Here's how to watch the Indiana Jones movies in order. And, yes, there is more than one way of watching these marvelous films in order. Confusing, right?!
With Indiana Jones 5 on the way, it seems the perfect time to catch up with these amazing films starring Harrison Ford.
If you’re lucky enough never to have seen them — so you get to enjoy them for the very first time! — let’s introduce you to Indiana, played by Ford.
Indiana, more formerly Dr. Henry Jones, is a professor of archaeology who also happens to be a handsome daredevil who never forgets his trademark hat and whip.
By day he teaches lectures, by night he goes on fabulous adventures which usually involves reaching the treasure before the Nazis.
Without further ado, here’s how to watch the Indiana Jones movies in order….
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Stars: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom actually comes before Raiders of the Lost Ark. Although Temple of Doom came out in the cinema afterwards, it is actually set before Raiders.
The prequel to Raiders is based in 1935 and opens in Shanghai, where Indiana survives a murder attempt (lots of people try and murder him throughout the series!). After narrowly escaping from a plane about to crash, Indiana, sidekick Short Round (Quan) and nightclub singer Willie (Capshaw) find themselves in India. The gang then heads to the Temple of Doom to retrieve captured stones and save a group of children who’ve been kidnapped.
This isn’t the greatest of the Indiana Jones films and feels rather dated, so in fact we’d recommend starting with Raiders. Doom doesn’t have the pace of Raiders, although it does have some great moments, including the legendary bridge scene.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Denholm Elliott
The original Indiana Jones movie and arguably the best. It’s now four years after Temple of Doom and opens in 1936. Indiana is tasked by the American government with finding the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis, who're convinced it will make them unstoppable. Soon, Indiana teams up on his quest with Marion, who’s less than pleased to see him again!
Indiana heads to Egypt as he tries to beat the Germans to find the Ark against the odds. At less than two hours long, the film zips along and Ford has never been better. Watch out for the scene where a tired Indiana hilariously deals brutally with a show-off swordsman!
Like all the Indiana movies, you can watch Raiders on Prime Video.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, River Phoenix, Alison Doody
Now, there’s an argument for saying this is the first movie in chronological terms as it actually opens in 1912! However, the bulk of the film is set later in 1938, so we're placing it third.
Back in 1912, young Indiana (played by River Phoenix) is on a quest to rescue a relic that he believes should be in a museum. But he's up against a hardy adventurer who ultimately defeats Indiana — but at least he does get his foe's hat!
So with the question of how Indiana got his hat solved, we switch to 1938 and Indiana discovers his father, who’s been searching for the Holy Grail, has vanished. After being sent his dad’s notebook packed with clues, Indiana and Elsa (Doody), an Austrian colleague of his father, sets off on the trail.
Indiana tracks his father down to a Nazi castle but shortly after rescuing his dad, wonderfully played by Sean Connery, the pair are captured again!
There are a bunch of terrific scenes between dad and son, with Indiana infuriated that his father keeps calling him "junior". Again Indiana must defeat the Germans and this time the quest gets very personal for him.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
It’s now 1957 and although Indiana is a lot older, he’s not necessarily any wiser! Our hero is kidnapped by KGB agents and they force him to find an alien body from the Roswell UFO in a remote secret warehouse.
There's a tremendous scene where Indiana finds himself in the middle of a nuclear bomb test and saves himself by hiding in a fridge!
Like the other films, it all boils down to a quest, this time Indiana is seeking a mythical crystal skull. Also trying to get the skull is Russian baddie Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett).
But while the plot is good fun this never reaches the heights of either Raiders or the Last Crusade.
How to watch the Indiana Jones Movies in order of release
If you want to watch the Indiana Jones movies in order of release, here’s how (note release dates varied globally, dates here are US release dates).
Raiders of the Lost Ark — June 12, 1981
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom — May 23. 1984
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — May 24, 1989
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — May 22, 2008
Indiana Jones 5 — 2023
So, there's how to watch the Indian Jones movies in order and the great news is there's a new movie on the way!
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David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.
Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough.
David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.
Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!