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Quentin Tarantino first cast Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (1994), but it was the sword-wielding heroine The Bride that brought her a lead role. Kill Bill was shot all at once, but when the runtime came in at more than four hours, the film was broken into two parts. Thus, Kill Bill Vol. 2 became a memorable sequel with a buried-alive scene amid a story thats equal parts martial arts and spaghetti western.

Quentin Tarantino first cast Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction" (1994), but it was the sword-wielding heroine The Bride that brought her a lead role. "Kill Bill" was shot all at once, but when the runtime came in at more than four hours, the film was broken into two parts. Thus, "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" became a memorable sequel with a buried-alive scene amid a story that's equal parts martial arts and spaghetti western.
After the original Shrek won the first-ever Oscar for Best Animated Film, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz returned for Dreamworks smash sequel. Shrek 2 featured an Oscar-nominated song (Accidentally in Love), gave the Gingerbread Man more screen time and introduced a hit new character -- Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas. To this day, it remains the 32nd highest-grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation).

After the original "Shrek" won the first-ever Oscar for Best Animated Film, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz returned for Dreamworks' smash sequel. "Shrek 2" featured an Oscar-nominated song ("Accidentally in Love"), gave the Gingerbread Man more screen time and introduced a hit new character -- Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas. To this day, it remains the 32nd highest-grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation).
Clint Eastwood introduced the world to his San Francisco vigilante in Don Siegels Dirty Harry (1971), saying, You gotta ask yourself one question, Do I feel lucky Well do ya, punk After two sequels, Magnum Force and The Enforcer, Eastwood grabbed the directing reins for the fourth installment, Sudden Impact (1983), where he first uttered the famous line, Go ahead, make my day, later quoted by President Reagan himself. Talk about sudden pop-culture impact.

Clint Eastwood introduced the world to his San Francisco vigilante in Don Siegel's "Dirty Harry" (1971), saying, "You gotta ask yourself one question, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punk?" After two sequels, "Magnum Force" and "The Enforcer," Eastwood grabbed the directing reins for the fourth installment, "Sudden Impact" (1983), where he first uttered the famous line, "Go ahead, make my day," later quoted by President Reagan himself. Talk about sudden pop-culture impact.
You might think of sequels as a relatively recent phenomenon, but they date back almost as far as cinema itself. William Powell and Myrna Loy scored such a hit as Nick and Nora Charles in W.S. Van Dykes comedymystery The Thin Man (1934) that they returned with their dog Asta for After the Thin Man. The script earned an Oscar nomination for Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, who would 10 years later collaborate on Its a Wonderful Life (1946).

You might think of sequels as a relatively recent phenomenon, but they date back almost as far as cinema itself. William Powell and Myrna Loy scored such a hit as Nick and Nora Charles in W.S. Van Dyke's comedy/mystery "The Thin Man" (1934) that they returned with their dog Asta for "After the Thin Man." The script earned an Oscar nomination for Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, who would 10 years later collaborate on "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946).
The original Rocky (1976) stands head and shoulders over the rest of the series as the only Best Picture winner. While Survivors Eye of the Tiger seems like its always been a part of The Italian Stallion, the song actually didnt arrive until Part III. We also have Rocky III to thank for Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips in an exhibition fight, Mr. T as Clubber Lang handing Rocky is first knockout defeat, Mickey taking his last breath, Rocky finally befriending his former foe Apollo Creed, Rocky and Adrian living a new life of luxury, and the city of Philadelphia unveiling the Rocky statue, which still stands atop those famous steps in real life.

The original "Rocky" (1976) stands head and shoulders over the rest of the series as the only Best Picture winner. While Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" seems like it's always been a part of The Italian Stallion, the song actually didn't arrive until Part III. We also have "Rocky III" to thank for Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips in an exhibition fight, Mr. T as Clubber Lang handing Rocky is first knockout defeat, Mickey taking his last breath, Rocky finally befriending his former foe Apollo Creed, Rocky and Adrian living a new life of luxury, and the city of Philadelphia unveiling the Rocky statue, which still stands atop those famous steps in real life.
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Gene Roddenberrys TV show made household names of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, but the first film, Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979), was forgettable, except for Jerry Goldsmiths legendary score. Star Trek II turned things around with Ricardo Montalbans villain Khan and the infamous death of Spock, who told Captain Kirk through the glass, The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The sequel provided hope for future second installments Star Trek First Contact (1996) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).

