Like many decades-spanning film franchises, Planet of the Apes hasn't been the most consistent. It started with a hit 1968 movie that was smart, exciting, witty and seemingly closed to further outings. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Over the decades, that first money-making, ground-shaking sci-fi film (an adaptation of a 1963 French novel in which humans and apes reverse roles) has spawned four contemporary sequels, a remake, a series-rebooting campaign featuring three movies (and counting), a TV show, an animated TV show, comic books, lunchboxes, magazines, trading cards, action figures and all sorts of memorabilia during the early-to-mid-'70s run when ape-mania was at its peak.

The below list of Planet of the Apes Movies Ranked Worst to Best will offer some surprises if you believe the original quintet couldn't be topped or if you think restarting a successful, but decades-old, franchise would result in total disaster. (Or if you think casting '70s singer-songwriter Paul Williams and Oscar-winning director John Huston as talking apes in 1973 was an awesome, inspired idea.)

From the classic first film and its increasingly preposterous sequels to Tim Burton's overcooked 2001 redo and the surprising durability of the Planet of the Apes lineup of movies that started in 2011, the movies outlined below cover sociopolitical issues, racism, space travel, nuclear annihilation, man's self-destructive nature and the savage beasts that rest just below the surface of both man and ape. Pretty deep stuff for a series about talking monkeys.

Planet of the Apes Movies Ranked

It's a mad house! A mad house!

Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci

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