Highlander is a fantasy tv and movie series created by Gregory Widen. Starring Christoper Lambert, the movie series shows the adventures of Connor MacLeod of Glenifinnan born in the 16th century who is one of the immortals on earth. Connor MacLeod has to survive the other immortals and fight his way through to the Gathering. The immortals are granted the power called the Quickening and cannot be killed by traditional means. They need to be beheaded. McLeod lives his way throughout history with multiple aliases.
The television series aired from 1992 to 1998 starring Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, a kinsman of Connor McLeod. Overall, apart from the movie series, the franchise had filmed two live-actioned television series, an animated television series, an animated film, and a flash animation series.
- 1 How Many Highlander Movies Are There?
- 2 Are The Highlander Movies Connected?
- 3 In What Order Should I watch Highlander Movies
- 4 All 5 Highlander Movies In Order: Watch Highlander Movies By Their Release Year
- 5 All Highlander Movies Box Office Collection
- 6 All Highlander Movies According To Highest To Lowest IMDb Ranking
- 7 Conclusion
How Many Highlander Movies Are There?
The Highlander movie franchise has a total of four theatrical installments with the first part premiering in 1986. After the success of the first part which was a huge hit, the second theatrical movie was released in 1991. The third and fourth parts were released in 1995 and 2000 respectively. The final made-for-TV film was released in 2007.
Are The Highlander Movies Connected?
Yes, all the Highlander movies are connected. There are prequel plots in certain parts of the series as well as an entire prequel movie but the series is a continuous storyline. Connor has to defeat new foes but gradually gets tired of his immortal life after losing his loved ones. The storyline also pursues the life of Connor’s clanmate Duncan MacLeod who is later revealed to be the true One, the immortal to win the Prize.
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In What Order Should I watch Highlander Movies
The Highlander movie franchise’s timeline does not line up with the release order of the movies and the release order is preferred more for the complex mythologies and backstories connected to the plot.
Highlander Movies In Release Order:
- Highlander (1986)
- Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
- Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1995)
- Highlander: Endgame (2000)
- Highlander: The Source (2007) – made-for-TV movie
All 5 Highlander Movies In Order: Watch Highlander Movies By Their Release Year
Writers: Gregory Widen, Peter Bellwood, Larry Ferguson
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release date: 7 March 1986
In 1985, Connor McLeod, an immortal is confronted by an old advisory, Iman Fasil in a parking garage. They both end up in a sword duel. At the end of the duel, Connor beheads Iman Fasil which results in the Quickening, a great energy surge, which destroys the surroundings. Connor hides his katana in the ceiling of the garage before getting arrested for the collateral destruction and the murder of Iman Fasil.
He is later released due to the lack of evidence. In a series of flashbacks, Connor is shown to be living in the Scottish Highlands in 1536. A war struck between the MacLeod clan and the Fraser clan. The Fraser Clan were aided by an outlander warrior, the Kurgan in exchange for killing Connor with his own hands. On the battlefield, the Kurgan manages to fatally wound Connor but gets driven off at the last minute.
After the battle, Connor’s immortal ability helped him in recovering extremely quickly making his lover Kate and cousin Dougal suspect him of witchcraft. They accuse him and the clan wishes to kill him but the chieftain Angus shows mercy and sends him into exile. During his exile, Connor roams the highlands of Glenfinnan and adopts the profession of a blacksmith before falling in love and marrying a woman named Heather MacDonald.
A while later, Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez, a fellow immortal and swordsman from Egypt, finds Connor while tracking down the Kurgan, his old enemy. He explains to Connor that they are immortals and are destined to fight each other till death. After their destined death battles leave only one immortal as the victor, he shall be called to the faraway land for the Gathering, to fight their final battle and claim the Prize, the power of all immortal through time.
Ramirez also tells that Immortals cannot reproduce and to give up the Prize to the likes of Kurgan would only lead to humanity’s suffering in the darkness. MacLeod becomes Ramirez’s apprentice and trains under him. One night, while Connor is away, Kurgan manages to find Ramirez’s whereabouts and challenges him to a duel. Kurgan kills Ramirez and rapes Heather which she does not tell Connor about.
