How to Watch the Indiana Jones Movies in Chronological Order

How to Watch the Indiana Jones Movies in Chronological Order
Image: Disney

A new Indiana Jones movie is on the way, marking the fifth film in the franchise and the fifth time we’ll return to the bullwhip-wielding and cowboy hat-wearing archaeologist played by Harrison Ford.

Buuut with Indiana Jones being quite a solid franchise, it’s a bit hard to know where to start. Thankfully, the names aren’t too confusing (looking at you, Fast and Furious) and the overarching story follows the same beats throughout, so here’s the order you should watch the Indiana Jones movies in, if you want to follow them chronologically.

How to watch the Indiana Jones movies in chronological order

Watching the Indiana Jones movies in chronological order requires a quick heads-up as they weren’t exactly released in sequence. Apart from one out-of-place prequel, things are pretty simple. If you want to watch the films in order of release, we’ve listed their release years in the title.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Despite being the second Indiana Jones movie released, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a prequel to the original movie (set in 1935), making it the first in the franchise chronologically. That said, it’s not really an origin story like most prequels these days are — it’s more like revisiting Indiana Jones as he goes on another adventure.

Its darker plot is not the strongest of the Indiana Jones franchise, although it’s a lot of fun to watch. Taking place mostly in India, Indiana Jones sets out to find the Sankara stone, fighting a dangerous cult along the way. Why was it a prequel? Apparently, George Lucas didn’t want to use the Nazis as the bad guys again.

If you don’t want to start your Indiana Jones experience dark or weaker, it might be best to skip this one for now and watch it second or third. If you want to watch it accurately to the timeline, however, this is where to start.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (or, Raiders of the Lost Ark) (1981)

The original Indiana Jones movie, often referred to simply as Raiders of the Lost Ark (as it was originally released), this is where it all started for Indiana (although it is set in 1936, a year after Temple of Doom).

The definitive Indiana Jones movie, Indiana races against a group of Nazis to track down a religious relic, which would aid the Nazis in global domination. It’s one of the classic adventure movies of the 1980s and is a great place to start if you want to start strong. As far as chronological order goes, it’s the second film in the Indiana Jones franchise.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The final movie in the original Indiana Jones trilogy, The Last Crusade is a more emotional journey than the rest. Indiana’s father (played by Sean Connery) has gone missing while searching for the Holy Grail, so Indiana sets out to find him.

The Nazis show up again in this movie to be the bad guys — they’re also on track to find the Holy Grail, so it becomes a race to the relic, much like Raiders of the Lost Ark. It has a puzzling ending and was originally where things were left for Indy and his adventures back in the ’80s. If you’re watching chronologically, The Last Crusade is the third movie to watch.

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

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the reboot of Indiana Jones, released in 2008 (19 years after The Last Crusade!), featuring a much older Indiana and a lot of questionable direction decisions.

Of the four Indiana Jones movies, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull gets the most hate for its overacting, use of CGI and… aliens? A big part of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is that it delves a little out of the bounds of archaeology and into the world of sci-fi in a very Ancient Aliens kind of way.

Set in 1957 (20 years after The Last Crusade), Indiana goes on another adventure to find a telepathic crystal skull, while fighting Soviet KGB agents along the way. It’s the fourth movie in the Indiana Jones franchise, the fourth in the chronology and in many ways a good place for the franchise to end… which brings us to Indiana Jones 5.

Indiana Jones 5

We don’t actually know much about Indiana Jones 5 at the time of writing — we don’t even know the name. James Mangold will be directing the film instead of Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford is back as Indiana. Given when this film is being produced, it’ll likely be a sequel to Crystal Skull.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge will be playing the female lead in this movie and Mads Mikkelsen will be joining as well. John Williams will score the soundtrack again. The fifth Indiana Jones movie is currently slated for a June 2023 release.

Is that all there is to Indiana Jones?

Outside of these movies, there aren’t actually that many things to the Indiana Jones name. There are novels and video games (with Bethesda Softworks working on an Indiana Jones game), but that’s about it.

It’s easy viewing and you can watch it all on Amazon Prime Video in Australia.