(Photo by 20th Century Studios / courtesy Everett Collection)

Planet of the Apes Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

When it comes to Apes, the Planet doesn’t turn, it twists. That’s because the reveal at the end of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes is one of those iconic shots from movie history, known and parodied the world over, guaranteeing you’d never look at a 150-foot woman the same way ever again. With the Planet producers predicting nothing topping that twist, for the sequels they went for more lore. Maybe a time paradox or two.

“What if the first movie was just scratching the surface?” asked Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

The next sequel, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, transported the series to contemporary time: 1973. So if you wanted to watch the original series in story-chronological order, you’ll want to start with Escape, and then follow it with the final two sequels, 1972’s Conquest and 1973’s Battle. This trilogy is all set before the original duology’s timeline.

In 2001, a reboot was launched. It did its own thing (actually, it adapted more of the Pierre Boulle novel than the original movie), it didn’t carry on after that, but it did mark the end of the original Tim Burton weird era.

A new series and continuity began in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which takes a ground-level look at the eventual ape uprising. The film’s serious tone and exemplary special effects were polished further for 2014’s Dawn and 2017’s War. All together, not only was the reboot run a success, but represents a rare trilogy where critical reception kept improving upon the last.

With War making significantly less money than Dawn, and the story relatively concluded, 20th Century Studios let the series go underground again. But it’s back after seven years with Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, set many generations after War where humans have regressed to a primitive state, clubbing predators with fax machines and subsisting off natural springs of Crystal Pepsi.

And now we’re ranking every Planet of the Apes movie by Tomatometer!

Adjusted Score: 114291%
Critics Consensus: War for the Planet of the Apes combines breathtaking special effects and a powerful, poignant narrative to conclude this rebooted trilogy on a powerful -- and truly blockbuster -- note.
Synopsis: Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

Adjusted Score: 106364%
Critics Consensus: With intelligence and emotional resonance to match its stunning special effects, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes expands on its predecessor with an exciting and ambitious burst of sci-fi achievement.
Synopsis: Ten years after simian flu wiped out much of the world's homosapiens, genetically enhanced chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

Adjusted Score: 98381%
Critics Consensus: Planet of the Apes raises thought-provoking questions about our culture without letting social commentary get in the way of the drama and action.
Synopsis: Complex sociological themes run through this science-fiction classic about three astronauts marooned on a futuristic planet where apes rule and... [More]
Directed By: Franklin J. Schaffner

Adjusted Score: 93058%
Critics Consensus: Led by Rupert Wyatt's stylish direction, some impressive special effects, and a mesmerizing performance by Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes breathes unlikely new life into a long-running franchise.
Synopsis: Will Rodman (James Franco), a scientist in San Francisco, is experimenting with a drug that he hopes will cure his... [More]
Directed By: Rupert Wyatt

Adjusted Score: 101417%
Critics Consensus: Carving out a new era for The Planet of the Apes with lovable characters and rich visuals, Kingdom doesn't take the crown as best of the franchise but handily justifies its continued reign.
Synopsis: Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar's reign,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Ball

Adjusted Score: 78792%
Critics Consensus: One of the better Planet of the Apes sequels, Escape is more character-driven than the previous films, and more touching as a result.
Synopsis: In this second sequel to "Planet of the Apes," three apes flee their world before it's destroyed, and travel back... [More]
Directed By: Don Taylor

Adjusted Score: 54557%
Critics Consensus: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is as angry and relevant as any of its predecessors, but budget constraints and a stale script rob this revolution of the scope it requires.
Synopsis: In this third sequel to "Planet of the Apes," the apes turn the tables on the human Earth population when... [More]
Directed By: J. Lee Thompson

Adjusted Score: 50242%
Critics Consensus: This remake of Planet of the Apes can't compare to the original in some critics' mind, but the striking visuals and B-movie charms may win you over.
Synopsis: Director Tim Burton ("Batman") reinvents one of the most acclaimed and beloved works of science fiction, Pierre Boulle's classic novel... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

Adjusted Score: 40560%
Critics Consensus: Beneath the Planet of the Apes delivers more action than its predecessor -- unfortunately, at the expense of the social subtext that elevates the franchise's best entries.
Synopsis: The second installment in "The Planet of the Apes" series. Here, an earthling sent to find the astronauts of the... [More]
Directed By: Ted Post

Adjusted Score: 38253%
Critics Consensus: Bereft of bright ideas and visually shabby, Battle for the Planet of the Apes takes a celebrated franchise and blows it all up -- the maniacs!
Synopsis: "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" is the final chapter in the sci-fi movie series. In this chapter, a... [More]
Directed By: J. Lee Thompson