Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the most popular and best horror movie franchises in the history of the genre. It all started in 1984, when the first movie in the franchise – aptly titled A Nightmare on Elm Street – was released. The movie featured Robert Englund as the main antagonist, the demon Freddy Krueger, who haunts and kills people in their dreams. So how many of them are there and what is the watch order of A Nightmare on Elm Street movies?
There are nine movies that comprise the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The original heptalofy, which ran from 1984 to 1994, presents the main story of Freddy Krueger, while Freddy vs. Jason complements the story and connects it with the Friday the 13th franchise. The final movie in the series is actually a failed reboot of the franchise that ultimately became a stand-alone movie.
A Nightmare on Elm Street movies in order (at a glance)
In this section, we are going to give you the complete watching order of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
- Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
- Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
A Nightmare on Elm Street watch order (fully explained)
This section will list all the nine movies that comprise the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, while also giving you some important information about the production, the cast, and the plot.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Release Date: November 9, 1984
Director: Wes Craven
Screenplay: Wes Craven
Cast: Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson), John Saxon (Donald Thompson), Johnny Depp (Glenn Lantz)
In Wes Craven’s classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler who preys on the teenagers in their dreams — which, in turn, kills them in reality. After investigating the phenomenon, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) begins to suspect that a dark secret kept by her and her friends’ parents may be the key to unraveling the mystery, but can Nancy and her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp) solve the puzzle before it’s too late?
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
Release Date: November 1, 1985
Director: Jack Sholder
Screenplay: David Chaskin
Cast: Mark Patton (Jesse Walsh), Kim Myers (Lisa Webber), Robert Rusler (Ron Grady), Clu Gulager (Ken Walsh), Hope Lange (Cheryl Walsh), Marshall Bell (Coach Schneider), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger)
Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) moves with his family into the home of the lone survivor from a series of attacks by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). There, Jesse is bedeviled by nightmares and inexplicably violent impulses. It turns out Freddy needs a host body to carry out his gruesome vendetta against the youth of Springwood, Ohio. While Freddy gains influence, Jesse and his girlfriend, Lisa (Kim Myers), race against the clock trying to figure out what’s going on.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Release Date: February 27, 1987
Director: Chuck Russell
Screenplay: Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, Chuck Russell, Frank Darabont
Cast: Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson), Craig Wasson (Dr. Neil Gordon), Patricia Arquette (Kristen Parker), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Laurence Fishburne (Max Daniels), Priscilla Pointer (Dr. Elizabeth Simms), Jennifer Rubin (Taryn White), John Saxon (Donald Thompson)
During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Her mother, mistaking the wounds for a suicide attempt, sends Kristen to a psychiatric ward, where she joins a group of similarly troubled teens. One of the doctors there is Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), who had battled Freddy some years before. Nancy senses a potential in Kristen to rid the world of Freddy once and for all.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Release Date: August 19, 1988
Director: Renny Harlin
Screenplay: Brian Helgeland, Wheats Brothers
Cast: Tuesday Knight (Kristen Parker), Lisa Wilcox (Alice Johnson), Ken Sagoes (Roland Kincaid), Rodney Eastman (Joseph „Joey“ Crusel), Brooke Bundy (Elaine Parker), Andras Jones (Rick Johnson), Danny Hassel (Dan Jordan), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger)
Following up on the previous Nightmare film, the dream demon Freddy Krueger is resurrected from his apparent demise, and rapidly tracks down and kills all three of the surviving Elm Street kids. However, Kristen Parker (who has the ability to draw others into her dreams) wills her special ability to her new best friend Alice Johnson before her demise. Afterward, she soon realizes that Freddy is taking advantage of that unknown power she now wields to pull a new group of teenage children into his foul domain. Can Alice embrace her new power to finally defeat Freddy or is it already too late?
