Somebody once told me that watching the Shrek movies in order was a great idea, and let me tell you, they were an all star. And if you don’t get that reference, trust me, you will after the first movie.
The Shrek franchise subverts the traditional storytelling of fairy tales, which results in delightful entertainment for children and adults alike. This is why the movies, especially the first, have so easily withstood the test of time and become pillars in popular culture.
Watching the Shrek movies in order is guaranteed fun for the whole family, so keep reading to find out more about this franchise, which encompasses so much more than the original four films.
About the Shrek Franchise
The franchise began in 2001 with the first movie’s premiere, but it has since grown to include much more. There are now five feature-length films, and many shorts, spin-offs, and television specials, with more on the horizon.
Also, before Shrek was immortalized on screen by Mike Myers, he was a character in William Steig’s 1990 book, Shrek! But nowadays, people are much more likely to think of Myers’s Scottish brogue when they think of the irritable-but-loveable ogre.
Which, funnily enough for how iconic it now is for Shrek’s character, Myers did not originally use a Scottish accent when recording his lines. Instead, Myers used his own Canadian accent for the role, before later deciding that a Scottish accent would fit the character better. The rest, as they say, is history; it’s now impossible to imagine Shrek speaking in any other accent.
Joining Myers in lending their voices to the animated productions are Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona, John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad, Julie Andrews as the Queen, John Cleese as King Harold, Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots, and many, many more.
While critical, and to some extent financial, success of the movies puttered out as time went on, these familiar voices make the hidden jokes that adults can enjoy land all the better. Many of these jokes have become iconic memes that have withstood the test of time. I mean, can you believe they don’t even have dental?
According to the New York Times in 2010, the principal characters in the first Shrek film remain as vital and engaging fusions of image, personality, and voice as any character in the history of animation. Shrek was the 17th highest-grossing franchise of all time, and the second highest-grossing animated franchise. The original four movies grossed $2.98 billion.
Original Shrek Movies in Order
Now, before we delve into the two ways to watch all the Shrek movies in order, it is important to highlight the original Shrek movies.
This list begins with the film which began the franchise. The proceeding feature-length films follow along with Shrek’s journey from aloof, isolated, grumpy ogre to loveable champion for the underdog, albeit still a bit irritable. He is like an onion, after all, with many layers.
So, this is where Shrek’s journey began, and is the best place to begin if you have never watched the Shrek movies before and are only interested in feature-length movies. These movies build upon the previous installments with recurring characters and jokes. While you could begin with any movie and still get a few laughs, it’s highly recommended to watch the Shrek movies in order for the best viewing experience.
Will there be a fifth Shrek movie?
Back in 2004, the plans for Shrek’s story included a five-film arc per an executive on the project. Then, somewhere along the way, those plans changed, with the fourth Shrek film, Shrek Forever After also being billed as Shrek: The Last Chapter.
However, a fifth film was confirmed in 2016 with a potential 2019 release. Obviously, 2019 has now come and gone, but a fifth Shrek movie is still somewhere on the horizon. Eddie Murphy, who voices Donkey in all other installments, even spoke up about a potential release date in 2020, which, sadly, has also come and gone.
With Murphy speaking up it is likely he will reprise his role in this installment, and one can imagine Mike Myers will join him if given the chance. As Antonio Banderas has very recently voiced Puss in Boots for a new movie scheduled for a December 2022 release, it is likely he will reprise his role if given the chance too. But things are not quite as likely with Cameron Diaz, who retired from acting in 2014.
While there is very little information about the fifth movie publicly available, there are rumors that this installment will be a reboot. Writer Michael McCullers has not revealed much about the script, but does say the movie will have a “pretty big” reinvention and that the project is close to his heart.
#1 All Shrek Movies in Order of Release
If the possibility of a reboot sends shivers down your spine, fret not. For there is still much more video content within the Shrek universe to explore after you’ve seen the original four movies. The below lists separate out the installments by type of content including movies, short films, and television specials or shows.
This is the best way to watch the Shrek movies in order if you have never seen them before. While the extra content of short films, television specials, and shows is not necessary viewing to enjoy the main storyline of the feature-length films, it is enjoyable content if you’re wanting to explore more of this world and the back story of the characters.
Shrek Movies in Order of Release Date
- Shrek (2001)
- Shrek 2 (2004)
- Shrek the Third (2007)
- Shrek Forever After (2010)
- Puss in Boots (2011)
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Expected: December 21, 2022)
Shrek Short Films in Order of Release Date
- Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party (2001)
- Shrek 4-D / The Ghost of Lord Farquaad (2004)
- Far Far Away Idol (2004)
- Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (2009)
- Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular (2010)
- Shrek’s Yule Log (2010)
- Thriller Night (2011)
- The Pig Who Cried Werewolf (2011)
Television Specials and Shows in Order of Release Date
- Shrek the Halls (2007)
- Scared Shrekless (2010)
- The Adventures of Puss in Boots (2015-2018)
- Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale (2017)
#2 All Shrek Movies in Chronological Order
There is, of course, a second way to watch the Shrek movies in order, and that is in chronological order. This viewing order is only best if you have first seen the original four films. That’s because this viewing order doesn’t actually start with Shrek and jumps around between movies, shorts, and television specials.