Gene Roddenberry's TV show made household names of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, but the first film, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), was forgettable, except for Jerry Goldsmith's legendary score. "Star Trek II" turned things around with Ricardo Montalban's villain Khan and the infamous death of Spock, who told Captain Kirk through the glass, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." The sequel provided hope for future second installments "Star Trek: First Contact" (1996) and "Star Trek: Into Darkness" (2013).
After Marvels Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011) and Captain America (2011), The Avengers assembled Robert Downey Jr. as tech playboy Tony StarkIron Man, Chris Evans as the patriotic Steve RogersCaptain America, Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding Thor and Mark Ruffalo as the short-tempered Hulk. Together, they combined for the top grossing movie of 2012 and No. 27 all-time (adjusted for inflation). The Avengers concept revolutionized the idea of how to roll out franchises, for better or worse.

After Marvel's "Iron Man (2008), "The Incredible Hulk" (2008), "Thor" (2011) and "Captain America" (2011), "The Avengers" assembled Robert Downey Jr. as tech playboy Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as the patriotic Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding Thor and Mark Ruffalo as the short-tempered Hulk. Together, they combined for the top grossing movie of 2012 and No. 27 all-time (adjusted for inflation). "The Avengers" concept revolutionized the idea of how to roll out franchises, for better or worse.
Sam Raimis Spider-Man (2002) introduced Spidey to a new generation, but Spider-Man 2 was clearly the best in the trilogy, as Oscar-winning effects created a memorable Doc Ock villain James Franco found the Green Goblin gear of his dad Willem Dafoe and Kirsten Dunst ditched her wedding to tell Tobey Maguire her true feelings.

Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" (2002) introduced Spidey to a new generation, but "Spider-Man 2" was clearly the best in the trilogy, as Oscar-winning effects created a memorable Doc Ock villain; James Franco found the Green Goblin gear of his dad Willem Dafoe; and Kirsten Dunst ditched her wedding to tell Tobey Maguire her true feelings.
Mel Gibsons career was born with George Millers Australian action classic Mad Max (1979). But the second installment topped it with Max Max 2 The Road Warrior (1982), casting Gibson as a drifter helping a community escape bandits in an apocalyptic future. Gibson later proved his sequel chops with the incredibly successful Lethal Weapon series.

Mel Gibson's career was born with George Miller's Australian action classic "Mad Max" (1979). But the second installment topped it with "Max Max 2: The Road Warrior" (1982), casting Gibson as a drifter helping a community escape bandits in an apocalyptic future. Gibson later proved his sequel chops with the incredibly successful "Lethal Weapon" series.
With the exception of Mel Brooks, few filmmakers have nailed spoof comedy like Jay Roach did for James Bond in the Austin Powers franchise. How quickly we forget that two of the most famous characters didnt arrive until the second installment, The Spy Who Shagged Me, which introduced the world to both Fat Bastard and Mini Me, while popularizing the phrase mojo. The original film, Austin Powers International Man of Mystery (1997), remains the best in the series, but The Spy Who Shagged Me is about as good as comedy sequels get.

With the exception of Mel Brooks, few filmmakers have nailed spoof comedy like Jay Roach did for James Bond in the "Austin Powers" franchise. How quickly we forget that two of the most famous characters didn't arrive until the second installment, "The Spy Who Shagged Me," which introduced the world to both Fat Bastard and Mini Me, while popularizing the phrase "mojo." The original film, "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997), remains the best in the series, but "The Spy Who Shagged Me" is about as good as comedy sequels get.
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Before directing Children of Men (2006) and winning the Oscar for Gravity (2013), Alfonso Cuaron took the Harry Potter reins from Christopher Columbus -- and the series was all the better for it. The Prisoner of Azkaban is widely viewed as the best film version of J.K. Rowlings book series, particularly for the introduction of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman).

