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The Best Third Films In A Movie Series

Updated March 9, 2020 26.1k votes 2.5k voters 65.3k views102 items

List RulesOnly movies that have been released count, not future installments of franchises

Threequel: the third (and often final) movie in a series. A third film that follows the original and the sequel. With the newly released Iron Man 3 tearing up the foreign and domestic box office, it's a good time to look at other movie threequels and see how they stack up against each other. Many of the best movies of all time are part of a series of movies that make up the best movie franchises ever. While many of these are the third installment in a movie trilogy, more still are part of ongoing series or much longer movie series like Harry Potter and Star Wars

Iron Man isn't the only franchise to produce a critically lauded and financially successful third movie, but it is faring particularly well compared to some of the other entries in the third film of the movie franchise. For ever Dark Knight Rises there's a Superman III, Godfather 3, and Spiderman 3. Perish the thought.

What are the best third films ever? What movie series have the best film threequels? This greatest third movie in a series list is here to let movie fans decide which third entries in a movie franchise are the best and the worst movies compared to each other. If your favorite threequel isn't on the list of the best threequels ever, make sure to throw it in the mix. Your third movie in a film franchise can't be much worse than Red Dragon, right? 

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  • 1
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
    1,082
    347

    Released2003

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy drama film directed by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 2
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    703
    214

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Harrison Ford, Sean Connery

    Released1989

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 3
    Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
    996
    352

    Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1983

    Directed byRichard Marquand

    Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space opera film directed... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 4
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    645
    208

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach

    Released1966

    Directed bySergio Leone

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti Western film directed by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 5
    Toy Story 3
    876
    320

    Toy Story 3

    Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released2010

    Directed byLee Unkrich

    Toy Story 3 is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated comedy film, and the third film in the Toy... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 6
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    689
    282

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe

    Released2004

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 7
    The Dark Knight Rises
    1,019
    482

    The Dark Knight Rises

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine

    Released2012

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

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  • 8
    Die Hard with a Vengeance
    521
    285

    Die Hard with a Vengeance

    Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1995

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

    This film is a 1995 American action film and the third in the film series. It was produced and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
    355
    126

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chevy Chase

    Released1989

    Directed byJeremiah S. Chechik

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  • 10
    Goldfinger
    391
    223

    Goldfinger

    Sean Connery, Honor Blackman

    Released1964

    Directed byGuy Hamilton

    Goldfinger is the third film in the James Bond series and the third to star Sean Connery as... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 11
    Skyfall
    321
    108

    Skyfall

    Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes

    Released2012

    Directed bySam Mendes

    Skyfall is the twenty-third James Bond film produced by Eon Productions. It features Daniel... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 12
    Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    594
    429

    Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

    Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor

    Released2005

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

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  • 13
    Army of Darkness
    427
    217

    Army of Darkness

    Bridget Fonda, Bruce Campbell

    Released1992

    Directed bySam Raimi

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  • 14
    The Bourne Ultimatum
    475
    280

    The Bourne Ultimatum

    Matt Damon, Julia Stiles

    Released2007

    Directed byPaul Greengrass

    The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 15
    Rocky III
    334
    227

    Rocky III

    Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire

    Released1982

    Directed bySylvester Stallone

    Rocky III is a 1982 American sports drama film directed by Sylvester Stallone, and the third... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    Back to the Future Part III
    504
    376

    Back to the Future Part III

    Michael J. Fox, Elisabeth Shue

    Released1990

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Back to the Future Part III is a 1990 American science fiction Western film. It is the third... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 17
    Mission: Impossible III
    300
    267

    Mission: Impossible III

    Maggie Q, Keri Russell

    Released2006

    Directed byJ.J. Abrams

    Mission: Impossible III (stylized as M:i:III) is a 2006 American action spy film directed by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 18
    Lethal Weapon 3
    270
    249

    Lethal Weapon 3

    Mel Gibson, Joe Pesci

    Released1992

    Directed byRichard Donner

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  • 19
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
    210
    221

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1987

    Directed byChuck Russell

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  • 20
    Thor: Ragnarok
    413
    40

    Thor: Ragnarok

    Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston

    Released2017

    Directed byTaika Waititi

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  • 21
    Clear and Present Danger
    145
    93

    Clear and Present Danger

    Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe

    Released1994

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

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  • 22
    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
    305
    338

    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

    Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley

    Released2007

    Directed byGore Verbinski

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  • 23
    Iron Man 3
    311
    293

    Iron Man 3

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr.

    Released2013

    Directed byShane Black

    Iron Man 3 is a 2013 superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, produced... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • 24
    Men in Black 3
    254
    310

    Men in Black 3

    Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber

    Released2012

    Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld

    Men in Black 3 is a 2012 American 3D comic science fiction-action film directed by Barry... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 25
    Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
    179
    227

    Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

    Tina Turner, Mel Gibson

    Released1985

    Directed byGeorge Ogilvie, George Miller

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