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How to watch The Crow movies & TV shows

Real love is forever, and so is The Crow

The Crow
Image credit: Miramax Films

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Just paint your faces while the shadows smile; The Crow is about to come back to roost.

With the new The Crow film coming to theaters this August, those with a penchant for tragic romance, revenge, and maybe a little bit of goth are getting back in the spirit of the comic-series-turned-movie franchise of the same name. And while the early trailers for The Crow have left some of us wanting, there exists a a murder of Crow movies and even TV episodes to binge on to prepare us - or to remind us how much we enjoyed it in the first place.

How to watch The Crow movies & TV show in release order

The Crow
Image credit: Dimension Films

There have been four Crow films and one TV show, with loads more talked about over the years - and one more coming in just a few weeks. Here's all of them, to load up your watchlist:

How to watch the Crow movies & TV show in chronological order

As far as the cinematic Crow adaptations go, there are three distinct universes/timelines - all based on the actor who played Eric Draven, the first Crow. Here's how to watch each - and a little bit about them:

The Brandon Lee Crow cinematic universe

  • The Crow (1994)
  • The Crow: Salvation (2000)
  • The Crow: City of Angels (1996)
  • The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)

Much like The Crow comic by writer/artist James O'Barr, the original 1994 The Crow movie wasn't written as a franchise, with no real thought into sequels - afterall, the hero dies at the beginning, then at the end (again). But following the success of the original film, the producers began to think of it as a franchise with The Crow as a mantle/spirit that could help others who had died with unfinished business.

What followed was the 1996 The Crow: City of Angels, set in an unspecified distant future with a man named Ashe Corven (and his son) being murdered, with him coming back for revenge. After that, a more modern-day sequel titled The Crow: Salvation with Eric Mabius playing Alex Corvis, and then finally 2005's The Crow: Wicked Prayer with Edward Furlong's James 'Jimmy' Cuervo.

Although all set in the same universe, no characters from one re-appear in the other unless you think of the Crow spirit iself as the recurring character. That being said, we checked - and they used different crows (and sometimes ravens) for each movie.

The Mark Dacascos Crow cinematic universe

  • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven (1998 - 1999)

This 22-episode TV series re-invisioned the original movie (and the comic it was based on), with a new cast filling out the roles fondly remembered. As a fan of the comic and the movie, I'd say The Crow: Stairway to Heaven is a more faithful adaptation of the comic - and it benefited from having an extended 22-episode field to tell its story. The producers intended for it to run multiple seasons, but after a quick cancellation, they could never finish their story - even after pitching a TV movie or a six-hour miniseries.

The Bill Skarsgård Crow cinematic universe

Bill Skarsgard as The Crow
Image credit: Lionsgate
  • The Crow (2024)

After 12 years in development hell, a Crow movie remake is finally happening. Whereas the original Crow movie benefited from being inspried by the thriving goth subculture at the time, the 2024 Crow film looks towards more modern influences like dub-step and trip-hop. While initial responses to the publicity for the movie were relatively dour, as someone who went through several Crow sequels and remakes before, I'd say it's being judged for not being 1994's The Crow (complete with Brandon Lee) and it's worth waiting to actually watch the film to see if it's good.

Who replaced Brandon Lee in The Crow?

Brandon Lee died as a result of an on-set injury during the final days of filming of the Crow. After consulting with his family, the movie producers decided to press on with the film and asked Lee's stunt double Chad Stahelski to stand-in for the remaining scenes. The studio used digital face replacement to superimpose Lee's face on Stahelski for this, and they ended up re-writing the beginning of the movie due to Lee's death.

Why was Eric Draven killed?

In the original The Crow comic, Eric Draven and his fiancée Shelly are stranded on the side of the road after their car breaks down. A group of thugs find them and assault them, with Eric being shot in the head and then being just alive enough to watch Shelly be beaten, raped, and then shot in the head herself. Unlikely Shelly however, Eric doesn't die on the spot - instead surviving enough to be taken to a hospital, where he dies during an operation intended to save his life.

In The Crow movie, Eric and Shelly are the subject of a home invasion where Shelly is raped and wounded, and is alive enough to watch her Eric being shot and thrown from their apartment window to his death. In this, it's Shelly who survives to have a trip to the hospital where she ultimately dies from her gunshot wound.

Is The Crow Marvel or DC?

No, The Crow isn't from Marvel or DC - he is an independently owned and created character of James O'Barr's. The series was first published by Caliber Press, Tundra, London Night Studios, Kitchen Sink Press, Image Comics, and most recently IDW Publishing. And although The Crow is an indepdent character, he has crossed over with other prominent comics franchises such as Hack/Slash, Razor, and even the X-Files.

Is The Crow movie based on a true story?

While death is a big part of the story of The Crow movies (and unfortunately behind the scenes), death is also part of The Crow's origin. The Crow creator James O'Barr has said frequently that he wrote the series following the death of his fiance Beverly in a drunk driving incident.

"My life was changed instantly forever because I had, unhealthy or not, wrapped my whole existence around this person," O'Barr told the Dallas Observer. "Suddenly, there was nothing in my future but nothingness and I was angry and furious, angry with God, and so I carried that around for a few years until it became almost poisonous and I needed to do something. So I just sat down and began drawing something where I could get justice and peace on paper that I couldn't get in real life."

Why was the movie The Crow cursed?

I don't believe in curses, but The Crow movies have had more than their share of tragedy - some of it seemingly due to the low-budget nature of those productions. Here's a list of known accidents in the movies and films:

  • The Crow (1994): The movie's star Brandon Lee died from gunshot wounds from a prop gun loaded with live rounds.
  • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven (1998 - 1999): Stuntman Marc Akerstream died as a result of flying debris from a special effects explosion during filming of the series.

Is The Crow 2024 a remake?

Legally, the 2024 The Crow film is an adaptation of the original Crow comic - the same comic of which the 1994 Crow film was based on. But given the popularity and lasting impression of the original film, you can't doubt it heavily influenced the creators of the new film.

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