The popcorn is popped, and the snacks are ready. You and the kids are snuggled together in front of the TV in your comfy clothes. It’s movie night, and you’re craving something full of adventure. And, well, few adventure movies are as fun to watch as Indiana Jones.
It’s often difficult to pick a favorite action film to watch because of the plots and scripts. There are occasions, though, when you want to try something new. Perhaps a movie with a little more suspense or something that will make you swoon? Or maybe a film with a female protagonist? There’s good news!
There are alternative Indiana Jones films, and while they are similar in many ways, they differ in ways you wouldn’t anticipate. Here is a list of 10 movies like Indiana Jones:
- The Mummy (1999)
- National Treasure (2004)
- Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)
- Tomb Raider (2018)
- Romancing the Stone (1984)
- The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
- The Da Vinci Code (2006)
- The Princess Bride (1987)
- Jumanji (1995/2017)
- Journey to the Centre of The Earth (2008)
But what is it about Dr. Jones that makes the first two Indiana Jones movies the Holy Grail of cinematic entertainment? People still debate which Indiana Jones film is the best: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Temple of Doom (1984), The Last Crusade (1989), or Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (1991).
To state the obvious, Harrison Ford’s Indy, the globetrotting archaeologist, is one of the most badass heroes of all time. Jones’ persona is a personification of heroic adventure. He’ll leave a classroom on the spur of the moment to seek adventure halfway around the world.
While the Indiana Jones franchise is known for its heroism, mayhem, and exploration, there are many stand-alone movies out there that work well as an alternative, and that will quench your thirst for action and adventure!
Indiana Jones: What You Need To Know
“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the miles” – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Indiana Jones is an archaeologist and explorer who has appeared in several blockbuster films.
Dr. Henry (“Indiana”) Jones, a young professor of archaeology and history at fictitious Marshall College, whose extracurricular interests include tomb raiding and swashbuckling and whose one major fear is snakes, was introduced in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
In the movie, he tries to reclaim the biblical Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis, who think possessing it will grant them superhuman abilities. In subsequent films, Jones avoids a violent cult, foils a Communist conspiracy, and reunites with his estranged father to quest for the mythical Holy Grail.
Dr. Jones is a trustworthy, determined, intelligent, and resourceful individual. His capacity to recollect historical facts is incredible. He’s a man who can teach a class, outwit old booby traps, and penetrate Nazi headquarters at a moment’s notice.
When it comes to headwear, Indiana Jones’ may be the most renowned in film history. His hat and whip are instantly recognizable.
American film producer George Lucas developed the character as a tribute to and reimagination of the action-packed matinee serials he had liked as a youngster.
Steven Spielberg directed the three Indiana Jones movies-Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Jones’ distinctive flight jacket, hat, and bullwhip were designed by comic book artist and character designer Jim Steranko, while actor Harrison Ford gave the hero a compelling on-screen personality.
The Top Five Movies Similar To Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones was never intended to be a stand-alone character when it first appeared in 1981. Legends such as Humphrey Bogart and James Bond, his appearance and movements were heavily influenced to nod to the past cliff-hanger heroes. Indiana Jones’ narrative is just that: something legendary came from an unintended invention.
And when something like this becomes popular, you can’t help but expect an infinite stream of imitations – some of which succeed, while others fail. On the positive end, I have found some of the best Indiana Jones alternatives.
From the list provided, Let’s detail the top 5 movies like Indiana Jones that will keep you at the edge of your seat!
1. The Mummy (1999)
“Look, Mr. O’Connell, I’m not an explorer, an adventurer, a treasure hunter, or a gunfighter, but I’m proud of what I am.” “And what is that?” says Rick. “I…am a Librarian,” she says. — Evelyn Carnahan and Rick O’Connell
The Mummy is a great pick for a treasure-seeking film that is entertaining to watch, action-packed, and still has room for some comic relief.
