There's a stupefying beauty to the arc of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. With 2001's The Fast and The Furious, a Point Break for gearheads starring two relatively unknown young actors and made for $38 million, we learned about a tight-knit crew of thieves in Los Angeles who like to drag-race, throw backyard cookouts, and steal DVD players from trucks while driving at insane speeds. Eighteen years and $5 billion in worldwide gross revenue later, the franchise is a box-office behemoth, with its first spinoff, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, featuring the usual macho, stunt-based shenanigans and an ever-growing number of friends and foes. This is not a normal trajectory.
Like the saga's bulbous figurehead Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel, this series lives its life "a quarter-mile at a time." When you're strapped into your seat at the multiplex, nothing else matters: not the convoluted chronology, not the rivalry between the stars, not the tragic death of Paul Walker that has added a melancholy quality to the later films. For those two or more hours of rubber-burning mayhem, you're free.
But when you get home -- or peel out of the theater parking lot in your NOS-powered vehicle -- it's time to discuss one of the most pressing questions in contemporary cinema: What's the best Fast and Furious movie? More specifically, how would you rank all nine movies (and soon to be 10) in terms of fastness and furiousness? To help you make sense of this globe-trotting octology, we've ordered them in the way that can only be described as perfect and correct. Read along, and grab any brew you want, as long as it's a Corona.