Years pass by and Heather dies out of old age. Connor leaves with Ramirez’s katana after marking Ramirez’s burial with his. Forward to the present in 1985, the event of the Gathering closens. Kurgan is compelled to visit New York where Connor works as an antique dealer under the alias Rusell Nash, working with his adopted daughter Rachel Ellenstein. Brenda Wyatt, a metallurgist involved in the investigation and murder of Iman Fasil discovers shards of Connor’s sword at the murder site.
The age of the sword confuses Brenda. She also witnesses Kurgan attacking Connor and escaping before the police’s arrival. Brenda pursues and encounters Connor twice. She asks him about the puzzling sword and its history. Connor takes a liking to her and asks her to leave. Connor reunites with fellow immortal Sunda Kastagir, who is shortly killed in a duel with the Kurgan.
Brenda continues her investigation of Connor and finds out that he has lived for centuries, faking his death, and changing his name but living at the same address. Connor burns a candle in the church every year on Heather’s birthday. The Kurgan arrives and tells Connor that both of them were the last of the immortals and that he had raped Heather. Disgusted but prohibited from fighting on holy grounds, Connor decides to walk away.
Brenda confronts Connor with his secret and reveals everything about himself. Both spend the night together and part ways on account of Connor’s immortality. The Kurgan finds out about Connor and Brenda’s intimate relationship and kidnaps her to lure out Connor. To save Brenda, Connor decides to give up his ‘Rusell Nash’ identity and says goodbye to his daughter Rachel.
Connor confronts Kurgan and saves Brenda in the process. With the last two immortals engaging in a sword duel, Connor manages to decapitate and defeat Kurgan absorbing all his power and winning the Prize. He returns to Scottland with his newly found partner Brenda and tells her that he is no longer an immortal.
He can age like a normal man and have offspring living a normal happy life. Connor is also bestowed with the power to read the thoughts and feelings of people all around the world. Remembering the teachings of Ramirez, Connor decides to help the world and make it a better place.
Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
Writers: Gregory Widen, Brian Clemens, William N. Panzer
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Virginia Madsen
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release date: 1 November 1991
Five hundred years before Connor’s final battle, a final meeting is held among the members of the rebellion against their cruel and corrupt leader General Katana on planet Zeist. The rebellion is guided by Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez, a sage sorcerer, who chooses Connor MacLeod to lead them against Katana.
With the help of a magical power known as the Quickening, Ramirez creates an unbreakable bond between him and Connor that goes beyond death. Katana shows up with his troops vanquishing and crumbling the rebellious group. Ramirez and MacLeod with a bunch of other criminals are banished to Earth by the priests of Zeist. They are punished to live as immortals and fight each other till there is only one immortal survivor.
The last immortal standing would win the Prize in which he either chooses to stay and spend the rest of his life on Earth as a mortal man or return to Zeist with a clean criminal record. The sentence is executed leaving General Katana unsatisfied with the decision. Ramirez and MacLeod are born on Earth in their respective human form. After the events of 1985 in which MacLeod defeats the Kurgan and becomes the last immortal on Earth, he wins the Prize and chooses to stay on Earth as a mortal.
MacLeod, now a normal human, marries his new lover, Brenda Wyatt. Global concern occurred by August of 1994. The ozone layer in the Earth’s atmosphere which had been protecting humans from harmful rays has started depleting and will completely be gone in a matter of months. Millions die due to the unfiltered rays of the sun including Brenda Wyatt MacLeod. As her death wish, Brenda asks Connor to promise her that he will fix the ozone layer.
By the end of 1999, Connor MacLeod becomes a supervisor of a scientific research team led by Dr. Allan Neyman. They are successful at creating an electromagnetic shield that can protect the Earth from radiation. Putting up the shield brought severe negative impacts on the Earth’s atmosphere. Life on Earth could no longer experience light from the sun or any other star, high rise in atmospheric temperature and humidity.
Being cut off from one of the natural elements for decades, people face depression and other anxiety disorders. The loss of hope subsequently leads to an uprise in the crime rate with violence and greed engulfing every street. Many start spiting Connor and blaming him for their current situation completely ignoring the consequences they would have faced without the shield. Years pass by.
By 2024, the administration and management of the shield fall under the control of The Shield Corporation (T.C.S.) with David Blake as its chief executive. The corporation under Blake’s orders starts imposing heavy taxes on countries that need the protective shield. Louis Marcus, a member of an activist group, believes that the ozone layer has completely healed and the TCS is covering it up to earn profits.
At present, MacLeod has aged becoming a frail old man. He remembers his past life with Ramirez on planet Zeist while watching television. General Katana, still the ruler of Zeist, learns about Connor’s choice to live the rest of his life as a mortal on Earth. The cruel leader doubts that Connor might change his mind and return to Zeist. Katana orders two of his henchman to go to Earth and kill Connor MacLeod.
On Earth, Connor gets a small cut on his hand from a drunk man but the wound instantly heals alerting him to the presence of other immortals on the planet again. Marcus finds Connor and seeks out his help to bring down the shield that he once set up to protect humanity since the ozone layer had completely healed. Connor turns down Marcus, reasoning that it would be an attack of terrorism. Corda and Reno, the two henchmen sent by General Katana, track down and attack MacLeod, who desperately tries to escape.
Corda loses his head in the process and MacLeod absorbs Cord’s powers regaining the youth and strength that he possessed before he won the Prize. Connor kills Reno and instinctively uses his power to revive Ramirez. After witnessing the fight, Louise falls for Connor. Back in Scottland Ramirez wakes up from his grave in the middle of the Shakespearean play, Hamlet. Ramirez, who is drawn toward Connor, purchases a new sword and a set of clothes before leaving for New York.
General Katana arrives on Earth from Zeist. He plans to kill Connor with his own hands. He wreaks havoc after taking control of a subway car and crashing it, killing everyone inside it. Katana, for a brief moment, confronts Connor on the holy ground. Restricted from fighting in the sacred place, Katana leaves after taunting Connor. Ramirez reunites with Connor and together with Connor and Louis devise a plan to take down the shield.
Assuming MacLeod’s intention of bringing down the shield, Katana allies with David Blake, explaining that the energy to destroy the shield could threaten Earth. Dr. Allan Neyman is brutally tortured on Blake’s orders after it is discovered that he told MacLeod that there was proof the ozone layer has healed.
Ramirez, Connor, and Louis break into the TSC. Ramirez uses his magic and sacrifices himself to save Connor from a death trap. Blake gets killed and MacLeod uses his sword to decapitate Katana in a showdown. Releasing his immortal energy and the newly acquired energy after killing Katana, Connor manages to deactivate and remove the shield. Louis, along with millions of people on Earth, witnesses the bright stars and the sky for the first time.
Highlander III: The Sorcerer
Writers: Gregory Widen, Brad Mirman, William N. Panzer
Director: Andrew Morahan
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Mario Van Peebles, Deborah Kara Unger
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Release date: 30 November 1994
After the death of his wife Heather in the 16th century, Connor MacLeod makes a trip to Japan to train under another immortal sorcerer named Nakano, an old friend of Connor’s late teacher Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez. Nakano teaches Connor the art of sword fighting with the katana that once belonged to Ramirez. Nakano also warns Connor about an evil immortal named Kane, who is traveling across Asia with his two henchmen, Khabul Khan and Senghi Khan.
After burning down a local village, the evil group of immortals reaches the cave in which Nakano was tutoring Connor. Kane beheads Nakano, absorbing his immortal energy and sorcery of illusion through the Quickening. Connor manages to escape and Nakano pulls off his final trick after telling Kane that he would not be able to make it to the Gathering to win the Prize. The release of the energy collapses the cave within itself trapping Kane and henchmen inside it.
