It all began in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark and a prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom followed in 1984. A further film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released in 1989 before a movie hiatus of almost 20 years ( though in 1992 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles appeared on TV). A fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released in 2008 and a fifth installment is due in 2019 when Harrison Ford will be 77 years old!. There are further rumblings of an Indy Cinematic Universe that could include spin-offs, sequels and prequels whilst remaining in the Raiders canon.
The series was created by George Lucas and all were directed by Steven Spielberg, with Harrison Ford starring in the lead role. A sure fire winning combination then? The MovieMuse team have their say on each of the films in the series.
1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark
1984 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
1989 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
2008 – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Renowned archeologist Dr. Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. Government to find the Ark of the Covenant. Unfortunately, agents of Hitler are also after the Ark.
Introducing us to a new breed of hero, Raiders of the Lost Ark turns a university Professor of Archaeology into an action hero and cemented Harrison Ford as one of the biggest stars of the 80s. A great tale of good and evil with comedy and action in equal measure.
From the boulder-fleeing beginning to the face-melting finale, this was a thrilling introduction to the now-beloved character, with action, laughs and even a few scares. It also proved that Ford, Spielberg, Lucas and John Williams were the dream ticket to Hollywood Blockbuster success for the 80’s.
As it was one of the first movies I saw at the cinema all those years ago, Raiders holds a special place in my heart. Thanks to its 1930s setting it hasn’t dated at all and is just as exciting to me as it was back then. Special kudos goes to a pulsating script and a fine, world-weary performance from Harrison Ford, supported ably by Karen Allen, a far from normal heroine.
Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate Indian village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a cult plotting a terrible plan in an ancient place’s catacombs.
May have been acceptable in the 80s, but with a forgettable script, forced comedy, poor action sequences and not even nice scenery, Temple of Doom is almost a complete no show by today’s standards. If it wasn’t for the great mine cart scene I think Indy may have been saying goodnight after just two films.
While the mine car and bridge scenes are some of the most exciting in the Indy saga, Temple of Doom hasn’t aged as well overall. I loved this when I was a kid, but with hindsight, an over-reliance on gross-out scenes combined with a lesser story make this the worst of the original three films.
I’m so old I remember all the fuss about the new Indiana Jones movie prior to its release – the tabloids loved it! But while it doesn’t quite have the gravitas of the first film, it’s still a fantastic adventure – now where’s my dessert?!
When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Indy must follow in his father’s footsteps and stop the Nazis.
With an engaging story and a great cast, Last Crusade gets the humour just right and closes what we thought was a trilogy pretty perfectly.
Probably my least favourite when originally released, The Last Crusade has got better and better with age. The addition of Sean Connery as Indy’s dad was a masterstroke and gave a different dynamic to the movie, with more emphasis on comedy whilst still featuring some great action sequences and a fantastic third act.
I’d probably put this as my third favourite, but only because I’m not as nostalgic about this sequel. It’s a solid story with plenty of scrapes and the addition of Sean Connery as Indy’s father was an inspired choice. Plus it features the return of everyone’s favourite bad guys – Nazis!
Famed adventurer Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones is called back into action when he becomes entangled in a plot to uncover retrieve mysterious artefacts, the Crystal Skulls.
An unnecessary and unworthy follow up suffers from the same issues as Lucas’ return to the Star Wars world. Speilberg relies too much on CGI and tries to turn Shia LaBeouf into James Dean (failing spectacularly).
The initial excitement of seeing Ford don the hat and whip again, and reunite with his best love interest in Karen Allen, rapidly turns to disappointment with a series of tired action scenes and bad jokes. The finale seems massively out of place in a film that was sadly disappointing after a 19 year wait.
Leaving aside its pointlessly elongated title, this fourth film proves that sometimes you just can’t repeat the formula and expect the same results. The original three films were magical – but of their time. Crystal Skull (featuring a clearly-too-old-for-this-shit Ford) touches all the bases of the original but just lacks the charm and pacing of the original.