Escapism comes in many forms and for a lot of people, a great movie series is the best way to get lost in an epic story. Serialized films offer even more narrative for audiences to enjoy while furthering character development that can span years and even decades. For dedicated viewers, a film series proves more rewarding as the movies can paint a fuller picture than a one-off film.
So, what are the best movie series to get lost in? There are plenty to choose from that span a variety of genres from comedy to horror. We looked to the highest-grossing film franchises along with the series that have been met with critical acclaim to discover the best of the best for you to dive into. If you’re expecting a weekend of crummy weather or just want an excuse to stay in your PJ’s and veg all day, these series are going to be perfect for you! Let’s get rolling!
Get Lost In These Movie Series Tonight!
One of the most celebrated film trilogies of all time, The Godfather franchise, which began in 1972, tells the story of the Corleone family under patriarch Vito Corleone. Vito, the aging leader of the family’s clandestine empire relinquishes control to his reluctant son. The film has it all: organized crime, drama, romance, and history.
“In space, no one can hear you scream,” is the iconic tagline used to market the first film in the Alien franchise which premiered in 1979. The sci-fi series is very much a horror franchise as well and if you watch the first film, that will become immediately apparent to you. Sigourney Weaver kicks alien butt in the OG series but there have also been two prequels which are a lot of fun. The franchise kicks off with a merchant spaceship that is attacked by a mysterious life form that quickly torments the crew. It’s a blast!
Following the huge success of the Harry Potter book series, the film adaptations rolled out to great fanfare. The story of wizards-in-training speaks to the adolescent experience as anyone can feel like an outsider growing up. With 8 films in the Harry Potter franchise proper and even more in the Wizarding World, there’s no shortage of movie magic for you to enjoy.
Another movie series that will make you feel like a kid again, Toy Story chronicles the amazing adventures of toys that come to life. There are four amazing movies in the series with each offering a deeper look at some of its many brilliant characters. Enjoy your time with Buzz, Woody, Bo Peep, and more with these absolutely charming animated movies.
The Lord of the Rings
Do you have a lot of patience? The Lord of the Rings movie series is a massive amount of narrative spanning just three films that were released between 2001 and 2003. These movies feel truly epic in scope and transport audiences to the landscapes of Middle Earth. With some of the world’s biggest stars, the movies are perfect for you to nerd out over while also catching some amazing performances from your faves.
The Twilight Saga
If your kink is sparkling vampires, hop on board the Twilight train. The supernatural, romantic drama spans five films that focus on the adventures of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. These films are light on substance and heavy with mood which might appeal to you if you’re after a casual binge that features a bunch of pretty people.
One of the highest-grossing horror movie series of all time, The Conjuring universe includes three films proper with about six other prequels and spinoffs. If you’re after some truly fun and terrifying horror movies, this franchise will be perfect for you. At its core, the series follows Ed and Lorraine Warren who were real-life paranormal investigators. Each film tells the story of one of their many cases.
We all need a rom-com series that we can return to again and again and for many of us, the Bridget Jones films are it! They’re funny, refreshing, and just a blast to sit back and enjoy. Bridget Jones Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Bridget Jones’s Baby all find Renée Zellweger performing as one of the most relatable characters in any movie series.
Three Colors Trilogy
One of the most critically acclaimed and artful film series ever made, the Three Colors trilogy features three films: Blue, White, and Red (the colors of the French flag). The films are directed by auteur Krzysztof Kieślowski who became one of the cinematic world’s most treasured filmmakers after the release of these movies in the 1990s. Juliette Binoche‘s performance in the first film, Blue, will have you hooked on these moody French dramas.
If you’re in the mood for adventure, the Indiana Jones movie series will be the perfect match for you! This Harrison Ford vehicle has put out four films already with a fifth on the way next year! These classic Hollywood blockbusters are thrilling adventures with archaeologist Indiana Jones as he must save the day in one fashion or another. These movies have been wowing audiences since the 1980s so see what all the fuss is about if you haven’t yet!
