The 23 Best 'Dragon Ball' Movies, Ranked

dbz f mobile
Funimation

Every anime worth its salt has delved into the act of putting forth longer standalone stories contained within movies.

The world of Dragon Ball has done just that and introduced a collection of lesser-known and immensely popular baddies that have come to blows with the "Z-Fighters." Goku and his whole squad of super-powered allies have been involved in so many side adventures that have put their lives, the people of Planet Earth, and even other realms' populations at stake. And through those adventures, fans have been treated to some shockingly amazing films (and some pretty terrible or wholly mediocre ones as well).

I consider myself a pretty avid follower of the Dragon Ball universe who's done the tough task of sitting through each and every film put forth by Akira Toriyama's multimedia darling. Here is each and every Dragon Ball movie ranked by yours truly.

23. ‘A Hero's Legacy’

Dragon Ball GT gets a lock of flack and I totally get all the criticisms thrown against it. But it has its strong moments here and there - I damn near cried my eyes out upon the final episode that saw Goku get whisked off with Shenron and ascend to Heaven. A Hero's Legacy is the one GT film on this list and it acts as a prelude to everything that takes place during the very end of the last episode. And to be quite honest, this film is pretty lackluster. Goku Jr. comes off like the softest Sayian of all time throughout most of it, plus there aren't any memorable action sequences to speak off. Goku Jr's meeting with the deceased Goku is the only highlight I can remember from this one.

22. ‘Bio-Broly’

Bio-Broly practically eviscerated Broly's cool factor until his rebooted Dragon Ball Super movie came along. This bottom-of-the-barrel Dragon Ball Z movie turned the Legendary Super Saiyan into nothing more than a brainless, rampaging creature that lost all of the qualities that fans had become so fond of before. Watching Android 18 put in work alongside Trunks and Goten during parts of this film was cool and all, but the rest of this movie just proves to be unmemorable and a complete waste of one of Dragon Ball Z's most celebrated villains.

21. ‘Broly – Second Coming’

Broly's second film may be miles better than Bio-Broly, but it still manages to be one of Dragon Ball Z's weaker movie efforts. Broly - Second Coming pretty much sees the super-sized Saiyan terrorize Goku's oldest and youngest sons, plus Trunks, Krillin, and Videl end up getting caught in Broly's path of destruction as well. The beatdowns put in place by Broly here aren't all that exciting since most of the Z-Fighters aren't in attendance to give him a hype struggle. The only dope scene I'll always take away from this lackluster film is the Father-Son Kamehameha that finished off Broly by blasting him right into the sun.

20. ‘Lord Slug’

The most badass Namekian will forever be Piccollo! Let's get that straight before anything else! Lord Slug may be a pretty terrifying member of Piccolo's race, but his film doesn't really place him above Gohan's true father. This film is halfway decent since it has some pretty intense action sequences put in place that see Goku and Krillin bringing the fight to Slug and his forces. The scene that gives everyone a quick tease of Goku's eventual Super Saiyan transformation always sticks out in my mind as the best part of this cinematic clash featuring one of Dragon Ball Z's most sinister Namekians. The way Goku finally brings an end to Lord Slug's reign of terror is super satisfying, too!

19. ‘Curse of the Blood Rubies’

The OG Dragon Ball movies tend to provide a more whimsical feel when it comes to young Goku and the rest of the gang's early adventures. Curse of the Blood Rubies adapts the initial story arc of the manga and provides a Cliff Notes version of how Goku befriends Bulma, Oolong, Yamcha, Puar, and Master Roshi. If you've watched the episodes of the Dragon Ball series that delved into those events, then there isn't much to see here besides the new baddies created specifically for this film. Overall, Curse of the Blood Rubies proves to be a fun time and an easier way to digest Goku's travels before his extensive training with Master Roshi.

18. ‘Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle’

This Dragon Ball film features a series rarity in the form of a supernatural baddie giving a young Goku and Krillin the fight of their lives. And all in all, it's a pretty solid foray into the early training regimens for Master Roshi's star pupils. If you wanna see Krillin actually put in some work and look his strongest, then do yourself a favor and seek this film out. The final battle with Lucifer provides an enjoyable climax to this Dragon Ball sidequest that's worth seeking out.

17. ‘Mystical Adventure’

This next movie pick is another abridged version of two important story arcs from the Dragon Ball saga. And those two major plot points concern the Red Ribbon Army and 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. Some familiar faces, such as General Blue, Mercenary Tao, and Tien, pop up for all the fun festivities here. You'll have a decent time sitting through this one - you'll definitely get the most mileage from Goku and Arale's clash with the sinister Tao.

