The Herbie franchise is part of popular culture for decades. Movies revolve around race car-sport family comedies that follow the story of Herbie, a sentient anthropomorphic 1963 Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own and capable of driving itself. Besides Herbie, each movie has different main protagonists who are usually using the car for races. Herbie was always a gladly watched movie and was even greenlighted by Walt Disney himself in 1968, and since then procured numerous projects over the years.
Movies were released almost every decade since the 1960s, which only says about the success and the appeal of the franchise. We will discuss this topic further, explain our reasoning behind the watch order of the Herbie movies, and if there are new projects on the horizon. If you’re interested, stay with us until the end of the article!
How Many Herbie Movies Are Out There?
Since 1968, there have been six Herbie movies released. The first movie was released in 1969, and the second one Herbie Rides Again came out it in 1974. Herbie goes Bananas was the only movie in the franchise released in the 1980s, and almost, 17 years later, we got a sequel to the 1980s movie and coincidentally a reboot of the first movie of the franchise The Love Bug.
Lastly, Herbie: Fully Loaded was released in 2005, which directly follows the story of 1997’s The Love Bug movie, and it was the sixth and final installment of the Herbie franchise.
Herbie Movies In Order (At Glance)
Now, we established there are six Herbie movies released over the last sixty years and the longevity of the Herbie franchise can be compared to very few projects. Moreover, the franchise also released a TV series and animated shows, with two video games connected to the last installment of the franchise.
However, since we are focusing only on Herbie movies, this is our watch order at glance:
- The Love Bug (1968)
- Herbie Rides Again (1974)
- Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
- Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)
- The Love Bug (1997)
- Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
Now, we will mention a few more relevant facts and details about the Herbie franchise, talk about other possible ways of watching the movies, where are they available, and lastly, conclude this topic. Without further ado, let’s start!
Herbie Movies in Order (Release Date)
1. The Love Bug (1969)
We are starting with the original installment of the Herbie franchise that started it all. The Love Bug was directed by Robert Stevenson and written by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi. The story was based on the book Car, Boy, Girl by Gordon Buford released in 1961. This was the last live-action movie released before Walt Disney died, and for that, it was supposed to be special.
The story follows a racer on a losing streak Jim Douglas, who is convinced that he needs a strong, and fast car that will solve all of his problems. Instead, he stumbles upon a second-hand 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, which he buys accidentally for cheap. What he did not expect is that “Herbie” has a mind on its own, and will start winning races left and right, which will drive its previous owner insane. The plot starts from there and the adorable car will win hearts all over the world.
The movie wasn’t anything exceptional but it garnered a lot of fans for its adorable story, and mainly Herbie, who propelled a new Disney franchise for ages to come.
2. Herbie Rides Again (1974)
The second installment of the Herbie franchise came a few years later in 1974. Once again, the director is Robert Stevenson, the writer is Bill Walsh and Herbie is the center of the story. The movie is the direct sequel to the first installment of The Love Bug but with different protagonists. The old villain Alonzo P. Hawk has come back to reprise the villain of the story.
This time, the story starts with Mrs. Steinmetz, who does not want to sell her house to Alonzo Hawk, who wants to build a shopping mall on that part of the land. The petty owner plots to force Mrs. Steinmetz out of the land with the help of his nephew Willoughby Whitfield, who discovers Herbie and falls for Mrs. Steinmetz’s niece, Nicole. After the duo finds out about Hawk’s real intentions, they try to stop Will’s uncle once and for all.
The movie was not received well by the critics upon its release, but the public and the children love it. After forty years, Herbie Rides Again got better reviews and was more appreciated.
3. Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
The third installment of the franchise came in 1977, and the Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo movie saw a new director Vincent McEveety, and writers Arthur Alsberg and Don Nelson. This is the movie where the protagonist of the original movie Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) comes back after being left out of the Herbie Rides Again movie.
This time the story follows a race car driver Jim Douglas, who goes to Monte Carlo to enroll himself and his trusted companion, Herbie, in the Monte Carlo rally. The car “falls in love” with another car, and Douglas falls for its driver Diane, who does not like him at the start. Meanwhile, the thieves have stolen a valuable diamond that they hid in Herbie’s gas tank, and while the Beetle and its driver Jim Douglas prepare for the race, they also need to look out for the thieves who want their diamonds back.
