In creating Indiana Jones, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas paid tribute to the movie serials of their youth, featuring thrill-a-minute action in far-flung locations, breathless cliffhangers, and a clear delineation between good and evil. It doesn’t take too much character work to motivate punching a Nazi in the face.
And they say every actor desires to dress up and play cowboy; Harrison Ford got to wear that hat and ride that horse as Indy, and so much more. He’s a learned doctor, an archaeology professor, a whip-cracking swashbuckler, a romantic lead, and a museum advocate.
The original trilogy — action showpiece Raiders of the Lost Ark, dark prequel Temple of Doom, and spirited The Last Crusade — may be ’80s movies riffing on the ’30s, but they feel timeless. These fantastic voyages of danger and discovery are filled with iconic characters (including Karen Allen as Jones’ old flame Marion, Ke Huy Quan as sidekick Short Round, and Sean Connery as his flinty pops Henry), and strengthened with significant emotional beats and that legendary John Williams theme and soundtrack. Their direct storytelling and stunt-driven action is why we fell in love with movies in the first place.
Past the ’80s, the adventure continued with 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, moving the series past World War II and into the atomic era. With 2023’s Dial of Destiny, Indiana Jones takes one last step into the spotlight during the space age. And now we’re ranking every Indiana Jones movie by Tomatometer!
Critics Consensus: Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.
Synopsis: An art collector appeals to Jones to embark on a search for the Holy Grail. He learns that another archaeologist... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though the plot elements are certainly familiar, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still delivers the thrills and Harrison Ford's return in the title role is more than welcome.
Synopsis: It's the height of the Cold War, and famous archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), returning from his latest adventure, finds... [More]
Critics Consensus: It may be too "dark" for some, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood's finest filmmaking teams in vintage form.
Synopsis: The second of the Lucas/Spielberg Indiana Jones epics is set a year or so before the events in Raiders of... [More]
Critics Consensus: It isn't as thrilling as earlier adventures, but the nostalgic rush of seeing Harrison Ford back in action helps Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny find a few final bits of cinematic treasure.
Synopsis: Daredevil archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary dial that can change the course of history. Accompanied... [More]