16. ‘The World’s Strongest’

I get a big nostalgia pop whenever I watch The World's Strongest since most of its combat scenes are contained within the American intro for the mainline series. And those battle sequences are pretty badass - Goku, Piccolo, and even Master Roshi go extra hard during their epic clashes against Dr. Willow & his Bio-Warriors. This film does a fine job of showcasing Goku's increasing strength as he put the Kaio-ken technique to great use here.

15. ‘The Tree of Might’

So Goku was originally sent to Earth to grow up into a young man and eventually bring the entire planet to its knees. But after bumping his head during a dangerous fall, little Goku turned into a whimsical child that eventually grew up to become Earth's savior. The Tree of Might pretty much presents an evil alternate version of Goku in Turles. And he's one of Dragon Ball Z's most slept-on villains. This movie shines the spotlight on him and his energy-sucking plant, plus it features some exciting clashes topped off by Goku going to war with a super savage version of himself.

14. ‘The Dead Zone’

Garlic Jr.'s one of those rare baddies from Dragon Ball Z that actually got his wish of immortality granted by the great Shenron. The Dead Zone acts as a prequel to the mainline series as a whole that sees Goku, Gohan, Krillin, and Piccolo confront one of their earliest challenges in a super buff and unkillable Garlic Jr. Goku and Piccolo's climactic battle with the massive green menace is a damn good time that I highly recommend you all check out.

13. ‘Super Android 13!’

Super Android 13 will always get a good chuckle out of me for one reason and one reason only - the titular villain of this movie goes full savage mode by punching Goku directly in the nuts! That's a boss move if I've ever seen one. The rest of this movie is filled with some high-octane clashes with a remaining lot of Dr. Gero's killer androids. Android 13's weird truck driver design and iffy southern accent are kinda off-putting, but his super-powered up version looks cool enough and gives Goku a hell of a fight in the end.

12. ‘The Path to Power’

Even though The Path to Power is a reboot of the Dragon Ball series and a retelling of the initial search for the Dragon Balls & the Red Ribbon Army conflict, it's still a quality production. It's clear that the budget for this one was plentiful due to how gorgeous it looks when compared to the original source material. The Path to Power looks amazing in every way possible, which means all of its major moments come off a lot better than they initially appeared during the original Dragon Ball series. Here's hoping Kid Goku's story arc with King Piccolo gets The Path to Power treatment at some point!

11. ‘Battle of Gods’

The anticipation for this movie from the Dragon Ball Z fanbase was at an all-time high as soon as it was announced. And it's easy to see why - it had been years since fans had gotten to see the whole gang in a whole new adventure. Battle of Gods delivers the hilarity and crazy action that fans have become accustomed to, plus it puts forth two characters that have become an integral part of the anime's ongoing mythos. Goku's new Super Saiyan God form doesn't look all that cool but watching him tap into its powers to go toe to toe with a god offsets that disappointing reveal. I also gotta give this movie extra kudos for showing Vegeta's undying love for Bulma through his attack on Beerus for his transgressions.

10. ‘Wrath of the Dragon’

Before this movie dropped, I always wondered how Trunks got his trusty sword in the first place. Wrath of the Dragon does a great job of answering that question by putting forth an adventure ripped straight out of The Legend of Zelda. Tapion's a pretty likable guy that I wish we got to see more of, plus the Z-Fighters' war with the massive Hirudegarn provides a different type of struggle that helps this movie stand out. This movie certainly sticks out in my mind because of Super Saiyan 3 Goku's incredible use of the Dragon Fist technique to put Hirudegarn down for good.

9. ‘Bardock – The Father of Goku’

Goku's pops is cool as all hell! This movie confirmed that fact by focusing on him and the strained relationship between the Saiyan race & the Frieza Army before the start of Dragon Ball as a whole. Bardock – The Father of Goku is a dope look at the man himself that proves the statement "like father, like son" to be true - Bardock's Saiyan pride and heroic qualities come to the forefront here. Bardock's combat skills come into focus and are way better than expected, by the way. Even though Frieza wipes him and the rest of the Saiyans out at the end, you can't help but get a kick out of witnessing Bardock smile as he gets a premonition of his son being the one to bring Frieza's reign to an end.

