Every Muppets Movie Ranked From Worst To Best

Despite being a beloved movie franchise stretching back to 1976, not every film featuring The Muppets has been a critical or financial success – so which Muppets movie ranks best? Across a stellar 46-year run, The Muppets have inhabited diverse worlds, retold traditional tales, and spoofed popular stories and genres. With a witty writing team initially led by creator Jim Henson, these characters have indelibly found a way to capture hearts and minds through hilarious one-liners, absurd scenarios, and instantly loveable characters.

While Jim Henson will always be first remembered for creating The Muppets, he also achieved cultural highs during the 1980s with Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Akin to The Muppets, these other Henson stories are beginning to be remade, rebooted, and retold. In this way, there is a clear and continued demand for puppetry within film and television – when directed to success. In many ways, this demand can be traced back to The Muppets’ inception in 1955 – as highlighted by the creatures’ enduring imagery in popular culture.

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As a result, The Muppets have played a huge role in television and cinematic history. Yet while Henson’s Muppets have experienced a long period of television success, their theatrical releases have not always been received well by audiences and critics alike. In this way, The Muppets have shown how to make movies successfully but also what territory to avoid – as evidenced by some of their oft-maligned capers, such as their 2014 outing in Muppets Most Wanted. Here’s every Muppets movie ranked from worst to best.

8. Muppets Most Wanted


Placing at the bottom of the list of theatrical releases for The Muppets is Muppets Most Wanted. Being a sequel to a popular film, Muppets Most Wanted was already going to face higher scrutiny from critics and fans, with many enjoying the first iteration of the gang’s reboot. This film is proof that pulling in a wide range of celebrity cameos does not always work, however, whether these cameos are designed for plot or humor. By following similar plots to more successful Muppet adventures, this crime caper puts Kermit and Miss Piggy in the forefront, as usual, forcing the supporting Muppet cast into minimal screen time and occasional one-liners. As a result, Muppets Most Wanted struggles to find its emotional foothold, fails to have a cohesive narrative, and thus struggled commercially and critically upon release.


7. Muppets From Space


Promotional image of Muppets From Space

unlike Muppets Most Wanted, Muppets From Space is a fun and interesting adventure for the puppet cast – breaking the mold and allowing other Muppets the chance to share the limelight and lead the film. However, its main drawback is its length, with a hefty runtime of 87 minutes for a children’s movie that drags on far too long. Muppets From Space‘s core plot follows a disillusioned Gonzo realizing that he has never quite fit in with the Muppets, and while this leads to some very funny sketches, it also leaves the movie feeling like it could have been adapted into a short television special, like the recent Muppets Haunted Mansion on Disney+.


6. Muppet Treasure Island


Long John Silver with Sweetums and another pirate in Muppet Treasure Island

Muppet Treasure Island is the darkest and most linear of the Muppet feature films, with Tim Curry leading in his favorite acting role. The film is an almost beat-by-beat adaptation of Treasure Island and incorporates many of the twists and turns found in the original novel. However, because of its accuracy to the literature, the Muppets and, in turn, their songs feel incredibly out of place in this otherwise serious adventure.

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5. The Great Muppet Caper


This film deserves its spot in the middle of the list as a strong comedic outing for the Muppet characters and their human counterparts whilst also displaying some impressive early filmmaking techniques. The Great Muppet Caper continued the Muppets trend to spoof pop culture and dives into the popular rom-com genre of the late 80s/early 90s. However, with Jim Henson leading the show, the film is hefty on slapstick humor and one-liner set-ups, leaving much of the plot until the final act and making The Great Muppet Caper‘s runtime feel imbalanced as a result.


4. The Muppets Take Manhattan


Playing out almost identically to its prequel, The Muppets Take Manhattan replayed the working formula of keeping the gang together as they prepare for their next big show. This is a formula that the reboot film, The Muppets, also utilized – and while this can feel a little repetitive when watching, the film is still full of plenty of jokes and funny sequences, while also holding onto the emotional drive set up by the Muppet stresses. Another reason for the success of this film could be due to the involvement of the wider Muppet cast, utilizing more than just Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, and Fozzy – making it a worthy addition to the top half of the Muppets’ movie rankings.


3. The Muppet Movie


The Muppet Movie Poster Artwork 1979

The Muppets’ first venture remains one of the gang’s best. The Muppets, hot off of the small screen, were thrown together on a winding road trip highlighting the differences and obscurities of the characters in a positive light. The Muppet Movie utilizes cameos to great success, breaks the fourth wall often enough to engage with the audience, and establishes a strong origin story for this loveable cast of puppets. With a limited home release following The Muppets Showthis was one of the first universally available pieces of Muppets content and broke several puppetry conventions, such as Kermit riding a bike and showing his legs (contrasting with other puppet models of the time.)

2. The Muppets


Promotional Poster for The Muppets (2011) featuring the cast of characters

Reigniting a cast of dated and tired puppets, The Muppets was the successful reboot the Muppets needed in 2011. The film plays expertly on the heritage established by the Muppet legacy whilst dragging their dated jokes into the 21st century. Recruiting Flight of the Conchords‘ Brett McKenzie and Jemaine Clement team to support the songwriting team undoubtedly helped The Muppets‘ contemporary success, with the songs being catchy, funny, and emotional, all at the same time. With a wide variety of spot-on celebrity cameos and a heartfelt and emotional narrative, The Muppets gave this gang a second chance on the big (and small) screen and revitalized Henson’s beloved puppet troupe in the modern era.


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1. The Muppets Christmas Carol


Inevitably placing at the top of the list, The Muppets Christmas Carol has proven to be a timeless retelling of a Dickens classic whilst also showingcasing the very best that the Muppets have to offer. Taken out of their usual formulaic three-point narrative of trying to save the gang, the Muppets instead take on roles within Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The limelight is provided to a variety of the team at various points, with Gonzo and Rizzo an oddly inspired pair of narrators. While the film does rely on many slapstick moments and cheesy one-liners (that the cast is known for), it also leans heavily into the emotional acting of Michael Caine, as he plays Scrooge with powerful gravitas. As a result, The Muppets‘ entire ensemble of songs, actors, and plots here make The Muppets Christmas Carol their best venture on the big screen to date.

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