The Indiana Jones franchise is an entertainment franchise, based on the historical adventures of Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, a fictional archaeologist. It began in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. A prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, followed in 1984 and the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989. In 1992, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles began airing on television. A fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released in 2008. The series was created by George Lucas; the films star Harrison Ford and were directed by Steven Spielberg.
In addition, Marvel Comics began publishing The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones in 1983, and Dark Horse Comics earned the comic book rights to the character in 1991. Novelizations of the films have been published, in addition to a series of German novels by Wolfgang Hohlbein, and twelve novels set before the films published by Bantam Books. Numerous video games about Indiana Jones have been released since 1982.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Set in 1936, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is assigned by government agents to locate the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do, to make them invincible like the Israelites in the Old Testament, who revered it as the dwelling place of God. The Nazis are being helped by Indiana’s nemesis René Belloq (Paul Freeman). With the help of his old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Indiana manages to recover the Ark in Egypt. The Nazis manage to steal the Ark and capture Indiana and Marion. Belloq and the Nazis perform a ceremony to open the Ark, but when they do so, they are all killed gruesomely by the Ark’s wrath. Indiana and Marion, who survived by closing their eyes, manage to get the Ark back to America, where it is stored in a secretive government warehouse.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Set in 1935, a year before Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana escapes Chinese gangsters with the help of singer/actress Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and his twelve-year-old sidekick Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan). The trio crash-land in India where they come across a village whose children have been kidnapped. A destructive cult led by Mola Ram (Amrish Puri) have also taken the holy Sankara Stones, which they will use to take over the world. Indiana manages to overcome Mola Ram’s evil power, and rescues the children and returns the stones to their rightful place, overcoming his own mercenary nature.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Opens in 1912 where a thirteen-year-old Indiana (River Phoenix) attempts to recover an ornamental cross belonging to Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, a task which he finally completes in 1938. Indiana along with his friend Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) are assigned by American businessman Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) to find the Holy Grail. They are teamed up with Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody), following on from where Indiana’s estranged father Henry (Sean Connery) left off before he disappeared. It turns out Donovan and Elsa are in league with the Nazis, who captured Henry in order to get Indiana to help them find the Grail. However, Indiana recovers his father’s diary filled with his research, and manages to rescue him before finding the location of the Grail. Both Donovan and Elsa fall to the temptation of the Grail, while Indiana and Henry realize that their relationship with each other is more important than finding the relic.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Set in 1957, making it nineteen years since The Last Crusade, and thus acknowledging the real-life passing of years between films. Indiana is having a quiet life teaching before being thrust back into his old adventuring. He races against agents of the Soviet Union, led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) for the crystal skull. Indy’s journey takes him across Nevada, Connecticut, Peru, and the forest of the Amazon in Brazil. In the film. Indiana is faced with betrayal by one of his best friends, Mac (Ray Winstone), is introduced to a greaser named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), who turns out to be his son (real name revealed to be Henry Jones III), and is reunited with his old flame Marion Ravenwood.