The Original: Joel and Ethan's hard-boiled debut, a Texan noir tinged with horror movie imagery.
In it, a plot to bump off adulterous lovers unravels amidst greed, betrayal, mutilation and much maniacal cackling from shady private detective Visser (M. Emmet Walsh).
The Sequel: Thirty years on, and Abby Marty (Frances McDormand) is happily remarried (to John Turturro), when builders of a new housing estate find the skeleton of her first husband.
Trouble is, Abby never really figured out what happened during the first film, which is going to make answering people's questions difficult.
Essential Scene: Abby visits Visser's psychologically damaged son (Josh Brolin), and the two embark on a torrid affair.
Essential Dialogue: VISSER, JR - "This is Texas, ma'am. Nobody gonna give two hoots about your problems."
The Original: Sam Raimi's little-seen second movie, co-scripted with the Coen Brothers, about a feud for ownership of a security firm that spirals into homicide when two 'human exterminators' are hired.
The Sequel: A new firm has taken on the 'human exterminators' mantle (John Goodman and John Turturro), causing chaos for businessman Renaldo The Heel (Bruce Campbell).
Essential Scene: A warehouse is transformed into a life-sized version of the game 'Mousetrap,' and Renaldo is caught in the middle.
Essential Dialogue: RENALDO - "I might be a heel, but I'm ain't no chump."
The Original: White trash couple H.I. and Ed (Nic Cage, Holly Hunter) - unable to have or adopt their own child - steal one of the famous Arizona quintuplets and face an anarchic battle with the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse (Randall "Tex" Cobb).
The Sequel: Kidnapped infant Nathan, Jr (Jonah Hill) is now all grown up and sets out on a road trip to find the couple who took him.
Essential Scene: We find out why the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse was alone - he was trying to escape the tyranny of the even more formidable Apocalypse Trio (Jeff Bridges, John Turturro, Steve Buscemi).
Essential Dialogue: NATHAN, JR - "Wow, you live in a mobile home!"
H.I - "I always say, if you gotta commute, the last thing you be needing when you get home is a flight of stairs up to your bed."
The Original: Sort-of remake of Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars , with its turf war relocated to the American gangster genre where Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) gets caught in the crossfire.
The plot was so convoluted the Coens wrote an entire new movie ( Barton Fink ) while they were perfect the tangled knot of cross and double-cross.
The Sequel: Twenty years on, Leo O'Bannon (Albert Finney) is dying, and wants to pass control of his gang to his son (Andrew Garfield).
Trouble is, old troubleshooter Tom is back in town and Leo's wife / Tom's ex Verna (Marcia Gay Harden) wants him dead. Cue a new turf war.
Essential Scene: Tom digs a shallow grave for prisoner Leo, Jr...but shoots his own henchman instead.
Essential Dialogue: TOM - "I don't mind taking a beating - hell, I'd expect nothing less - but leave the goddamn hat."
The Original: The titular left-wing playwright (John Turturro) comes a cropper when he tries to write a Wallace Beery wrestling pic in 1940s Hollywood.
Not the least of his problems is over-friendly Charlie Meadows (John Goodman) - aka decapitating psycho Madman Mundt.
The Sequel: This is one that might actually happen, as Old Fink has been mooted by the Brothers as a future project.
In Joel's words, "It's the summer of love and [Fink is] teaching at Berkeley. He ratted on a lot of his friends to the House Un-American Activities committee."
Essential Scene: Fink is picketed by Vietnam War protestors, forcing him to sleep in his office. At which point, the wallpaper starts to slide off the walls.
Essential Dialogue: FINK - "My first duty has always been to the common man... but would it kill him to offer a little reciprocity in return?"
The Hudsucker Proxy
The Original: The story of how knuckleheaded Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) climbed all the way to the forty-fourth floor of the Hudsucker Buildin' with his talent for invention. Y'know, for kids.
The Sequel: The tale promised by Moses (Bill Cobbs) at the first film's end, of a man who jumped from the forty-fifth floor.
Specifically, a Hudsucker ad man (Josh Brolin) tired of having to promote Norville's circular gizmos.
Essential Scene: The ad man tries to explain to Norville that his latest invention - a cantilevered bra - can't be marketed "for kids."
Essential Dialogue: NORVILLE - "If I got a dollar for every 'thingamajig' I invented I'd be rich by now... Richer, anyway."
The Original: 'Real life' Minnesota-style, as pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) has to deal with kidnapping, cop-killing and death by wood-chipper on her watch.
The Sequel: The release of Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) from prison sparks anxiety in Brainerd when the police assume he'll come after Marge and her family.
But when hubby Norm (John Carroll Lynch) is kidnapped, could there be another culprit?
Essential Scene: Marge discovers the real criminal: a handless artist (John Turturro) jealous of Norm's success designing postage stamps.
Essential Dialogue: MARGE - "You know, Sir, round these parts there's no shame in being kinda funny lookin'."
The Big Lebowski
The Original: The Dude (Jeff Bridges) risks blowing his bowling title in order to navigate L.A.'s underbelly of Urban Achievers, vaginal art and severed toes.
Why? He wants compensation for an anarchist pissing on his favourite rug. Well, it did tie the room together.
The Sequel: The Dude and his bowling team, hothead Walter (John Goodman) and despised new recruit Jesus (John Tuturro), make their way to a national bowling championship.
When the Dude inspires a cult following, it's not long because some old 'friends' show up to capitalise.
Essential Scene: Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore) and her - and the Dude's - son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) turn up hoping to transform The Dude into a work of living art.
Essential Dialogue: JESUS - "Nobody fucks with the Jesus!"
WALTER - "Shut the fuck up, Jesus!"
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Original: Three convicts led by Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) escape from their chain gang on the hunt for an alleged buried treasure.
