Pedal to the Metal: The Ultimate Ranking of 'The Fast and the Furious' Franchise
Universal Pictures

When The Fast and the
Furious
was released in June 2001, the signs did not portend its eventual
future as one of cinema’s most durable and lucrative franchises. The original
film, based on a magazine article about street racing, didn’t feature any
A-list stars and wasn’t expected to make a dent in a summer featuring “surefire”
box-office hits like Pearl Harbor, Tomb Raider and Planet of the Apes.

MORE: 29 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the 'The Fast and the Furious' Films

But then the NOS kicked in and audiences ate up the
adventures of Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and the rest of their
motley crew as they drove fast, executed capers, bested rivals and espoused
family values in a series of increasingly over-the-top movies that helped
reshape the action genre and showed Hollywood that a diverse cast could equal
global box-office success.

With The Fate of the
Furious
in theaters, we decided to answer the burning question that’s been
debated for years: which Fast and Furious
movie
is the best? Find out below with ET’s completely scientific ranking
of all eight films, from worst to best.

MORE: ET's Top 4 Moments With 'The Fast and the Furious' Cast

8. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift(2006)

Universal Pictures

Plot: An American
teen hoping to avoid jail time moves to Tokyo and finds himself immersed in the
underground drift racing scene.

Worldwide box office: $158.5
million

Best line: “One
car in exchange for knowing what a man’s made of? That’s a price I can live
with.” – Han

The redheaded stepchild of the F&F series, this film
suffers heavily from the absence of Dom and Brian, and from the lack of
charisma projected by eternal man-child Lucas Black in the lead role. However,
the film is slightly redeemed by its recently discovered role in the series’
chronology, as everything in this movie happens after the sixth film and before
the seventh film, which is either a staggering amount of foresight or a
brilliant piece of desperate screenwriting. This one is only for die-hards, completists
and Bow Wow fans. Director Justin Lin would learn his lessons here and use them
to much greater advantage in the next three movies.

7. Furious 7(2015)

Universal Pictures

Plot: Owen Shaw’s
brother enacts revenge against Dom and the crew for taking out his brother in
the prior film.

Worldwide box office: $1.51
billion

Best line: “Thought
you could leave without saying goodbye?” – Brian

The cloud of Walker’s death hangs over this film, which
(understandably) feels disjointed and awkward, given the digital trickery used
to complete Brian’s scenes. But even without that, there are two major problems
with what turned out to be the franchise’s biggest box-office success to date:
it doesn’t feel like a standalone film, with several hanging threads left to be
addressed in part 8, and the stunts shifting from “amazing!” to “OK, this is
going too far.” Is jumping through buildings with cars cool? Of course. Does
that shatter reality and then grind it into pulp? Yes. BUT! Any movie with
Jason Statham can’t be that bad, and the final scene of Brian riding off into
the sunset made a single man-tear fall from many an eye.

6. Fast & Furious 6(2013)

Universal Pictures

Plot: The entire
crew is reunited by Hobbs in an attempt to stop a group of fast-driving
mercenaries who are wreaking havoc in London.

Worldwide box office: $788.7
million

Best line: “Uh,
guys … they got a tank!” – Tej

There’s a clear line of demarcation between where the
F&F films are rooted in some sort of reality and where they become a
street-racing version of a James Bond movie, and this might be the perfect
example of the latter. Dom is pulled back in when he discovers that Letty (Rodriguez)
is alive and working for the nefarious Owen Shaw (Luke Evans, in a great bad
guy role), and the gang goes off on a globe-trotting adventure that ties back
into the previous film (and Tokyo Drift).
Bonus points for the casting of Gina Carano and the inevitable girlfight that
results, the finale on the longest runway in the known world and the surprising
ending.

5. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Universal Pictures

Plot: Disgraced
cop Brian turns to an old childhood friend who just happens to be a street
racer to help stop a ruthless criminal and clear his name.

