There are plenty of Dragon ball movies out there, but only a handful really stand out. Here’s what IMDb says is the series’ best.
The Dragon Ball franchise includes a manga series, multiple anime series, countless video games, and of course, many movies. Although, the films haven’t always received the same high level of praise that some of the other DB media have. That is partially understandable as plenty of the movies released under the Dragon Ball banner are very formulaic.
However, the best ones include well-written stories, thrilling action sequences, and compelling villains. And those are the films we’re focusing on in this list. To help us determine which are the absolute best Dragon Ball films (including specials and OVAs), we’ve used the scores from IMDb.
- Dragon Ball Super: Broly – 7.9
The latest Dragon Ball film retcons Broly and brings him into the main canon. This time around, the large villain meets Vegeta and Goku when he and his father are recruited by Frieza. Once again, Paragus wants revenge on Vegeta for his father’s actions, so he orders Broly to kill the Saiyan Prince.
This leads to a series of exhilarating and intense battles pitting Vegeta and Goku against Broly. All of which look stunning due to the film’s excellent visuals and animations. Plus, the inclusion of the always entertaining Frieza, a Gogeta appearance, and an interesting backstory for Broly, all help make this a wonderful film.
2. Dragon Ball Z: The History Of Trunks – 7.9
Few Dragon Ball stories are as well-written as The History of Trunks. It’s set in a bleak future where a young Trunks and a battle-hardened Gohan are the only ones left who are capable of keeping the killer Androids at bay. There is a clear sense of desperation every time the two Saiyans attempt to combat Androids 17 and 18, which adds a lot to the TV special.
Plus, the relationship between Trunks and Gohan is built brilliantly throughout, and it leads to one of the most powerful moments ever seen in a piece of Dragon Ball media. It’s required viewing for any DBZ fan.
3. Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father Of Goku – 7.9
This special immediately stands out due to its protagonist, as Bardock is very different from his son, Goku. The younger Saiyan tends to be morally righteous, whereas his father is cold-blooded.
In Bardock – The Father of Goku, the title character tries to lead a rebellion against the powerful Frieza. The special does an amazing job at making Bardock a ruthless yet sympathetic figure, all in under an hour. And while still giving viewers a fascinating look at Saiyan civilization.
4. Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn – 7.7
This film is best remembered for including the first appearance of Gogeta, which is the name of the being Goku and Vegeta become when they use the fusion dance. The two Saiyans are forced to combine so they can stop the mighty Janemba, who has released all of the inhabitants of hell.
The action scenes between Goku, Vegeta, and Janemba are fantastic in this movie, with the latter being an exceptional villain. Although, the film could’ve done without Gohan defeating the revived Frieza with one punch.
5. Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan – 7.5
As far as villain motivations go, the original Broly has one of the worst. The Legendary Super Saiyan wants to destroy Goku because when the latter was a baby, he cried a lot, keeping Broly awake. Thankfully though, the film’s main plot about Broly’s father, Paragus, attempting to get revenge on Vegeta for his father’s misdeeds is much more interesting.
Although, the highlight of the flick is the battle between the Z Warriors and Broly as it’s a hard-hitting brawl. The villain’s extremely physical style of fighting is a joy to watch and is a big reason why he is so beloved.
6. Dragon Ball Z: Wrath Of The Dragon – 7.5
Wrath of the Dragon is a unique Dragon Ball movie in a few ways. Firstly, it introduces a new non-villainous character (which the films don’t tend to do). And secondly, the Z Warriors aren’t the main focus of the film’s story.
The new hero is the compelling warrior known as Tapion. He starts the movie stuck inside a magical music box until a being named Hoi, with the help of the Z Warriors, releases him. Although Hoi wasn’t interested in helping Tapion, he just wanted to let out the monster who was trapped within the hero. It’s a captivating plot that is better than most Dragon Ball movies.
7. Dragon Ball: Episode Of Bardock – 7.5
Despite not featuring a lot in the franchise (excluding in the games), the ruthless Bardock is a very popular character. This could explain why this what-if scenario ranks so highly on this list.
After the destruction of his homeworld, Bardock wakes up on a familiar-looking planet named Planet Plant and is quickly tasked with protecting its inhabitants from a member of the Frieza race named Chilled. The story is a little strange, but it’s an entertaining OVA nonetheless.
8. Dragon Ball: The Path To Power – 7.4
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the original Dragon Ball anime, Toei Animation released Dragon Ball: The Path To Power, which retells several arcs of the show. While the evergreen Dragon Ball series didn’t need retelling, Path to Power is still an enjoyable adventure.
The movie is very fast-paced and removes some of the unnecessary events of the anime. However, several great characters and moments also miss out, which means the original series remains the ultimate version of the story. Path to Power is a nice alternative, though.
9. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ – 7.3
Frieza has long been one of Dragon Ball’s best villains, so there was plenty of excitement when it was announced that he’d be returning in Resurrection ‘F’. In the film, the remains of his army with him back with the Dragon Balls. Then after his body is put back together and he has trained for the first time in his life, Frieza makes his way to Earth to kill Goku.
Once the Emperor and his army get to the planet, the movie starts getting really exciting due to some exceptionally animated fight scenes. The battle between the Z Warriors and members of Frieza’s army is particularly impressive.
10. Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods – 7.2
After the franchise went many years without a fully-fledged film release, Battle Of Gods arrived on the scene. And it brought with it a renewed interest in Dragon Ball.
The movie tells the story of The God Of Destruction, Beerus, going to King Kai’s planet and then Earth in search of a warrior known as the Super Saiyan God. Battle of Gods isn’t as significant as it felt upon release because its story has since been retold in Super, yet, it is still a fun, action-packed film.