Greatest Trilogies of International Cinema

Finest trilogies in World Cinema in recent times

Some of the greatest and most successful movies in the world of cinema have been trilogies. The beauty of such trilogies is the epic scale and the complex and entertaining story-lines with an ensemble cast that couldn't be justifiably captured in a single movie. Epic trilogies from Hollywood such as The Godfather Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Matrix trilogy, Star Wars trilogy, among others were major cinematic achievements and created devoted and cult following among viewers. Trilogies from the world of Foreign cinema may not match the scale of Hollywood, but more than makes up with it's sensibilities, art, great characters and engaging scripts. Trilogies by masters of cinema such as Satyajit Ray and Ingmar Bergman were considered major milestones and are used by aspiring film-makers around the world to learn the craft. Here's looking at three of the best trilogies that Foreign Cinema had at offer in the last two decades.


Vengeance Trilogy (Korea) - Park Chan Wook

"Revenge is a dish best served cold"

In 2002, the South Korean film Sympathy for Mister Vengeance was released to widespread acclaim. A bleak and dark tale about cruel turn of fate and a vicious cycle of vengeful acts, it was the first of the acclaimed Vengeance trilogy.  In 2003, the successor Oldboy single-handedly put South Korean Cinema on International map. Oldboy did extremely well in the festival circuit winning countless awards, including the coveted Grand Jury prize at the Cannes, and announced the arrival of Chan-Wook Park as one of the great international directors to watch for. The trilogy concluded with the release of Lady Vengeance in 2005. Riding high on the popularity of the predecessors, Lady Vengeance performed extremely well at the box-office and was also appreciated by the critics. It was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival, and was a fitting finale to the brilliant trilogy connected not by stories, but by 'Vengeance' as the main thematic content.    

*Personal Favorite - Oldboy (Read Review)

Sympathy for Mister Vengeance

Oldboy - Great trilogies

Lady Vengeance (also Sympathy for lady Vengeance)

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

Oldboy (2003)

Lady Vengeance (2005)


The Three Colors Trilogy (French/Polish) - Krzysztof Kieślowski

A masterpiece by the Polish Director Krzysztof Kieslowski, The Three Colors trilogy deals with tragedy, loss, love, betrayal, romance and friendship. The movies are apparently titled after the three colors of the french flag that represents liberty, equality and fraternity, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a connection. The trilogy encompasses varied personal themes. In Blue, Juliete Binoche (won a Caesar for Best Actress for her performance in the movie) is trying to recover from the tragic loss of her husband and child in an accident. White is a dark comedy about love and betrayal and is memorable for the brilliant performance by Zbigniew Zamachowski. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards and a Palme d'Or, the final chapter of the trilogy Red deals with an unlikely friendship between a old judge and a beautiful Irene Jacob, though they have little in common. The Three Colors trilogy is subtle and poetic in it's charm and is widely praised as a major cinematic achievement by connoisseurs of cinema around the world .

*Personal Favorite - Three Colors : Red

Trois couleurs: Bleu (Three Colours: Blue)

Trois Couleurs: Blanc (Three Colours: White)

Trois couleurs: Rouge (Three Colours: Red)

Three Colors : Blue (1993)

Three Colors : White (1994)

Three Colors : Red (1994)


Infernal Affairs Trilogy (Hong-Kong) - Wai-keung Lau, Alan Mak, Andy Lau

The Infernal Affairs trilogy is more popularly known as - "The Movie trilogy that inspired The Departed". Released in quick successions, the crime-thriller revolves around the struggle between the Hong-Kong triads and the Hong-Kong police. The first installment, Infernal Affairs, is a fast paced thriller that focuses on the two main characters Ming (Andy Lau) and Yan (Tony Leung) who act as moles in the police and triad respectively, and find themselves on the opposing end. The movie's star studded cast, taut screenplay and brilliant direction helped the movie to a massive box office success and also swept the 2002 Hong Kong film awards winning all the major honors.In 2003, Infernal Affairs-II set the movie's timeline 11 years before the events of it's predecessor. Though it couldn't replicate the major success of Infernal Affairs, it was a worthy successor owing largely to the interesting and concise story-telling and similar direction style to the first one. Soon after, Infernal Affairs-III was released continuing from where the first installement finished. Undoubtedly the weakest of the three as it departed from the directorial style of the previous two, and tried to focus more creating an epic conclusion to the trilogy than a natural one. It's still an entertaining watch and is refreshingly different from it's predecessors.

*Personal Favorite - Infernal Affairs

Infernal Affairs

Infernal Affairs II

Infernal Affairs III

Infernal Affairs (2002)

Infernal Affairs - II (2003)

Infernal Affairs - III (2003)