8. ‘Cooler’s Revenge’

Another Dragon Ball Z movie villain that's God-tier level is Frieza's even more sinister brother, Cooler. Cooler's Revenge puts him in the position of the film's main baddie and he definitely makes the best of his debut. The fights Goku has against Cooler's basic and full-powered forms reach the maximum level of hype for me. By the time this movie wrapped up, I still wanted another 10 minutes of Super Saiyan Goku locking horns with Cooler. Cooler's Revenge features some exciting fights that must be seen to be believed if you mistakenly passed over 'em.

7. ‘The Return of Cooler’

Thank the anime gods for bringing Cooler back for another round of vengeance-filled battles with Goku! And what makes this film even better than its predecessor is the fact that Vegeta got to join in on all the fun. Cooler's Revenge is pure excellence thanks to Cooler's new metal form putting up a much tougher challenge this time around. His newfound ability to make damn near unlimited copies of himself and even transform into an even larger form made Goku and Vegeta fight side by side. And watching Dragon Ball Z's top two Saiyans link up is always a fun time.

6. ‘The History of Trunks’

Fact - Future Trunks is one of the best characters in all of Dragon Ball Z history. His purple hair, his trusty sword, and his heroic deeds have turned him into a fan favorite. The History of Trunks film is one of the more emotionally draining films in the series due to the Android assault done to Future Gohan & the rest of Earth's population. It's rare to shed a tear during a Dragon Ball Z film, but you'll definitely feel some type of way during this one. When Future Trunks finally avenges his master's death, you'll cheer your ass off! The History of Trunks is such a great coming-of-age tale for the purple-haired warrior.

5. ‘Bojack Unbound’

Before Gohan's character took a turn for the worst, his teen self was simply the GOAT! Bojack Unbound puts him in the limelight in one of the most action-packed Dragon Ball Z films ever made. Bojack might not be the most original villain, but he still brings the pain with his lackeys in tow against Teen Gohan and the Z-Fighters sans Goku. The two teams that tear into each other here provide a movie that doesn't slow down as soon as it gets going. Teen Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 form is one of the very best to watch in action, which is why this film kicks all the asses.

4. ‘Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan’

Broly's an uncontrollable walking hazard that had the Z-Fighters shook during his very first film. Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan sees Broly buff up to the extreme and beat the holy hell out of Goku & the gang. I never thought it'd be so fun watching them all get tortured to the point of extinction, but here we are. My two main knocks against this movie are an especially corny line about Goku's "real friends" from the man himself and Vegeta completely giving up midway through the fight. Even with those two issues, this movie still amazes me as it showcases an entertaining fight for survival against a legendary Super Saiyan.

3. ‘Resurrection ‘F’’

In my opinion, Cell is the greatest baddie in all of Dragon Ball Z history. But right behind him is the cold-hearted alien known as Frieza. I didn't expect him to make a return and get his very own film, but I'm glad that act actually went down. The Z-Fighters came together here to beat back the rebuilt Frieza Army, which provides some lively action sequences. But the fun factor behind this movie truly ratchets up once the Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan forms of Goku and Vegeta come through to get into it with Golden Frieza. I wasn't a huge fan of that "get out of jail free" card Whis blessed the good guys with at the end. But that one blemish wasn't enough to take this pick out of the top three section of this list.

2. ‘Fusion Reborn’

That Fusion dance is iconic, fam! And the mystical fighters that are born out of that dance always bring the hype. Fusion Reborn puts that technique at the heart of this film as Goku & Vegeta put it to good use to defeat the blade-wielding Janemba. Even before we get to the climactic battle between Super Saiyan Gogeta and Janemba's slimmer form, there are some great moments that take place before it. Super Saiyan 3 Goku's fight with Janemba's chubbier form, plus Goku & Vegeta's separate battles with the Hell-born malefactor are equally exciting. The cool disappearing act that Janemba employs during this film is pretty dope, too!

1. ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’

Let's keep it a stack, folks - Broly's reasoning for hating Goku is pretty dumb. So just because baby Goku cried too loud, it pissed off Broly to the point where he's always held a grudge with him? So dumb, bruh...so dumb. Thanks to this Dragon Ball Super film, we get a rebooted Broly here that gets an improved origin story and better reasoning for his incorrigible behavior. Dragon Ball Super: Broly looks amazing, features an easy-to-follow storyline, and puts forth a big-budget animated epic that has to be seen on the big screen. Even the comedy is on point here - Broly's assault on Frieza and the repeated tries from Goku & Vegeta to fuse together had me on the floor! The closing moments between Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Gogeta and Broly are definitely worth the price of admission.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Liked
Thumbs Down
Disliked