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All 10 'Planet of the Apes' Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

Planet of the Apes

A franchise that has spanned over decades, based off Pierre Boulle’s French novel, “La Planète des singes” (1963) quickly getting made into the 1968 classic film. Since then the franchise has produced 4 sequels, a stand-alone re-boot, another trilogy, a follow up film (with more to come) and even a TV series.

It's safe to say this franchise is here to stay and has been for over 5 decades. There is plenty to dive into over so many years, so here are all the Planet of the Apes franchise films ranked from worst to best.

10. Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Released in 1970, 2 years after Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes served as a direct sequel to the previous film. The sole survivor of an interplanetary rescue mission, Brent (James Franciscus), lands on the planet of the apes in search for Taylor (Charlton Heston). In his search he uncovers a horrible secret beneath the surface, a group of humans living in “old” New York who worship an atomic bomb.

Planet of the Apes

Beneath the Planet of the Apes for the majority feels like a complete re-hash of the first film. The story-line to start with is beat for beat in line with it’s predecessor, and the Franciscus character is just a cheap version of Heston’s Taylor from the first film. Beneath takes an interesting swing in the latter part, that doesn’t come together, leaving this to be a strange and disappointing sequel.


9. Planet of the Apes (2001)

Directed by Tim Burton, the re-imagining of Planet of the Apes came in 2001. After a spectacular crash landing on an uncharted planet, astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself trapped on a world where talking apes dominate the human race. To find a way home, Leo must avoid the ape army lead by General Thade.

Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes (2001) in my younger years was a fun watch, but as I’ve come to learn more about this franchise has certainly gone down in my estimations. For a film made 33 years after the original, the effectiveness of the “ape world” doesn’t quite hit the same heights. However, the apes (and the ape actors) may just be the best part of this as the human characters feel empty and weak.


8. Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

The fifth and final chapter in the original Planet of the Apes film series. After the collapse of human civilization, a community of intelligent apes led by Ceaser (Roddy McDowall), lives in harmony with a group of humans. However General Aldo (Claude Atkins) tries to cause an ape civil war, while a community of mutant humans try to conquer their perceived enemy.

Planet of the Apes

Battle for the Planet of the Apes has a clear big issue, the films budget. It’s clear by this point in the franchise the budget has been cut tremendously, and this film just doesn’t look as good as those before it. The film itself is messy, but there are some interesting parts that stand this above those that come below it. As for the battle, well you could say that it’s a little anti-climatic for a film titled as such.


7. Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

After the less than satisfying sequel (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) came Escape from the Planet of the Apes. The world goes into shock with the arrival of three talking chimpanzees, who land on earth mysteriously in a spacecraft. Creating intrigue, the humans use them for research, at this point the apes decide it’s time to try and escape.

Planet of the Apes

Using recognisable faces from the original, this film goes in a totally different direction to that of the other films in the franchise. This time with the apes being in the unknown. Escape from the Planet of the Apes explores celebrity, and the caution that needs to be applied when in the limelight.


6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

The first instalment of the newest re-imagining of this franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is determined to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that is slowly killing his father. A chimpanzee comes into his life, Caeser, and with a new drug he starts to think like a human. Until he becomes subject to social injustice, he decides to revolt with his own kind.

Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes has its flaws on the character side, but there is no getting away from the enjoyment this film brings in setting up a trilogy that going forward becomes top quality. It’s safe to say this is the weakest of the trilogy, but to see the beginnings of the Planet of the Apes had me gripped. (This film probably should’ve been called Dawn)


5. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

After the alternative turn of Escape, and shocking ending, came Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. In a futuristic world that has embraced ape slavery, a chimpanzee named Caesar resurfaces from hiding, preparing the apes for revolt against humanity.

Planet of the Apes

Where Conquest may not look the best out of all of these, it sure makes up for in entertainment. This futuristic world creates intrigue throughout, which sets up the uprising and revolution of the apes, creating a new world.


4. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024)

Once again another “re-boot”, the latest in the Planet of the Apes franchise. Following on from the Rise/Dawn/War trilogy, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the first of a new set of ape films. Set several generations in the future, apes are now the dominant species, while humans live in the shadows. As a tyrannical ape leader builds his empire one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all he knows about the past.

Planet of the Apes

This continuation of the franchise proves that the apes franchise is going nowhere. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes provides us with a stunning lived in world that expands on what has come before it. How this movie was made for $160 million is beyond belief, where the story-line may be a little basic, it sure makes up for it by how beautiful this looks.


3. Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes is the first film in the franchise, and essentially the reason why we are doing this post. When a spaceship lands on a desolate planet, astronaut Taylor finds himself in a world dominated by apes. Taylor finds himself among the hunted and is reliant on a chimpanzee scientist.

Planet of the Apes

Seeing this for the first time in 2024, it amazed me how great it looked. Planet of the Apes (1968) clearly had a decent amount of budget as the talking apes looked better than some imagery we see today. It may be a little dated in ways, but overall this holds up well against most of the recent renditions.


2. War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Matt Reeves’ follow up to Dawn, War for the Planet of the Apes is the third (and we thought) final in that particular trilogy. When Caesar and the apes are forced into a conflict with an army of humans and ruthless Colonel. Caesar goes on a quest to avenge his family, a quest that brings him face to face with the Colonel that will determine their fate and the fate of the planet.

Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes may just be where this franchise reaches it’s peak in terms of imagery. There is a dark tint over the film that gives it an added edge. Reeves rounds off this trilogy in epic fashion, this is a film that will last the ages…even until the apes take over.


1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

This was Matt Reeves first entry into the apes franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes follows on from Caesar's rise. In the aftermath of a plague that is wiping humans out, a group of scientists struggle to stay alive, while Caesar tries to maintain his dominance over his community of apes.

Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for myself tells the most interesting part of this overall story. Just after the rise of the apes, and the demise of the human race. This story creates tension between apes, humans and them both. The film elevates the story that came before it and sets the foundation for this wonderful trilogy to sit upon. One more thing…just go look at the cast, it’s fantastic.


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