Every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. Four titans of the Italian Renaissance. Gifted sculptors, painters, poets, and architects.
But let’s be honest: That’s not why you instantly know their names. You know who they are because in 1983, two indie comic book artists from New Hampshire named their latest creations after them: A quartet of mutated reptiles.
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael became ... the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Their book was loosely inspired by — and took sly shots at — mainstream comics of the time, particularly Frank Miller’s gritty Daredevil stories. It might have sounded like a one-joke book — but sales of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles quickly began to climb, and when Playmates Toys acquired the license to produce Ninja Turtles toys, the concept became a veritable gold mine. TV shows, movies, video games, and an endless supply of comics followed. Somehow, this oddball spoof (originally printed in black-and-white!) has now been a fixture of kids pop culture for almost 40 years.
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In that time we’ve seen numerous reboots of the Ninja Turtles concept, especially in the world of cinema. They made their debut in live-action, then shifted to animation, then went back to live-action (now with CGI motion-captured Ninja Turtles), before returning to animation a second time with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, a colorful new take on Turtle Power.
The Ninja Turtles’ movies haven’t always been great (or even watchable) but they have produced a couple underrated gems along the way, especially if you include some of their direct to video or streaming titles. Below, we’ve ranked them all, all the ones that will make you say “Cowabunga!” and all the ones that were totally cowabungled.