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Predator movies ranked, worst to best

Still from the movie Predator. Here we see Predator without most of their armor, throwing their head and arms back in a battle cry. Image for Predator movies ranked article.
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

It is the perfect time for an all Predator movies ranked list now that the long-anticipated – and refreshing – Predator prequel, unexpectedly titled Prey, has just hit Hulu in the U.S. and Star (through Disney Plus) internationally.

After the largely reviled The Predator (2018), this new take on the Predator formula has given the franchise a second fighting chance, big screen or not. For now, the hunt continues on streaming, where you can also find all the other best Predator movies. Here’s our ranked list that may guide newcomers short on time and give longtime aficionados food for thought as they get to the choppa once more.

The Predator movie franchise has slowly become bigger than anyone could have predicted, already packing five “solo” installments and two Alien vs. Predator (AvP) crossover movies in which the most famous spacefaring hunters of all time clashed against the infamous Xenomorphs. On top of that, video games and especially comic books are keeping the flame of the hunt alive for newer generations and hardcore fans that want more blood-soaked action.

If the Alien vs. Predator reboot talk (and potential rewatches) has you in the mood for more Xenomorph-driven horror, be sure to check out our list of Alien movies ranked, worst to best and best space horror movies.

7. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

Still from the movie Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (AvPR). Predator is jabbing a spear at a swiping Alien during a heavy rainstorm.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
  • Release date: December 25, 2007
  • Cast: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz

Twentieth Century Fox’s (now 20th Century Studios) second go at AvP was met with abysmal reviews and a cold shoulder from most fans, although it delivered enough gore and unrestrained nastiness (it really takes no prisoners) to catch the attention of an entire generation of teenagers whose first contact with both sci-fi franchises was 2004’s Alien vs. Predator.

One would think that Xenomorphs and a battle-hardened Predator (plus a Predalien) terrorizing a small American town was a sure-fire recipe for success, but the half-baked script – even for B-movie standards – and entirely uninteresting characters couldn’t hold all the cool pieces together. Even worse, it’s a notoriously badly lit movie with one of the worst touch-up jobs ever. The trailers looked perfectly fine, but the final product demands turning the brightness of any TV or monitor way up.

6. The Predator

Still from the movie The Predator. Here we see Predator throwing a guard to the ground inside a high-tech laboratory.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
  • Release date: September 14, 2018
  • Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay

Giving the reins of the Predator franchise to Shane Black – who acted in the original 1987 movie and is one of the finest action-comedy writers in Hollywood – seemed like a good idea to put the franchise back on track after two mediocre AvP movies and the merely okay Predators (2010). But things just didn’t work out.

It’s no secret this soft-reboot of the saga was butchered by Fox in the editing room and with extensive reshoots; the original third act involved Edward James Olmos, Area 52, friendly Predators, and hybrid-monster mayhem. Instead, we got an uninspired and rushed mess of a conclusion that squandered the little potential of an already misguided script which tried to set up conflicts and contradictory expansions of the mythology. This installment is anything but boring though, and the cast clearly had tons of fun, so there’s that.

5. Alien vs. Predator

Still from the movie Alien vs. Predator (AvP). A close up of the Predator, who I heavily armored.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
  • Release date: August 13, 2004
  • Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen

After a failed AvP project which was developed in the 90s, the long-awaited crossover finally took off in the early 2000s with trashy but economically reliable director Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Resident Evil) at the helm. While this first live-action encounter between the two legendary alien species is undeniably fun and definitely exists in the “better half” of Anderson’s filmography, it’s hard to embrace it as an actually good flick.

Shane Salerno’s script (he also penned the sequel) is filled with utterly disposable characters outside of Sanaa Lathan’s riff on Ellen Ripley, Machiko Noguchi (the protagonist of the original AvP comics) and Lance Henriksen’s attention-grabbing Charles Weyland, founder of the infamous company from the future-set Alien movies. The jumpy pacing and the watered-down violence (it’s the only PG-13 movie across both franchises) threaten to sink the entire ship. However, there are some sincerely cool action scenes in there, and it’s hard to cover up its key role in defrosting both franchises on the big screen.