Before directing "Children of Men" (2006) and winning the Oscar for "Gravity" (2013), Alfonso Cuaron took the "Harry Potter" reins from Christopher Columbus -- and the series was all the better for it. "The Prisoner of Azkaban" is widely viewed as the best film version of J.K. Rowling's book series, particularly for the introduction of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman).
Richard Linklaters Before trilogy remains one of the most fascinating experiments in movie history. He follows the same actors (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) playing the same characters (Jesse and Celine) in nine-year increments, starting with them in their 20s in Before Sunrise (1995), their 30s in Before Sunset (2004) and their 40s in Before Midnight (2013). The franchise just keeps getting better, with the third installment ending in a master class of arguing couples. Is it 2022 yet

Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy remains one of the most fascinating experiments in movie history. He follows the same actors (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) playing the same characters (Jesse and Celine) in nine-year increments, starting with them in their 20s in "Before Sunrise" (1995), their 30s in "Before Sunset" (2004) and their 40s in "Before Midnight" (2013). The franchise just keeps getting better, with the third installment ending in a master class of arguing couples. Is it 2022 yet?
Martin Scorsese has made some of the most legendary films of all time, from Mean Streets (1973) to Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) to GoodFellas (1990), Casino (1995) to The Departed (2006). So leave it to Marty to convince Paul Newman to reprise his role from The Hustler (1961) as pool shark Fast Eddie Felson. This time its 25 years later, teaching a young protege, played by Tom Cruise the same year as Top Gun (1986). The role finally won Newman his long-overdue Oscar and inspired viewers everywhere to chalk up the nearest pool cue.

Martin Scorsese has made some of the most legendary films of all time, from "Mean Streets" (1973) to "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Raging Bull" (1980) to "GoodFellas" (1990), "Casino" (1995) to "The Departed" (2006). So leave it to Marty to convince Paul Newman to reprise his role from "The Hustler" (1961) as pool shark Fast Eddie Felson. This time it's 25 years later, teaching a young protege, played by Tom Cruise the same year as "Top Gun" (1986). The role finally won Newman his long-overdue Oscar and inspired viewers everywhere to chalk up the nearest pool cue.
Director George Romero changed the horror genre forever with his zombie masterpiece Night of the Living Dead (1968). Ten years later, his sequel Dawn of the Dead was a flesh-eating winner, set in a shopping mall for a clever critique of runaway capitalism where the zombies werent so different from Black Friday shoppers. The film provided a blueprint for future zombie sequels, from Evil Dead 2 (1987) to 28 Weeks Later (2007).

Director George Romero changed the horror genre forever with his zombie masterpiece "Night of the Living Dead" (1968). Ten years later, his sequel "Dawn of the Dead" was a flesh-eating winner, set in a shopping mall for a clever critique of runaway capitalism where the zombies weren't so different from Black Friday shoppers. The film provided a blueprint for future zombie sequels, from "Evil Dead 2" (1987) to "28 Weeks Later" (2007).
Most horror sequels pale to their originals. Just look at the follow-ups to Psycho (1960), The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), The Omen (1976), Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Scream (1996) and The Blair Witch Project (1999). Somehow, director Sam Raimi topped his zombie classic The Evil Dead (1981) with Evil Dead II, highlighted by Bruce Campbells battle with his own hand. Anyone who doubted if Raimis Spider-Man 2 (2004) could top the original wasnt paying attention to Raimis Evil Dead track record.

Most horror sequels pale to their originals. Just look at the follow-ups to "Psycho" (1960), "The Exorcist" (1973), "Jaws" (1975), "The Omen" (1976), "Halloween" (1978), "Friday the 13th" (1980), "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984), "Scream" (1996) and "The Blair Witch Project" (1999). Somehow, director Sam Raimi topped his zombie classic "The Evil Dead" (1981) with "Evil Dead II," highlighted by Bruce Campbell's battle with his own hand. Anyone who doubted if Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" (2004) could top the original wasn't paying attention to Raimi's "Evil Dead" track record.
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Jason Bourne was the first James Bond of the new millennium, surging with shaky-cam aesthetics and the spy-thriller intricacies of Robert Ludlums novels. The Bourne trilogy was that rare trilogy that got better with time, starting with Doug Limans The Bourne Identity (2002), then jacking it up a notch under new director Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) for The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Good Will Hunting made Matt Damon an Oscar-winning screenwriter, but Jason Bourne made him an action superstar.

