10 Best Jim Henson Movies | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Jim Henson is the subject of a new Disney+ documentary, Jim Henson Idea Man, which is a celebration of the Muppet creator’s incredible life and career. 

Sadly, Henson is no longer with us, due to an early and tragic death at the age of 53. But he will never be forgotten, thanks to such brilliant shows as Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock, and the many movies he worked on, some of which we have listed here. 

Some of the movies in this article were released after his death via The Jim Henson Company. But while he didn’t work on them personally, it’s safe to say that they would never have seen the light of day if it wasn’t for his creative genius!

So, without further ado, let’s get things started on the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, and muppetational movies that were worked on or inspired by the legendary Jim Henson.

Muppets From Space (1999)

Sadly, not a big-screen version of Pigs From Space, which many will remember as the long-running sketch on The Muppet Show. Rather, this is an enjoyable adventure for Gonzo who, it turns out, may be related to a family of space aliens. 

This interstellar outing for Kermit and Co has a cool R&B soundtrack, lots of silly humour, and a fascinating backstory into the intergalactic origins of Gonzo the Great. 

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Directed by Brian Henson, Jim’s son, this is a fine adaptation of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s classic tale that has been infused with the usual brand of Muppet mayhem. 

Tim Curry as Long John Silver, Billy Connolly as Billy Bones, and a young Kevin Bishop as Jim Hawkins, are just a few of the human actors who try to steal scenes from the ensemble cast of Muppets. 

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

In this second outing for the Muppets, Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie Bear take on the role of investigative reporters who set off to England to crack a jewellery robbing case. 

Miss Piggy’s Busby Berkely-inspired dance scene, Diana Rigg’s star turn as a recently-robbed fashion designer, and scenes of the Muppets performing a musical number while riding on bikes, are just some of the highlights of this fun and jaunty caper. 

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

In this third movie for the Muppets, the loveable characters graduate from college and embark on a journey to Manhattan where they hope to make it big on Broadway.

The putting-on-a-show plot is nothing new but in the hands of Jim Henson and Frank Oz, this is a gloriously entertaining Muppet outing that is an affectionate (and funny) tribute to the Hollywood musicals of yore. 

The Witches (1990)

Sadly, this was the last film Jim Henson worked on. It’s darker than his Muppets movies, due to the witchcraft subplot and the grotesque prosthetics applied to Anjelica Huston’s monstrous crone.

But it’s just as funny as it is scary, with a hilarious turn from Rowan Atkinson as the hotel owner and Roald Dahl’s trademark black humour laced throughout the plotting. 

The Muppets (2011)

Actor Jason Segel was able to fulfil his lifelong dream of being in a Muppets movie with this rebooted outing for the Muppets gang who reunite to put on one last show to save their soon-to-be-closed Muppet Theater. 

The movie could have been awful – another cash-grab playing on nostalgia, akin to the terrible Scooby-Doo and Yogi Bear movies. But in the hands of director James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords), it’s a clever, funny, and sweet-natured movie that has been put together by people with a genuine love for the classic puppet characters. 

The Dark Crystal (1983)

This dark fantasy is a departure from the bright and colourful world of the Muppets, but it’s still as visually imaginative, with an imaginatively created mystical world populated by loveable creatures called the Gelflings and the less-than-loveable bird-like beasts known as the Skeksis. 

The Dark Crystal is a dazzling technological achievement with an enthralling fairy tale story and some of the finest puppetry ever created.

The Muppet Movie (1979)

The very first Muppets movie is one of Jim Henson’s best with an entertaining story about Kermit and co’s cross-country journey across America to reach their ultimate destination: Hollywood.

There are lots of cameos from some very famous people in this film, including Bob Hope, Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, and Steve Martin. But its rare that they overshadow the real stars of the shows – the Muppets – who are funnier and far more endearing than any of the human characters we see on screen. 

Labyrinth (1986)

The last film that Jim Henson directed was this fantasy epic about a teenage girl (Jennifer Connolly) who is forced to solve a labyrinth to rescue her baby brother who has been abducted by the Goblin King (David Bowie).

Filled with strange characters that have been brought to life by Henson’s awe-inspiring creature design, this is an inspired, scary, but also funny film that is magical enough to capture the imaginations of both children and adults alike.

Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Some people will cite the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol as being the best adaptation of Charles Dicken’s festive tale. Well, bah humbug to that! While Sim did give a fantastic performance as Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s Michael Caine in this Muppet version of the famous morality tale that takes top honours as the best version of the miserly old soul.

But as good as Caine is in this movie, he doesn’t quite steal the show from the Muppets, a cast which includes Kermit as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit, and Statler and Waldorf as Jacob and Robert Marley.

Which is your favourite Jim Henson movie? Let us know in the comments below.

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