Rick O’Connell fought the Mummy 21 years ago, but death is only the beginning, as Imhotep used to say. The Brendan Fraser-led action-adventure adaptation of The Mummy has proven to be as durable as its eponymous bandaged baddie, and a particular generation of ’90s viewers fondly recall the picture.
Although it is based on a black-and-white horror film from over 70 years ago, The Mummy, released on May 7th, 1999, owes more to Harrison Ford than Boris Karloff. Millennials were enchanted by the globetrotting spectacle Stephen Sommers put on.
It was like switching out the Ark of the Covenant for a coffin that shouldn’t have been opened, yet it was a blessing for audiences, with a sense of adventure and supernatural spooks, plus a stellar cast. How did The Mummy manage to channel Indiana Jones so well?
Both The Mummy and Indiana Jones are inspired by the same age — not ancient Egypt, though that is an influence, but 1930s cinema. When they developed Indiana Jones, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas intended to bring back the essence of old matinée serials and pulp magazines.
Indy was a modern-day Doc Savage, an intrepid explorer who ventured into exotic new countries and faced terrifying obstacles.
The Mummy was able to conjure not just the spirit of those old serials in the same way, but also Indiana Jones himself, putting its perspective on the antique clichés, thanks to its release over 20 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The 1999 version features explorer Rick O’Connell (played by Brendan Fraser) accompanied by a librarian and her elder brother, goes to the City of the Dead, and is a remake of the 1932 film of the same name. They unintentionally awaken a cursed high priest who possesses incredible magical abilities. The result is chaos.
Brendan Fraser’s performance as Mummy is one of his finest. The acting is, without a doubt, hammy in general. However, this film is enjoyable to watch because of the excellent action throughout.
2. National Treasure (2004)
“Can I marry your brain?” – Riley Poole to Ben
Beyond Indiana Jones, many Steven Spielberg films have a strong historical theme. As a result, it’s understandable that National Treasure, a historical adventure picture, would be similar to Indiana Jones.
Even though National Treasure is far cheesier than Indiana Jones, the two films share many parallels that both fans may appreciate.
On November 19th, 2004, the world was exposed to National Treasure, a PG-rated adventure film about a man named Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage), his “man in a van” Riley (Justin Bartha), and a sorta-kidnapped archivist named Abigail (Diane Kruger) on the quest for a mythical Templar treasure.
The 131-minute film was a breath of fresh vintage air, shamelessly goofy, full of sincere “aha” moments, and perfectly cool with publicly available bowls of lemons.
The film, directed by Jon Turtletaub (Cool Runnings, While You Were Sleeping, The Meg), grossed $173 million in the United States and $347 million globally ($240 and $482 million when adjusted for inflation) and was followed in 2007 by the $571 million-grossing National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
Unfortunately, no Ottendorf cipher led to an elaborate map that helped bring the trilogy to a close when lemon juice was squirted on it. As a result, we’re down to just two big-budget original films, which numerous history professors will certainly show their pupils when they need a nap.
National Treasure is still a joy that we watch anytime it’s on (which is all the time), and in honor of its fifteenth anniversary, I have selected it to be on this list.
National Treasure was released in the gap between The Mummy Returns and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Four years before, Indiana Jones helped create the term “nuking the fridge” in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Our appetite for globetrotting adventure was quenched by the continual travel, puzzle-solving, justifiable thieving, and ancient treasures, from wrecked ships in the Arctic to the reflecting pool in Washington, D.C., the frantic pace and numerous clues made the most of a proven crowd-pleasing formula.
National Treasure is also a little more family-friendly, making it a contemporary Indiana Jones for all audiences. National Treasure is likely to delight numerous Indiana Jones fans since it combines a significant historical impact with a solid treasure-seeking adventure.
When you consider that Benjamin Franklin Gates, Patrick Gates, and John Adams Gates are all named after American founders, you have a film that celebrates the history and isn’t afraid to say so.