Jason Bourne was the first James Bond of the new millennium, surging with shaky-cam aesthetics and the spy-thriller intricacies of Robert Ludlum's novels. The "Bourne" trilogy was that rare trilogy that got better with time, starting with Doug Liman's "The Bourne Identity" (2002), then jacking it up a notch under new director Paul Greengrass ("Captain Phillips") for "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum." "Good Will Hunting" made Matt Damon an Oscar-winning screenwriter, but Jason Bourne made him an action superstar.
Blockbuster successes as big as Back to the Future rarely offer sequels with the degree of originality as Back to the Future Part II. Director Robert Zemeckis not only takes us to the Hoverboard future of the year 2015, he takes us back to an alternate reality of 1985, where villain Biff Tannen has created a dystopia similar to Pottersville in Its a Wonderful Life (1946). Still, the films true genius comes toward the end, as the story doubles back on itself by having characters from Part 2 interacting with themselves in various scenes from Part 1. You wont find popcorn blockbuster sequels any smarter than this.

Blockbuster successes as big as "Back to the Future" rarely offer sequels with the degree of originality as "Back to the Future: Part II." Director Robert Zemeckis not only takes us to the Hoverboard future of the year 2015, he takes us back to an alternate reality of 1985, where villain Biff Tannen has created a dystopia similar to Pottersville in "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). Still, the film's true genius comes toward the end, as the story doubles back on itself by having characters from Part 2 interacting with themselves in various scenes from Part 1. You won't find popcorn blockbuster sequels any smarter than this.
Pixars original Toy Story (1995) was a game-changer as the first computer-animated feature, and for that, it ranks on the American Film Institutes Top 100 Films. But the companys reputation for prolific quality rested on the success of Toy Story 2 (1999), which added Jessie (Joan Cusack) to the buddy team of Buzz (Tim Allen) and Woody (Tom Hanks). And yet, the franchises most emotional installment came in Toy Story 3 (2010), as Andy moved away to college and left his toys behind. Our eyes were still misty by the time Pixar accepted the Oscar for Best Animated Film.

Pixar's original "Toy Story" (1995) was a game-changer as the first computer-animated feature, and for that, it ranks on the American Film Institute's Top 100 Films. But the company's reputation for prolific quality rested on the success of "Toy Story 2" (1999), which added Jessie (Joan Cusack) to the buddy team of Buzz (Tim Allen) and Woody (Tom Hanks). And yet, the franchise's most emotional installment came in "Toy Story 3" (2010), as Andy moved away to college and left his toys behind. Our eyes were still misty by the time Pixar accepted the Oscar for Best Animated Film.
With the combined genius of late director Harold Ramis and late screenwriter John Hughes, National Lampoons Vacation (1983) became a comedy classic with a hilarious family trip to Walley World. The second installment, European Vacation (1985), was a flop with only one memorable line (Big Ben, Parliament), but the third installment was arguably the best of the entire Griswold saga. Christmas Vacation features Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid at their comedic best, while a string of hysterical gags create cinemas most memorable staycation. Without this one, there might never have been a Home Alone (1990) or Home Alone 2 Lost in New York (1992), both written by Hughes.

With the combined genius of late director Harold Ramis and late screenwriter John Hughes, "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983) became a comedy classic with a hilarious family trip to Walley World. The second installment, "European Vacation" (1985), was a flop with only one memorable line ("Big Ben, Parliament"), but the third installment was arguably the best of the entire Griswold saga. "Christmas Vacation" features Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid at their comedic best, while a string of hysterical gags create cinema's most memorable "staycation." Without this one, there might never have been a "Home Alone" (1990) or "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" (1992), both written by Hughes.
Universal Studios may have been the true pioneer of the Hollywood sequel, unleashing recurring horror flicks for their favorite movie monsters. After Boris Karloff became a superstar in James Whales Frankenstein (1931), he got a scary soulmate in Bride of Frankenstein (1935), which featured Elsa Lanchesters legendary hairdo, the special effects of Dr. Pretorius glass-enclosed miniatures and Colin Clives slightly modified signature line, Shes alive Shes alive Classic.

