Great Ape

All 8 King Kong movies, ranked from worst to best

It’s good to be the king.

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King Kong may not actually be King of the Monsters, but he’s still one of the most recognizable kaiju. While Godzilla has more films under his belt, the (much shorter) Kong filmography has some heavy hitters as well.

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Here’s every King Kong movie, ranked from worst to best.

8. King Kong Lives (1986)

There’s only one way to describe King Kong Lives: bad, and not in a fun way. It’s one of the dullest movies ever made, despite the seemingly fun premise of Kong wooing a giant female gorilla and going to town on the military.

7. Son of Kong (1933)

For a movie rushed to release in just nine months, Son of Kong could be worse. The stop-motion animation still looks great, but Kong doesn’t even appear in the movie, and his son simply can’t fill his gigantic shoes.

6. King Kong (1976)

The 1976 King Kong isn’t bad, but it’s the definition of an unnecessary reboot. This retread adds nothing but updated special effects, which have arguably aged worse than the original’s in some spots.

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5. King Kong Escapes (1967)

Co-produced by Godzilla creator Toho, King Kong Escapes ends in a battle between Kong and a mad scientist’s robotic replica, Mechani-Kong. If that doesn’t convince you to watch it, nothing will.

4. King Kong (2005)

Peter Jackson’s 2005 reboot is far more successful than the ‘70s attempt, largely thanks to a great cast and stunning special effects. Still, it feels a bit bloated, especially next to the bombastic Skull Island.

3. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)

The ultimate heavyweight match has two versions — with American and Japanese casts — but no alternate ending, despite a popular myth. Whichever you watch, it’s an all-time kaiju classic and a great opening act for Godzilla vs. Kong.

2. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Yet another reboot, Skull Island is pure carnage. With shockingly violent kaiju battles and an incredible cast, Skull Island strikes a perfect balance of intensity and complete self-awareness.

1. King Kong (1933)

Its special effects may have aged from groundbreaking to charming, but the movie itself is still thrilling today. King Kong is hands down one of the most iconic films of all time, and one you owe it to yourself to check out.

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