Arguably the most culturally impactful Dreamworks film franchise in existence, the Shrek universe took the world by storm in some strange yet admirable ways. Adored by kids and adults alike upon its release, the fandom that was birthed from this animated film series rivals Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings in the way that it impacted viewers. From Shrek-themed weddings and parties all the way to religious practices, fans took the love for their new favorite character to bizarre–and sometimes disturbing–heights.
Praised for its endless references to pop culture and classic fairy tales, it’s really no surprise that people connected with this fantastical adventure of a story. What really makes this premise unique is that this animated feature stars a near-absolute anti-hero; one that many fans have claimed to relate deeply to. Making an ogre–one of mythology’s most creepy and disgusting man-eating creatures–the main character of a story turned out to be an excellent choice for Dreamworks to run with, especially with the cast of zany characters that were chosen to be alongside him. One of these counterparts is Puss in Boots: a hilariously chaotic character that earned his own spinoff movies thanks to this franchise. With over 20 years of Shrek in existence, the series has evolved with the newest feature Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. There are already confirmations of a Shrek 5 taking place in the next few years as well. Shrek is Love / Shrek is Life.
How to Watch the Shrek Movies in Order
How Many Shrek Movies Are There?
There are a total of 6 feature-length Shrek movies, including the 2 Puss in Boots films. There are also 9 short films in the series, 3 TV and interactive specials, and a Puss in Boots TV series. It was recently announced that Shrek 5 is in development and a Donkey spin-off movie may be in the works as well.
The Shrek Movies in Chronological Order
The films mentioned below are solely the feature length films that have been released, meaning that this does not include the many animated shorts, themed rides, and spinoff stories that have come from this origin story. The order of films is based on the timeline of events that take place within the universe, not in order of release date.
1. Puss in Boots (2011)
The first of the movies that star our furry little friend, Puss in Boots is the spinoff that cemented the character as a standalone. Joined by his team of compadres, Puss (Antonio Banderas) is on the hunt for the golden eggs of the fairytale character, the Golden Goose in order to undo the charges and suspicions against him. Framed as a sort of Zorro meets Batman character, Puss–voice-acted stupendously by Banderas–and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) have a wonderful chemistry that entertainingly shadows a Batman and Catwoman dynamic.
2. Shrek (2001)
The legendary, pop-culture phenomenon that started it all, Shrek is a tour-de-force of Dreamworks animation productions that changed the future of Dreamworks animation. Incessantly pestered by numerous fairytale creatures and soldiers of the kingdom, Shrek (Mike Meyers) is sent on a reluctant mission to save Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) so he can finally earn some peace and quiet. Highlighted by spot-on pop-culture references of the time, talented voice performances, and the industry-changing soundtrack, it’s no wonder this franchise has gone on to do so much since its release.
Read our review of Shrek.
3. Shrek 2 (2004)
Hailed as a masterfully successful sequel that kept the Shrek spirit alive, Shrek 2 takes zero missteps in the continuation of the Shrek-iverse. Summoned to the kingdom of Far, Far Away by her parents, Fiona and Shrek travel way out of his comfort zone in order to meet the standards and expectations that come with marrying into royalty. With the ever-successful side character, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) returning again for this film, it was a pleasant surprise to add Puss in Boots into this film initially as an antagonist before swiftly transitioning to yet another member of their quirky troupe.
Read our review of Shrek 2.
4. Shrek the Third (2007)
Ramping up its endless references to pop culture and phenomena, Shrek the Third satisfies the thirst for more Shrek but suffers a bit in narrative cohesion and the heart and soul that it began with. When Shrek learns that he is next in the line of royalty, he searches the kingdom desperately for the only other known member of the royal bloodline, Artie (Justin Timberlake) in order to shirk his responsibility as heir to the throne. Despite losing a bit of overall quality, the action, jokes, and occasional darkness of this movie make for a pleasant viewing experience for any Shrek fan.
Read our review of Shrek the Third.
5. Shrek Forever After (2010)
Taking on a noticeable change in tone both in animation and writing, Shrek Forever After does its part to add to the universe but ultimately doesn’t stay true to the original. In a rut of a mid-life crisis and missing his old lifestyle of solitude, Shrek unwittingly makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) that sends him into an alternate, terrifying universe where Rumpelstiltskin rules and chaos reigns. Though the most hardcore fans might disagree, this addition to the franchise simply looks and feels very out of place in the normally tone-consistent series.
Read our review of Shrek Forever After.
6. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)
A smashingly successful sequel in the Puss in Boots series, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish takes a giant leap into the future of action animation and storytelling in a fantastic way. After living a life of adventure and reckless abandon and plowing through 8 of his 9 lives, Puss must go on a journey to find the mythical Last Wish: a sought-after gauntlet of personalized trials that will earn the victor a magical wish. Impressively improved animation aside, this movie does a fantastic job writing its narrative and characters, including and especially Wolf (Wagner Moura): a villain that is arguably one of the best animated villains since Scar of The Lion King.
Read our review of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
The Shrek Movies by Release Date
Want to watch the Shrek films in the order they were released? Here’s the release order of every movie:
- Shrek (2001)
- Shrek 2 (2004)
- Shrek the Third (2007)
- Shrek Forever After (2010)
- Puss in Boots (2011)
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)
- Shrek 5 (TBA)