By George Bate & Josh Reilly B.
Indiana Jones comes to theaters for a final adventure soon and it couldn’t be a better time to don the fedora and grab the whip for a rewatch of the thrilling adventure series. Here’s our ranking of the five Indiana Jones movies from worst to best.
5. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Unfortunately, the latest Indiana Jones is also the weakest. Dial of Destiny has all the ingredients to be a classic Indy adventure, but it simply doesn’t come together as well as the previous films. The action sequence flashback that opens the film is fantastic, as is the de-aging technology used to bring a young Indy to life. It’s amazing to see Harrison Ford again in arguably his most famous role. And yet, as fun as the film is, it’s also quite flat. Perhaps most damningly, Dial of Destiny misses the opportunity to poignantly explore some of its loftier themes and be a truly emotional Indiana Jones film.
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is certainly a flawed film and maybe takes the Indiana Jones franchise to even more unbelievable heights than it ever reached before (see the ‘nuking the fridge’ controversy). Ray Winstone’s prominent character is perpetually annoying and the film is far too reliant on CGI action. Nonetheless, there’s still a lot to love about this Indy adventure. It’s great to see Karen Allen return as Marion Ravenwood, and her inclusion drives home the film’s themes of family and legacy. Speaking of legacy, Shia LaBeouf isn’t that bad as Mutt Williams. And, perhaps best of all, the film has that classic Indy charm to it. So many masterfully directed scenes from Steven Spielberg elevate a middling story to unexpected heights. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull certainly isn’t of the same quality as the original trilogy, but isn’t nearly as bad as people have suggested.
3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Chronologically, the first Indiana Jones film is also the darkest installment. And this adventure has it all – it’s thrilling from the beginning with its Club Obi-Wan sequence to the end with the freeing of the slave children. Temple of Doom takes notable risks in being more bizarre, silly, romantic, and violent than the successful first film. Ke Huy Quan is hilarious and so likable as Short Round, although Kate Capshaw’s Willie Scott tests the audience’s patience. All in all, Temple of Doom is a quintessential Indiana Jones film and one of the best sequels (although it’s set before Raiders) of all time.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greatest films of all time, and few films have had the cultural impact of this 1981 classic. Breathtaking from start to finish, Spielberg’s film is a thrilling and hilarious adventure with each scene more entertaining than the last. Douglas Slocombe’s cinematography is brilliant and sprawling, John Williams’ score is memorable and iconic, and Harrison Ford commands the screen.
1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
A possibly unconventional and controversial choice for best Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade is simply brilliant and caps off what might be one of, if not the, greatest trilogies of all time. The Last Crusade returns to a tone similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark and features an incredible back-and-forth between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery as his on-screen father. It’s more than just banter, though, as the father-son bond is surprisingly touching as well. The action sequences of this installment are the series’ best with an endless stream of memorable and iconic cinematic moments. The Last Crusade isn’t just the best Indiana Jones movie, it’s not just one of the best action movies, it’s one of the greatest movies of all time.