Their picaresque journey through sirens and cyclops weirdly echoes the plot of Homer's The Odyssey .
The Sequel: Having failed to win back ex-wife Penny (Holly Hunter), Ulysses is aghast to find she's considering suits from rival gentlemen... including his old sparring partners Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson).
So he hatches a plan to do away with 'em.
Essential Scene: Ulysses reunites the Soggy Bottom Boys, but rigs the stage with booby traps which his clueless bandmates manage to escape unharmed.
Essential Dialogue: ULYSSES - "Why can't the damn fools perish by their own follies?"
The Man Who Wasn't There
The Original: Film noir about taciturn barber Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton), whose passivity sees him flounder amidst blackmail, adultery and UFOs.
The Sequel: Just as Ed crane wanted, Birdy Abundas (Scarlett Johansen) has become a concert pianist but her association with Crane comes back to haunt her when the FBI come a calling...and so, perhaps, have the aliens.
Essential Scene: Birdy seduces a Fed (John Turturro) on her piano, little noticing it's started playing of its own accord.
Essential Dialogue: BIRDY - "Folks don't talk much round here. They ain't rude. There just ain't much worth sayin'."
The Original: Hotshot divorce lawyer Miles Massey (George Clooney) meets his match in gold-digger Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta Jones), who sets about ruining Miles after he thwarts her plan, only to fall in love - or do they?
The Sequel: Although still technically married, Marilyn and Miles have gone into business starting affairs with wealthy couples in order to create divorces for their work...
But jealousy creeps in when the two suspect their partner is falling in love with their latest targets (Frances McDormand, John Turturro).
Essential Scene: On a cruise ship, the foursome swap partners and beds, narrowing avoiding catching each other in the act.
Essential Dialogue: MILES - "There isn't a single marriage that couldn't be improved by a pre-nup."
The Original: The Coens produced Terry Zwigoff's subversive take on the Christmas movie, about foul-mouthed, alcoholic department store Santa / robber Willie Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton).
The Sequel: Stokes is back in town, and catches up with surrogate son Thurman (Brett Kelly), only to find he's turned bad. With Christmas approaching, can Willie be a 'Good Santa'?
Essential Scene: Sober for eight years, Stokes is shocked to see the condition of his old piss- and vomit-stained Santa suit.
Essential Dialogue: WILLIE - "I grew up believing Christmas was about getting what you wanted. Turns out that ain't entirely accurate."
The Original: Remake of the Ealing classic about an (inept) gang of crims trying to use a kind old lady's house to plan their next heist. Tom Hanks goes O.T.T. in the Alec Guinness role.
The Sequel: Tricky one. Perhaps this one's best served by a prequel. How - and why - did Hanks' Goldthwait Higginson Dorr put together such a rabble?
Essential Scene: The pre-credit sequence in which Hanks's ex-partner (John Turturro) tries to abscond with the cash only to meet an ignominous end in a museum of antiquities.
Essential Dialogue: DORR - "It is my good fortune and my honour to make your acquaintance."
GAWAIN (Marlon Wayans) - "Yo' what?"
The Original: The Coens' contribution to Paris, Je T'Aime , a six-minute short about Steve Buscemi's ill-fated wait for a Metro train.
The Sequel: Convinced he's got a sexually transmitted infection, Buscemi's tourist checks in at a clinic, where he deals with a maniacal doctor (John Turturro).
Essential Scene: Things get really complicated when a horny nurse (Frances McDormand) tends to Buscemi.
Essential Dialogue: TOURIST - "I guess it pays the guidebook more closely before you go on vacation, huh?"
No Country For Old Men
The Original: Oscar-winning adap of Cormac McCarthy's grim thriller about sadistic killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) on the hunt for a redneck (Josh Brolin) who's stolen a bag of drugs money.
The Sequel: The further adventures of Chigurh, as he is hired to bring down a banker (John Turturro) who has laundered criminal funds.
Essential Scene: Chigurh, walking along a Manhattan street, with his trusty cattle gun.
Essential Dialogue: CHIGURH - "Call it, friendo."
YUPPIE - "A coin, huh? Long time since I had to deal with loose change, pal."
Burn After Reading
The Original: Madcap farce revolving around the tell-all memoirs of ex-CIA man Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich), horny U.S. Marshall Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney) and aerobics instructors-turned-blackmailers Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt).
The Sequel: Now living in South America, Harry gets involved with a coup when a corrupt CIA agent (John Turturro) realises he can use his knowledge of the events of the first film to force Harry into becoming a patsy.
Essential Scene: Harry blunders into a Presidential palace where he accidentally kills the President.
Essential Dialogue: HARRY - "To be honest, I don't think I want to know what's going on."
A Serious Man
The Original: Jewish physics professor Larry Gobnick (Michael Stuhlbarg) gets a dose of old-time religion when his life unravels a la Job in the Old Testament.
The Sequel: Things get really trippy for Larry when one of his students (Jesse Eisenberg) announces that he's God. Or, he could be a pothead.
Essential Scene: Larry is hauled before the university head (John Turturro) to explain why he's begun teaching his class free love.
Essential Dialogue: LARRY - "I have always had faith in atoms and particles. It's only recently that I've begun to smoke them."
The Original: Second film version of the Charles Portis Western novel about teenage girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), who hires one-eyed mercenary Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to track down the man who killed her father
The Sequel: This one's easy, given that the first, John-Wayne starring True Grit had its own sequel, Rooster Cogburn , in which the character teams up with spinster Eula Goodnight (Katherine Hepburn originally; here, Tilda Swinton).
Essential Scene: Rooster sees things from the other side when Eula rescues him from certain death.
Essential Dialogue: ROOSTER - "Dammit, Ma'am, if you don't try a gentleman's preference for chivalry."