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From Francis Ford Coppola to Edgar Wright, countless filmmakers have found inspiration in the trilogy. No matter how artistic or lowbrow, three movies just seems to be the ideal length for a series. Some trilogies are universally considered to be masterpieces, with a trio of films serving as the beginning, middle, and end of a coherent story. Others are less acclaimed, with certain entries sparking the ire of diehard fans. But those can be fun to own too! Sometimes the arguments that movies start can be more fun than the films themselves. Either way, picking up a great film trilogy on Blu-ray is a great way to expand your collection without committing to a more expensive box set. We’ve narrowed down 10 must-own trilogies to buy. See our list below and for more recommended box sets, check out these Oscar-winning films.
There’s no way around it. Coppola’s iconic mafia trilogy is simply one of the best works of cinema ever made. The sweeping story of the Corleone family remains one of the most captivating stories of ambition, family, and loyalty.
Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series remains a stunning visual achievement, and seemingly paved the way for “Game of Thrones” by taking high fantasy into the mainstream. Even after dozens of viewings, new details constantly appear in these films. Getting the extended edition on Blu-ray ensures that you can fully appreciate the work that the creative team put into them.
One of the rare trilogies without an entry that bitterly divides fans, the “Back to the Future” movies remain as compulsively watchable as ever. Robert Zemeckis’ trilogy of time travel comedies manages to bring something new to the table, with each film anchored by the charisma of Michael J. Fox. If you’re looking for pure Hollywood fun, it doesn’t get better than this.
It is hard to think of a film trilogy that makes better use of the format than Richard Linklater’s “Before” movies. The love story between Julie Delpy’s Celine and Ethan Hawke’s Jesse, told through three days of their lives, manages to tell a more complete story than many biopics. The films are a tribute to spontaneity and the importance of small moments in our lives, as well as a brutally honest commentary on impermanence and the inevitable passage of time. If you like Criterion’s presentation of the trilogy, check out more of their box sets here.
Before Clint Eastwood returns to the Western genre in this fall’s “Cry Macho,” check out the role that made him an icon. Sergio Leone’s iconic series of Spaghetti Westerns pushed the genre to new heights, borrowing heavily from Japanese cinema while introducing a level of stylized violence that continues to influence filmmakers to this day.
Satyajit Ray, who would have turned 100 over the weekend, is a giant of international cinema. The Indian filmmaker has influenced everyone from Martin Scorsese to Wes Anderson, and “The Apu Trilogy” is widely regarded as his best work. “Pather Panchali,” “Aparajito,” and “Apur Sansar” tell the coming-of-age story of a young Indian man, and the artful tone helped usher in the era of New Indian Cinema. Akira Kurosawa said that not seeing Ray’s movies was like “existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.
Filmmakers treating comic books like serious literature is almost a cliche, but it was nothing short of groundbreaking when Christopher Nolan tried it. His dark reimagining of “Batman,” starring Christian Bale in the cape and cowl, paved the way for many of the superhero movies we enjoy today. But while many have copied Nolan, none have surpassed him. His three “Batman” movies are simply fantastic cinema, and this 4K box set is the best way to experience them at home.
Krzysztof Kieślowski’s trilogy of movies are named after the three colors of the French flag, with each film representing a pillar of France’s motto: liberty, equality, and fraternity. The films rely on color to examine universal themes that follow us throughout our entire lives, and they continue to be relevant far beyond France.
This one is almost obligatory. George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” trilogy changed cinema forever, and created one of the most iconic brands in all of entertainment. While there have been plenty of spinoffs, sequels, and prequels, nothing touches the original trilogy. If you don’t own these yet, rectify that immediately.
“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “The World’s End” are only connected through the presence of Cornetto ice cream, but they still comprise one of the best film trilogies in recent memory. Each of the three Edgar Wright films stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who prove themselves to be a formidable comedic duo in a variety of genres. The jokes come a mile a minute in these densely clever films, so it’s impossible to pick up everything in one viewing.