4. Predators

Still from the movie Predators. Here we have a close up of a man and a woman holding guns wandering through a decaying forest.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
  • Release date: July 9, 2010
  • Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga

This Robert Rodriguez-produced joint was supposed to relaunch the “solo” Predator saga with a new generation of badasses. In a way, it kind of achieved its objective, as it probably packs the most (theoretically) fun cast of the franchise and expanded the mythology in intriguing ways that could’ve paid off down the line.

Sadly, and as competent as the movie ultimately is, Predators never takes full advantage of its core premise – unredeemable bad guys facing (space) bad guys – nor its impressive roster of actors. It’s a fun and gritty entry in the Predator canon well worth watching (and packing some neat plot twists), but it got lost between opening new horizons for the franchise and poorly replicating sequences from John McTiernan’s classic, never fully committing to a single direction.

3. Predator 2

Still from the movie Predator 2. Here we see the Predator standing on top of a tall building, looking down.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
  • Release date: November 21, 1990
  • Cast: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Bill Paxton

Predator 2 ditched the jungle setting of the original movie for the concrete jungle of a twisted vision of Los Angeles seven years into the future (1997); there’s a huge heat wave and crime is running rampant – the perfect hunting ground for our favorite hunters from outer space. It’s an easy-to-sell package that largely worked and has gained a cult following over the decades.

While tonally uneven and rather fast-paced given how many genres it’s trying to mix together (the crime thriller side of the movie barely takes off), Stephen Hopkins’ movie successfully channeled the gory and sweaty action of the original and turned a seemingly limited premise into an enduring franchise that could go anywhere. Kinda voodoo magic, man.

2. Prey

The lead character of the film "Prey', named Naru, engaging in a fight with a Predator in a rainy forest

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
  • Release date: August 5, 2022
  • Cast: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro

After more than 30 years, the solo Predator franchise dared to escape modern-day settings and went back in time to tell a simple but highly effective tale of survival that happens to feature a Predator. In fact, the original plan was to market the movie (temporarily titled Skulls) as an original story up to a certain point close to its release. Unsurprisingly, the cat got out of the bag before shooting even began, but that didn’t make its premise any less interesting.

Set in the Great Plains in 1719, the movie follows Naru, a young Comanche woman trying to prove herself as a worthy warrior and hunter. As a feral Predator visits Earth for the first time, a vicious game of cat and mouse begins between the two, and dynamics shift several times over the course of an impressive movie that harnesses the spark of the first two movies and then does its own thing, both narratively and formally.

This one is an almost perfect Predator movie, a great mid-sized summer blockbuster, and definitive proof that there’s plenty of green blood left in the franchise. The worst part? It hasn’t received a wide theatrical release despite surviving the Disney-Fox merger, so catch it on Hulu (U.S.) or Disney Plus (international territories).

1. Predator

Predator_Twentieth Century Fox

(Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)
  • Release date: June 12, 1987
  • Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall

Up-and-coming action director John McTiernan and rising star Arnold Schwarzenegger knocked it out of the park in 1987 with an action-packed monster feature penned by Jim and John Thomas. Despite several production-related hurdles, the sci-fi horror flick found great success and is widely regarded to this day as one of the best American action movies ever.

Its simplicity gives it a clockwork-like quality that is hard to find nowadays; there are buff military dudes executing a high-stakes mission deep into a Central American rainforest, and an advanced adversary from outer space starts picking them off, one by one. No big character arcs nor franchise aspirations. Just straight-to-the-point practical action, macho men spewing one-liners every chance they get, and a really cool monster at the center of it all – Stan Winston’s original Predator design remains king.

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Fran Ruiz is our resident Star Wars guy. His hunger for movies and TV series is only matched by his love for video games. He got a BA of English Studies, focusing on English Literature, from the University of Malaga, in Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On top of writing features and other longform articles for Space.com since 2021, he is a frequent collaborator of VG247 and other gaming sites. He also serves as associate editor over at Star Wars News Net and its sister site, Movie News Net.