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(Photo by Warner Bros./ courtesy Everett Collection)

All King Kong Movies Ranked

Aaaaaand in this corner: The Eighth Wonder of the World! Since 1933, King Kong has shown just how big the movies can really get, starting with the iconic original and its legendary image of our misunderstood gorilla atop the Empire State Building swatting away pew-pewing biplanes. Like his monster brethren over at the Universal lot, Kong spawned a sequel: Son of Kong, released a mere nine months later.

The big ape has also gotten the reboot treatment multiple times. There was Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong, and a King Kong of the ’70s, which got a direct ’80s sequel: King Kong Lives, the worst-reviewed movie in the franchise.

2017’s Kong: Skull Island meant Kong officially stomping into the MonsterVerse ring, setting up a deathmatch for the ages in 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong. However, this isn’t the first time he’s limbered up against the lizard: 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla was the third movie in Toho’s kaiju franchise. A sequel, 1967’s King Kong Escapes, saw the big galoot wrestling with a giant robot version of himself.

And with the arrival of Godzilla vs. Kong, heralding a return to theaters after a world-devastating pandemic, we’re ranking all King Kong movies by Tomatometer! (And don’t forget to check out all Godzilla movies ranked!)

#9

King Kong Lives (1986)
0%

#9
Adjusted Score: 0.157%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Dino DeLaurentiis' sequel to his 1976 remake, Kong meets his ideal mate--a giant female gorilla. There's trouble in paradise,... [More]
Directed By: John Guillermin

#8

Son of Kong (1933)
42%

#8
Adjusted Score: 43.414%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This humorous sequel to King Kong tells of Carl Denham's return to Skull Island in hopes of finding a treasure... [More]
Directed By: Ernest B. Schoedsack

#7

King Kong (1976)
51%

#7
Adjusted Score: 55.004%
Critics Consensus: King Kong represents a significant visual upgrade over the original, but falls short of its classic predecessor in virtually every other respect.
Synopsis: Famed producer Dino De Laurentiis tries to steal the thunder from Jaws, then the top-grossing film of all-time, in this... [More]
Directed By: John Guillermin

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 51.649%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Boasting better than average special effects, this is a movie with all flash and little substance until the final scenes.... [More]

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 62.649%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this film, King Kong rescues an expedition from a dinosaur. He then falls in love with one of the... [More]

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 91.678%
Critics Consensus: Offering exhilarating eye candy, solid acting, and a fast-paced story, Kong: Skull Island earns its spot in the movie monster's mythos without ever matching up to the classic original.
Synopsis: Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures' "Kong: Skull Island" reimagines the origin of the mythic Kong in a compelling, original... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 90.13%
Critics Consensus: Delivering squarely on its title, Godzilla vs. Kong swats away character development and human drama to deliver all the spectacle you'd expect from giant monsters slugging it out.
Synopsis: In a time when monsters walk the Earth, humanity's fight for its future sets Godzilla and Kong on a collision... [More]
Directed By: Adam Wingard

#2

King Kong (2005)
84%

#2
Adjusted Score: 93.3%
Critics Consensus: Featuring state-of-the-art special effects, terrific performances, and a majestic sense of spectacle, Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong is a potent epic that's faithful to the spirit of the 1933 original.
Synopsis: One of the greatest adventure stories in Hollywood history gets a new interpretation in this action drama from Academy Award-winning... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#1

King Kong (1933)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 110.077%
Critics Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.
Synopsis: "How would you like to star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood?" Enticed by these words, brunette leading... [More]

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