Jim Henson may be known for developing the beloved characters from The Muppets and Sesame Street, but his work goes beyond the scope of the two legendary franchises. While his role fluctuated from one movie to the next, Jim Henson’s presence can be felt in every project that he was involved in; either directly or indirectly. Together, his movies – even those released after his death – pay homage to Henson’s powerful imagination. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts, in no particular order.

Follow That Bird (1985)

In the first big-screen Sesame Street adventure, a social worker decides that Big Bird needs to live with creatures of his own kind and sends him to live with a family of dodos. After running away from his new family, his friends from Sesame Street travel cross-country to find him. A box office disappointment, the film still won praise from critics like The New York Time’s Walter Goodman, and has since developed a cult following thanks to VHS and DVD releases.

Labyrinth (1986)
Following up his first non-Muppet movie (The Dark Crystal), Henson created a world full of fantastical creatures, mystery, and danger that stayed true to classic mythological tales. When released, however, the film was a flop, grossing only half of its budget, and receiving some mixed reviews. I always struggle to believe this, as Labyrinth is beloved among many fans and still stands up today. The concept, the music, the visuals, the creatures. They all have such attention to detail that it really does transport you to another world. Among those fantastical creatures were goblins, those annoying little creatures that served Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie). Goblins have long proved to be a hit in the fantasy and sci-fi genres, with other famous appearances including Lord of the Rings and Warhammer games. We’ve even seen a number of games devoted to the strange little creatures, such as Goblin Commander and Greedy Goblin. With Greedy Goblin, you can bet using dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that sounds as strange as goblins, since it was created as a tribute to an internet meme of a cute white dog. But in terms of actual Labyrinth games there is a Labyrinth board game which I haven’t tried but gets good reviews.

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
The third big-screen appearance for the Muppets marked both Frank Oz’s directorial debut and the introduction of the Muppet Babies. In many ways, it stayed true to the formula seen in its predecessors: a madcap adventure that sought help from a large number of humans, including Elliott Gould, Joan Rivers, and Brooke Shields. In other words, the movie delivered just what Muppet fans had come to expect from the quirky franchise.

The Dark Crystal (1982)
Henson pushed the boundaries of puppetry more than ever before, both technically and thematically, that called for a blend of classic techniques and new technology. While the movie was given the thumbs down by many of Henson’s Muppet devotees, and its box office numbers were blown away by a little movie called E.T., it ultimately achieved cult status.

The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
Jim Henson’s death cast a shadow over the company that retained his name. The task of keeping the spirit of his legacy alive was assigned to Henson’s son Brian and daughter Lisa. It was of great credit to them both that The Muppets Christmas Carol grew into the beloved movie that it became. The film, released just two years after the funeral of Jim Henson, recreated the feel and imagination of the great man’s work. The human cast, led by Michael Caine, may have taken centre stage, but the vintage Muppet humour was ever-present, and the story itself lived up to the source material; as much as could be expected. The movie was essentially a child’s version of the famous Dickens story and was full of the Christmas spirit.

Despite the fact that he has been responsible for some other pretty great movies, it seems that The Muppets remains Henson’s most beloved work. The Muppets Go Undercover, starring Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Drew Barrymore, is set for a June 7, 2019 release and there is a big live Muppets tour happening at The O2 in London in July this year called Muppets Take the O2, which looks like it could be pretty amazing.