With Harrison Ford giving the Indiana Jones character one last ride in Dial of Destiny, it seems like a great time to journey through the Indiana Jones series. Fans repeatedly flock to the beloved films time and time again to bring them joy and hope while exploring the wonderfully fun adventures of Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr. From Stephen Spielberg and a story from George Lucas, the series kicked off with Raiders of the Lost Ark and brought us into a world like no other.
But if you’re an adult and trying to jump into the series now, you might want to know what to expect from the movies and other properties in the world of Indy. So, let’s journey through the worst and best parts of the Indiana Jones franchise.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Released in 2008, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull goes a bit too into the absurd and has Indiana Jones avoiding getting killed in a nuclear explosion by having him hide in a fridge, so…take this movie with a grain of salt.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull does feature a favorite trope, which is a long-lost son the protagonist did not know he had, but it isn’t that great. On the other hand, it just canonized the belief that Indiana and Marion Ravenwood were truly a one-true pairing as a couple.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Do live shows count? Yes, because Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! at Hollywood Studios in Disney World rules. The show features stunt people showing an audience how Indy did some of his more daring stunts. That includes the famous runaway from the boulder. It’s a reprise from standing in line all day long, and it’s Indiana Jones themed, so what’s not to love?
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
For two years, the world was gifted with a series called The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles that took us on a journey throughout Indiana Jones’ life. Multiple actors played him, and the show featured an older Indiana Jones and even Harrison Ford as a 50-year-old Indiana Jones. Which, given that the show came out in 1992, Harrison Ford played the character at his actual age.
The show was short-lived and is, for the most part, harder to find complete. After the TV show was canceled, the episodes were re-edited into thematic arcs for the home video release; reconstructed episodes popped up on YouTube. Still, it is part of the lore for Indiana Jones as a whole.
Indiana Jones Ride
The ride is fairly simple: Riders walk through ruins to get to a jeep to follow Indy’s journey to discover a treasure, and it has all his greatest hits! That includes his fear of snakes and (of course) him running from a giant boulder.
Indiana Jones Video Games
Every great franchise deserves and has often spawned a host of video games, and Indiana Jones is no different. There are over a dozen games inspired by the franchise already, including the excellent point-and-click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has not aged well. It has problematic racial caricatures. For better or worse, Harrison Ford never looked hotter. A movie that features a love interest named Willie Scott (played by Kate Capshaw, Stephen Spielberg‘s wife, IRL). Willie isn’t bad, but she’s no Marion, which weighs heavily on her as a character if you’re watching them in order.
But the movie itself is messy, to say the least, but it is still a fun look at Indiana Jones as a character. It's just a fun time seeing Harrison Ford get exasperated by everything while trying to be the best archeologist he can be.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
First, the movie gives us the deepest look into Indy as a character. Like how his name isn’t actually Indiana but rather “Henry Jones Jr.” and that Indiana was the dog’s name.
Featuring Henry Jones Sr., played by Sean Connery (who was only 12 years older than Harrison Ford and yet their dynamic works), the movie gives an audience a beautiful look at the home life that made Indy into the character the world has come to love. His father would challenge him in ways that forced Indy to think on his feet, and we even got an explanation for Indy’s scar on his chin (in a flashback where River Phoenix played a young Indiana Jones). It is a beautiful look at works with Indiana Jones as a whole.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark, now re-marketed as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, is a nearly perfect movie. One of the most iconic moments in the movie comes because Harrison Ford himself got dysentery, and the epic duel was cut to Indiana just shooting his rival in a movie that would define Indiana Jones as a character.
Raiders is not only a good Indiana Jones movie, but it is also a great movie overall and one that cinema fans should watch, regardless of how they feel about the action film genre. It’s Harrison Ford at his best and a perfect Stephen Spielberg film.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
While Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was far from a box office hit, it still makes for a great one-time watch. Packed with adventure, this movie explores all that is great about the franchise, i.e., Indy in all his swashbuckling glory. And it does it while exploring deeper matters. It deals with an older adventurer, one nearing retirement, who fears his glory days may be well in the past. Or is it?
Rachel Leishman is a writer based in New York City. She specializes in yelling about her favorite properties. A real-life Leslie Knope, she loves her fictional characters and knows probably too much about Harrison Ford's career.