How to Watch the Muppet Movies in Order

Published: August 28, 2023
Categories: Commentary, Feature

We live in a world where difficult decisions plague us. They hide around corners, wear mysterious cloaks, and when we least expect it, they superglue a mole on our face and get us thrown into a Siberian gulag. As Muppet fans, we’re constantly forced into deciding things – whether or not to picture that, investigating the name of that song, and when to pick fights with people who use the term “Muppeteer,” to name a few.

Now, if you’re anything like me – and you surely must be – you often find yourself finding good reason to rewatch the Muppet movies. Not just because they’re good (well, most of them are good), but because it’s a solid education for us all in film history, comedic timing, and cheating on book reports. But for anyone choosing to revisit the Muppet movies has to start somewhere, and then subsequently choose which comes next, and so on. Is there a correct order in watching the Muppet movies? And if so… what is the “correct” order?

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. The obvious order is to watch them in the order in which they were released. But if things were that simple, we wouldn’t be talking about it here, now would we??

The truth is that things aren’t nearly that simple. Yeah, you could start with 1979’s The Muppet Movie and watch in order straight through 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted. If you want to do it the easy way.

There are some who might say that the Muppet films should be seen in chronological order. That means the correct watch list would be:

  • Muppet Treasure Island (which is set around the mid-1700s)
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (around the 1840s)
  • The Great Muppet Caper (references to big Hollywood films of the 1930s and 40s)
  • The Muppets (follow up to the small town “let’s put on a show in a barn” films of the 1930s)
  • The Muppet Movie (a sendup of the “Road to…” movies of the 1940s and 50s)
  • Muppets Most Wanted (a reference to The Great Muppet Caper)
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan (you can’t escape Miss Piggy’s 1980s hair)
  • Muppets From Space (might as well be a sequel to 1996’s Independence Day)

See? A brand new Muppet movie sequence has been unlocked!

Of course, this movie order has some issues. How do we deal with scenes that exist in other timelines? Should the Noah sequence from the beginning of Muppets from Space come first, only to have Gonzo awaken from his dream 8 movies later? Where does the Muppet Babies sequence from Muppets Take Manhattan fall in this order? Perhaps this method is too complicated.

Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Instead of chronological order, the movies should be listed in biographical order! Yes of course – the Muppets are telling a story, and we just need to follow the paths of their lives to unlock it. Let’s try this:

  • The Muppet Movie (the Muppets meet)
  • Muppets From Space (the Muppets buy a house)
  • The Muppets (the Muppets get a hit TV show, then split up)
  • Muppets Most Wanted (the Muppets put on a stage show, go on a European tour)
  • The Great Muppet Caper (Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie get jobs as journalists, rejoin the Muppets who stayed behind in England)
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan (the Muppets go to college, learn about classic literature)
  • Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island (the Muppets make movies based on their studies)

No no no, this won’t do. The Muppets “meet” each other for the first time, like three or four times. And we can’t have Kermit and Piggy talk about their fake marriage in The Muppets three movies before Muppets Take Manhattan. I’m not gonna lie, this is a mess.

There’s got to be a better order to watch these movies. Ummm… looking around the room, looking around the room… aha! It’s always bothered me when a series of movies isn’t released in alphabetical order. It makes my DVD shelf look out of order. [Side note: The only franchise I can think of where all of the films are actually released in alphabetical order is the original trilogy of Jason Bourne movies. But even then, you have to ignore the “Legacy” spinoff. I’ll send a prize to the first person who can find a better example.]

Obviously, the ideal way to watch the Muppet movies is in alphabetical order!

  • The Great Muppet Caper
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • The Muppet Movie
  • Muppet Treasure Island
  • The Muppets
  • Muppets From Space
  • Muppets Most Wanted
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan

Huh. Well, that’s certainly a decision. I guess it’s interesting separating the singular “Muppet” movies from the “Muppets” movies. And I guess it’s cool to spread out that original trilogy. Yeah, this is a good idea! Totally worth attempting.

Ah, who am I kidding? That’s an awful way to experience the Muppet films. The whole point of this exercise is to find the best, most enjoyable way to see these movies. Wait! Enjoyable! That’s it! We should watch the movies in order of quality, starting with the worst and building up to the best! Who wouldn’t love that??

  • Muppets From Space (63% on Rotten Tomatoes)
  • Muppet Treasure Island (71% on Rotten Tomatoes)
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (77% on Rotten Tomatoes)
  • The Great Muppet Caper (78% on Rotten Tomatoes)
  • Muppets Most Wanted (80% on Rotten Tomatoes)
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan (84% on Rotten Tomatoes)
  • The Muppet Movie (88% on Rotten Tomatoes)
  • The Muppets (95% on Rotten Tomatoes)

So… I guess tastes differ? I can’t even pretend that the 2011 The Muppets is better than the original Muppet Movie. And Muppet Christmas Carol was historically a passable film, but found a second life as a perennial classic. Besides, who are these tomatoes that assign these arbitrary rankings anyhow? I’d like to speak to their manager.

This is very quickly turning into a pretty pointless article. Surely there’s an ideal way to watch all of these movies that I haven’t thought of yet. Let me give this one more go… umm, how about the order in which the movies appear when you search for “Muppets” on Disney+?

  • The Muppets
  • Muppets Most Wanted
  • The Muppet Movie
  • Muppet Treasure Island
  • The Great Muppet Caper
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol

Ah crap, where’s Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets From Space? How can we even watch all of the Muppet movies if they’re not even streaming in the same place??

That raises the question: Are these even all of the Muppet movies? Should we be including the Sesame Street theatrical releases Follow That Bird and Elmo in Grouchland? If so, how does Big Bird’s Muppet Movie cameo factor into it? How about TV movies like Kermit’s Swamp Years and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz? Muppet Wiki even lists Muppet*Vision 3D as a movie, even though it’s only like 17 minutes long!

I don’t think I have the patience to sit here and wax poetic about what is or is not a “movie,” and nobody wants to hear me explain the difference between a Muppet movie, a Sesame movie, and a Creature Shop movie, even though there’s certainly precedence for the crossover. Don’t even get me started on Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

Is it possible that I’m creating problems where none previously existed? Did anyone actually ask for a recommended viewing order for the Muppet movies? Am I so starved for content that I posed the question myself and then went on and on like a madman just to fill the empty void?

No no no, I can’t be the one who’s at fault. It’s the children who are wrong! Muppet fans love Muppet movies, and there is a correct way for Muppet fans to consume Muppet movies. It is up to me – a Muppet journalist – to uncover these secret certainties. Not for myself, not even for the Muppet fan community, but for the innate spirit of truth. This is my duty, and this is my burden.

If I can’t come up with the right results, can I even lay claim to my position amongst the Muppet fans? There’s a fine line between commentary and making stuff up, and if I’m caught with the latter, I’m bound to be revealed as an utter fraud. I’d have to quit ToughPigs, sell my DVD collection, and move to a place where they’ve never even heard of Muppets. Someplace like… Akron. I don’t want to live in Akron!

Okay Joe, come on man, pull yourself together. Type out your inner narration if you have to, it’s a perfectly sane thing to do. You can do this – it’s just making a list of eight things and putting them in the right order. You’ve got one more shot – just close your eyes, shut out the rest of the world, and let the spirit of Muppet fandom rise up from within and reveal the correct answer. Now… in what order should the Muppet movies be watched?

  • The Muppet Movie
  • The Great Muppet Caper
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Muppet Treasure Island
  • Muppets From Space
  • The Muppets
  • Muppets Most Wanted

Yeah, that looks about right.

Click here to alphabetize the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes –


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