These kinds of movies don’t exist anymore, which is one of the reasons we still enjoy them. Also, we believe Indy would agree with Gates and his team’s efforts to ensure that the treasure was shared with the rest of the world since “it belongs in a museum!”
3. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)
“Now, there’s only one thing left. The thunder cookie.” – Hank
This follow-up to the action-packed Journey to the Center of the Earth from 2008 features an unusual narrative and setting inspired by another Jules Verne classic. Although little in this fantastical tale is genuine, the bombardment of stunning special effects and excessive use of 3D ensures a thrilling trip.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, like its predecessor, blends 3D, CGI, and live-action to produce a light-hearted Indiana Jones-style adventure with a cast that isn’t afraid to have a good time.
Sean Anderson is played by Josh Hutcherson, a kid with a natural sense of adventure who, with the help of his stepfather Hank Parsons (Dwane Johnson), decodes a message from his grandpa (Michael Caine). The letter instructs them to locate Verne’s island, immortalized in his 1874 novel The Mysterious Island.
In believing that his grandfather is in danger, Sean and his father strive to locate the island, and Sean’s grandfather, with the assistance of dubious helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his attractive daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens).
Finding the island turns out to be the easy half; the difficult part is getting off an exotic volcanic island teeming with strangely large creatures. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a survival game similar to its predecessor, but with new characters to keep things interesting.
Vanessa Hudgens is Sean’s love interest, and Luis Guzman is there to give laughs (which he does), but it’s Dwayne Johnson, who is taking over the lead role from Brendan Fraser, who is the most intriguing newcomer.
Johnson steals the stage by blasting berries from his bulging pecs as well as Johnson is capable of dueling effectively with the ever-charming Michael Caine. With that said, this movie oozes comedy, action ad adventure. It is a family-friendly film that helps takes away the craving for Indy-like adventures.
4. Romancing the Stone (1984)
What did you do, wake up this morning and say, “Today, I’m going to ruin a man’s life”? – Jack Colton
Romancing the Stone is what you’d get if you parody the Indiana Jones series and set it in Colombia. Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito appear in this action-adventure film from 1984.
Joan Wilder (Turner) portrays a romance novelist who needs assistance delivering a treasure map to her sister’s kidnappers in the Colombian jungle. As they go on a perilous voyage, she is aided by mercenary Jack Colton (Douglas). Turner and Douglas make an excellent team with terrific chemistry and dialogue.
The desire for adventure films was reawakened soon after Raiders of the Lost Ark made a big impression on the silver screen in 1981, and fans sought more tales of ancient riches and hazardous chases.
In 1984, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would answer the call with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a huge sequel directed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
However, one of Spielberg’s biggest “future” collaborators (no pun intended for those who know what I mean) was competing with Indiana Jones with the release of the film Romancing the Stone that summer.
Critics likened the picture to the Indiana Jones franchise, and it was a box office triumph. The plot was simple and uncomplicated. Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a famous romance author who finds an antique map in the mail given to her by her sister in Columbia.
Ira, a local bad guy in Columbia, kidnaps her sister. Ira contacts Joan and threatens to kill her sister unless she brings the map to Columbia. Joan boards the next flight to Columbia, only to be duped by Ira’s competitor and wicked foe, Zolo, who “kindly” takes her to the incorrect bus at the Columbian airport.
When Ira’s brother Ralph (Danny Devito) discovers what’s going on, he follows her down. When Joan wakes up amid the forest, she finds she has boarded the wrong bus.
She is stuck on the side of the road after the bus collides with a vehicle. Zolo threatens Jane with a rifle and demands the map, but thankfully, a local tough guy called Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas) comes to discover his jeep destroyed and beats Zolo off.
The story after that unfolds into an action-packed adventure with a touch of comedy and romance that you would undoubtfully enjoy as it was originally made to compete with Indiana Jones.
