Resident Evil was one of the defining video game franchises for a generation of gamers.
The Resident Evil games could have been it, but in 1997, a German film studio bought the movie rights to Resident Evil, and the film franchise was born, taking Resident Evil to a whole new generation of fans.
It’s certainly not the highest grossing film series, but it’s definitely one of the best.
Over fifteen years and six Resident Evil films, the franchise proved every bit as popular on the big screen as it was on the games console.
And after a five-year hiatus, it is back for more with a seventh Resident Evil released in 2021 and more looking likely to follow.
For Resident Evil fans, this new installation offers an opportunity to revisit the original Resident Evil movies and all the cool fight choreography once more. And if you want to watch the Resident Evil movies in order, this is the article for you.
We will not just give you a chronological order Resident Evil movies rundown, but we will also tell you everything you need to know about Resident Evil too.
Where are all the Resident Evil Movies available to watch?
At the time of writing, you can watch all the Resident Evil movies in order, or not if you so wish, on Netflix.
The series is not available everywhere, but it can be found in all the big countries like the UK and USA.
If you cannot find the Resident Evil movies in your local Netflix library, they may be available on another streaming platform in your region.
Alternatively, you can always use a VPN to unblock Netflix and let you watch it on another country’s library from the comfort of your own home.
In what order should I watch the Resident Evil series?
The best order to watch the Resident Evil movies is in chronological order. This is because plots and character developments do run from one movie to another, so if you want to watch them all, it will make a lot more sense this way.
They are, however, excellent stand-alone films, so you will still have a great experience even if you choose to watch them out of sequence.
However, if you want to get the most out of this film franchise, chronological order is the way to go.
Do I need to have played the Video Game series before watching the movies?
A short and sharp no in response to this question.
While the Resident Evil film series is based on the video game franchise, there is no real link between the plots of the games and the movies, so there is no need to have played the games before setting down to enjoy the movies.
The Original Resident Evil movies in order
With no further ado, let’s get down to profiling the Resident Evil Movies in chronological order, which we would remind you is our recommended order of watching.
1. Resident Evil (Release Date – 2002)
The first Resident Evil film and, for many fans of this film franchise, is the best. These days it is undeniably a cult classic.
The movie was written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson for Sony Pictures, a British director best known for films like Event Horizon and Alien vs. Predator, in addition to being the brains behind all six of the original Resident Evil movies in one role or another.
Anderson wrote and directed this first movie which introduces us to the character of Alice, played quite beautifully by Milla Jovovich, regarded as one of the best science fiction actresses in the world.
Alice is a Security Guard for The Umbrella Corporation in Raccoon City, who is tasked with guarding the entrance to a secret underground lab called The Hive. Inside, the staff have been infected by the deadly T-Virus, and the building’s AI security, known as Red Queen, kills everything alive inside.
But the virus causes the corpses to be reanimated as T-Virus ridden zombies and a power failure sees 500 of these zombies escape.
Can Alice and her team survive and prevent an impending zombie apocalypse?
The first film is jam-packed with action, and while reviews were not great, it proved popular with audiences and has since become a bona-fide cult classic.
The first film also stars Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and Furious franchise, Lost), Eric Mabius (Crue Intentions, The Crow: Salvation), James Purefoy (Rome, The Following), Colin Salmon (James Bond, Tales from the Crypt), and a solid ensemble cast.
2. Resident Evil Apocalypse (2004)
The second film in the movie franchise is Resident Evil Apocalypse, a direct sequel to the first movie, which sees a credit for Paul W. S. Anderson writer but Alexander Witt assuming directorial responsibilities.
Milla Jovovich is back as the original character of Alice returns to Raccoon City where her nightmare took place. Once again the Umbrella Corporation is up to no good, this time testing a new version of the T-virus on local residents.
Needless to say things get out of hand and Alice discovers that Raccoon City is about to be attacked with a nuclear missile to try and stop the T-Virus plague from spreading. Can she escape Raccoon City in time?
Resident Evil Apocalypse also sees the introduction of Nemesis as an original character created in the video game, who is now terrorising locals.
This movie also sees eyeless soldiers released onto the streets before Alice herself becomes infected with the genetically engineered T-Virus. Despite being infected, she must still win her final showdown, making use of her new powers in any way she can.
In this movie, we meet Jill Valentine, played by Sienna Guillory (Eragon, Helen of Troy) and Jared Harris (Mad Men, Lincoln) plays Dr Charles Ashford.
There are also roles for Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Eye in the Sky) as Dr Alexander Isaacs, Oded Fehr (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns), and Thomas Kretschmann (Downfall, Stalingrad) among others.
3. Resident Evil Extinction (2007)
The third film in the movie franchise is Resident Evil Extinction. Once again this movie sees Paul W. S. Anderson writer and a new director in the form of Russell Mulcahy.