Universal Studios may have been the true pioneer of the Hollywood sequel, unleashing recurring horror flicks for their favorite movie monsters. After Boris Karloff became a superstar in James Whale's "Frankenstein" (1931), he got a scary soulmate in "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), which featured Elsa Lanchester's legendary hairdo, the special effects of Dr. Pretorius' glass-enclosed miniatures and Colin Clive's slightly modified signature line, "She's alive! She's alive!" Classic.
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James Cameron burst onto the scene with his sci-fi action gem The Terminator (1984), where cyborg Arnold Schwarzenegger went back in time to the 1980s in an attempt to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of mankinds future savior. In T2 Judgment Day, Schwarzenegger went from heel to baby face, protecting Connor and her teenage son from a more advanced cyborg, the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick. The sequel won four Oscars, including Best Visual Effects for Industrial Light Magics revolutionary liquid metal CGI. And just like the first film immortalized the quote, Ill be back, the second film had its instant quotable Hasta la vista, baby.

James Cameron burst onto the scene with his sci-fi action gem "The Terminator" (1984), where cyborg Arnold Schwarzenegger went back in time to the 1980s in an attempt to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of mankind's future savior. In "T2: Judgment Day," Schwarzenegger went from heel to baby face, protecting Connor and her teenage son from a more advanced cyborg, the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick. The sequel won four Oscars, including Best Visual Effects for Industrial Light & Magic's revolutionary liquid metal CGI. And just like the first film immortalized the quote, "I'll be back," the second film had its instant quotable: "Hasta la vista, baby."
After James Camerons Terminator breakthrough, his next assignment was to direct the sequel to Ridley Scotts masterpiece Alien (1979). Cameron kept H.R. Gigers alien designs, but changed the tone from sci-fi horror to action adventure, offering comic relief from Bill Paxton and allowing Sigourney Weaver to turn Ellen Ripley into one of the American Film Institutes Top 8 Heroes by climbing into a giant metal suit to stare down the Alien Queen with the legendary line Get away from her, you btch The Alien franchise has proven its power for discovering directors, from Ridley Scott to James Cameron to David Fincher.

After James Cameron's "Terminator" breakthrough, his next assignment was to direct the sequel to Ridley Scott's masterpiece "Alien" (1979). Cameron kept H.R. Giger's alien designs, but changed the tone from sci-fi horror to action adventure, offering comic relief from Bill Paxton and allowing Sigourney Weaver to turn Ellen Ripley into one of the American Film Institute's Top 8 Heroes by climbing into a giant metal suit to stare down the Alien Queen with the legendary line "Get away from her, you b*tch!" The "Alien" franchise has proven its power for discovering directors, from Ridley Scott to James Cameron to David Fincher.
When audiences watched Tim Burtons Batman (1989), it seemed impossible that anyone could equal Jack Nicholsons performance as The Joker. Then along came Heath Ledger, who delivered a truly terrifying Joker to win a posthumous Oscar for The Dark Knight (2008). Christopher Nolans sequel not only topped his original reboot Batman Begins (2006), it remains the best superhero flick of the new millennium (and there have been a bunch). While it remains the darkest chapter of the Nolan Batman trilogy, its also the most complex, as Christian Bales Batman takes the fall for Aaron Eckharts Harvey Dent for the greater good of Gotham City. A masterpiece.

When audiences watched Tim Burton's "Batman" (1989), it seemed impossible that anyone could equal Jack Nicholson's performance as The Joker. Then along came Heath Ledger, who delivered a truly terrifying Joker to win a posthumous Oscar for "The Dark Knight" (2008). Christopher Nolan's sequel not only topped his original reboot "Batman Begins" (2006), it remains the best superhero flick of the new millennium (and there have been a bunch). While it remains the darkest chapter of the Nolan Batman trilogy, it's also the most complex, as Christian Bale's Batman takes the fall for Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent for the greater good of Gotham City. A masterpiece.
Sequels are rarely taken seriously, let alone win Best Picture. But thats exactly what happened with Part 3 of Lord of the Rings, which tied Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997) for the most Oscars in history (11). In hindsight, the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), remains the strongest overall, while the second installment The Two Towers (2002) features the greatest battles and Gollums best moments. Those of us with small bladders hated all the false endings of Return of the King, but Peter Jackson had so many story lines to wrap up. Jackson is currently cranking out Hobbit prequels, but Return of the King marks the last great effort from Middle Earth.

