Left Behind is a movie series based on the book series of the same name, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. It depicts the Biblical end of the world as we know it and the world that was left afterward.
Seeing that the newest movie in the franchise was released on January 26, 2023, many fans wanted to revisit the entire franchise. However, due to reboots and spinoffs, it’s not that easy to get them all in the right order. So, without further ado, here are all six Left Behind movies in order, including all the sequels, reboots, and spinoffs. Enjoy!
How many Left Behind movies are there?
So far, there are six Left Behind movies overall. The franchise includes the original trilogy, a reboot and its sequel, and one spinoff film based on the Left Behind: The Kids spinoff book series of forty novellas written for teenagers.
Left Behind movies in order (at a glance)
As mentioned, there are six Left Behind movies so far. They are as follows:
The original trilogy:
- Left Behind: The Movie (2000)
- Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002)
- Left Behind III: World at War (2005)
- Left Behind (2014)
- Left Behind: The Rise of the Antichrist (2023)
- Vanished – Left Behind: Next Generation (2016)
The franchise likely isn’t over yet, although we’re still waiting on a Left Behind movie with at least moderately good reviews.
Are Left Behind movies connected?
All the movies in the Left Behind franchise are connected in the sense that they are based on the same book series. However, not all of them belong to the same storyline.
The original trilogy is connected to each other, with every movie ending in a cliffhanger that gets resolved in the next film. The 2014 reboot is connected to the 2023 sequel, while the 2016 spinoff film is a standalone project based on the spinoff novella, Left Behind: The Kids.
The problem with the franchise so far, as the writer Paul Lalonde shared on the Left Behind Facebook page, is that they only had the right to use the first two out of sixteen books. Now, they acquired rights to all the books for adaptation, so you can expect more movies connected directly with the two reboot films.
What is the best way to watch Left Behind movies?
The best way to watch Left Behind movies is to separate them as the original trilogy, the reboot series, and the separate spinoff. It essentially means watching the movies by release date, with the exception of the Vanished spinoff movie, which I recommend you watch the last, as it’s not really connected to the main storyline of the other films within the Left Behind franchise.
Left Behind movies in order (by release date)
1. Left Behind: The Movie (2000)
Synopsis: Buck Williams is a television journalist who starts working on a story of countless sudden disappearances all over the world, with people vanishing without a trace. It takes him on a wild journey that includes Dr. Chaim Rosenzweig, a scientist developing a formula that would make any soil on the planet fertile and easy to cultivate.
The sudden disappearances turned out to be the Rapture – the beginning of the Biblical prophecy of Armageddon, and those who disappeared were those who were true believers in Christ. Buck learns that the scientist’s plan is actually the Antichrist’s bidding to take over the world, and those left behind struggle to find salvation.
2. Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002)
Synopsis: After the beginning of the Armageddon and the Rapture – the sudden disappearance of millions who were true believers – the identity of the Antichrist is revealed, and the world falls into disease, famine, war, and an absolute struggle to survive – only one in four people would live to fight another day. It’s even worse for those who dare to stand up against the Antichrist.
Buck Williams, Rayford Steele, and others realize the only way to salvation is to fight those who are the enemies of God. They start a secret society called the Tribulation Force, whose only goal is to convert those who don’t believe in Christianity and give them hope for salvation.
3. Left Behind III: World at War (2005)
Synopsis: Years have passed, and the fight of those left behind continues, but the world is in absolute chaos and ruins after Nicolae Carpathia detonates several nuclear bombs all over the Earth. The Tribulation Force is on its knees after Carpathia launches several hard-hitting attacks on them, but they aren’t ready to give up.
Eighteen months after Carpathia rose to power, an attempt to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Fitzhugh caused him to ask the Tribulation Force to help solve the mystery. After that, nothing will be the same, as their lives become more intertwined than anyone could imagine. Is Carpathia the prophesied Antichrist? Will the Trib Force prevail?
4. Left Behind (2014)
Synopsis: Left Behind (2014) is a franchise reboot starring Nicholas Cage as Rayford Steele, the pilot who was originally portrayed by Brad Johnson. Steele’s storyline takes center stage instead of Buck Williams, the reporter portrayed by Kirk Cameron in the initial trilogy. In the reboot, Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) took on the Buck Williams role.
The story is, as you might’ve expected, quite similar to the first Left Behind movie. Rayford Steele struggles to keep his passengers calm as the Biblical Rapture takes place mid-flight, and numerous passengers on the plane disappear – including his co-pilot.
Buck Williams becomes his co-pilot instead, while Steele’s daughter, Chloe, tries to survive the chaos that ensues in the city and find her brother and mother. The movie had terrible reviews across the board, witnessed by the horrifying 3.1/10 IMDb rating. Still, it managed to make a hefty profit, so there’s really no wonder a sequel came to fruition.
5. Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist (2023)
Synopsis: The newest addition to the Left Behind franchise, Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist, is a direct sequel to the Nicolas Cage-led Left Behind film from 2014. His role as Rayford Steel was now taken by Kevin Sorbo, who is also the director of the film.
The world had fallen into chaos completely, but a new leader rose to the head position of the UN, bringing a glimpse of hope for those left behind. But is he really the great man he portrays himself to be? Or is he a devil in disguise?
So far, the reviews for the film aren’t that great but are certainly better than those of its 2014 predecessor. If you ask me, the ending of the film was utterly bizarre (go figure in such a franchise, right?), but I’m not the one to ask for an opinion on the Left Behind franchise.
6. Vanished – Left Behind: Next Generation (2016)
Synopsis: Lastly, Vanished is a spinoff film meant for teenagers, based on the spinoff books called Left Behind: The Kids, a series of forty novellas spun off the Left Behind book series.
The movie follows a group of kids, including Gabby and her sister, from the moment the Rapture happens and millions of people disappear. They have to stick together to survive and figure out what just happened in moments when so many have vanished without a trace and the world disintegrated into chaos.
In all honesty, it was a weak, bleak movie, which is why it is often forgotten about when talking about the Left Behind franchise. Not that the other movies are brilliant, but this one isn’t really connected to the main storyline, and it was overall underwhelming, so it’s no wonder that it flew under a lot of people’s radar.
Where to watch Left Behind movies?
The Left Behind movies aren’t currently available on major streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, or Disney+. However, you can buy/rent most of them on platforms like Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Store, or Spectrum On Demand.
There are rumors that Left Behind: The Rise of the Antichrist will arrive on Disney+ in July of this year, but I couldn’t find any official confirmation of those rumors. Currently, the movie is on a limited theatrical run in selected theaters, after which it’ll likely become available to buy/rent on the same platforms as other Left Behind movies.
Will there be more Left Behind movies?
Fans of the Left Behind series may rejoice, as there are reports that more Left Behind movies will be made over the course of the next few years. The writer/creator of the previous Left Behind movies, Paul Lalonde, shared the information in 2017 on the official Facebook page of Left Behind:
“(…) I have officially acquired the movie rights to the entire Left Behind series. All 16 books! And I have been working closely with Jerry B. Jenkins and the LaHaye family to make it all happen.
There were a lot of parties involved, but in the end, the vision I shared with the LaHaye and Jenkins families is finally able to be realized. We are going to tell the ENTIRE story of the LB series over the course of 6-8 movies.”
Seeing the post was made in 2017 and that Left Behind: The Rise of Antichrist is only the first movie made after the post, you can expect more films to be made within the franchise. That is, if nothing had changed in the meantime.