Every Dragon Ball Movie, Ranked From Worst To Best

Every Dragon Ball Movie, Ranked From Worst To Best

With Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, a movie about how Piccolo is Gohan’s real dad, releasing later this week as well as the current DBZ extravaganza going on inside Fortnite, we decided it was the perfect time to rank every Dragon Ball movie and see which one comes out on top. What could possibly go wrong?

Goku and friends have been through a ton of adventures over the years, including 22, count ’em, 22 feature-length films. (We’re including the two made-for-TV specials in the mix and, we’re sorry to say, the live action debacle.) And while not officially movies, special shoutout to the Mega64 parodies and Team Four Star’s abridged series. They’re not in the ranking but they’re required watching for any super fan. Now without further ado, here’s our list of the best, the worst, and the rest:

Dragon Ball: Evolution

Starting at the bottom of the barrel, we couldn’t consider this list complete without mentioning Geeko and his mystical misadventures in the 2009 live action film Dragon Ball: Evolution. In it, Goku, Bulma, and Master Roshi, played by Justin Chatwin, Emmy Rossum, and Chow Yun-Fat respectively, hunt down the dragon balls in hopes of defeating the demon king Piccolo. Sadly, the movie’s lasting legacy isn’t that it was a great Hollywood adaptation of a beloved series, but as exhibit A of fan discontent whenever the words “live action” are uttered in the same sentence as their favourite anime. At least James Marsters had a lot of fun playing Piccolo.

Bio Broly

No one would fault you for forgetting that Broly got a third film that wasn’t Dragon Ball Super: Broly. After arriving on the mysterious island of Mr. Satan’s rival Jaga Bada, Android 18, Goten, and Trunks do battle against his horde of scientific monstrosities, most notably a genetically modified Broly. While the film does something right in giving Android 18 and Krillin the DBZ movie star treatment, it’s unfortunate that the film beats an already Elmer’s Glue-ified horse to death by bringing Broly back from the dead yet again as an uninspired goo monster.

Cooler’s Revenge

For many, the pinnacle of Dragon Ball Z is Goku whupping Freiza’s arse after going Super Saiyan for the first time on a dying Planet Namek. In recognition of this, Toei Animation tried to recreate the broad contours of that showdown by giving Frieza an even more powerful brother and having him hunt Goku down back on Earth. The final fight with Cooler is decent, but everything leading up to it is a drag. Still, who could forget the heavy metal fight music in the English dub?

Super Android 13

Super Android 13 opens with a shopping scene inside a big city. It’s all downhill from there. Some of DBZ’s best characters have been androids, but 13 isn’t one of them. The Dr. Gero-bot cosplaying as an interstate trucker has some neat attacks but this movie is essentially just one long fight that loses all momentum when it moves to the Arctic. The original Japanese version isn’t as bad though, since it’s only in the English dub that Android 13 sounds like a gruff Matthew McConaughey.

Lord Slug

On paper, Lord Slug has it all. An inter-galactic army crashes a planet into Earth to launch an invasion and terraform it into an iceball. The titular Lord Slug eventually reveals he’s secretly a Namekian by regrowing an arm. Goku even achieves a rare, proto-Super Saiyan form during the fight. Unfortunately, none of this redeems the anemic pacing and Gohan’s one weird trick.

The Path to Power

This was the last movie before Dragon Ball Z took a decades-long break, and it was not a great one to go out on. A soft reboot of the Dragon Ball years, it basically retreads the same old stories for the millionth time, just with more modern polish (it was the last one before the switch to computer animation). Goku has a touching moment with Android 8. That’s about it.

Curse of the Blood Rubies

This film retells how Goku first met Bulma, Yamcha, and Master Roshi, which is cool if you haven’t watched Dragon Ball proper. The movie deviates from Dragon Ball’s humble beginnings, seeing Goku and crew battle against a tyrant king named Gurumes who wishes to use the dragon balls to reverse a curse that transformed him into a giant purple monster. Curse of the Blood Rubies perfectly encapsulates the call to adventure that early Dragon Ball is known for.

