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991). The movie would win four Oscars in the visual, makeup, and sound effects categories.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
> Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
> Directed by: Peter Jackson
> Worldwide box office: $1.5 billion (inflation-adjusted)

“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 Twentieth Century Fox

3. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
> Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
> Directed by: Irvin Kershner
> Worldwide box office: $1.9 billion (inflation-adjusted)

“The 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. “The Empire Strikes Back” is the top-rated entry in the beloved Star Wars franchise, based on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes ratings. The movie has a 94% approval rating on the latter site.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

2. The Dark Knight (2008)
> Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
> Directed by: Christopher Nolan
> Worldwide box office: $1.3 billion (inflation-adjusted)

Director Christopher Nolan reinvented the world of Gotham City with his dark and atmospheric “Batman Begins” (2005). He improved 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 and Oscar-winning performance as the Joker. On Rotten Tomatoes, both critics and audience members gave it a 94% approval rating.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
> Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall
> Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
> Worldwide box office: $277.7 million (inflation-adjusted)

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 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro, and Best Director for Francis Ford Coppola.

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