Good Third movies in a series

Christopher Nolan has been talking about doing a third Batman movie. His point is quite good. Third movies are rarely very good in a series. Of course, he also points out that sequels often suck.

Nolan’s Comments

Anyway, what third movies in a series are the best, or at least equal to the two that preceded them?

I’ll start:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Yes, I just lost credibility with some of you. My wife and I love this movie, though. Actually, it’s our favorite in the trilogy(there is no fourth one). :wink:

Return of the King: Easiest of the series to write and make. All the climaxes and conclusions are in this movie, and all are great. I actually think the Two Towers extended cut is the best movie of the three, though. This nearly equals it.

Goldfinger: The first, and one of the only, genuinely good Bond movies. It happens to be the third one made, at least starting with Dr. No. More of a coincidence than anything else, though. James Bond films are never(until Quantam of Solace) direct sequels.

What else?


Quatermass and the Pit, released in the US under the confusing title Twenty Million years to Earth* – arguably the best of the Quatermass film adaptations, it had the first Quatermass who sounded British , and was in color. Good, cerebral science fiction, with some interesting similarities to 2001, which came out the same year.
I’m surprised you didn’t include Return of the Jedi – certainly the third film of the original trilogy was good.

*It almost seems as if they wanted to be confused with the Harryhausen film Twenty Million Miles to Earth.

Maybe compared with the second three, but I think that ROTJ is clearly the worst one of the original trilogy. I rate them V, IV, VI.

Die Hard with a Vengance
This might be my favorite Die Hard movie. It’s set in New York, and I love it when movies are set somewhere distinctive.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
I think this is a perfectly apt addition to the series. Nothing wrong with that choice at all, IMO

That’s really all I have at the moment. I dunno, most movies that have three sequels are usually not that great. I’d almost mention Back to the Future III but it’s my least favorite of the series. But it is indeed interesting.

The Bourne Ultimatum was my favorite of the three. It is 111 minutes of pure adrenaline. It also has a terrific ending.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is in my opinion anyhow, far and away the best in the ‘Dollars’ trilogy.

to keep to the star wars theme, episode 3 was easily the best of the prequels!

should trilogies count though? since all three would be written with each other in mind.

I can’t keep the Saws straight. Was Saw 3 a good one?

It may not be as good as the first installment, but I think Back to the Future III is a good movie and one I’d much rather sit through over Jedi or Crusade.

Oh, and here’s my previous post on why Jurassic Park 3 is the best installment of that series.

Friday the 13th, Part III was the best entry in that series - 'cause it was in 3D! All that bloody gore, spraying off the screen and hurling at you. Fun.

The Godfather Part III is a good movie, even though it’s not a patch on the previous two installments.


Yeah, Saw 3 is probably the best of the Saw movies. Saw is kind of weird and has too much going on and Saw 2 is just horrible and abandons the series’ signature gimmick for no real reason. Haven’t seen 5 yet.

Agreed also on Friday the 13th pt. 3 - that’s the first F13 movie to give us Jason’s signature hockey mask look.

Day of the Dead isn’t as good as its predecessors, but it’s still a good movie.

John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness is the third in his “Apocalypse” trilogy (The Thing, Prince of Darkness, In The Mouth of Madness) and is, IMO, a pretty dang good horror movie.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite of the series so far.

Ginger Snaps 3 is a pretty good one, too.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. I think it was Ebert’s review at the time that said third movies aren’t usually very good because they just coast on the first two and don’t have anything new. This one did; the whole bit with Bartertown as a primitive society starting to catch on again.

I liked Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I realize this is the second movie in the Star Trek franchise for a lot of fans. Deal.

The series was starting to lose steam, and, evidently, its budget as well, but I thought Tremors 3 was a good entry in the series. They managed to keep things original, and interesting.

I can’t believe I forgot that one. I agree; it’s the best one in the series so far. Actually, it saved the series. It changed Christopher Columbus’ vision, which was far too bright and cheery and set up the rest of the series to be darker.

Army of Darkness!

Oh yeah, that’s the best one.


Seconded. Someday, I’d love for someone to explain why so many people don’t like this one but love IV, which annoyed me beginning to end. De gustibus non disputandum, though, right? :stuck_out_tongue: