Ranking the Best ‘Indiana Jones’ Franchise Movies


Exploring the ultimate action-adventure legacy of the Indiana Jones franchise.

Harrison Ford has played a slew of memorable characters throughout his long and storied career. From playing Han Solo in the beloved Star Wars franchise to Rick Deckard in the cult classic Blade Runner, it goes without saying that Ford has truly cemented his place in the annals of modern cinema. That said, you can’t talk about Harrison Ford without talking about Indiana Jones.

The Indiana Jones franchise started in 1981 and currently spans four films, with a fifth one on the way. It was initially based on George Lucas’ The Adventure of Indiana Smith in an attempt to modernize the movie serials of the 1930s and the 1940s. And while we’re sure most of you have your own personal rankings as to which film is the best, today we’ll be sharing our own ranking of the four movies in the Indiana Jones franchise from worst to best!

4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

The latest addition to the franchise finds itself at the bottom of our ranking. Now don’t get us wrong, we think this film was quite enjoyable and had some great moments. One of which saw Ford climb into a refrigerator to protect himself from a nuclear blast. This was such a great scene that it found its way into the popular post-apocalyptic video game Fallout: New Vegas. Shia LaBeouf’s portrayal of Indy’s son, Mutt Williams was also good, as he really brought some much-needed novelty to a franchise that was starting to get a little stale. However, those are pretty much the only interesting things in the film, as the rest of the characters were bland, and the plot, convoluted.

3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The second film in the Indiana Jones franchise is considered the darkest of the bunch (monkey brains and human hearts anyone?), and is actually a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. While not as light as the other entries, there is no denying that the film has some of the best action scenes in the whole series. From the Bond-inspired opening scene to the mine cart chase, and the rope bridge finale, Temple of Doom is a non-stop action film. The film is slightly let down by the supporting cast, with Kate Capshaw poorly cast as the female lead. Although considering the director Steven Spielberg ended up marrying her, we are sure he would disagree.

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders set the tone for the entire franchise. It changed the game when it comes to the action-adventure genre in films, and has inspired countless other films. Steven Spielberg was at the top of his game when he made the film in 1981, kicking off a franchise that would span generations. Indeed, Raiders of the Lost Ark is THE Indiana Jones film for fans all over the globe and its influence can be seen everywhere. The most obvious being in the gaming industry where everything from Tomb Raider to Temple Run have used the franchise’s key cornerstones: lone adventurer, exotic locations, and lots of danger.

Even non-traditional gaming platforms have made sure that they embrace the public’s love for an Indiana Jones type adventure to draw in new audiences. The adventure based titles on Foxy Games, such as Temple of Treasure Megaways and Book of Ra Temple of Gold, all take cues from the Indiana Jones franchise, whether it be the locations or the character design. There is no denying the cultural impact of the film, and even better it still stands up today as one of the best action/adventure films ever made.

1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

What else could make an Indiana Jones film better than it already is? The addition of legendary actor Sean Connery. The Last Crusade is the end of the original trilogy that started with Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s also the film we’ve chosen as the best of the franchise. While it isn’t as flashy as the other films, it really fleshes Indy’s character out, as he’s forced to interact with his father, Dr. Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery). These interactions are what give the film its heart, and its excellent reception. The film is so beloved that people kept looking for more ways to experience it, which is what led to the creation of the ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure’ video game.