Sequels are rarely taken seriously, let alone win Best Picture. But that's exactly what happened with Part 3 of "Lord of the Rings," which tied "Ben-Hur" (1959) and "Titanic" (1997) for the most Oscars in history (11). In hindsight, the first installment, "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), remains the strongest overall, while the second installment "The Two Towers" (2002) features the greatest battles and Gollum's best moments. Those of us with small bladders hated all the false endings of "Return of the King," but Peter Jackson had so many story lines to wrap up. Jackson is currently cranking out "Hobbit" prequels, but "Return of the King" marks the last great effort from Middle Earth.
After 23 installments -- most recently Skyfall (2012) -- we take it for granted that James Bond began with a single book-to-film adaptation Dr. No (1962). This was followed by the stellar sequel From Russia with Love (1963), after which came the franchises crown jewel, Goldfinger. This unforgettable threequel features the best Bond (Sean Connery), Bond girl (Pussy Galore), villain trap (Alec Goldfingers laser), sidekick (Odd Job), gadget (Aston Martin DB5), quote (A martini, shaken not stirred) and theme song ((Shirley Basseys title song over gold-painted bodies). Do you expect me to talk No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die

After 23 installments -- most recently "Skyfall" (2012) -- we take it for granted that James Bond began with a single book-to-film adaptation "Dr. No" (1962). This was followed by the stellar sequel "From Russia with Love" (1963), after which came the franchise's crown jewel, "Goldfinger." This unforgettable threequel features the best Bond (Sean Connery), Bond girl (Pussy Galore), villain trap (Alec Goldfinger's laser), sidekick (Odd Job), gadget (Aston Martin DB5), quote ("A martini, shaken not stirred") and theme song ((Shirley Bassey's title song over gold-painted bodies). "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!"
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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) makes best lists as the original masterpiece, but the fan favorite may very well be the third installment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After an over-the-top tangent in Temple of Doom (1984), Last Crusade got back to the basics, allowing Indy (Harrison Ford) to once again race the Nazis in an archaeological quest for a Biblical artifact. Rather than the Ark of the Covenant, this time the prize was the Holy Grail, an A-story plot that beautifully intersects with the B-story subplot of Indy coming to terms with his father (Sean Connery). Steven Spielberg and George Lucas should have kept their Last Crusade promise instead of making a fourth installment, which had audiences saying, You have chosen...poorly.

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) makes best lists as the original masterpiece, but the fan favorite may very well be the third installment, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." After an over-the-top tangent in "Temple of Doom" (1984), "Last Crusade" got back to the basics, allowing Indy (Harrison Ford) to once again race the Nazis in an archaeological quest for a Biblical artifact. Rather than the Ark of the Covenant, this time the prize was the Holy Grail, an A-story plot that beautifully intersects with the B-story subplot of Indy coming to terms with his father (Sean Connery). Steven Spielberg and George Lucas should have kept their "Last Crusade" promise instead of making a fourth installment, which had audiences saying, "You have chosen…poorly."
The next two entries on our list are two films so legendary in their own right that we forget they were even sequels. After decades of John Ford and Howard Hawks western masterpieces in Hollywood, the genre was redefined by Sergio Leones Italian spaghetti westerns. Leones Man with No Name Trilogy starred an unknown Clint Eastwood wearing the same clothes with the same soft-spoken demeanor. After A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965), Leone directed his masterpiece The Good, The Bad The Ugly (1966), starring Eastwood as The Good, Lee Van Cleef as The Bad and Eli Wallach as The Ugly. Still, the real star of the film is Ennio Morricones legendary score, from The Ecstasy of Gold to a main title theme thats become synonymous with the genre itself.

The next two entries on our list are two films so legendary in their own right that we forget they were even sequels. After decades of John Ford and Howard Hawks western masterpieces in Hollywood, the genre was redefined by Sergio Leone's Italian spaghetti westerns. Leone's "Man with No Name Trilogy" starred an unknown Clint Eastwood wearing the same clothes with the same soft-spoken demeanor. After "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964) and "For a Few Dollars More" (1965), Leone directed his masterpiece "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" (1966), starring Eastwood as The Good, Lee Van Cleef as The Bad and Eli Wallach as The Ugly. Still, the real star of the film is Ennio Morricone's legendary score, from "The Ecstasy of Gold" to a main title theme that's become synonymous with the genre itself.
If you were surprised that The Good, The Bad The Ugly was a sequel, even fewer folks remember that The Silence of the Lambs was one as well. The first film, Michael Manns Manhunter (1986), was based off Thomas Harris first novel, Red Dragon, and starred Brian Cox as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Dennis Farina as FBI chief Jack Crawford. Due to mixed reviews and a lackluster box office (No. 76 of 1986), the sequel was recast entirely for the film adaptation of the second book, The Silence of the Lambs. Sir Anthony Hopkins stepped in as Hannibal the cannibal, delivering the legendary line, A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Meanwhile, Jodie Foster shined as FBI trainee Clarice Starling, who silences her metaphorical lambs by tracking the serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). The film remains one of just three films to win Best Picture, Director (Jonathan Demme), Actor (Hopkins), Actress (Foster) and Screenplay (Ted Tally).

