The Planet of the Apes franchise is prized not only for its timeless longevity, but for its influence on science fiction in general. Based loosely on the novel written by Pierre Boulle, there are still movies coming out about the dynamic between humans and apes. Swipe down to see how to watch Planet of the Apes and where to stream them now.
How to watch Planet of the Apes in Chronological Order
There are nine Planet of the Apes movies in total since they began in 1968. Fans love the series because of its absurdness, the twist ending, and because it has become a classic leading to sequel after sequel. With actors such as Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, James Franco, Andy Serkis, and Freida Pinto spread over the several films, there is no end to the spectacle of this movie series.
9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Leading off the first movie in the prequel franchise is actor James Franco alongside Andy Serkis. Both of these actors play off each other in order to create the rich dynamic between intelligent ape and human before everything goes wrong.
- Where to stream: Hulu, Spectrum TV, MGM+
8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Still containing Andy Serkis in the role of Caesar the leader of the apes, there are new human actors in the lead – Gary Oldman and Keri Russell. As a fragile peace falls over both human and ape, unrest and broken trust will put both groups at the brink of war.
- Where to stream: HBO Max, Rent on Amazon or Vudu
7. War for the Planet of the Apes
Andy Serkis rounds out the prequel trilogy by appearing as the lead in this movie as well. New star actors alongside Serkis include Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn, one the leader of a human group hell-bent on destroying the apes for good and the other the leader of a militant groups of apes, respectively. The stakes and tension are quite high in this movie, and the ending doesn’t disappoint.
- Where to stream: FX, Prime Video, Vudu
6. Planet of the Apes
This is where it all began in 1968 with lead actors Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Kim Hunter. The first in the original series, three astronauts are stranded on a foreign planet – one where intelligent apes rules the lands while humans are merely slaves. The ending of this movie leaves the viewer stunned, and wanting for more.
5: Planet of the Apes; Tim Burton version
Though this movie is good in some aspects, this Tim Burton reboot of the 1968 original does not really fit into the main timeline. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tim Roth, there are some big stars in this movie. You can really watch this movie whenever, but at least watch the 1968 version first.
- Where to stream: HBO Max, Starz, Spectrum TV
4. Beneath the Planet of the Apes
The second movie in the original series, there are a few new stars in the lineup, such as James Franciscus and Maurice Evans. Kim Hunter reappears in this movie where we learn more about the ape’s planet, and a secret underground group of telekinetic humans that worship something extremely dangerous.
3. Escape from the Planet of the Apes
The third movie in the original set takes a different look into the apes, where a group of three talking chimpanzee crash land into a human world, stunning everyone who meets them. Except for one man, who believes there are ulterior and dangerous motives hidden by the chimpanzees.
2. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
In this futuristic fourth movie, the apes are all enslaved and Caesar, the simian son of Cornelius and Zira plans to start a slave revolt and save his fellow species. Notable stars include Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, and Ricardo Montalban.
1. Battle for the Planet of the Apes
The final movie in the original series came out five years after the first, one that has received mixed reviews. Bringing back Roddy McDowall and including Claude Akins and Natalie Trundy, the last movie focuses on Caesar as he tries to protect his group of simians from a human cult and militant apes.
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How to watch Planet of the Apes in Order of Release
9. Planet of the Apes (1968)
8. Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
7. Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
6. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
5. Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
4. Planet of the Apes (2001)
3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
1. War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
Extra: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (projected 2024)
How to watch the original Planet of the Apes movies
Start with the original 1968 version of the Planet of the Apes, where astronauts crash land on a planet that is run by intelligent non-human apes with humans as slaves.
Next, watch Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which explores an underground city of telepathic humans within a deeper scope of the planet, through the lens of a lone rescue mission astronaut searching for survivors of the previous expedition.
Third is Escape from the Planet of the Apes, where the script is flipped and a trio of talking chimpanzees crashlands in a U.S. spacecraft. They become a focal point in human society, while one man believes them to be a threat to all humans.
The finale of the original series comes in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, taking place ten years after several ape revolutions and a brutal nuclear war amongst humans. Caesar, the lead ape, must try and protect survivors of both species from a dangerous human cult and militant ape faction, ending an epic tale between human and ape.
How to watch the newer Planet of the Apes movies
In terms of the newest set of movies, the first you should be watching is Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This movie showcases the beginning of ape intelligence when a substance designed to help the brain repair itself is tested on a chimpanzee, allowing it to gain advanced intelligence and later lead an ape uprising.
The next movie to watch is titled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where dominance over the Earth is the main focal point. There is a fragile peace between apes and humans, but betrayal and mistrust threaten a war on the horizon.
The third movie in the series, War for the Planet of the Apes gives a darker undertone to the series as the apes suffer great loss. The leader, Caesar, battles with his violent instincts and goes on a quest to avenge his kind, bringing the tension to a head.
There is a fourth movie projected to come out in 2024 with the title Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which is rumored to be set years after the conclusion of the third movie following several apes on their own journeys.
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Though there are large time gaps between each collection of movies, The Planet of the Apes has been influential to pop culture and science fiction for decades. So, next time you need a movie binge, make sure to come back to our how to watch planet of the apes movie list and grab a bag of popcorn.