Every ‘Planet of the Apes’ Film Ranked, from the 1968 Original to ‘Kingdom’

Has another sci-fi series ever explored the folly of intelligent thought as thoroughly, devastatingly, and colorfully as “The Planet of the Apes”? We here at IndieWire think not. With a now whopping 10 installments within the franchise and countless derivative work adding to the lore, “Planet of the Apes” stands in a league all its own and prides itself on an ability to constantly evolve (see what we did there?).

The concept for the series was first conceived in 1963 in French author Pierre Boulle’s novel “La Planète des singes,” which translates to “Planet of the Apes” or “Monkey Planet.” Sadly, American producer Arthur P. Jacobs chose to go with the former translation when making his film adaptation. Despite this, the 1968 Charlton Heston- starring original “Planet of the Apes” was a huge success, launching multiple sequels that deftly dive into moral and ethical conversations surrounding modern day issues of the time ranging from the cost of nuclear war to the rights of government over people’s bodies. Along with the canonical films, there have also been books, comics, and countless merchandise spawning from the original series alone.

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Decades after the last film in the original series was released in 1973 and following a widely panned Tim Burton remake of the first film in 2001, a reboot series was launched by 20th Century Fox, the rights owners of the material, in 2011. Starting with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” the reboots have been hailed for their use of cutting-edge motion capture technology, led by expert Andy Serkis, who helped create the practice and acting technique behind it with his role as Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” series. Elevating the visual scale, the reboots ground the narrative in an all-too-possible reality that speaks to the current chaos of our shifting world, while still honoring the thematic heft of its forebears. Like the originals, the reboots care about crafting a message as much as they do a kick-ass action sequence.

In honor of the latest film in the series, “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” entering theaters this weekend, IndieWire has ranked all the films produced below.

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