(Photo by Columbia)

Ghostbusters Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Let’s rank the Ghostbusters movies by Tomatometer, starting with the 1980s decade-defining original. The 1984 Ghostbusters took a bunch of SNL (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd) and SCTV alums (Rick Moranis, Harold Ramis) and threw them against a city-wide infestation of ghouls and ghosts, with director Ivan Reitman letting it all play out with working class sincerity, the occasional sarcasm, and one big gooey finish.

Ghostbusters II brought back the whole cast and crew, but got slimed by diminishing sequel returns and remains the lowest-rated in the franchise. With that movie already demonstrating the pratfalls of pleasing die-hard fans, it seemed liked director Paul Feig pulled it off when he applied the same SNL casting (this time Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones) for a Certified Fresh reboot. The negative audience reaction, however, will always make the 2016’s ranking controversial.

For Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the franchise seemingly course-corrected with a nostalgia-driven sequel that continues the original story, directed by Reitman’s son, Jason. Critics were fine with it, and audiences approved. This 2021 film stars Paul Rudd, Mckenna Grace, and Finn Wolfhard, who will be joined by OGs Murray, Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts in the sequel Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, which brings the ‘bustin back to New York City.


Ghostbusters (1984)

Adjusted Score: 102197%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman


Ghostbusters (2016)

Adjusted Score: 93092%
Critics Consensus: Ghostbusters does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy -- even if it can't help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.
Synopsis: Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

Adjusted Score: 79586%
Critics Consensus: Ghostbusters: Afterlife crosses the streams between franchise revival and exercise in nostalgia -- and this time around, the bustin' mostly feels good.
Synopsis: In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, when a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover... [More]
Directed By: Jason Reitman


Ghostbusters II (1989)

Adjusted Score: 58081%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the cast, Ghostbusters 2 is reasonably amusing, but it lacks the charm, wit, and energy of its predecessor.
Synopsis: After saving New York City from a ghost attack, the Ghostbusters -- a team of spirit exterminators -- is disbanded... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

Adjusted Score: 64834%
Critics Consensus: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire offers a certain amount of nostalgia-fueled fun for fans of the original, but a crowded cast and surprisingly serious tone prevent this sequel from truly sparking.
Synopsis: In Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the Spengler family returns to where it all started -- the iconic New York City firehouse... [More]
Directed By: Gil Kenan