The best and worst third films in trilogies

All good things must come to an end. All bad things must also come to an end. Basically, everything ends. Except the board game Monopoly. It goes on forever.

The more sequels and trilogies Hollywood makes, the clearer and clearer it becomes how difficult a task it is to end a long-term story in a satisfying way. For proof, check out our lists below of the best and worst third films in film trilogies. Filling up the worst list was easy! There were many potential candidates. It was much more difficult to fill in the best – because it is also difficult to make a really good third film in a trilogy.

Note that we only considered “trilogies” where there was a clearly defined trio of films that could best be understood together. If a franchise spawned one sequel after another, you could technically pick any three consecutive titles and call them a trilogy. But it felt like cheating. For example, some might argue that Gold finger is the end of the first trilogy of James Bond films to follow Dr. None and With kind regards from Russia. If so, it’s a great third film in a trilogy. But Bond’s producers intended the series to be open-ended; the fourth 007 film, Thunderballwas released just 14 months later Gold finger. On the other hand, there are some franchises – such as Star warsthat have clear trilogies, even if they lasted more than three films, so it felt appropriate to include them.

So that was our criteria. And here are our picks.

The best third films in film trilogies

These films accomplished the difficult task of ending a great trilogy in excellent fashion.

The worst third films in film trilogies

For some reason, it is very difficult to reach the finale of a film trilogy. And here is the proof.

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