The Best Alien Trilogy Movies From Worst To Best – Ranked

The grand-daddy of modern sci-fi films, the Alien trilogy is a franchise that is full of iconic set pieces and vivid imagery. It also contains stories that are guaranteed to both scare and enchant the audience as they witness the adventures of Ellen Ripley, one of the most iconic sci-fi action heroines of all time. Spanning from 1979 to 1992, the trilogy inspired later films and remains a touchstone of popular culture. Although I wish that I could rank the films equally, this list calls for a top 3 ranked, so I will comply. Without further ado, here are the Alien trilogy movies ranked.

3. Alien 3 (1992)

The third and final film in the trilogy is also the worst undoubtedly. In it, protagonist Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crash lands on a penal colony of violent inmates. When a horde of, you guessed it, aliens arrive to wreak havoc, Ripley has to save the day once again. Can she succeed, or will the aliens have their way?

Alien 3 doesn’t work on any level and it’s easy to see why. Everything about the film feels repetitive, from the plot, to the main conflict, to the lessons the characters learn. One can only do so much with the premise before it begins to feel stale and it’s clear that this film didn’t get the memo in that regard. In short, Alien 3 earns the dubious distinction of being the lowest rated film on this list.

2. Alien (1979)

The first film in the series, Alien establishes the key beats of the series magnificently. Set aboard the Nostromo in the future, the film concerns the exploits of a motley crew as they receive unwanted visitors aboard their craft. When said visitor begins to cause utter chaos, action must be taken. Can the crew take back their ship?

The only film of the series to have horror undertones, Alien is gripping, thrilling tale that uses our sense of fear to magnificent effect. The dread that mounts as the audience is forced to confront the titular extraterrestrials adds to the tension in ways that unnerve and horrify on many levels. With its well-crafted set pieces and atmospheric depiction of space, Alien is a surefire classic.

1. Aliens (1986)

After 7 years without a sequel, it was unclear if the Alien series was set to continue or fizzle out. Eventually, it was announced that there WOULD be a sequel, but without director Ridley Scott’s involvement? It may sound as if the project was doomed, but when auteur James Cameron decided to take up the project, all was not lost. In fact, NOTHING was lost.

Set 57 years after the first film, Ellen Ripley must work with a group of ragtag combatants to handle another alien problem. Along the way, she meets a girl who dubs herself Newt, who offers to assist the crew. Can this mismatched team save the day?

Without question, Aliens is the best film in the franchise. It contains the right combination of character development and stunning action sequences, as well as sets that are unmatched in terms of their visual mastery. As such, it reigns king of the franchise.

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