“Whoever wins, we lose” the poster for “Alien vs. Predator” famously said. But you’re very much a winner if you let this ranking guide your viewing!
Arnold Schwarzenegger kicks off his legendary performance as Dutch, the alien-fighting star of the first and best “Predator” movie, with a warning: “We’re a rescue team, not assassins.” It’s a fitting starting block for the 1987 action classic-turned-seven-film sci-fi series, though you might not know it at first.
Sent into the perilous jungles of Val Verde, a fictional location first seen in the Schwarzenegger-starring “Commando” (and again in the Bruce Willis-anchored “Die Hard 2”), Dutch assumes he’s on an earthbound mission. So, naturally, he begins operating by earthbound rules. But when strangely skinned corpses and mysterious shimmers in the trees reveal a hulking alien hunting humans for sport, the reluctant fighter is forced to embrace guerrilla warfare — and a brutal personal philosophy — to survive.
Equipped with intergalactic firepower, a sci-fi cloaking device, voice-changing technology, and a ruthless attitude, the Predator poses a fantastic threat to Schwarzenegger’s formidable protagonist, whose most effective weapons turned out to be his cunning and knack for improv. That cheeky cat-and-mouse dynamic would continue throughout all six of the “Predator” films to follow, permanently fusing the high-octane legacy of the action-packed ’80s with timeless alien invasion horror equally as badass.
Director John McTiernan and Schwarzenegger would pass their respective plasma torches to director Stephen Hopkins and “Lethal Weapon” star Danny Glover in 1990 for “Predator 2”: an underwhelming sequel that would eventually spur the famous “Alien” crossovers.
Though the Predator species hasn’t fared quite as well at the movies as Ridley Scott’s Xenomorphs (“Alien” movies not only do better at the box office, but are considerably better liked by critics), the collaboration inspired by Dark Horse’s “Predator” comic books cemented its place as a major sci-fi franchise.
Standalone sequels “Predators” and “The Predator” would hit theaters in 2010 and 2018, respectively. Now, Amber Midthunder stars as a young Comanche warrior fighting off a Predator in the 18th century-set “Prey,” director Dan Trachtenberg’s victorious 2022 prequel now streaming on Hulu.
Whether you’re catching sci-fi classics for the first time or indulging an interstellar rewatch, here are all seven of the “Predator” movies — including crossover sequels “Alien vs. Predator” and “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” — ranked from worst to best. (Be sure to also check out our ranking of the “Alien” movies.)