If you were surprised that "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" was a sequel, even fewer folks remember that "The Silence of the Lambs" was one as well. The first film, Michael Mann's "Manhunter" (1986), was based off Thomas Harris' first novel, "Red Dragon," and starred Brian Cox as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Dennis Farina as FBI chief Jack Crawford. Due to mixed reviews and a lackluster box office (No. 76 of 1986), the sequel was recast entirely for the film adaptation of the second book, "The Silence of the Lambs." Sir Anthony Hopkins stepped in as Hannibal the cannibal, delivering the legendary line, "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." Meanwhile, Jodie Foster shined as FBI trainee Clarice Starling, who silences her metaphorical "lambs" by tracking the serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). The film remains one of just three films to win Best Picture, Director (Jonathan Demme), Actor (Hopkins), Actress (Foster) and Screenplay (Ted Tally).
George Lucas landed such an astronomical success with Star Wars (1977) that it seemed impossible it could ever be topped. And yet, the force was with its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, directed by Lucas mentor Irvin Kershner into the best installment of the entire series. Sure, the first one introduced Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi Wan, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. But without Empire, there would be no Yoda (Frank Oz), no Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and we wouldnt know the most famous twist in movie history I am your father. The twist was kept so secret that not even the actor in the Vader suit knew it was happening on set James Earl Jones only discovered the line while recording Vaders voiceover. History, the rest is.

George Lucas landed such an astronomical success with "Star Wars" (1977) that it seemed impossible it could ever be topped. And yet, the force was with its sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back," directed by Lucas' mentor Irvin Kershner into the best installment of the entire series. Sure, the first one introduced Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi Wan, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. But without "Empire," there would be no Yoda (Frank Oz), no Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and we wouldn't know the most famous twist in movie history: "I am your father." The twist was kept so secret that not even the actor in the Vader suit knew it was happening on set; James Earl Jones only discovered the line while recording Vader's voiceover. History, the rest is.
Francis Ford Coppolas follow-up to The Godfather (1972) rightfully remains the gold standard of movie sequels. The film is at once a sequel and a prequel, intercutting two parallel storylines (a) picking up where the first film left off as Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) expands his Crime Family in 1958 and (b) showing a young Vito Corleone (Robert DeNiro) arriving at Ellis Island and rising the ranks of 1917 Little Italy. The film not only features classic lines (Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer), its also masterfully directed, with symbolic backgrounds as Michael disowns Fredo at Lake Tahoe, or a madonna moving down a parade route, its view obstructed by fruit stands. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II remain the only original and sequel to both win the Oscar for Best Picture. As late director Sidney Lumet said, One of the reasons Im so angry at Coppola is because as soon as I think about the five best American movies, hes got two of them, Godfather and Godfather 2. They are as close to perfect movies as I think exists.

Francis Ford Coppola's follow-up to "The Godfather" (1972) rightfully remains the gold standard of movie sequels. The film is at once a sequel and a prequel, intercutting two parallel storylines: (a) picking up where the first film left off as Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) expands his Crime Family in 1958 and (b) showing a young Vito Corleone (Robert DeNiro) arriving at Ellis Island and rising the ranks of 1917 Little Italy. The film not only features classic lines ("Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer"), it's also masterfully directed, with symbolic backgrounds as Michael disowns Fredo at Lake Tahoe, or a madonna moving down a parade route, its view obstructed by fruit stands. "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" remain the only original and sequel to both win the Oscar for Best Picture. As late director Sidney Lumet said, "One of the reasons I'm so angry at Coppola is because as soon as I think about the five best American movies, he's got two of them, 'Godfather' and 'Godfather 2.' They are as close to perfect movies as I think exists."
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