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Every Dragon Ball Movie Ranked According To IMDb

It may have started on the manga page, but "Dragon Ball" has never had a problem jumping around between media — including the silver screen. Since its earliest days, "Dragon Ball" has had a movie presence, captivating audiences with both original stories and revised versions of the tales they know, plus a ton of new villains. Movies, TV specials, and even original video animations (OVAs) from video games have made an impact on the franchise, introducing fan favorites who've become highly regarded by the "Dragon Ball" faithful.

With dozens of "Dragon Ball" films out in the world, it seems like the perfect time to take a look at every movie Goku and his friends have starred in and see how they measure up, at least in the eyes of loyal IMDb users. Rather than include live-action efforts like "Dragon Ball Evolution" or crossovers like "Dream 9," however, we're keeping things contained to animated entries with a specifically "Dragon Ball" focus, which is still a sizable list. So power up that Stardust Breaker and keep your purple dragon close, because it's time to rank every "Dragon Ball" movie according to IMDb.

28. Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly

Broly has the distinction of showing up in more "Dragon Ball" movies than any other movie-original villain, now having beaten even Frieza and his brother Cooler thanks to his 2018 film. "Bio-Broly," however, is the swan song of the original Broly. At least, kind of. In reality, the first Broly meets his end in "Broly — Second Coming," but his clone's got him covered in this movie, where Goten, Trunks, Krillin, and Android 18 (making her cinematic debut) must stop him and a nefarious billionaire who somehow thought cloning an unpredictable killing machine was a good idea.

Though infamously known as the "Broly is beaten by water" movie, the Legendary Super Saiyan's defeat is actually a little more complicated than that. Still, that isn't enough to save the movie from a middling IMDb ranking. The more common criticisms among users are the lack of heavy hitters like Goku and Vegeta, as well as Broly's more muck-like form. Some, however, actually enjoy both aspects, along with the film's more comedic feel and focus on characters other than the usual "DBZ" suspects. More continuity-minded fans may also enjoy Android 18's references to the money Satan owes her for throwing their tournament bout in the "Dragon Ball Z" anime, although other factors prevent the movie from being canon. 

27. Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy

In its last episode, "Dragon Ball GT" introduces Goku Jr. — the grandson of Pan who's nearly physically identical to his great-great-grandfather whose name he shares. The only "GT" movie, "A Hero's Legacy" turns back the clock a bit by showing how Goku Jr.'s path to becoming a martial artist begins. Unsurprisingly, the Dragon Balls are involved, which return after their disappearance in the "Dragon Ball GT" finale just in time for Goku Jr. to continue his family's tradition of tracking them down. 

The movie smartly differentiates Goku Jr. from his namesake and Pan by making him even more averse to fighting than Gohan is at first in "Dragon Ball Z." As the movie continues, however, Goku Jr. begins to find his inner strength, spurred ahead by his desire to save the lives of both his grandmother and his bully-turned-buddy Puck. While low on IMDb stars, the written reviews are actually mostly quite positive, praising the movie's warmth and lighthearted elements, such as Goku's admittedly fun friendship with Puck. The film's ending feels more like a new beginning — almost as if the movie is meant to be a pilot for a series. Of course, no such show ever materialized.

26. Dragon Ball Z: Broly -- Second Coming

Goku and the gang's first battle with Broly leaves them with an unexpected souvenir: Broly himself. "Broly — Second Coming" has the Legendary Super Saiyan face off against Videl, Goten, Trunks, and his old foe Gohan, and his time frozen in ice has affected his judgment to the point where he thinks anyone who remotely looks like Goku is Goku.

Like "Bojack Unbound" before it, "Second Coming" is a "trial by fire" movie for Gohan, in which the Earth-born Saiyan must prove he can defeat an old challenger now that his father's in the afterlife. Unlike in "Bojack Unbound," however, Gohan has a much rougher go of it, even with help from his younger brother, Trunks, and the particularly outmatched Videl. Viewer IMDb reviews are kinder than the film's middle-of-the-road ranking may suggest, applauding the battles, Videl's inclusion, and especially the three-Saiyan Kamehameha finish. However, they also express frustration over a Broly who feels slightly diminished. Reviewers seem fond of the funny parts, however — most of which come from Goten and Trunks. There certainly is something to be said for the movie not being afraid to poke fun at Broly, despite scriptwriter Takao Koyama's protectiveness of the character.

25. Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug

What's the first thing Lord Slug does when he collects Earth's Dragon Balls? Why, the same thing all evil older Namekians do: Shave some years off his age for good. On top of that, he decides to make the Earth his new "Planet Cruiser" mobile base, but decides it needs a little worldwide global cooling for his demon clan underlings to feel comfortable. Seeing as the process would make Earth uninhabitable to most of its native population, Gohan and Piccolo intervene, while Goku and Krillin find themselves delayed by twin meteors whose appearance just happens to coincide with Slug's arrival.

It's no secret that most "Dragon Ball Z" movie villains are based on pre-existing foes, yet Lord Slug's similarities to Demon King Piccolo are particularly notable, right down to his Dragon Ball wish. However, those on IMDb actually have a bigger issue with the movie's reliance on past "DBZ" movie story beats, as well as U.S. dialogue changes and Gohan's secret weapon against Slug: Whistling. Overall, though, fans still have a lot of nice things to say about the movie, complimenting the final showdown with Slug and, of course, the debut of Goku's Pseudo Super Saiyan form. The famed U.S. dub soundtrack, which replaces the familiar Shunsuke Kikuchi score with tracks by major rock bands like Disturbed, Finger Eleven, and Boy Hits Car, has also gotten some love, although the purists seem less impressed.

24. Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle

Being loosely inspired by "Journey to the West" early on, "Dragon Ball" has always been fairly fantasy-friendly. "Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle" plays that up by essentially combining Goku's first meeting with Krillin with the plot for, as its title implies, "Sleeping Beauty." At least, that's how it looks at first. Master Roshi tasks Goku and Krillin with, quite literally, journeying to the west to rescue a perpetually sleeping princess from a beast, in exchange for martial arts lessons. Goku's old friends soon catch up, but Bulma finds herself in a bit of trouble when she meets Lucifer, a demon who intends to feed blood from her heart to his fellow monsters. Meanwhile, a certain sneezing, gun-toting thief decides to go after the "princess" herself, who isn't exactly what everybody thinks.

Like the other movies based on the original "Dragon Ball" anime, "Sleeping Princess" takes many major plot points from the show and inserts them into an original story, with lots of new characters and a hint of "James Bond" influence. The twist involving the "princess" cleverly moves it away from overlapping with the original "Sleeping Beauty," and Launch fans will be happy to see the action-packed way she's introduced. Its humor, as IMDb reviewers have noted, is overall quite strong, and certain aspects absent from the first film — like Goku's transformation into a Great Ape — are quite dexterously introduced.

23. Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest

Giant robots may not be all they're cracked up to be when your brain is trapped in one. At least, that's how Dr. Wheelo, the villain of "Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest," feels. Not satisfied with living inside a war machine for the rest of his life, Wheelo decides he'd much rather live in the body of the most powerful martial artist on Earth, Master Roshi. The bad news for Wheelo is that Roshi's no longer the strongest — but abducting him and Bulma does lure the fighter who is, one Son Goku, to the mechanized doctor's lair.

Despite getting a bad rep, "World's Strongest" has some pretty impressively-detailed fight scenes, including Goku's battle with Wheelo's Bio-Warriors and a rematch with Piccolo. Even Roshi puts in a solid showing, although, as one IMDb user observed, it's odd that the character doesn't do all that much worse against the Bio-Warriors than the much more powerful Goku. Others felt that Goku's more traditional use of the Spirit Bomb to defeat Wheelo is also somewhat of a letdown, given how ubiquitous it becomes in later movies. Interestingly, not much is said about the movie's biggest logical conundrum: How can Wheelo's gigantic brain possibly fit in Roshi's or Goku's body? Perhaps Piccolo, who can turn into a giant pretty easily, would have been a better choice.

22. Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans

How do you sell a remake of an obscure original video animation for a "Dragon Ball Z" video game, especially one that's never made it stateside? Simple: Package it with another video game. That's exactly what happened with "Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans," a redone version of the OVA of the same name (minus the "super" part) that was released with the game "Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2" in 2010.

If you're familiar with the original "Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans," then you already know the basics. The plot, in which Goku and his allies must fight Dr. Raichi and his creation Hatchiyack, remains overall the same, and some moments are taken straight from the movie's predecessor, dialogue and all. Other scenes, however, are reworked, cut entirely, or placed in different parts of the story. Moreover, Bulma, who only plays a small role in the original, is much more instrumental to the plot in this version.

The result is a much faster-paced movie that trims the extraneous and keeps the most memorable parts of the original, including the "Ghost Warrior" copies of old "DBZ" foes Frieza, Cooler, Turles, and Lord Slug. While it certainly holds one's interest, perhaps "Super Saiyan" might have benefited from the original's more deliberate pacing to add to the dramatic tension. Furthermore, the animation style is somewhat simpler and perhaps too reliant on computer effects, although the Z Warriors' defeat of Hatchiyack is visually stunning.

21. Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans

These days, it's not uncommon to have high-production cut scenes in a video game that constitute a "movie." Back in 1993, however, it wasn't done nearly as often, which makes the two-part "Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans" particularly remarkable. Inspired by the NES game of the same name (though its origins are much more complicated), the original video animation has Cell Games-era Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, and Trunks go up against Dr. Raichi, a Tuffle who exacts revenge for the Saiyans' slaughter of his race by attacking them with lethal Destron Gas and monstrous minions. His army includes "Ghost Warriors" who take the shape of past "Dragon Ball Z" foes. That's all without mentioning Raichi's ultimate weapon, the crimson mammoth Hatchiyack, who just might be the true villain pulling the strings.

Animated and written by the "Dragon Ball Z" creative team, "Plan" really does feel like a special episode of the anime — continuity issues aside. The gang's fight with the Ghost Warriors has distinct callbacks to previous "Z" sagas and films, and the Destron Gas' energy-blocking abilities pose a unique challenge for the heroes, who must at first rely on hand-to-hand combat and their wits. "Plan" also has what may be Piccolo's easiest victory on record, proving you don't always need to resort to strength to win battles. Of course, in fights like the Z Warriors' brutal brawl against Hatchiyack, it can definitely help.

20. Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies

While the films set during the "Dragon Ball Z" timeline and beyond tend to tell original stories, the three movies of the "Dragon Ball" era take a different approach, essentially abridging several of the show's major arcs while also altering them substantially. That said, they always make sure to keep several essential story beats intact.

The first of these films, "Curse of the Blood Rubies," retells the early episodes of "Dragon Ball" with an action-packed boost, swapping out the less-threatening Pilaf Gang with the more menacing forces of King Gurumes. The result is a riveting 50 minutes that, despite the changes, still stays pretty true to the source material, revisiting major moments like Goku and Bulma's first meetings with Yamcha, Puar, Oolong, and Master Roshi. Shunsuke Kikuchi even scores this particular retelling (along with its sequels), making it feel like an extended episode of the show. IMDb's "Dragon Ball" connoisseurs generally agree, expressing admiration for how the movie retains the feel and humor of the anime series in a way that's slightly (though not entirely) more all-age appropriate by international standards.

19. Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone

The way "Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone" tells it, Kami got quite a bit of opposition when he first became Guardian of Earth (or rather, a god, in the original Japanese dialogue), thanks to an army led by Garlic, who felt he should have gotten the job. Though he failed, the movie sees Garlic's son Garlic Jr. come to Earth for a little payback, as well as to make a major Dragon Ball wish.

"Dead Zone" is unique among "Dragon Ball" films for a number of reasons. The biggest is that Garlic Jr. obtains two things no other "Dragon Ball Z" movie villain does: Immortality and his own sequel saga in the "Dragon Ball Z" anime. Furthermore, since the movie is set shortly before "Dragon Ball Z," viewers get one last glimpse at Goku's pre-Z fighting style, which is more reliant on backflips and jumps than flight. The timeline placement also makes it the only "Dragon Ball Z" movie where Goku and Piccolo are still enemies, offering fans less familiar with "Dragon Ball" a unique look at their original dynamic.

