What is the best The Muppets movie? Since jumping into cinemas for The Muppet Movie in 1979, Kermit the Frog has led his merry band of stunt performers, singers, comedians, magicians, and more through several instalments.
They’ve had boisterous tours, tried out other occupations, attempted Broadway, and come close to breaking down a few times across their adventure movies. But you can’t keep good critters down, and Jim Henson’s creations always manage to save the day, no matter their odds, because with good friends by your side, anything is possible.
What is the best The Muppets movie, though? We’ve been through every comedy movie, musical, family movie, and action movie in their catalogue to find out what their theatrical peak is. Funnily enough, we doubt anyone will argue with our top choice, but the remaining entries might not sit so well. That’s OK, though, because someone has to shoulder the burden of being right in this world, and it might as well be us. Before we make any more grand statements that’d make Miss Piggy blush, here is our list!
The Muppets movies ranked:
- The Muppets Wizard of Oz
- Muppets Most Wanted
- It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
- Muppets From Space
- The Muppets Take Manhattan
- The Great Muppet Caper
- The Muppets
- Muppet Treasure Island
- The Muppet Movie
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
10. The Muppets Wizard of Oz
The Muppets tackling a beloved Hollywood musical should mean brilliance. What better excuse for huge song-and-dance routines and some anarchic humour? Sadly, The Muppets’ stroll down the yellow-brick road doesn’t hold much magic, lacking in memorable hooks and genuine laughs,
The pieces are there: Gonzo, Fozzie, and Kermit are perfect companions in Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow, and Miss Piggy was practically born to play the Wicked Witch of the West. But the scenes and sets are unshakably flat as if they are interludes from Sesame Street that have been cut together. Ashanti seems to have a good time, but you should just look up the Quentin Tarantino cameo rather than sit through this.
9. Muppets Most Wanted
Kermit the Frog hangs out with Ray Liotta in prison, and The Muppets head Dublin – this is an odd one. After 2011’s spirited rejuvenation, the Muppets go on a European tour, while an evil Kermit starts causing mischief.
Your mileage might come down to the comedic talents on display; Ricky Gervais is divisive (to put it mildly), and the likes of Tina Fey can be an acquired taste. They’re a different speed to the homeliness of Jason Segal and Amy Adams, and that makes the film a Marmite-like experience. The warped geography of their visit to Ireland’s capital is guffaw-worthy for all the wrong reasons.
8. It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
There’s nothing especially bad about It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas, another in a long line of festive specials from the troupe; it’s just that following the best Christmas movie ever made is kind of impossible. With their resident theatre on the verge of shutdown, Kermit suffers a personal crisis that leaves him wishing he’d not been born.
Just as George Bailey was in It’s A Wonderful Life, a kind angel pays Kermit a visit to show him life if he’d never entered the swamp. It’s a sadder existence for many, something we can all understand. A grand message, but no replacement for its inspiration, and certainly not something that could usurp The Muppet Christmas Carol.
7. Muppets From Space
The only non-musical Muppets feature leaves the grooving to a funktastic soundtrack while the cast delves into the origins of Gonzo the Great, who’s been feeling a bit left out. He’s only one of his kind, it seems, and though he’s valued by his adopted family, he’d like to know where he came from.
Rizzo and the rest of the Muppet household support his questioning, doubly so when the FBI starts trying to get involved. The dry humour and slightly more mature tone carried over from the ’90s show Muppets Tonight, might make it a little harder on the palette, but it’s still all joy in the climax.
6. The Muppets Take Manhattan
Broadway is a hard scene to break, and even The Muppets were strained by the pressures of the Big Apple. When the search for a promoter leads to a falling out among the cast, many of the members go elsewhere, leaving Kermit to figure out what went wrong alone.
A classic showbiz tale wrapped up in a circus of catchy tunes and heartfelt beats. The most enduring theme of The Muppets has been redemption and triumph through struggle by means of friendship and camaraderie, and everyone rallying behind Kermit is some ‘O captain, my captain’ territory Dead Poets Society can only respect.
5. The Great Muppet Caper
The Muppets were a fine-tuned comedy machine by the time their second big-screen feature rolled around, able to carry numerous running gags and layers of meta-humour. Away from the stage, Kermit and Fozzie are now journalists who manage to convince their editor to let them travel to London to looking an extravagant heist.
Their photographer Gonzo and a few others join them, adding more chaos to their already eccentric methods. Every scene offers a smile, and every line is quotable, proving there’s some method to the madness of having four credited writers. Much like Kermit, Jim Henson, in the director’s chair, manages to wrangle something outstanding from the mayhem.
4. The Muppets
After acquiring the franchise in 2004, Disney quite literally pulled The Muppets out of retirement for another run in the limelight. Their reunion isn’t under the best of circumstances because their old theatre is under threat from a greedy capitalist who wishes to knock it down.
Not on Kermit, Animal, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo, Fozzie, and everyone else’s watch. Walter, a new muppet who idolises the old crew, joins in to organise one last dance that proves there’s plenty of life left in Henson’s ensemble, and Jason Segal and Amy Adams help out where they can too.
3. Muppet Treasure Island
Jim Henson Company’s puppet pals almost meet their match in Billy Connolly and Tim Curry, two actors who seem altogether at home surrounded by talking frogs, pigs, and whatever Animal is. Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling novel is injected full of jolly sing-alongs in a signature re-write that keeps the spine but takes some artistic license.
An orphan, Jim Hawkins, acquires a treasure map and manages to board a ship maintained by Kermit and crew to find the loot. There’s something about Long John Silver, the chef, that’s not quite right, though, and soon they all find rough waters. Brian Henson directs for the second time, sailing through some jaw-dropping sequences.
2. The Muppet Movie
Rather than simply do The Muppet Show for the bones of two hours, The Muppet Movie elects to give some depth to Kermit and his furry friends by exploring their origins through a spirited road trip. The thrust is the lead-up to their first performance together, where Kermit picks up Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Animal, and more on a drive across the US, all sharing a passion for the performing arts.
Each segment is lighthearted and comical, holding the variety of their TV exploits but with some added cinematic depth. You can watch in real-time as the Muppets evolve from a Sesame Street offshoot into their own anarchic force. Leaves a warm feeling in the air, just like ‘Rainbow Connection’.
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol
No actor has had more fun making a Christmas movie than Michael Caine does going through the Charles Dickens classic with Gonzo and Rizzo. Right from Gonzo’s introduction, The Muppet Christmas Carol is smile-inducing, capturing the essence of festive cheer and good tidings, and then the songs kick in.
‘Scrooge’ and ‘Marley and Marley’ are pure bangers, ‘When Love is Gone’ and ‘One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas’ tug on the heartstrings, and ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ is a pure invocation of what the festive season means beyond hastily bought presents and cards. The Muppet Christmas Carol is an absolute gift, a miracle of a film that’s only gotten better with age. The best Christmas Carol movie, an undeniable festive staple, and the best Muppets movie all in one.
The Muppet Christmas Carol: Extended Edition became available on Disney Plus on December 11, 2023 to celebrate its 30th anniversary. For more magic and whimsy, have a look at our guide to the Studio Ghibli movies, or check out our list of the best Disney movies.