Which Highlander movie is the best?

The universally top-ranked Highlander film from the franchise is arguably the 1986 original film, as it was the introduction of the franchise to the world.


As a franchise, Highlander began in 1986 with the premiere of the first film. Subsequently, the franchise would expand to have four other films, with the inclusion of an animated film. Moreover, it would also go on to have a television series, which aired for three years from 1994 to 1996. It is argued that the series is the reason for the Highlander franchise’s relevancy to date, but for the purpose of the article, we look at the best to worst of the five films under the franchise to be released according to IMDb rankings.

This is as the animated series has its own ranking and considerations. According to IMDb, the premise of the animated series which was created by Serge Rosenzweig reads, “In the post-apocalyptic medieval 27th century, Ramirez mentors young Quentin MacLeod who must seek pacified Immortals, gain their knowledge through a non-lethal form of Quickening, and free the land from the evil Immortal overlord Kortan.”

Moreover, IMDb provides a ranking of all the forty episodes released in the animation’s two-season run. It can be argued that the series suffered the same fate as its predecessor, which achieved a lot with the first season, but not with the second season.

This is similar to the film franchise, which started with the first film back in 1986. The last film of the franchise being the most forgotten instalment of Highlander, titled Highlander: The Source. The film is overlooked due to the fact that it went straight to a DVD release. A fact which many believe was due to the weak storyline after an already questionable fourth film release. This is as the first film concluded its storyline.

Therefore, the rest of the films aimed at expanding on the world and its characters, and that is never a guarantee of success. In chronological order, the films are Highlander, Highlander II: The Quickening, Highlander: The Final Dimension, Highlander: Endgame, and Highlander: The Source. The film franchise spans over two-decades, from the first release to the last film release in 2007.

A quick overlook of the ranking

A brief look at the ranking according to IMDb makes the impact the franchise had clearer. Unlike popular blockbuster films, which might decline in popularity with subsequent releases from the original, this franchise had a sporadic trend of ebbs and flows in its popularity.

Year Title Premise Ranking score
1986 Highlander “An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponent, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled “Prize”.” 7.1/10
2000 Highlander: Endgame “Immortals Connor and Duncan MacLeod must join forces against Kell, an evil immortal who has become too strong for anyone to face alone.” 4.7/10
1994 Highlander: The Finale Dimension “Deceived that he had won the Prize, Connor MacLeod awakens from a peaceful life when an entombed immortal magician comes seeking the Highlander.” 4.5/10
1991 Highlander II: The Quickening “In the future, Highlander Connor MacLeod must prevent the destruction of Earth under an anti-ozone shield.” 4.2/10
2007 Highlander: The Source “Ramirez trains the young Quentin Macleod (The Highlander) and prepares him for his future and current battles against the sinister immortals in the world.” 3.1/10

Consensus on ranking

Universally, there is a consensus on the ranking of the five films. Each is founded on the premise that the first film was such a success that there were calls for a sequel. However, the film had a well-made story, which did not open room for more to happen in the world. Therefore, after the release of Highlander II: The Quickening, fans were more confused than invested after watching the sequel.

However, for the third instalment, Endgame, the fans came more prepared to be introduced into a new world and another thin storyline to carry the film. Similarly, with The Quickening, however, it seems that the film’s lack of support was the reason that the final instalment, The Source, went straight to DVD for release.

It is for this reason that the success and longevity of the franchise is placed on the shoulders of the series rather than the films. This is as there are news of suggestions of a reboot of the series. However, this has not been confirmed. While there is excitement on the possibility of a reboot of the series, no one will be calling for a reboot of the film franchise, considering the last instalment and the lack of a fully developed and compelling antagonist. That was the final straw for fans.