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Every King Kong Film In Order

Welcome to a thrilling expedition through the storied history of one of cinema’s most enduring icons: King Kong. As we journey back to the dawn of the silver screen, we’ll explore the origins of this colossal ape and his debut in the groundbreaking 1933 classic produced by RKO Radio Pictures. From there, we’ll traverse the decades, charting Kong’s evolution through various sequels, crossovers, and reimaginings, each contributing to the rich tapestry of his cinematic legacy. Join me as we uncover the secrets of Skull Island and the towering figure who has captured the imagination of audiences for nearly a century. From the golden age of Hollywood with actors in animal suits, to the modern era of blockbuster CGI spectacle, the legend of King Kong continues to reign supreme, a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and the magic of the movies.

So grab your popcorn and hold on tight as we embark on this unforgettable journey through the world of Kong.

King Kong (1933)

Ah, “King Kong,” a masterpiece of cinematic wonder crafted by the visionary minds of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. Adapted from a screenplay co-written by Cooper and Edgar Wallace, this groundbreaking film emerged from the depths of RKO Radio Pictures. It transports audiences to a world where myth and reality intertwine, following the intrepid filmmaker Carl Denham, portrayed by the charismatic Robert Armstrong, on his daring expedition to Skull Island.

Fay Wray shines as the iconic Ann Darrow, captured by natives and offered as a sacrifice to the towering behemoth that is Kong. But what truly sets “King Kong” apart is its revolutionary use of stop-motion animation, courtesy of the masterful Willis O’Brien. Through his artistry, Kong is brought to life in breathtaking detail, captivating audiences and setting a new standard for special effects in cinema.

Upon its release, “King Kong” became a cultural phenomenon, enrapturing audiences with its thrilling adventure and timeless tale of beauty and the beast. Its influence reverberates through the annals of film history, earning it a place among the greatest films ever made.

Son of Kong (1933)

In the wake of “King Kong’s” monumental success emerged “Son of Kong,” a spirited sequel that sought to further explore the mysteries of Skull Island. Directed once again by Ernest B. Schoedsack and produced under the banner of RKO Radio Pictures, this film embarked on a new adventure with the intrepid Carl Denham, played once more by the indomitable Robert Armstrong.

As Denham returns to Skull Island, audiences are introduced to a new chapter in Kong’s saga, one filled with unexpected twists and heartfelt moments. While not reaching the lofty heights of its predecessor, “Son of Kong” delighted audiences with its charming characters and whimsical storyline.

Despite facing the formidable challenge of following in the footsteps of a cinematic giant, “Son of Kong” remains a beloved entry in the franchise, offering fans a delightful romp through the world of monsters and adventure.

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

Enter the realm of epic showdowns and titanic battles with “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” a groundbreaking crossover event that captivated audiences on both sides of the Pacific. Directed by the legendary Ishirō Honda and produced in collaboration between Toho Studios in Japan and Universal Pictures in the United States, this film marks a historic moment in the annals of monster cinema.

In “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” the colossal ape Kong clashes with the mighty Godzilla in a battle for supremacy that shakes the very foundations of the Earth. Packed with thrilling action and spectacular special effects, the film captured the imaginations of audiences worldwide, cementing its status as a cult classic.

Despite the mixed critical reception, “King Kong vs. Godzilla” stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of these iconic monsters and the boundless creativity of their creators. It remains a cherished entry in the pantheon of kaiju cinema, beloved by fans for its awe-inspiring spectacle and larger-than-life thrills.

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Produced by Toho Studios in Japan and inspired by the animated series “The King Kong Show,” this film brings the iconic ape face-to-face with his most formidable foe yet.

Under the skilled direction of Ishirō Honda, “King Kong Escapes” introduces audiences to the nefarious Dr. Who and his diabolical plot to conquer the world with the help of his mechanical creation, Mechani-Kong. As Kong battles against the forces of evil, viewers are treated to a spectacle of epic proportions, filled with pulse-pounding action and dazzling special effects.

King Kong (1976)

The year is 1976, and the legend of King Kong is reborn in a dazzling spectacle of modern filmmaking. Directed by John Guillermin and produced by the legendary Dino De Laurentiis, this reimagining of the classic tale brings the towering ape into a bustling, and more modern, metropolis of New York City.

Led by a stellar cast including Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, and Charles Grodin, “King Kong” captures the essence of the original while infusing it with a newfound sense of cinematic grandeur. From the lush jungles of Skull Island to the towering heights of the World Trade Center, the film dazzles audiences with its stunning visuals and heart-pounding action.

While some critics may have questioned its faithfulness to the source material, “King Kong” proved to be a commercial success, enchanting audiences with its epic storytelling and groundbreaking special effects. It remains a beloved chapter in the saga of the mighty ape.

King Kong Lives (1986)

“King Kong Lives,” was a daring sequel that explored the aftermath of Kong’s fateful fall from atop the World Trade Center (spoiler… they all kinda end that way).

Helmed once again by the visionary John Guillermin and produced under the watchful eye of Dino De Laurentiis, this film embarked on a daring narrative trajectory, weaving a tale of science, romance, and redemption.