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Release Date: August 11, 1989
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Screenplay: Leslie Bohem
Cast: Lisa Wilcox (Alice Johnson), Erika Anderson (Greta Gibson), Valorie Armstrong (Mrs. Jordan), Danny Hassel (Dan Jordan), Whit Hertford (Jacob), Beatrice Boepple (Amanda Krueger), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Michael Bailey Smith (Super Freddy)
The fifth installment of the popular franchise focuses on Alice (Lisa Wilcox), a survivor of the fourth, who believes Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) has been eliminated for good. She optimistically hopes to start a life with fellow survivor Dan (Danny Hassel). The nightmares begin soon enough, though, and Alice learns she is pregnant. When her friends start dying, Alice suspects that Freddy is using the fetus within her as a weapon. Can she fight the demon while protecting her unborn child?
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Release Date: September 13, 1991
Director: Rachel Talalay
Screenplay: Michael De Luca
Cast: Lisa Zane (Maggie Burroughs), Shon Greenblatt (John Doe), Lezlie Deane (Tracy), Ricky Dean Logan (Carlos), Breckin Meyer (Spencer), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Yaphet Kotto (Doc)
Murderous ghoul Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) has slaughtered every last child in his hometown. He ventures on to a new location, scouting fresh young victims to hack up with his finger blades. He arrives in a small town in which his long-lost daughter, Maggie (Lisa Zane), works as a therapist for troubled youths. He attempts to recruit her for his dastardly pursuits, but she has other ideas. Father and daughter meet for a bloody showdown that will determine Freddy’s fate once and for all.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Wes Craven
Screenplay: Wes Craven
Cast: Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson / Herself), John Saxon (Lt. Thompson / Himself), Miko Hughes (Dylan Porter), Robert Shaye ( Robert Shaye), Wes Craven (Wes Craven), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger / Himself), Sara Risher (Sara Risher)
Reality and fantasy meet in unsettling ways in this installment of the long-running horror series, which finds director Wes Craven and actors Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund all portraying themselves. As Heather (Heather Langenkamp) considers making another film with Craven, her son, Dylan (Miko Hughes), falls under the spell of the iconic disfigured villain Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Eventually, Langenkamp must confront Freddy’s demonic spirit to save the soul of Dylan.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Release Date: August 15, 2003
Director: Ronny Yu
Screenplay: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift
Cast: Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Ken Kirzinger (Jason Voorhees), Monica Keena (Lori Campbell), Jason Ritter (Will Rollins), Kelly Rowland (Kia Waterson), Chris Marquette (Charlie Linderman), Lochlyn Munro (Deputy Scott Stubbs)
Two horror icons face off in this supernatural movie. Disfigured serial killer Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), who attacks his victims in their dreams, has lost much of his power since the citizens of his town have become less afraid of him. Enlisting the help of fellow violent murderer Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger), Freddy orchestrates a new killing spree. However, when the hockey-mask-wearing psychopath won’t stop chopping up Freddy’s intended victims, the two ghouls start to battle each other.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Release Date: April 30, 2010
Director: Samuel Bayer
Screenplay: Wesley Strick, Eric Heisserer
Cast: Jackie Earle Haley (Freddy Krueger), Rooney Mara (Nancy Holbrook), Kyle Gallner (Quentin Smith), Katie Cassidy (Kris Fowles), Thomas Dekker (Jesse Braun), Kellan Lutz (Dean Russell), Clancy Brown (Alan Smith)
Teenagers Nancy, Quentin, Kris, Jesse and Dean are all neighborhood friends who begin having the same dream of a horribly disfigured man who wears a tattered sweater and a glove made of knives. The man, Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), terrorizes them in their dreams, and the only escape is to wake up. But when one of their numbers dies violently, the friends realize that what happens in the dream world is real, and the only way to stay alive is to stay awake.
Do you have to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street movies in order?
Well, since the first seven movies tell the nearly complete story of Freddy Krueger, we advise you to watch them in order so that you can get a complete grasp of the whole narrative. You’ll want to continue with Freddy vs. Jason, since it complements the story in a way, although it’s not really part of the original heptalogy, you should definitely watch it afterward, and it would be best to watch after seeing the whole Friday the 13th franchise, as well as Craven’s original heptalogy. The 2010 reboot is a stand-alone film so you can watch it anytime you want.