Why such an unimpressive IMDb rating, then? Users who are more critical of the film weren't so impressed with Garlic Jr. himself, or his underlings. Most written feedback of the movie isn't negative at all, however, proving that averages can be a little misleading.

18. Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might

What if your worst enemy were always staring back at you in the mirror? That's the premise behind Turles, Goku's evil lookalike in "Dragon Ball Z" movie number three. And as if dealing with Turles and his Crusher Corps isn't bad enough, Goku and the gang must also contend with the Tree of Might sucking the Earth dry and strengthening Turles with its fruit. 

The film offers a sobering glimpse of the man Goku could have become had he never lost his more aggressive personality traits. Moreover, the Tree of Might is an innovative concept with a striking visual, acting as a parasitic version of Goku's Spirit Bomb. The film's noteworthy too for including all of Goku's major martial arts allies at the time, though most are easily beaten by Turles' forces. Gohan in particular is one to look out for, as "Tree of Might" is the only movie where he becomes a Great Ape, as well as where he meets Icarus — his dragon companion in several other movies and the Garlic Jr. Saga.

That said, the IMDb opinion is decidedly mixed when it comes to "Tree of Might." Though the movie gets a lot of love, less-impressed viewers have cited varying reasons for their dissatisfaction. Interestingly, the "miniseries" version of the movie, which is how the film was aired on TV at one point in the United States, has a notably higher ranking, with one user praising Ron Wasserman and Shuki Levy's replacement music in particular.

17. Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure

Despite being longtime members of the "Dragon Ball" cast, not much has been revealed over the years about Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu's lives before they became Master Shen's pupils. "Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure" compensates by making Chiaotzu the child emperor of Mifan and Tien his bodyguard. Shen also appears as an unscrupulous minister of Chiaotzu's cabinet, as does his equally nefarious brother, Mercenary Tao.

It's perhaps that origin that's landed "Mystical Adventure" the highest IMDb rating of the three original "Dragon Ball" movies, even if it isn't canon. The story itself isn't bad, either, with Goku and the gang stopping Shen, Tao, and a conflicted Tien's plot to overthrow Chiaotzu and get the Dragon Balls. Much like the other movies, "Mystical Adventure" combines and drastically reworks major arcs from the anime, namely the Red Ribbon Army and the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament tales, into a fairly seamless narrative. Familiar characters like General Blue and Major Metallitron appear in slightly altered roles, and the movie treats fans to matches never seen in the anime, including Yamcha vs. Bora. Other characters, like Arale and her Penguin Village friends, are conversely unchanged, only they help Goku against Tao, rather than General Blue.

None of these changes bother IMDb reviewers too much, and even those less convinced admit the film is strong regardless, particularly in its portrayal of Tien and Chiaotzu's brotherly connection. Plus, how can anyone not rock out to Hiroki Takahashi's "Dragon Ball Legend" end theme?

16. Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!

It takes more than getting his robot head kicked off and stepped on to put Dr. Gero out of business. Though killed by Android 17, the evil genius mastermind still has his super-computer, which creates a trio of Androids to finish Gero's mission to kill Goku in "Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!" The new androids pose a serious threat to Goku and his allies, especially when they merge into the titular Super Android 13.

Despite their unique designs, however, Androids 13, 14, and 15 basically serve the same function as Cell, Android 17, and Android 18. Android 13 even absorbs the other two to unlock a more powerful form, just like Cell does. In that regard, at least, "Super Android 13!" doesn't score high in the originality department. Still, the film has its redeeming qualities, such as being one of the few movies to show a (particularly well animated) "Dragon Ball Z" battle occurring in a city for an extended time. Moreover, Future Trunks makes his first appearance in a "DBZ" film here, and Vegeta has one of the most visually impactful entrances in the whole movie series. Goku also makes "Dragon Ball" history through an inventive use of the Spirit Bomb that isn't seen again until "Dragon Ball Super." IMDb users have been particularly congratulatory toward the U.S. dub, which injects extra personality into the Androids.

15. Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler

Getting shot into the sun is bound to tick you off, especially if you're the evil brother of the equally evil Frieza. To Cooler's fortune, however, an encounter with the technological Big Gete Star turns him into the cyborg Meta-Cooler. Now able to create adaptive robot proxies of himself, Meta-Cooler sets his bionic sights on New Namek, with Goku and his friends standing in the way.

While Cooler's first movie, "Cooler's Revenge," lifts certain story beats directly from Goku and Frieza's battle, "The Return of Cooler" is careful not to homage things too directly, making it more unique. If anything, it takes the under-explored Mecha-Frieza concept from "Dragon Ball Z" and, with a few smart tweaks, exploits it to its full potential. The IMDb reviews are universally laudatory, expressing great praise for the fights and, of course, Vegeta's movie debut. It's hard not to gasp when seemingly endless numbers of Meta-Coolers appear on top of a cliff.

The only thing that weighs down the movie somewhat, as some viewers have noted, is the way Cooler is defeated, given both its conventionality and a truly major gaffe the villain makes in revealing too much. Also, more action scenes for Goku's non-Saiyan companions would have likely been well-received, as would a metal version of Cooler's popular fifth form.

14. Dragon Ball: Hey! Son Goku and Friends Return!!

2008 gave fans the first new animated "Dragon Ball" story in some time with "Hey! Son Goku and Friends Return!!" And how better to celebrate the occasion than by giving a major character a new family member? In this case, it's Vegeta, who's surprised (but not all that thrilled) when his weaker younger brother Tarble drops by Earth to ask for a pretty big favor. Worse still, his two reasons for reaching out to Vegeta — namely dastardly Frieza Force alums Abo and Kado — are hot on the trail of Tarble and his wife Gure, with plans to treat the young Saiyan as shoddily as they treated his adopted home world.  

Other than introducing Tarble, the movie isn't exactly a status-quo-altering story — a bit of a sticking point for some IMDb reviewers. However, others consider the film a fun way to revisit the characters after the Kid Buu Saga. Their interactions, including Goku and Vegeta's sibling-like bickering and Gohan coaching Goten and Trunks during their fight with the villains, are the movie's main charm. Tarble himself has been largely well-received by the fandom, but neither he nor Gure have physically resurfaced in subsequent "Dragon Ball" movies or anime entries. Seeing as Akira Toriyama has name-checked the character a number of times in later films, however, perhaps Tarble's return is only a matter of time. 

13. Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound

What if Goku's big sacrifice in the Cell Saga backfired? "Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound" somewhat answers that question by revealing that Cell blowing up King Kai's planet (thanks to Goku teleporting him there) set loose an alien ne'er-do-well named Bojack, who decides to celebrate by taking his Galaxy Soldiers to Earth right in the middle of X.S Cash's tournament. Of course, that's where Goku's friends and Gohan just happen to be participating.

One of the things fans admire about "Bojack Unbound" is how easily it once fit into the "Dragon Ball" continuity, though "Dragon Ball Super" has since called the film's canon status into question. The film's biggest draw is really Gohan cementing himself once again as Earth's top defender and a worthy (if temporary) successor to Goku. Gohan's battle against Bojack and his minions is intense and memorable, and the way Goku lends his son a hand is a touching, subtle remix of how he aids him in the Cell Saga. 

Fans of "Bojack Unbound" on IMDb are very complimentary of Trunks' ruthless battle against Kogu and friendlier tournament match against Tien, whose years of training finally seem to be rewarded. Bojack's brutality also gets a favorable mention, though a number of reviewers feel he and his Galaxy Soldiers could have used more development. Also praised is the movie's inclusion of several "Dragon Ball Z" fan favorites, even if it's sadly Piccolo's last movie until "Battle of Gods."

12. Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge

While Cooler and Frieza will likely always be rivals (even though one of them is a lot more canonical than the other), Cooler can lord one accomplishment over his baby bro forever — finding a fifth form first. He first gets to show off the fruits of his efforts in "Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge," where he decides to make Goku pay for humiliating Frieza in battle ... even if he's about as big a fan of Frieza as Goku is. While he's about as successful in defeating Goku as his more famous sibling, at least Cooler makes it clear that he's his own person in the process, proving more observant and strategic than Frieza, and even more skilled at certain techniques.

Despite its slightly-higher rating, "Cooler's Revenge" doesn't quite get the same unanimous praise on IMDb as its sequel. It still gets a lot of love, however, particularly for the U.S. dub, thanks to Andrew Chandler's performance as Cooler and the replacement rock soundtrack. A few reviewers have also given accolades to Piccolo's almost impeccable performance against the Cooler Force, which includes a substantial one-on-one showdown with Sauza.

11. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

Other than a few side projects here and there, Akira Toriyama seemed largely done with "Dragon Ball" when he set down his pen in 1995. The franchise stayed fresh in people's minds thanks to merchandise, the occasional special, and spin-offs and remakes like "GT" and "Dragon Ball Z Kai," it seemed unlikely that Toriyama would continue his grand saga.

It came as quite a surprise, then, when 2013's "Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods" was announced. The first "DBZ" movie to be scripted by Toriyama personally, the film essentially kicked off a new chapter in Goku's adventures, introducing major concepts like Beerus, Whis, Super Saiyan Gods, and the "Dragon Ball" multiverse. The movie was overall very well-received upon release, garnering quite a few awards, and the consensus on IMDb is similarly kind. While many users responded quite well to how the movie adds to the "Dragon Ball" mythos, as well as a certain twist regarding Videl, perhaps the most resonant part of the movie is how easily Toriyama steps back into the world he created after so many years away from it.

10. Dragon Ball: The Path to Power

While the "Dragon Ball" manga began serialization in 1984, its animated adaptation didn't start until two years later. 1996's "The Path to Power" celebrates the "Dragon Ball" anime's 10th year by going back to the beginning of the saga, combining Goku and Bulma's early adventures with a later "Dragon Ball" foe — the Red Ribbon Army.

It's not surprising that "Path to Power" has a respectable IMDb rating, with a lot of reviewers citing the film's lush animation (even by modern standards) and faithfulness to the feel of the source material. The music, which combines fresh new scores with a few reused "Dragon Ball GT" tracks, has also earned approving nods. However, one common complaint is how the film doesn't really show the final scene in full with Android 8, whose friendship with Goku plays a much bigger role in the movie's plot than it did in the original Red Ribbon Army arc.

9. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

In retrospect, it's not so surprising that after the revival of "Dragon Ball" in 2013, the franchise's "Emperor of Evil" would not be far behind. That didn't make the first announcement of Frieza's impending return in "Resurrection 'F'" any less impactful, however. Having learned from his defeat at the hands of Goku and Future Trunks, Frieza takes a page from his non-canonical brother's playbook and decides to actually train for once, unlocking a transformation capable of challenging Super Saiyan Gods. Yet Frieza soon realizes that there are still some lessons from his past battles he hasn't figured out, which become even more evident when Goku and Vegeta reveal they've reached a new form themselves.

Perhaps the two most talked-about developments in the film are the introduction of Golden Frieza and Super Saiyan Blue and Vegeta becoming as important to the narrative as Goku. Yet the movie also achieves the important feat of making Frieza feel like a threat again — which IMDb users have mostly responded well to — and casually expands the lore by bringing in Jaco the Galactic Patrolman from Akira Toriyama's eponymous manga. Those with a harsher view of the movie have questioned Master Roshi's strength gain (later explained in "Dragon Ball Super") and chided the new transformations for not being visually distinct enough from prior forms reached by the characters. Still, reviews mostly lean positive, placing "Resurrection 'F'" just above its immediate predecessor.

8. Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock

Did "Bardock: The Father of Goku" really need a sequel? The debate rages on, but that hasn't affected the "Episode of Bardock" IMDb rating too much. The original video animation retcons the ending of the original Bardock special by having Frieza's fateful attack somehow fling him back to the early days of Planet Vegeta (or rather, Planet Plant, as it's known then). There he becomes the protector of a village of docile aliens menaced by a Frieza ancestor, Chilled.

Adapted from the V-Jump manga story by Naho Ōishi, "Episode of Bardock" could have easily fallen flat on its face for not living up to the shadow of its predecessor. While it's not as highly rated as "Father of Goku," it still manages to impress thanks to Bardock's emotional battle with Chilled and, of course, his transformation into the alleged Super Saiyan of legend. Chilled's final moments in the special are surprisingly dark given the polarizing (at least to some IMDb critics) kid-friendly character designs of Bardock's new companions. The OVA does complicate some established backstory about Planet Vegeta a bit, but seeing as most of those details only appear in the anime, "Dragon Ball" manga purists might not be too bothered.

7. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

After 20 feature films centering on Goku, Vegeta, or someone in their respective family trees, it's understandable people might be in the mood for a movie that tries something a little different. Enter "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero," a film that does star members of Goku's bloodline — namely Gohan and Pan — but which makes Piccolo the main "Dragon Ball" lead. While Goku and Vegeta train on Beerus' planet with Whis and Broly, the Namekian must deal with the return of the Red Ribbon Army, while simultaneously devising new and unusual ways to keep his students Pan and Gohan in fighting form. 

Viewers have praised the film for successfully pulling off its fully CGI look — another "Dragon Ball" movie novelty — and Toriyama's trademark comedic stylings. And who can forget Piccolo's first-ever transformation, Orange Piccolo? Not to mention Gohan attaining a new form himself, Gohan Beast, which comes complete with a major visual wink to the Cell Saga.

6. Dragon Ball Z: Broly -- The Legendary Super Saiyan

You knew this one was coming. The original Broly has the distinct honor of being one of the most popular and polarizing "Dragon Ball Z" movie villains. While his fans love his ferocity and ruthlessness, his critics point to the goofy reason why Goku ticks Broly off so much — accidentally making Broly cry when they were both babies. Yet Broly's questionable motivations certainly don't do much harm to his first movie's IMDb rating, with many citing Broly's no-holds-barred bout with the "DBZ" heroes and his ties to Saiyan lore as big parts of the film's appeal. 

"Broly — The Legendary Super Saiyan" is also unique in that it's one of the few instances where Vegeta is actually afraid of a villain. While some IMDb users consider this out of character, it does fit with how much value Vegeta places on the myth in the "Dragon Ball" manga and "Dragon Ball Z" anime series. Plus, it wouldn't be the first time Vegeta's shown fear toward a foe, as his ineffectiveness against Frieza's final form on Namek robs him of the will to fight in the manga. The anime goes even further and actually has him try to run (well, fly) away from the battle. Thus Vegeta's fear toward Broly is actually in keeping with a rare, but established tradition for the character.

5. Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon

Rather than riff off a pre-existing villain from the anime, "Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon" closes an era of movies by pitting its protagonists against a new kind of threat: A kaiju. The monstrous Hirudegarn isn't the only novelty of this movie, however, which also introduces a new ally in the sword-wielding Tapion.

Many fans have at one point considered "Wrath of the Dragon" one of the canon "Dragon Ball Z" movies, given how it doesn't contradict the show — even if the insinuation that Tapion's sword is the same as Future Trunks' doesn't make all that much sense. Canon isn't everything, of course, and there are plenty of other things IMDb fans have latched onto, including Kid Trunks' brotherly bond with Tapion and Hirudegarn's ferociousness. It's also the first time Goku uses his fan-favorite attack the Dragon Fist, which he uses again to great effect in "Dragon Ball GT."

4. Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn

One word best sums up the impact "Fusion Reborn" has had on the "Dragon Ball" mythology: "Gogeta." The fan-favorite and so far movie-only fusion premieres here, and his slick design is just as beloved as the visually-impressive Stardust Breaker he uses to defeat the movie's main villain, Janemba.