Starring Linda Hamilton and Brian Kerwin, “King Kong Lives” follows humanity attempting to bring Kong back, who needs a heart transplant and a blood donor to match his blood type (enter Lady Kong – yes, you read that right).

King Kong Lives remains a complicated entry in the franchise for fans of monster cinema. Its ambitions nearly killed the franchise, as audiences would not see another live-action Kong film for nearly twenty years. Yet, its downright goofiness being treated with the upmost sincerity makes it hard to hate looking back now that Kong is on more solid ground in his more recent movies.

The Mighty Kong (1998)

A safer and more bankable route for King Kong came in the form of animation. Just as Disney started releasing direct-to-video sequels for their big flagship films like The Lion King, Mulan, and Beauty and the Beast, so did Warner Bros. with “The Mighty Kong,” a charming retelling of the classic tale through the lens of the animated medium. Released in 1998, this lesser-known gem brings the timeless story of King Kong to life in a delightful new way.

Directed by Art Scott and produced by Burbank Animation Studios, “The Mighty Kong” follows the adventures of a young actress named Ann Darrow as she finds herself stranded on the mysterious Skull Island. There, she encounters the legendary giant ape Kong and forms an unlikely bond with him.

While “The Mighty Kong” may just be a watered down version of the classic tale, or a “Diet King Kong” if you will, this film also no doubt holds so piece of nostalgic reverence in some, as it was most likely many children’s introduction to the famous ape. With its colorful animation and heartfelt storytelling, the film offers a fresh perspective on the iconic tale, captivating audiences of all ages.

Kong: King of Atlantis (2005)

Continuing the direct-to-video entries, we have “Kong: King of Atlantis,” an animated adventure that takes viewers to the mystical kingdom beneath the waves. Produced by BKN International and distributed by Sony Pictures Television, this direct-to-video feature transports the mighty Kong to a realm of magic and mystery.

In “Kong: King of Atlantis,” Kong is summoned to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis to defend its people from the malevolent forces threatening to destroy their civilization. With the help of a brave group of adventurers, including Jason and Lua, Kong embarks on a quest to save Atlantis and fulfill his destiny as its protector.

King Kong (2005)

“We are so back.” That would’ve been the collective feeling if a Film Twitter nerd traveled back to 2005 to experience the hype around Kong’s return to big screen in nearly two decades, on to of being directed by the guy that just delivered one of the best film trilogies since the original Star Wars movies (and won a collective 11 Academy Awards for its final entry). Needless to say, it was a good time to be going to the movies in the early aughts.

Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” stands as a majestic tribute to the golden age of cinema and the enduring legacy of the mighty Kong. With Universal Pictures and WingNut Films at the helm, Jackson embarked on a monumental journey to reimagine the classic tale for a new generation. Led by the luminous Naomi Watts, and groundbreaking motion capture technology used in tandem with Andy Serkis performing as Kong, the film captured the essence of the original while infusing it with Jackson’s signature blend of spectacle and heart.

Every frame of “King Kong” resonates with a profound love for the art of filmmaking. From the lush jungles of Skull Island to the towering skyscrapers of New York City, Jackson spared no expense in bringing this epic tale to life. Critics hailed its stunning visual effects and emotional depth, showering the film with accolades and box office success. With three Academy Awards to its name, including Best Visual Effects, “King Kong” solidified its place in cinematic history as a timeless masterpiece.

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

In “Kong: Skull Island,” director Jordan Vogt-Roberts invites audiences on a thrilling expedition into the heart of untamed wilderness and primordial chaos. Produced by Legendary Pictures, this entry into the MonsterVerse takes a bold step away from the familiar and classic story beats, transporting viewers instead to the perilous jungles of the eponymous island in the 1970s.

Led by a stellar ensemble cast including Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, “Kong: Skull Island” dazzles with its breathtaking action sequences and jaw-dropping visual effects. Vogt-Roberts infuses the film with a sense of awe and wonder, paying homage to classic monster movies while forging a path uniquely its own. Audiences found themselves captivated by the spectacle, propelling the film to commercial success, and laying the path towards the ultimate showdown (or rematch, technically) fans had been waiting decades for.

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

“Godzilla vs. Kong” represents the culmination of a cinematic journey decades in the making, a titanic clash of epic proportions. Directed by Adam Wingard and produced by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, this epic showdown brings together two iconic monsters in a battle for the ages.

With a star-studded cast led by Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown, “Godzilla vs. Kong” delivers pulse-pounding action and awe-inspiring spectacle. Wingard deftly balances the scales, crafting a narrative that celebrates the legacy of both Godzilla and Kong while offering fans a thrilling new chapter in their saga. Despite the critical divides, audiences flocked to theaters, and their living rooms (still breaking records with home viewings via streaming due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), drawn by the promise of witnessing history unfold any screen they could get their hands on.

As the MonsterVerse continues to evolve, “Godzilla vs. Kong” stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of these cinematic titans and the boundless imagination of filmmakers.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

We arrive now to the long awaited follow-up, where the monster foes turned friends band together to face a new common enemy, the Skar King, who rises to challenge Kong within his new home of the Hollow Earth, and threatens destruction on a massive scale. Towing Shimo by his side, an ancient ice-powered Titan, it will take both Kong and Godzilla working together to ensure the future of Earth, with both humans and Titans existing together.