How can I watch the Indiana Jones movies in order? Throw me the idol, I’ll throw you my whip! Just kidding — I’ll just be throwing a guide at you which will just tell you the answer to your question. Considered to be among the best movies of all time, the Indiana Jones series follows the exploits of Dr Henry Walton ‘Indiana’ Jones Jr — a full-time archaeology professor and part-time adventurer.
Star Wars mastermind George Lucas first conceived of Indiana Jones back in the ’70s — naming the character after his dog, Indiana. Shortly after A New Hope premiered in 1977, Lucas jetted off to Hawaii to see longtime friend Steven Spielberg and pitched the adventure movie to him — describing it as “like James Bond, but better” —and after some convincing, Spielberg signed on to direct Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Lucas set to executive produce.
After Lucas was impressed by Ford’s performance in The Empire Strikes Back, he landed the role of Indiana Jones — and the rest is history. But the question remains… how do you watch the Indiana Jones movies in order? Keep reading to find out.
Indiana Jones movies in order:
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Ok, I know what you’re thinking… wasn’t Raiders of the Lost Ark released first? You’re right to think that, but with the Temple of Doom being a prequel to the first movie, you need to start with Temple of Doom if you’re looking to watch the ‘80s movies chronologically.
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Set in 1935, we find Indiana Jones in India — which at that time is still under British colonial rule (boo!). With the help of sidekick Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) and reluctant singer Willie (Kate Kapshaw), Jones faces run-ins like Chinese gangsters and a kinda creepy cult who enjoy ripping out people’s hearts and lowering them into lava. But what’s a bit of poison and human sacrifice when you’re after the fortune and glory that comes with the Sankara Stones?
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The first film in the franchise and the second chronological adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark takes place in 1936 (personally, after the stress of Temple of Doom, I’d want to go on a sabbatical if I was Indy but each to their own).
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With the help of his ex Marion (Karen Allen) and the “best digger in Egypt” Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Jones faces off against the Nazis to find the Ark of the Covenant. The artefact, which once held the Ten Commandments, is a golden chest that is believed to grant supernatural powers like invincibility to whoever wields it. I always find it funny that the graphic scenes in the Temple of Doom came as a shock to people when Raiders of the Lost Ark literally depicted people having their faces melted off.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
In 1938, we find out two things about Indiana Jones. The first is that he’s facing off against the Nazis to find a Biblical relic with potential supernatural qualities once again: this time, the Holy Grail.
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The second thing is that he has mad daddy issues. Fortunately, Dr Henry Walton Jones Snr (Sean Connery) manages to repair his relationship with his son while accompanying him on this adventure.
Sallah also returns to give Indiana a hand in this movie, while Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) acted as the movie’s magpie and made it clear she’d betray her own nan if it meant she could get the shiny cup.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
With a near-twenty-year gap and poor critical reception, many Indy fans argue that this movie is near-unrecognisable from its predecessors. The good news is, however, that like The Last Crusade, daddy issues are once again a focal point in this movie, with Shia LaBeouf playing Indy’s surprise son with Marion.
Karen Allen and Ford reprise their roles from Raiders, while John Hurt and Cate Blanchett give strange but nonetheless endearing performances as a former professor and KGB agent (respectively) who have both gone a bit mad in their pursuit for the mysterious Crystal Skull.
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Taking place 19 years after the events of the Last Crusade, the baddies in this movie are the Soviets, with Jones and the gang in the thick of the Cold War in 1957.
All the Indiana Jones movies are available to watch on the streaming services Paramount Plus and NOW TV. You’ll be able to see Indy in action once more when the Indiana Jones 5 release date swings by.