Ever since the first Indiana Jones movie premiered in 1981, the film series has delighted audiences seeking adventure. It’s no surprise that the franchise took off, considering it comes from the brilliant minds of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Hence, the series boasts sci-fi elements reminiscent of George Lucas’ Star Wars and the sense of thrill and daring adventure found in Spielberg’s works, such as Jaws, Hook, and Jurassic Park.
In addition to the sense of thrilling adventure, much of what made Indian Jones successful was the timeless performance of Harrison Ford in the titular role. Jones is as much of a household name as James Bond but is a far more realistic and restrained hero. He’s not always posh, sophisticated, and gentlemanly. Instead, he’s just himself—charismatic, rugged, sarcastic, witty, intelligent and brave. Jones was a true American hero to inspire young audiences. Additionally, his adventures showed viewers that archeology and history can be quite exciting.
The first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, is considered one of the greatest adventure films of all time. It helped ring in the era of modern filmmaking and set the stage for Jones to become a cultural phenomenon. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom tested a darker tone, while Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade delved into Jones’ personal life by introducing his father (portrayed by Sean Connery). Meanwhile, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull deviates into some sci-fi territory with aliens, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny sees the hero nearing the end of his adventures.
Some viewers may prefer to watch the films in chronological order instead of release date order. Both orders are very similar, as there’s only one Indiana Jones film that backtracks to the past. Otherwise, they largely follow a linear timeline. Hence, viewers looking for the chronological order would simply start with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom instead of Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you’re looking to watch the films in order of release date, you would watch them as follows: