Tim Robey lists the best 10 film sequels, in chronological order.
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)The sequel as smart, fundamentally fond self-parody. Elsa Lanchester’s lightning frizz is the starting-off point for this deeply witty continuation of Universal’s horror smash, helmed again by James Whale, this time with tongue gleefully in cheek.
For a Few Dollars More (1965)Clint Eastwood truly matured as a star in this blistering second part of Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy – the one with Gian Maria Volonté as the ruthless El Indio, Ennio Morricone on fire, and the first of those legendary three-way shootouts at the end.
The Godfather, Part II (1974)Coppola deepens his peerless epic in two directions, ushering us both forwards and backwards to amplify the Corleone family saga. The uncanny rise of Don Vito (De Niro) makes the paranoid legacy of his son Michael (Pacino) stand in ever sharper relief.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)Far and away the best Star Wars film, with only Lucas’s original in something like an adjacent galaxy. The key is Irvin Kershner’s darkly seductive direction, but also the confidence of the script to leave us lost in space, bereft of resolution.
Aliens (1986)The most elegant sequel title ever – this time it’s plural, and exponentially so. Sigourney Weaver becomes the fully-fledged action heroine cinema had always been waiting for, in James Cameron’s brilliantly-paced and palpitatingly tense journey to the motherlode.