Whether you grew up during the 1980s or you came to the franchise a little later on, there’s no denying how popular Transformers is. What began as a toy line, about cars and planes that transform into robots, has since morphed into a collection of cartoons, comics, games, and a hugely successful series of movies.

How successful? Well, the live-action Transformers films have taken over $4 billion at the worldwide box office! Not only that, but the films have become highly influential to other modern blockbusters too, with many taking inspiration from the look and feel of the TF movies – especially when it comes to action scenes.

But what are all the Transformers movies? How many Transformers movies are there and what is the best order to watch them?

Today I will answer these questions with a rundown of the Transformers movies. In this post I will highlight all of the films in the series, starting with a sometimes forgotten animated offering.

Let’s roll out…

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The ’80s Transformers movie

Image: ©Manga Entertainment

If you thought the Transformers movie franchise began with live-action movies then you’re sadly mistaken. Long before Optimus Prime and Co. transformed in the real world (so to speak), the property had already been turned into a movie, only through animation.

The film was 1986’s Transformers: The Movie – a feature-length adventure that saw the Autobots and the Decepticons take to the big screen for the first time. Heroes and villains collide in an epic battle that contains one of the most iconic moments in TF history.

If you’ve not watched Transformers: The Movie, then give it a whirl. The film is a pure slice of ’80s nostalgia, with some quirky characters and fun moments.

As there is only one animated movie from the 1980s, here is the viewing order for Transformers:

  • Transformers: The Movie (1986)

Sadly, despite the film’s status as a cult classic, Transformers: The Movie did not spawn any additional animated features. As such, this is a solo affair, which is a shame as it is such a great little movie.

However, in recent years Transformers: The Movie has been given the HD treatment, which has not only given it the visual makeover it deserves, but has also helped to preserve it for generations to come. The HD release is stunning, with a colour palette that simply pops off the screen.

The movie is available on Blu-ray and digital, with the Blu-ray edition including a documentary, commentary and featurette. Transformers: The Movie is widely available and if you’re looking for a copy, I find that both Amazon UK and Amazon US are competitively priced.

And should you want to delve deeper into this animated world, you should know that Transformers: The Movie is a spin-off of the 1980s Transformers cartoon (aka Transformers Generation 1). Therefore you could also seek out the original ‘toon to see the adventures which take place before and after the film.

Right, that’s the animated movie covered. Now it’s time to move on to live-action…

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The Michael Bay series

Image: ©Paramount Pictures/Hasbro

In 2007, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Di Bonaventura Pictures and Hasbro, teamed up to produce the first live-action Transformers movie. Directed by Michael Bay, the film – simply titled Transformers – was designed as an easy entry way into the complex history and mythology of Transformers.

Focusing largely on human characters the film explained the world of the Autobots and the Decepticons for a modern audience and was a huge hit. A follow-up was released in 2009 which further explored the mythology of the Transformers and was once again a financial hit.

Further sequels followed, with each new movie introducing new characters and situations. Michael Bay oversaw five of the movies and it was his style and vision that shaped the franchise.

In 2018, breaking away from the Bay-aesthetic (to a certain degree), Travis Knight took on directing duties for the prequel/spin-off movie, Bumblebee. This film saw the franchise take a step back to the 1980s, to explore events before 2007’s Transformers.

Here is a list of the live-action Transformers movies in production order:

  • Transformers (2007)
  • Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Age of Extinction (2014)
  • The Last Knight (2017)
  • Bumblebee (2018)

OK, so that’s the production order, but as noted above the 2018 movie, Bumblebee was a prequel to Transformers. Set during the ’80s, the film detailed Bumblebee’s earliest adventure on Earth.

Image: ©Paramount Pictures/Hasbro

Due to the inclusion of Bumblebee, if you want to watch the Transformers movies in timeline order, you should view them as follows:

  • Bumblebee (2018)
  • Transformers (2007)
  • Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Age of Extinction (2014)
  • The Last Knight (2017)

So, which is the best order to watch the live-action Transformers movies? In all honesty, it doesn’t really make much difference if you watch them in production order or timeline order.

If you watch the films in production order then you get to see Transformers first, which helps to explain the world these characters inhabit. However, if you begin with Bumblebee you get a fun little adventure that eases you into the larger (and more complex) stories to come.

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The complete production order

Image: ©Paramount Pictures/Hasbro

And should you simply want to watch all of the Transformers movies in production order, give the following list a watch:

  • Transformers: The Movie (1986)
  • Transformers (2007)
  • Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Age of Extinction (2014)
  • The Last Knight (2017)
  • Bumblebee (2018)

Watching in this order will take you from the ’80s, right through the live-action films, and back into the ’80s! Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Happy viewing.

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