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All King Kong Movies Ranked

Aaaaaand in this corner: The Eighth Wonder of the World! Since 1933, King Kong has shown just how big the movies can really get, starting with the iconic original and its legendary image of our misunderstood gorilla atop the Empire State Building swatting away pew-pewing biplanes. Like his monster brethren over at the Universal lot, Kong spawned a sequel: Son of Kong, released a mere nine months later.

The big ape has also gotten the reboot treatment multiple times. There was Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong, and a King Kong of the ’70s, which got a direct ’80s sequel: King Kong Lives, the worst-reviewed movie in the franchise.

2017’s Kong: Skull Island meant Kong officially stomping into the MonsterVerse ring, setting up a deathmatch for the ages in 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong. However, this isn’t the first time he’s limbered up against the lizard: 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla was the third movie in Toho’s kaiju franchise. A sequel, 1967’s King Kong Escapes, saw the big galoot wrestling with a giant robot version of himself.

And with the arrival of Godzilla vs. Kong, heralding a return to theaters after a world-devastating pandemic, we’re ranking all King Kong movies by Tomatometer! (And don’t forget to check out all Godzilla movies ranked!) Alex Vo

#9

King Kong Lives (1986)
0%

#9
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The big ape receives a heart transplant and runs off with his blood donor, a she-ape having his baby.... [More]
Directed By: John Guillermin

#8

Son of Kong (1933)
42%

#8
Adjusted Score: 23723%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After his disastrous venture with the giant ape King Kong, promoter Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) flees New York to avoid... [More]
Directed By: Ernest B. Schoedsack

#7

King Kong (1976)
52%

#7
Adjusted Score: 56037%
Critics Consensus: King Kong represents a significant visual upgrade over the original, but falls short of its classic predecessor in virtually every other respect.
Synopsis: When a research ship is sent to explore an island thought to be rich in oil, paleontologist Jack Prescott (Jeff... [More]
Directed By: John Guillermin

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 51266%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The monster ape and dinosaur toss around a boulder and slug it out on Mount Fuji.... [More]

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 50976%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The monster ape fights his robot replica and falls for a woman (Linda Miller) from a commander's (Rhodes Reason) expedition.... [More]
Directed By: Inoshiro Honda

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 105492%
Critics Consensus: Offering exhilarating eye candy, solid acting, and a fast-paced story, Kong: Skull Island earns its spot in the movie monster's mythos without ever matching up to the classic original.
Synopsis: Scientists, soldiers and adventurers unite to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. Cut off from everything they... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 95124%
Critics Consensus: Delivering squarely on its title, Godzilla vs. Kong swats away character development and human drama to deliver all the spectacle you'd expect from giant monsters slugging it out.
Synopsis: Legends collide in "Godzilla vs. Kong" as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the... [More]
Directed By: Adam Wingard

#2

King Kong (2005)
84%

#2
Adjusted Score: 94770%
Critics Consensus: Featuring state-of-the-art special effects, terrific performances, and a majestic sense of spectacle, Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong is a potent epic that's faithful to the spirit of the 1933 original.
Synopsis: Peter Jackson's expansive remake of the 1933 classic follows director Carl Denham (Jack Black) and his crew on a journey... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#1

King Kong (1933)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108517%
Critics Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.
Synopsis: Actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) travel to the Indian Ocean to do location shoots... [More]