As you might expect from the highest-ranked "Dragon Ball Z" movie on the list, the IMDb reviews are glowing. Super Saiyan 3 Goku's fight with Janemba is a standout, as is Vegeta's assistance later on. Gogeta, naturally, gets similarly universal adulation, but fans are somewhat torn on the speed at which he vanquishes Janemba. Some wish their battle had been more prolonged, while others feel its brevity is what makes it so perfect. Less divisive are the movie's psychedelic portrayal of the afterlife and Janemba's computer-assisted teleportation effect, which viewers still praise decades later. And while brief, the scenes with the resurrected villains also get all-around nods of approval, thanks to Goten and Trunks' comedic stylings and Gohan showing Frieza just how strong he's become since their last meeting.

3. Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks

Future Trunks' origin has fairly humble beginnings, having started out as a short side story of the "Dragon Ball" manga. "The History of Trunks" is a TV special that expands on the original greatly, giving the time-traveling warrior's story the time and attention it rightly deserves. 

The basic plot, which sees Future Trunks battling the Androids both with Future Gohan and alone, remains essentially the same. However, the battles that are shown off-panel in the manga are depicted in detail in the anime, and they're as intense as any fan could imagine. Who doesn't get chills when Android 18 spots a clearly outmatched Trunks' reflection through a broken piece of glass? The anime also changes one major detail in how Trunks first becomes a Super Saiyan, making the trigger for his inaugural transformation crushingly tragic. While Trunks has never made secret all the difficulties he's endured in his native timeline, watching them play out in "The History of Trunks" gives viewers an even greater sympathy and understanding for the character.

It's no wonder that IMDb ranks the special so highly. User accolades include the strong depiction of the ever-popular Gohan, 17 and 18's personalities being as vivid as they are in the main "Dragon Ball Z" anime (and naturally, the manga), and of course, the powerful emotion throughout.

2. Dragon Ball Super: Broly

While characters from the "Dragon Ball Z" anime like Bardock and South Kai eventually make their way into the manga, Akira Toriyama never penned a character introduced in the movies ... until Broly. The fearsome villain finally makes his canonical debut in "Dragon Ball Super: Broly," though he's not quite like you might remember him. Rather than being the sort of person who blows up galaxies and laughs about it, Toriyama's Broly is a more sympathetic character, albeit one led astray by manipulators like Frieza and his own father, Paragus. That's without even mentioning his all-consuming rage, which is the source of his terrifying and ever-growing power.

"Broly" is the highest-rated theatrical movie on this list, and with good cause. Fans have praised its stunning animation, particularly during the fights, and the many subtle Easter eggs packed throughout the film are fun as well. Of course, the film also marks the canonical debut of the most popular movie hero, Gogeta, who brings back everything fans loved about him in "Fusion Reborn" while also showing off plenty of new tricks. The one sticking point for some, however, is the retcon of Goku's origin, which not only changes the Saiyan's age, but also depicts Bardock as a less morally complicated figure than he was originally. All in all, though, this is a great film for one of the most powerful "Dragon Ball" characters.

1. Dragon Ball Z: Bardock -- The Father of Goku

It may not be considered canon anymore, but that doesn't stop "Bardock — The Father of Goku" from being one of the most revered pieces of lore in "Dragon Ball" history. Set in the final days of Planet Vegeta's existence, the film follows Goku's father as he learns that his boss, Frieza, has decided to wipe the Saiyan race's home off the space maps, inhabitants included. Too bad no other Saiyan believes him.

Those who only know Bardock from "Dragon Ball Super: Broly," "Dragon Ball Minus," or the "Dragon Ball Super" manga may be surprised at how differently the character is portrayed in this special. Here, Bardock isn't the benevolent version seen in more recent times, and he even views his son Kakarot with disdain at first. Yet, it's not difficult for viewers to connect with him, thanks to his loyalty to his friends and determination to prevent his prophetic visions of Planet Vegeta's destruction from coming true. Along the way, viewers even see Bardock's attitude toward Goku change, as his visions show him just what kind of man he will become. It's the ultimate "Dragon Ball" underdog story, which sticks with you long after the credits end.

The IMDb reviews can't stop singing its praises either, from Bardock's grit to the gripping performance of the lead actors. Yet perhaps the true key to the special's success, as one reviewer observed, is that the movie is more story-driven than action-driven.