Forward to 1788, Connor meets and falls in love with an English woman, Sarah Barrington in France. During the French Revolution, Connor MacLeod is arrested on account of treason against King Louis XVI of France and is sentenced to death. Connor’s immortal friend Pierre Bouchet takes his place instead claiming that he was done with the life of an immortal. Presuming Connor is dead, Sarah marries another man.
Connor manages to find Sarah only to discover that she now has a family and decides to let her believe that he is dead. In 1985, after defeating the Kurgan in the Gathering it seemed as if Connor was the last immortal alive. Connor and his new love Brenda Wyatt move to Scottland and get married. In 1987, Brenda loses her life in a car accident but Connor manages to survive it without sustaining any wounds which proved that he retained his immortal attributes and may have not won the Prize.
Forward to the year 1994, Connor resides with his adopted son John. Subsequently, Dr. Alexandra Johnson, an archaeologist who looks similar to Sarah Barrington, is a member of an excavating team researching the legendary cave of Nakano. The excavation frees Kane from the cave, which beheads Senghi to gain a powerup while his other henchman, Khabul sets out to find Connor. Connor senses the Quickening release of the death of Senghi and realizes that the Gathering did not end.
He travels back to New York leaving his adopted son in the care of his friend, Jack Donovan. Connor MacLeod arrives in New York as Russell Nash. He confronts Khabul and kills him. NYPD Lt. John Stenn deduces that the headhunter killer of 1985 was in action again after seeing Khabul’s headless body. He concludes that Russell Nash is the killer, who was the prime suspect in the 1985 investigation.
Alex finds clues in the Nakano cave hinting at the presence of the exiled member from the MacLeod clan i.e. Connor MacLeod. To continue her research, Alex decides to meet Russell Nash who claimed to be a descendant of the MacLeod clan. Alexandra tracks him down and witnesses a duel between Connor and Kane. The fight ends with Connor’s blade shattering and Kane fleeing the site.
Connor returns to Scotland to build another sword but is unsuccessful in doing so. Alex learns more about MacLeod and concludes that the exiled MacLeod clan member and Russell Nash are the same people. Alex tracks down Connor and gives him a bar of finely refined steel that she acquired from the cave. Connor forges a new katana from the bar of metal and reveals his identity as Connor MacLeod and the two fall in love with each other.
Connor later learns that Kane had abducted his adopted son John. MacLeod travels to an old church mission to save his son and kill Kane. After a brief battle with the evil immortal, Connor is successful in decapitating Kane. This time he wins the Prize and possesses the powers of every single immortal who ever lived. He returns to Scotland with his son John and newfound love Alex to live out the rest of his mortal life.
Highlander: Endgame (2000)
Writers: Gregory Widen, Eric Bernt, Gillian Horvath
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Adrian Paul, Bruce Payne
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release date: 1 September 2000
In A.D. 1555, Connor returns to his village from his exile to save his mother from a former friend and village priest, Jacob Kell. Kell executes Connor’s mother on account of practicing witchcraft. Learning his mother’s death, in a feat of rage, Connor kills Kell and Kell’s adoptive father, Father Rainey before leaving his mother’s dead body and setting his former hometown Glenfinnan, Scotland, ablaze.
Kell is reborn as an immortal and vows to avenge his adoptive father’s death by seeking vengeance against Connor. Kell spends the next four centuries killing people Connor cared about. Ignoring the rule of the Game, Kell recruits several weaker Immortals as disciples. They work together for him and weaken other Immortals so that he can absorb their powers and grow stronger.
Sometime after Kurgan’s death at the hands of Connor, Kell organizes the death of Connor’s adopted daughter Rachel Ellenstein. With the demise of his daughter, Connor, heartbroken, leaves for the Sanctuary. Under the surveillance of a subgroup of humans called the Watchers who prevent any immortal from winning the Prize, Connor spends a decade peacefully in the Sanctuary until Kell shows up.