Watching the Shrek movies in chronological order will have you start with the Puss in Boots spin-offs. Although Puss in Boots did not appear until the second Shrek movie, these spin-offs are prequels to the original films which delve into Puss’s back story.
While it may also be a prequel, it is uncertain precisely where the new movie, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, will slate into the timeline. For that reason, it is missing from this chronological list.
- The Adventures of Puss in Boots
- Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale
- Puss in Boots
- Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos
- Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party
- Shrek 4-D / The Ghost of Lord Farquaad
- Shrek 2
- Far Far Away Idol
- Shrek the Third
- Shrek the Halls
- Shrek Forever After
- Scared Shrekless
- Thriller Night
- Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular
- Shrek’s Yule Log
- The Pig Who Cried Werewolf
Summary of the Shrek Movies in Order
Next, let’s take a closer look at each of the original four Shrek movies, plus the first Puss in Boots movie. However, if you have never watched the Shrek movies in order before, read this section with caution as the summaries will contain spoilers for previous events in the series.
Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered by an invasion of annoying fairy tale characters. They were all banished from their kingdom by the evil Lord Farquaad.
Determined to save their home — not to mention his — Shrek cuts a deal with Farquaad and sets out to rescue Princess Fiona to be Farquaad’s bride. However, rescuing the Princess may be small in comparison to her deep, dark secret.
Shrek won the 2002 Oscar for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for the Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
As previously mentioned, it stars Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona, and John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad. It has a runtime of 90 minutes and grossed more than $488 million worldwide.
2. Shrek 2
The next installment picks up where the first movie leaves off. After returning from their honeymoon and showing home movies to their friends, Shrek and Fiona learn that her parents have heard that she has married her true love. The King and Queen now wish to invite him to their kingdom called Far Far Away.
But there’s a catch. Fiona’s parents are under the impression that she married Prince Charming, not a 700-pound ogre with horrible hygiene and a talking donkey pal.
Shrek 2 received two Oscar nods in 2005 with nominations for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song for Accidentally In Love and for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.
Myers, Murphy, and Diaz all reprise their principal roles in the second installment. Joining them were John Cleese as Fiona’s father King Harold and Julie Andrews as her mother the Queen.
This film also marks the first appearance of Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas. Shrek 2 has a runtime of 93 minutes and grossed nearly $929 million worldwide.
3. Shrek the Third
The third movie about our beloved grumpy ogre begins as he is dealing with a shocking revelation. Shrek learns that he must rule the land of Far Far Away when Fiona’s father King Harold croaks. That is unless he can find a suitable heir to the throne.
The most-promising candidate is Princess Fiona’s cousin Artie, a teenage slacker in a medieval high school. Shrek and his trusted companions, Donkey and Puss in Boots, set out to bring Artie back but find their mission is a bigger challenge than they expected.
Myers, Murphy, Diaz, Cleese, Andrews, and Banderas all reprise their roles in this installment. Joining them was Justin Timberlake as Artie.
While this film received less fanfare, financially it outperformed the first Shrek movie by grossing more than $813 million worldwide. It has a runtime of 93 minutes.
4. Shrek Forever After
Before talks of a fifth movie resurfaced, Shrek Forever After was billed and marketed as the final Shrek chapter. This movie opens with Shrek in the midst of a mid-life crisis.
Long-settled into married life and fully domesticated, Shrek begins to long for the days when he felt like a real ogre. He is then duped into signing a contract with the devious Rumpelstiltskin. In exchange for one day from his childhood, Shrek expects one day of feeling like a “real” ogre again.
However, he finds himself in an alternate version of Far Far Away. In this version of the land ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin rules, and he and Fiona have never met. Shrek must now find a way out of the contract to restore his world and reclaim his true love.
Joining the original voice cast was Walt Dohrn as Rumpelstiltskin. It, once again, has a runtime of 93 minutes and grossed more than $752 million worldwide.
5. Puss in Boots
Just one year after the final chapter of Shrek premiered, fans were graced with a prequel spin-off all about the loveable feline, Puss in Boots.
The movie begins as Puss has just been named a hero for saving a woman from a charging bull, but then he is run out of town on suspicion of bank robbery. However, the real villain is Puss’s friend, Humpty Dumpty.
Though there is still animosity between them, Puss and Humpty reunite to steal a goose that lays golden eggs. Joining them for the adventure of nine lifetimes is notorious cat burglar, Kitty Softpaws.
Antonio Banderas continued to voice Puss in Boots in this spin-off movie. He was joined by Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty and Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws.
Puss in Boots was nominated for the 2012 Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. It has a runtime of 90 minutes and grossed nearly $555 million worldwide.
Final thoughts on the Shrek movies in order
There you have how to best watch the Shrek movies in order with all the feature-length films, funny spoofs, shorts, and television specials. This franchise has truly withstood the test of time with its endearing ogre main character who learns the true meaning of love, friendship, and community throughout the series. Shrek is simultaneously a hilarious and heart-warming story of romance and adventure.
There are hours of entertainment waiting for you, so go on, you’re a rock star, get the show on, and enjoy.
Looking for movies in order?
Check out this list of the Tinkerbell movies in order.