In this installment, we once again meet Alice who, along with other survivors from Raccoon City is crossing the Nevada Desert in an attempt to reach Alaska and escape the T-Virus which is sweeping around the world.
More experiments by the Umbrella Corporation have caused further hideous mutations and made the zombie outbreak even more dangerous and deadly than before.
In Resident Evil Extinction, we meet Albert Wesker for the first time. He is the brains behind the Umbrella Corporation and, when Alice finds that her infected blood may hold a cure, she is determined to get her revenge on them and him.
In this movie, Ali Larter (Varsity Blues, House on Haunted Hill) plays Claire Redfield for the first time as her character and Ashanti (Coach Carter, John Tucker Must Die) makes her debut in the film series.
There are returns for Iain Glen and Oded Fehr while Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars, Marvel’s Agents of Shield) plays Albert Wesker.
4. Resident Evil Afterlife (2010)
The fourth of the six movies that make up the original Resident Evil Movie franchise is Resident Evil Afterlife
Paul W. S. Anderson returns this time as writer and director and Milla Jovovich reprises her role as Alice.
This movie is set in Japan and sees Alice learn that the Umbrella Corporation have been developing clones of her. They attack the corporation’s headquarters but in the fight, Alice is injected with a serum that removes her powers.
There is a reappearance from a mind-controlled Jill Valentine as well as a welcome return for Ali Larter as Claire Redfield.
After Albert Wesker escapes, Alice sets off back to Alaska collecting up other survivors as she goes.
Resident Evil Afterlife sees the introduction of the Resident Evil game character Chris Redfield, played by Wentworth Miller (Prison Break, Stoker). There are also turns by Shawn Roberts (Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead), Boris Kodjoe (Brown Sugar, Sole Food), Kim Coates (Bad Boys, Goon).
5. Resident Evil Retribution (2012)
Anderson is at the helm again for the fifth outing in the series with welcome returns for both Colin Salmon and Michelle Rodriguez.
Red Queen also makes a return as a rogue AI system which now controls Jill Valentine and has a goal of eliminating all life on Earth.
Alice finds herself having to escape from the Umbrella Corporation’s underwater testing facility with help from an expected source in Albert Wesker. Can she succeed in fighting her friend and saving humanity?
New faces in Resident Evil Retribution include Aryana Engineer (Orphan), Li Bingbing (Seventeen Years, The Message), Johann Urb (Zoolander, The Mountain), and Kevin Durand (Lost, Dark Angel).
6. Resident Evil The Final Chapter (2017)
Originally planned to be made back-to-back with Resident Evil Retribution, Resident Evil The Final Chapter actually didn’t come out until five years after its predecessor.
From the previous movies, only Jovovich, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, and Ali Larter returned for this one.
Alice faces her final battle in what was intended to be the final chapter of this movie franchise.
She must race against time to release the anti-virus before the Umbrella Corporation succeeds in unleashing the T-Virus and wiping out what remains of humanity.
This movie was the best-received by critics of all the films in the Resident Evil franchise and it also outperformed all the previous films at the box office.
The ensemble cast in this gripping finale includes Eoin Macken (Studs, Merlin), Ruby Rose (The Meg, Around the Block), and Ever Anderson.
7. Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City (2021)
After a four year hiatus, the Resident Evil franchise returned but this time with a reboot that is based on the first film and the second film in the original series.
The plots in Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City are familiar without being identical and the exciting new cast includes Kaya Scodelario (Skins, Maze Runner) as Claire Redfield, Hannah John Kamen (Game of Thrones, Killjoys) as Jill Valentine, Robbie Amell (The Flash, The Tomorrow People) as Chris Redfield, and Tom Hopper (Merlin, Black Sails).
The character of Alice is notable by her absence in a bold move to distance the Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City reboot from the original series.
Did you know?
Let’s finish up with a few facts about the Resident Evil movie series you probably didn’t know.
Did you know… Anderson and Jovovich are married?
That’s right. In the course of making the original six movies Resident Evil movie series, writer and Director Paul W. S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich fell in love and got married.
Did you know… their kid is in the series?
In the final chapter of the original series, Resident Evil The Final Chapter, Ever Anderson, who plays the role of Red Queen, the evil AI system, is their daughter.
Did you know… the 9/11 edits?
The original title of the first film was due to be Resident Evil Ground Zero, but after the 9/11 attacks in New York, this was quickly changed.
Did you know… the real impact of the games on the movies?
It was the casting of Milla Jovovich, who has said she only took the part because her brother loved the games.
In short, the best way to watch the Sony Pictures Resident Evil movies is in chronological order as laid out in this article.
The exception to that is the most recent movie, Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City, which is not connected and so bears watching in isolation. Watch the other Resident Evil movies in order.