Mystical Adventure

While Goku and Krillin train for a martial arts tournament, General Tao and Tien attempt to kill Chiaotzu, though the latter ultimately has a change of heart. Like the other Dragon Ball retellings, it condenses and changes some of the original series and is mostly fine for it. One virtue it does claim solely for its own is being the only movie in which the perfect android child Arale Norimaki appears. She is, after all, secretly the strongest Z Fighter.

Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle

The best of the Dragon Ball movies, Sleeping Princess sees Goku and Krillin get up to some Laurel-and-Hardy-like antics in a vampire’s castle. Goku turns into a giant ape and later Kamehamehas a giant ray gun. Once again, Goku and Krillin are competing for Master Roshi’s lessons, but Sleeping Princess also benefits from a plot that for once doesn’t revolve around staring at a compass to track down orange balls.

The World’s Strongest

Robots are really hit or miss in DBZ. Sometimes Akira Toriyama’s unique mech designs are inspired. Other times they lead to clumsy showdowns. Both are on display in World’s Strongest, a movie about a scientist trying to find the strongest Z warrior and replace their brain with his. That premise turns out to be a real slow burn, though fortunately the classic animation and an all-time Master Roshi throwdown make it worth it.

Bojack Unbound

After participating in the Cell Games, Mr. Satan and the Z-fighters compete in another world tournament with the “worked” booking of aliens set to face them in the ring. However that work quickly turns into a “shoot” when the fake aliens that the promoter hired are replaced by Bojack, a galactic warlord that was sealed away by the Kais, and his faithful minions. With Goku unable to join the battle on account of his two-peat death status following the Cell Saga, it’s up to Gohan to step up as the world’s saviour. While DBZ films tend to only let Goku bask in the limelight as the almighty problem solver, Bojack Unbound wisely deviates from that formula, giving Gohan his flowers as the first Z-fighter to go Super Saiyan 2.

Wrath of the Dragon

After using the dragon balls to open up a magic music box, the Z-fighters free an otherworldly hero named Tapion. Unsealing Tapion also unleashes Hirudegarn, the spacefaring demon god that destroyed Tapion’s planet. With the help of Tapion’s magical ocarina and mystical sword, the Z-fighters battle to save Earth from the tyranny of Hirudegarn. If you’re seeking a lore-breaking origin story about how Future Trunks got his Frieza-dicing sword, this is the movie for you.

The Return of Cooler

When the Z-fighters take an intergalactic excursion to New Namek, they discover it is under siege by a group of space invaders similar to Frieza’s forces. But instead of Frieza returning (as he will much later in the DBZ filmography), it is his cybernetically-enhanced brother Cooler who, as you can surmise from this movie’s title, returns to exact revenge against Goku for blasting him into space. This film distinguishes itself among its peers as one well worth the watch for its ingenious depiction of what Goku’s instant transmission looks like from his perspective.

Fusion Reborn

While competing in an otherworldly martial arts tournament, Goku, Pikkon and a recently deceased Vegeta do battle against a dimension-altering monster named Janemba. While battling Janemba in HFIL, the rest of the Z-fighters battle past DBZ villains like Frieza and Adolf Hitler (no, I’m not kidding). Also, holy shit, shout out to Sean Schemmel’s vocal cords because that Super Saiyan 3 transformation couldn’t have been easy on his throat.

Resurrection of ‘F’

Freiza is back again, again. This time he has a gold form, because why should cool new transformations be reserved for the good guys? There’s a lot of good and some bad with this one. A deus ex machina moment in the final minutes really lets the air out of what is otherwise a decent final fight, but Resurrection of ‘F’ does give Master Roshi a long-overdue swole-up and makes some interesting in-roads in Goku and Vegeta’s long-running rivalry.