Kell and his disciples attack the Sanctuary making him assume that Connor was among the several immortals who were slaughtered. Duncan MacLeod witnesses the attack on the Sanctuary in his visions. Haunted by the murders, Duncan starts investigating. Duncan goes to see Methos, who tells him about the Sanctuary. Duncan is surprised to learn that Connor was living at the Sanctuary.
He departs from London and travels to New York. He goes to Connor’s loft in NYC where Rachel died in a planned explosion. Duncan is approached by his 200-year-old immortal wife, Kate. Shortly, a group of Kell’s disciples arrives and start fighting Duncan going against the rule of a one-on-one battle. Kell arrives but one of Kell’s henchmen Carlos shoots Duncan, who falls on a spike making him unconscious.
Furious with the action, Kell beheads Carlos. A van appears and drives away with Duncan. Duncan wakes up and realizes that he was taken in by the Watchers to prevent Kell from winning the Prize. Ducan is later helped by Methos and Watcher Joe Dawson to escape. Joe explains how powerful Kell has become after beheading and absorbing 661 immortals. He also tells that Connor was spared by Kell to make his life miserable.
Duncan’s death would further pain Connor and it would not be tedious for Kell with the current power he possesses. As for Connor, the constant death of his loved ones made him guilt-ridden. For this reason, Connor is unwilling to fight Kell by himself. Duncan meets Faith a.k.a. Kate in a fashion shoot asking her why she is on Kell’s side. Kate reasons Duncan saying that she hates not being able to bear a child or grow old and die, and Kell understands this pain of hers.
Duncan has the choice of either earning her forgiveness or fighting her as a member of Kell’s disciple. Later, Kate enters Duncan’s room in a hotel after a chat with Kell. They make love to each other and Duncan thinks that he has earned her forgiveness but Kate tells him that she can never forgive him for turning her into an immortal. Duncan assures her that he will patiently wait even for centuries till Kate forgives him.
Kell kills all of his followers possibly including Kate and absorbs their power. Later, Connor confronts Duncan on a rooftop and intentionally starts to fight him. Connor tells Duncan that neither of them can take on Kell alone and that he needs to sacrifice himself for Duncan to absorb it.
Then it might be possible to defeat Kell. With an emotional farewell, Duncan MacLeod honorably beheads his clansman, Connor MacLeod absorbing his powers. In their final battle, Kell initially manages to overpower Duncan even after the latter used a supposedly-invincible sword technique that he learned from Connor. Hale tries to interfere and take Duncan back to the Sanctuary, instead, gets shot dead by Joe.
Kell is about to finish Ducna but Connor’s spirit takes over Duncan’s body giving him the strength to fight again. Duncan jumps behind Kell and manages to decapitate him avenging all Connor and Connor’s loved ones. Duncan absorbs all of Kell’s powers making him the most powerful Immortal in the universe. Ducan takes Connor’s dead body back to Scottland and buries Connor next to his late wife Heather and mentor Ramirez.
Highlander: The Source (2007)
Writers: Stephen Kelvin Watkins, Mark Bradley, Gregory Widen
Director: Brett Leonard
Stars: Adrian Paul, Thekla Reuten, Cristian Solimeno
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Release date: 13 September 2007
In the future, humanity has fallen into violence and chaos. Gangs and warlords throughout the planet fight to take control over territories whereas the commoners become homeless. They are barely able to survive, continuously searching for resources. Some still have access to advanced technology, including a group of immortals. The group includes Methos, the ancient immortal, a computer hacker Reggie, a warrior and scout Zai Jie, and Cardinal Giovanni, an immortal from the Vatican.
The group is in search of the mysterious Source of Immortality. Zai Jie believes he has found the location of the Source but gets killed by the Guardian of the Source. Reggie discovers that the planets are aligning in an unnatural pattern. Methos seeks out Joe Dawson, a Watcher and old friend to find Duncan MacLeod. Subsequently, Duncan has been roaming the wastelands after leaving his mortal wife Anna Teshemka when she decided that she could no longer be his wife if they did not have a biological offspring and start a family.