Worldwide box office:
$236.4 million

Best line: “Come
on, man. Guns, murderers and crooked cops? I was made for this, bro.” – Roman

Look, movies are supposed to be fun, right? And there’s no
denying this first sequel leans hard into the comedy and absurdity aspects of
the franchise, a stark departure from the somewhat somber original film and a
turnoff to some. But without Diesel’s gravitas (and gravelly voice), the action
wisely shifts from L.A. to candy-coated Miami, with Brian teaming up with old
friend Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and an undercover agent (Eva Mendes) to bring down
drug lord Verone (Cole Hauser). A lot of F&F fans dislike this entry, but
it maintains a goofy charm, introduces one of the franchise’s best characters
(Ludacris’ Tej) and carries enough cool set pieces that its harsh reputation is
undeserved.

4. Fast & Furious (2009)

Universal Pictures

Plot: FBI agent
Brian teams up with Dom to help avenge Letty’s murder and bring down a Mexican
heroin kingpin.

Worldwide box office:
$363.2 million

Best line: “Maybe
you’re not the good guy pretending to be the bad guy. Maybe you’re the bad guy
pretending to be the good guy. Did you ever think about that?” – Mia

The first “true” sequel to feature both Diesel and Walker,
this film again places our heroes on opposite sides of the law, as Dom works
with his new crew and Brian continues his FBI career. But when Letty is
murdered by drug lord Braga (John Ortiz, one of the series’ better baddies),
the pair make an uneasy truce to get revenge. This film feels a lot like a
bigger budgeted remake of the original movie, but the introduction of new
characters like Han and Gisele and the finale in a series of underground
tunnels between the U.S. and Mexico up the ante. But really, it just feels good
to see Dom and Brian back in action.

3. The Fate of the
Furious
(2017)

Universal Pictures

Plot: Dom
turns against his family to become a wheelman for a brilliant cyberhacker
intent on bringing down world powers through terrorist acts.

Worldwide box office: $529 million (in its opening weekend)

Best line: “It
doesn’t matter what’s under the hood. The only thing that matters is who’s behind
the wheel.” – Dom

A huge improvement from the previous film, the eighth installment
in the series is an action-packed joyride that delivers some true,
out-of-the-blue surprises that show there’s plenty of life left in this
franchise. Even though you know Dom turns on the crew, to see it unfold remains
shocking and Diesel (not the world’s strongest actor) pulls off his character’s
torment well. The film gets a huge credibility boost from Oscar winner Charlize
Theron as the notorious hacker Cipher, whose coolly psychotic demeanor and
global reach make her the series’ best villain. New director F. Gary Gray keeps
the action moving, ties up loose ends from previous films and leaves the door
wide open for a logical next sequel. 

2. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Universal Pictures

Plot: Undercover
cop Brian O’Conner must figure out where his loyalties lie after he becomes
friendly with the gang of street racers he’s been assigned to break up.

Worldwide box office:
$207.3 million

Best line: “I live
my life a quarter mile at a time.” – Dom

Looking back, the movie that started it all almost feels a
little quaint, which is no surprise since it has its DNA in the teen potboilers
of the 1950s (the title is shared with a 1955 film from B-movie king Roger
Corman). So, while the melodrama hasn’t aged particularly well, the peek into
the previously unexplored street racing scene still thrills, with star-making
performances by Diesel, Walker and Michelle Rodriguez anchoring the film. The
notion of this street racing crew as family is started here, making its
presence in the sequels feel well-earned. The stakes may not be quite as high,
but the visceral thrills on display make this one of the series’ best.

1. Fast Five (2011)

Universal Pictures

Plot: Dom Toretto
and his crew butt heads with a Brazilian drug lord and a DEA agent and plan a
massive heist in order to buy their freedom.

Worldwide box office:
$626.1 million

Best line: “Above all
else we don’t ever, ever let them get into cars.” – Hobbs

The perfect distillation of the F&F ethos, this movie
has it all: the original cast operating at its peak; the addition of The Rock’s
Hobbs, which re-energized the series; one of the great final chase
scenes/capers of the franchise; and a couple of surprise cameos that helped
move the story forward. While some series purists may disagree with the pivot
away from the street racing scene, this film opened the franchise to the larger
adventures and crazier stunts that would follow in the sequels. The Rock steals
every scene he’s in, and if you don’t get a thrill watching the team drag a
giant vault through the streets of Rio, you might want to check your pulse.