‘Planet of the Apes’ Movies, Ranked

In 1963, French author Pierre Boulle, best known for his novel The Bridge over the River Kwai (1952), released a science fiction novel that would go on to launch one of Hollywood’s most enduring franchises.

That novel, Planet of the Apes, became a source of endless fascination, as it imagined a world in which apes were the dominant species and humans had been reduced to animals. There was and remains something both compelling and frightening about the idea that this species, which shares so many qualities with humanity, might one day evolve to usurp humans, regardless of how unrealistic and unscientific that notion ultimately is.

Although Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1968 adaptation, Planet of the Apes (1968), strayed far from Boulle’s novel, it became a cultural touchstone thanks to its nuclear war concerns and the iconic Rod Serling-penned twist. After nine movies, two television series, comic books, novels and video game spinoffs, the Apes franchise has held together strong over the decades and shows no signs of slowing down.

The release of the 10th film in the franchise, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which follows the rebooted continuity that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), brings further adventures in this strange, yet all-too familiar world. So, how does the latest entry compare to the others? Below, I rank the Planet of the Apes films as the series goes through evolution after evolution.


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