The movie was not received by the critics, and the movie earned the smallest amount at the box office to date. The Herbie franchise needed something fresh and new to come back and attract their young audiences once again.
4. Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)
The fourth installment of The Love Bug franchise movie franchise Herbie Goes Bananas was released in 1980. The director of the movie is once again Vincent McEveety, the writer this time is Don Tait, and once again, the story revolves around Herbie, a racing beetle with a mind on its own.
The story picks up immediately after Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, and this time Pete Stancheck inherits Herbie from his uncle Jim Douglas. This time, Herbie and his new owners are going to Rio De Janeiro to race in the Brazil Grand Primeo Formula One race. Everything escalates from there.
Unfortunately, this movie was not received well by the fans and critics and it is deemed as the worst movie of the franchise. Herbie Goes Bananas marked the start of the pause of the Herbie movies, and we won’t see Herbie on the big screen for 17 years.
5. The Love Bug (1997)
This name seems familiar, doesn’t it? The Love Bug came back in 1997, and it was a reboot of the original movie of the same name that kickstarted the Herbie franchise. The movie is part a remake, part a sequel, more specifically, to the Herbie Goes Bananas movie from 1980.
This movie was not on the Big Screen, but it was made for television, and it was the first appearance of Herbie after 15 years, and the TV show that was airing in the 1980s. There is not that much to say about this TV film – the story, once again, follows the story of Herbie, but this time, it is racing against Horace, an “evil Herbie”. The two cars are racing it out to determine which one is better.
The Love Bug seemed a bit “darker” than the rest of the Herbie movies in the franchise and people liked the comeback after 15 years of being away from big screens and TV screens.
6. Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
The last and the most recent Herbie movie was one from 2005. It starred Herbie, as usual, but also a then young and upcoming actress Lindsey Lohan. The movie was directed by Angela Robinson and written by Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Alfred Gough, and Miles Millar.
Herbie was finally back on the big screens after the 1980s, and fans were expectant, especially with the well-known and talented actress starring, which also meant the first female driver of the famous 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. It also starred great actors like Michale Keaton, Matt Dillon, Breckin Meyer, and more.
The story follows Maggie Peyton, who receives Herbie from her father as a graduation gift. She is not really happy but soon realizes that Herbie has a mind on its own. It takes her for a ride and she realizes soon that the old beaten Beetle is actually a racing car. She beats Trip Murphy in a race, and him being egotistical, demands a rematch. The story escalates from there.
Even though the movie was a commercial success, critics did not like the movie and gave it mixed reviews. They did mention the children would love it but teenagers and adults wouldn’t like the movie that much. The movie is pleasant and cool, and it is definitely worth watching it.
Where to Watch Herbie Movies?
Since the Herbie franchise was created and produced by Disney, the movies and the series can be watched on the streaming platform Disney+. However, The Love Bug TV movie from 1997 is not available on Disney+ platforms.
Do You Need to Watch Herbie Movies in Order?
After looking up the storylines of Herbie movies, you can easily watch them by the release date. The release date order of the movies correlates with the chronological order of the stories in the movies. With that said, we warmly recommend for you watch the Herbie franchise according to the release date.
Are Herbie Movies Connected?
They definitely are. For example, the original Love Bug movie from 1968 serves as the main premise of all other movies, and the sequels continue its story. All of the sequels follow the story of the original movie, besides the Love Bug TV film from 1997.
Will There Be More Herbie Movies?
At the time of this article being published, unfortunately, we did not find or heard any news of the future Herbie projects. There was a rumor in 2017 that Disney is planning on developing a TV series for the children’s TV channel Disney XD, but apart from that nothing was said after that.
The famous Beetle does have cameos in other Disney projects but besides that and the fan movie made in 2017 as well, there are no indications of the Herbie movie or any other project being developed at the moment.
We can hope that will happen, but until then, definitely check out our watch order.