5. Tomb Raider (2018)
“We have to face up to who we are and who we’re supposed to be at some point.” – Young Lara Croft.
Closely related to the video game series of the same name and featuring English archaeologist Lara Croft, Tomb Raider is one of the finest video game movies of 2018. The Indiana Jones franchise was also likely a direct effect on the Tomb Raider video game series.
Lara Croft, like Indiana Jones, is a professional archaeologist who searches for long-buried riches and plunders ancient sites full of difficult riddles, hidden traps, and weapon-wielding thugs. The 2018 picture benefits from a fantastic jungle location and Alicia Vikander’s captivating performance as Croft
The film directed by Roar Uthaug is the second effort to bring the gun-toting treasure hunter Lara Croft to the big screen, with a different Academy Award-winning actress in the starring role.
Angelina Jolie’s Lara was debuted in 2001’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” as a very rich, highly skilled treasure hunter at the pinnacle of her abilities. However, Alicia Vikander’s Lara is still struggling to find her place in the world.
Although she hails from a rich family, Lara is determined to make it on her own after her father’s disappearance seven years ago, leading to a job as a London bike courier and a faltering kickboxing career.
However, when a high-speed pursuit puts her into problems with the cops, family friend Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) persuades Lara to rejoin the Crofts.
Lara eventually resolves to track down her long-lost father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), who went missing while attempting to locate the grave of Himiko, a legendary Japanese queen.
The action centers on Lara and Mathias as their opposing groups seek Himiko’s tomb, which is the source of a flood of bad luck for the entire globe. Lara must accept her fate as an action hero and examine the moral significance of her mission if she is to succeed.
While the CGI-heavy action and stunts stretch the boundaries of belief — particularly at the picture’s climax — they are nonetheless a lot of fun. The general tone of the image feels a step up from the dated 2001 attempt, and an early scene placed inside a wrecked plane on top of a towering waterfall makes for a dramatic set-piece.
With that said, the Tomb Raider series was no doubt designed to be a great idea. Indiana Jones fans, such as myself, enjoy the Tomb Raider franchise because of how closely similar they all are, and I am sure that you will too!
What Makes Indiana Jones Movies Great?
Artefact-stealer. Whip-cracker. Boulder-avoider. Indiana Jones’ popularity has remained virtually unchanged since his debut in 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He’s instantly recognizable as a big-screen hero: ravenous, physically competent, clever, witty, ruggedly beautiful, and a great hat.
He’s a legendary explorer who pays homage to former matinee idols without coming off as a caricature, and he’s got the iconography to back it up (the hat again, and that whip).
Nothing seems to be able to stop a true icon from becoming a legend. So, what exactly is it about Indiana Jones that makes the movie so popular? The decade in which you grew up had a big impact on who your favorites were, which is why the 1980s were the most popular decade for movies like Indiana Jones.
Films leave an indelible mark on your susceptible mind that is nearly hard to undo at a young age. And the finest films are passed down the generations, so a stalwart like Indiana Jones has been a staple of children’s Christmas entertainment for more than 30 years. There has been a lot of goodwill reinforced.
“Don’t call me Junior!”- Jones.
As a youngster, I recall viewing Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time. The feats left me speechless, the melting faces kept me up for many nights, and Indiana Jones seemed like a character I’d known for years, even though I’d just recently discovered him. And I suppose that was the purpose all along.
The film seemed nostalgic even when it was spanking new, with creator/executive producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg harkening back to the matinee adventure serials of their youth. The films have aged beautifully because of the focus on realistic effects, ensuring that Indiana Jones’ legacy will live on.
Ford is set to return on July 28th, 2022, for Indiana Jones 5, with rumors circulating that it will be a baton-passing role that may kickstart a new franchise. Can anybody, however, take his place?
Let’s hope the next Indiana Jones film sends him off on a high note. He doesn’t require it. He’s certainly as popular as ever.