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When it comes to iconic film franchises, a few may come to mind: Star Wars, The Matrix, all of Marvel. But let's talk about another set of movies, one that holds its own amongst the greats: the Indiana Jones saga. In the 40 years since Indy (Harrison Ford) made his way onto the silver screen, he's been the ideal thrill seeker of our collective mind. But it’s not just his oftentimes erratic behavior, affinity for all things khaki, or knack for discovering an ancient relic that brings us back to these releases. It’s those perfect Steven Spielberg-directed action scenes! It’s the famous theme music that depicts the beginning of a new adventure! It's Harrison!
Now, 15 years after the last movie debuted in theaters, we get to experience the magic that is Indiana Jones all over again.
With the arrival of another entry in the franchise set to premiere in 2023 (unfortunately, sans Spielberg's involvement), you may want to begin brushing up on your Indy terminology before it lands on the big screen. But what about watching these movies in chronological plot order? That's what we recommend, anyway. And, since they’re all currently available to stream on Paramount+, you truly shouldn’t miss out.
Here are the Indiana Jones movies in order.
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992)
Okay, so technically this is a TV series and not a movie. But it does chronicle how Indy became the man we know and love, so it makes for an obvious entry point.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Sure, this movie is technically the second in the famed franchise. But, since the film is set in 1935, we need to start our adventure here. Following Indy, his kid sidekick Short Round, and nightclub crooner Willie Scott, the trio go up against an evil cult that seems to have an affinity for human sacrifice and child enslavement. But with mystical stones at the heart of their quest, maybe there’s more fame and fortune for Indy...so long as he finds them before the movie’s over.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Ah, the (second) one where it all began. It’s the story that brought Indy to life, but in our timeline, it goes here. Set in 1936, Indy’s fighting the Nazis in a race to obtain the Ark of the Covenant, said to hold the Ten Commandments and give power to the one who has it. Naturally, Indy must go on his quest, but not without taking his former flame and an Egyptian excavator to help him out. And here’s a rule of thumb for you: If a giant boulder suddenly comes at you, please, for the love of God—run.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Aside from a short stint in 1912 (and an appearance from a young River Phoenix), we continue our journey here. Taking place in 1938, Indy’s back working against the Nazis. This time, though, he’s after a new thing: the Holy Grail. You know, the famous chalice deeply embedded in Christian iconography and Arthurian legends. Yes, our favorite explorer has a few kooky characters accompanying him for the ride, but we all know Indy’s back for another adventure very soon…
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
...or rather, two decades later. Set in 1957, Indy’s casually replaced the Nazis with Cold War-era Russians as his natural enemy. He’s out looking for the Crystal Skull, an artifact which supposedly has ties to the otherworldly creatures. Plus, Shia LaBeouf, makes his appearance in the canon, playing the long-lost son the explorer never knew he had.
Indiana Jones 5 (2023)
So we don’t exactly know all (read: any) the details of this film. But based on the trajectory of the other movies, fans can expect it to be set sometime during the ‘50s or ‘60s. And with Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge working alongside Harrison Ford on the project, can we expect a new adventure seeker to take over for our beloved Indy? We'll find out in June 2023.
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