The Dark Knight Trilogy
There are a couple of dozen Batman movies out there, but some of the most celebrated come from director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale as Batman. They kicked off the “gritty” “dark” superhero movie trend which still persists today, over 15 years after the first film’s release. So, if you want moody superheroes and plenty of drama, check out this brilliant movie series.
You can celebrate Halloween any time of year with the Halloween movie series which stars Jamie Lee Curtis as the most potent final girls in horror movie history. Curtis plays Laurie Strode who is perennially tormented by a masked serial killer named Michael Myers. There are a total of eleven films in the franchise but you can pick and choose how dedicated you’re willing to be as many of them don’t live up to the original masterpiece. That does not mean they’re not all fun! For Halloween this year, take a deep dive into these movies and never sleep with the lights off again.
007: James Bond
If you’re looking for a spy movie series, there’s no better than the James Bond films. There have been over 20 Bond movies with six different actors portraying the secret service agent. The first film was released in 1962 and expect many more to come. Because the movies have spanned decades there are many performances to fall in love with and retro styles to revisit. For slick, fresh, fun watch this movie series with a martini that’s shaken, not stirred.
The only movie series about dinosaurs on this list, the Jurassic Park films imagine a world in which man has cloned dinos and built a theme park to enjoy their natural beauty. Naturally, things go wrong when man tries to conquer ancient, ferocious beasts. There are a total of six films so far in this franchise with at least one more on the way.
Night of the Living Dead
One of the curiously inventive movie series that seems to really keep up with the times is The Night of the Living Dead series which began in 1968 with a half-dozen films to follow the original along with several spin-offs. If you like your zombies with a hefty side of social commentary these fun movies are going to be perfect for you.
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Looking for an entertaining movie series to watch with your young children? Consider revisiting the Shrek movies. There are currently four total and a fifth one is in the works. Further, there are the Puss in Boots spin-offs which are also a blast for young viewers. The very funny premise: an ogre who is harassed by famous fairy tale characters is so inventive and refreshing to see. There is also incredible voice talent behind the beloved characters including work from Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas.
If you like the prospect of seeing Tom Cruise in peril, check out the Mission: Impossible movie series which finds the star playing Ethan Hunt, a spy who gets into many hairy situations. The movies are generally fast-paced capers that do little to stimulate the mind but they certainly look slick.
From campy B-horror movies to genuinely terrifying, the Evil Dead movies are a lot of wicked fun. The first three installments star Bruce Campbell as a demon-fighter named Ash Williams. The character may or may not end up with a chainsaw for a hand by the end of those. The remake and the latest film in the series is as vile and gory as you could possibly ever want. This movie series is a wild ride that shows the film franchise’s growth which each new entry.
How to Train Your Dragon
An animated movie series that kids love, the How to Train Your Dragon franchise consists of three films: How to Train Your Dragon, How to Train Your Dragon 2, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. These fantasy films were both a critical and commercial success with audiences truly living for the stories that are told with so much heart.
The Scream movie series is a wild ride alongside Sidney Prescott who is terrorized by various people in the iconic Ghostface mask. There’s not much rhyme or reason as the series of four films unfold. The first movie is a hit the rest are just there to taunt you with the fact that the commentary on teen slasher movies made in the first was all for show! Enjoy!
The Ocean’s Trilogy + Ocean’s 8
The original trilogy directed and edited by Steven Soderbergh are all thrilling heist films that are bonafide classics at this point. The newest installment, Ocean’s 8 with an all-female cast is a thrill to watch with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway, Awkwafina, and more, is a truly innovative and exciting caper that you should work your way towards with this crime movie series.
The Hunger Games
If you’re looking for a movie series that pre-teens and young folks will love, turn to The Hunger Games. So far, there are four films in the series which imagines a dystopian world where children must fight to the death for survival. Jennifer Lawrence kicks tail in these films and is a joy to watch.
Another dystopian movie series, Mad Max finds characters fighting for resources and survival in a near future in which society has collapsed. There’s plenty of action and a whole lot of biker gangs in these four thrilling films. The franchise was brought back to life in the latest installment: Mad Max: Fury Road which was released to critical acclaim and commercial success in 2015. Two more films are expected to follow it.
Consisting of The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon, Anthony Hopkins plays your favorite, genius, cannibal Hannibal Lecter in this movie series. The plot of each film is based on the series of books written by Thomas Harris. We find Lecter mixed up in all sorts of folks’ business as well as his own in these thriller-horror movies that don’t disappoint.
The Mariachi Trilogy
El Mariachi, Desperado, and Once Upon A Time In Mexico are three films directed by Robert Rodriguez that are each offbeat and highly stylish and entertaining. With casts that include beloved actors like Carlos Gallardo, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Joaquin de Almeida, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino, and Danny Trejo, there’s no shortage of talent in these action-packed crime movies.
The Millenium Trilogy
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest are a trilogy of films based on crime thrillers written by Stieg Larsson. These did get an English remake but the original films with Noomi Rapace are truly the best. She plays Lisbeth Salander in the movie series who is the perfect modern hero.
For fans of comic book series, the Blade movie series is a blast! The three movies star Wesley Snipes as the title character who is a half-vampire who fights other vampires. Wildly imaginative, these action-horror movies will make you wish you’ll never see another drop of blood again!
The Mighty Ducks
Take a walk down memory lane by revisiting one of the 1990s most cherished children’s movie series, The Mighty Ducks. Emilio Estevez plays a hockey coach who transforms a ragtag team into a truly competitive force in this lighthearted series with plenty of heart.
It was a simpler time for Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays a time-traveling cyborg in this movie series that spans three decades. The third film, Rise of the Machines, is the weakest of these movies but the first two are a total blast. See the films that first put James Cameron on the map with the Terminator series! Also, it must be said that Linda Hamilton is the real MVP of these films.
If robots aren’t your bag but you really wanted an action movie series, get yourself the Die Hard movies to enjoy. Bruce Willis stars in this franchise as someone who seems to find himself in a number of hostage situations. It’s fine, totally normal! So far, there have been five installments with some much weaker than the others. It’s a mixed bag, really!
If you’re noticing a theme, yes a lot of these film franchises star a dude who gets in fights with other dudes. But, The Matrix was a refreshing entry into the world of sci-fi action films when it premiered in 1999. With two other films to complicate the already twisty narrative, these movies prove a fun vehicle for Keanu Reeves to bend reality in.
Speaking of the national treasure that is Keanu Reeves, we find him starring in another action movie series, John Wick. He plays an ex-hit-man who tracks down a gang that murdered his dog and stole from him. There is barely a moment’s rest in these three movies that pack a million punches a second.
The Vengeance Trilogy
One of South Korea and the world’s most celebrated filmmakers, Park Chan-Wook‘s loose trilogy, often referred to as the “vengeance trilogy” consists of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance. Each deals with a revenge plot with Oldboy‘s being the most elaborate. Brutal, beautiful, and poetic these movies strike a balance that few others could achieve.
Want to get stupid? The Austin Powers movie series is about as dumb as they get. With Mike Myers playing a “randy” spy and other ridiculous characters, these silly movies really are the perfect way to feed your most base entertainment id. If you were a young person when these movies came out, you likely heard them overly quoted at school to the point that you might have turned away from them. Perhaps it’s time for a revisit.
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The biggest media franchise on this list, Star Wars has become a huge, worldwide cultural phenomenon. The epic space saga has been spread out over at least nine feature films including prequel and sequel films. There are also a number of spinoff, anthology movies. All that to say, if you’re looking to get deep into a thing, Star Wars would be the movie series for you. You might not know what’s going on all of the time, but it sure is fun to try and figure it out!
There you go! We hope you enjoyed these movie series and that you will give a new franchise a try. These films represent hours of entertainment for you to enjoy with characters that only grow in depth as the narratives play out. This means that these stories are some of the most rewarding and beloved ever told. Now, what are you waiting for? Pop that popcorn and snuggle up with one of these cherished movie series tonight!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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