Wandering, Duncan briefly encounters the Guardian of the Source and fights the creature before getting found and recruited by Joe. They meet the rest of the immortal team members at a monastery to meet with an ancient being known as the Elder and learn about the Source. At the monastery, the group meets Duncan’s mortal wife Anna Teshemka, who tells them that she had been having visions of the Source.
They meet the Elder inside the monastery, who tells them that a long time ago a group of three immortals managed to find the Source. After slaying the Guardian, two managed to survive but got cursed, with one of them becoming the new Guardian, the other suffering from continuous decaying i.e., the Elder himself, and the third was supposedly reborn as Anna. Anna’s visions imply that she knows the way to the Source.
The Elder also warns them that the closer they get to the Source, the weaker they will get. The Guardian appears and attacks Reggie and Joe Dawson inside the monastery. Dawson, in an attempt to save both of them, throws his katana at the Guardian. The Guardian removes the sword from his neck and breaks it. With the broken blade, the Guardian fatally wounds Joe and escapes the holy ground. After burying Joe, the rest of the group leaves to find the Source.
They reckon that the Source is on an island off the coast of Lithuania which is inhabited by a tribe of cannibals. Ducan has a conversation with Anna and is surprised to learn that she did not start a family with another mortal man because she wanted a family with Duncan. Duncan and his team fight the locals and escape to a deserted house in a van. That night, Reggie is mortally attacked by the Guardian and succumbs to his death due to the close distance to the Source.
After burying Reggie, the group continues the journey. On the road, Duncan and Methos conclude that the Prize is not obtained when there is one immortal left but only one immortal can obtain the Prize which is the Source of Immortality. The group is ambushed by a group of cannibals. While the cannibals celebrate, the Guardian frees Anna to take her to the Source. Giovanni manages to escape and takes a sword leaving Ducna and Methos to their demise.
Giovanni believes it is his destiny to be the One to obtain the Source. Duncan frees himself and Methos as well. Methos concludes that Ducan is the true One because of his incorruptible nature. Methos decides to be the distraction and rides off on a horse while Duncan chases Anna. Giovanni gets killed by the Guardian. Duncan finds Anna lying by a sandpit that is illuminated like a constellation.
The planetary alignment is happening right above them. The Guardian appears and challenges Duncan to a battle. Duncan, being so close to the Source obtains speed and strength that matches the Guardian. Anna is supposedly able to communicate with the glowing Source of Immortality. Duncan tries to get to her but gets blocked by an energy barrier. MacLeod continues his fight with the Guardian.
Duncan pins the Guardian to the ground. The Guardian asks for death but Duncan denies delivering it which would otherwise have transferred the curse to Duncan. Unable to free himself from the curse, the Guardian blasts, and vanishes. This act proves the purity of Duncan’s heart which allows him to reunite with Anna and connect to the Source.
All Highlander Movies Box Office Collection
- Highlander – $12.8 million
- Highlander II: The Quickening – $15.6 million
- Highlander III: The Sorcerer – $36.7 million
- Highlander: Endgame – $15.8 million
- Highlander: The Source – $213,205
All Highlander Movies According To Highest To Lowest IMDb Ranking
- Highlander – 7.1 with 133K
- Highlander: Endgame – 4.6 with 20K
- Highlander III: The Sorcerer – 4.4 with 21K
- Highlander II: The Quickening – 4.1 with 46K
- Highlander: The Source – 3.0 with 9.5K
The Highlander film series, without doubt, can be considered a classic of the 90s. A rich storyline with a fantastic environment to build up the sense of fantasy has been portrayed in the movies. The unique concept of having extra-terrestrial creatures reborn as humans on Earth, fighting for the ultimate Prize is a masterpiece in itself. The timeline can be a bit off the track but the genuine yet subtle fact that this is an all-time exemplary movie series cannot be debated.
With a small yet loving and loyal fan base, this movie series is wished to be continued by many. There have been many producers and directors who have considered remaking or rebooting the original Highlander movies whereas the fans are diligently waiting to get the old nostalgic sword fights and lightning course through their veins once again.