The Tree of Might

DBZ goes full Secret of Mana in this one, asking important questions like “What if a tree was the size of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs and also what if its fruit tasted like the red SoBe drink and turned you into a god?” Tree of Might is an incredibly uneven movie with some of the most annoying Gohan scenes in the series, but it also has the most incredible Z fighter battle, one in which just about everyone gets a moment to shine. Plus Turles is an all-time top DBZ villain by virtue of looking exactly like Goku but with bad-arse Saiyan armour.

Broly Second Coming

Broly’s power-level was so high DBZ had to let him run it back in a second movie. Only this time, instead of battling Goku and Vegeta, Broly squares up against Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Videl. While the movie’s plot isn’t anything to write home about, it is refreshing to see a film without Goku or Vegeta serving as the mystery mouseketool to keep the Earth safe from rampaging villains. In contrast to the many edgy one-liners he spouted in his previous film, Broly’s vocabulary has devolved into him only being able to utter Goku’s Saiyan name. But don’t worry, he manages to put together one sentence before his final confrontation with Gohan and Goten.

Dead Zone

This is the first movie in the Dragon Ball Z era and it’s a stone-cold classic. The animation is on point, there’s an actual plot, and the action is well-paced. More importantly, it’s one of the few times in the series Goku and Piccolo get to team up as frenemies on an equal playing field. Garlic Jr. can’t hold a candle to later villains, but anyone who can make the heroes take off their clothes and gloat about how much they were weighted deserves a round of applause.

Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan

After getting tricked into visiting the New Planet Vegeta by a scorned Saiyan named Pegasus, the Z-fighters must liberate the planet’s enslaved alien race from Broly, the legendary Super Saiyan, before an oncoming comet destroys them all. This movie is the DBZ power fantasy incarnate. While Broly’s motivation is laughably simplistic, it’s not every day you see a DBZ villain take the full-brunt of a Kamehameha from point blank range and shrug it off. Also also, this movie’s soundtrack is fucking phenomal. I don’t know what metalhead was in charge of the needle drops in this film but having Pantera play during Broly’s Super Saiyan transformation is chef’s kiss.

Battle of Gods

Dragon Ball Z went on a nearly 20-year hiatus. So when it returned with Battle of the Gods in 2013, it was a major event. The movie is about Goku trying to reach his Super Saiyan God form while the god of destruction, Beerus, threatens to blow up Earth. A precursor to Dragon Ball Super, it falls on the lighter, more comedic side, and nails just about everything it’s going for. It doesn’t showcase the darker side of the franchise many fans prefer, but the fan service is on point.


This time around Frieza tries to get Broly to kill Goku and Vegeta and surprise, it doesn’t quite work out. Broly is the Hulk of the Dragon Ball universe, and like Bruce Banner’s alter-ego, he has a lot more going on than just getting pissed off and smashing stuff. Unlike the earlier movies in the franchise, Dragon Ball Super: Broly actually went deep into a backstory and gave the previously one-note character some emotional layers. The movie is also by far the best of the modern era, with a clear narrative arc and a couple of the most incredible action sequences in series history.

Bardock– Father of Goku

If you’ve ever scratched your head wondering what Vegeta’s (both the planet and its King) final moments were like before Frieza blew it to smithereens, Bardock–Father of Goku answers that very question (before getting slightly retconned in Broly). After genociding a planet of psychics (ironic, I know), Bardock receives premonitions of Vegeta’s destruction. The rest of the film follows Bardock as he attempts to prevent Planet Vegeta’s destruction, all while piecing together visions of Goku battling future Dragon Ball villains. Bardock–Father of Goku also doubles as a National Geographic-esque lore explainer of the Saiyan warrior in its natural habitat.

History of Trunks

The History of Trunks ranks as one of its darkest tales in the series.

In the parallel universe where Goku and the rest of the Z-fighters are long dead, the Red Ribbon Army’s androids reign supreme. It’s up to Gohan to teach Trunks how to become a Super Saiyan in order for the pair to defeat Android 17 and 18 once and for all. In addition to serving as the origin story for Future Trunks in DBZ proper, History of Trunks is a must-watch for fans because of its emotional depiction of the once-unique Super Saiyan transformation.

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