There’s no doubt about it, the early Indiana Jones films were game changers in action-adventure filmmaking. The films’ clever blend of heart, action, and comedy make the series one of the most celebrated franchises in Hollywood history. At its center is its swashbuckling hero, who went on to inspire countless characters in movies like Indiana Jones, as well as books, video games, and television shows.
Indy’s influence is apparent throughout the world of pop culture. The films helped popularize action film tropes that have since become commonplace, like finding lost cities, artifacts with mystical powers, and even the action-romance genre as a whole. Other movies like Indiana Jones utilize these tropes with varying degrees of success.
What are some movies like Indiana Jones you should watch?
But with five films in the Indy franchise including Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the number of movies featuring the titular hero are scarce.
While Harrison Ford’s whip-wielding Nazi hater set the gold standard, we wanted to take a look at some other films that may quench your thirst for pulse-pounding action and adventure as the Indy saga concludes. These are some movies like Indiana Jones you should watch if you love Indy.
‘The Mummy’ (1999)
Arguably the best of all the modern-era movies like Indiana Jones, 1999’s The Mummy has become a cult classic in recent years. Starring Brendan Fraser as American adventurer Rick O’Connell and Rachel Weisz as librarian and Egyptology expert Evelyn Carnahan, The Mummy is part rom-com, part action-adventure flick, with a dash of horror.
Set in 1926, the period film’s setting is a fairly obvious nod to the early Indiana Jones movies, which took place in the 1920s and 1930s. Set in Egypt, Rick guides Evelyn, her brother Jonathan (John Hannah), and their team to an ancient lost city called Hamunaptra. There, they accidentally awaken a cursed mummy (Arnold Vosloo), who brings about the Ten Plagues of Egypt as he plots to resurrect his mummified queen.
The movie is fun and a bit campy, with a likable cast of characters, several witty one-liners, and a handful of light scares. Fraser, in particular, captures the same swashbuckling spirit as Harrison Ford’s Indy, with Weisz’s Evelyn serving as much more than just the hero’s love interest. As far as movies like Indiana Jones go, it’s near the top of the list.
‘National Treasure’ (2004)
The early to mid-2000s was rife with several Indy-esque films and TV shows, but few gained the popularity as the first National Treasure film. Starring movie icon Nicolas Cage as historian and treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates, this silly but wondrous film is one of many cult classics in the thespian’s catalog.
In the film, Gates, obsessed with tales of the Knights Templar, Freemasons, and Founding Fathers, embarks on a quest to find a treasure hidden by the three groups. Joining him are his best friend Riley (Justin Bartha), archivist Abigail (Diane Kruger), and his ex-adventurer father (Jon Voight). The fast-paced adventure takes them through several pivotal cities in America’s early history as they decipher clues to the treasure’s whereabouts.
Like many adventure films of its era, National Treasure is silly and campy, but a lot of fun. The cast, which also includes Harvey Keitel, Sean Bean, and Christopher Plummer, is phenomenal. And while it may not have the same depth as the Indy films, I dare you not to crack a smile while watching it.
‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ (2001)
Another popular action-adventure movie like Indiana Jones from the early 2000s, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is inspired by the hit 90s video game series Tomb Raider. Its protagonist, Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) is a wealthy British aristocrat, archaeologist, and tomb robber with a thirst for adventure and digging up the truth.
The film sees Croft on the hunt for a mysterious time-altering artifact called the Triangle of Light, which her late father Richard (Jon Voight) once sought. Lara’s globetrotting adventures take her to locations around the world as she attempts to retrieve the pieces of the triangle before the Illuminati leader Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) and a rival tomb raider and ex-lover (Daniel Craig).
While the film is hit-or-miss when it comes to capturing the spirit of the games that inspired it, it pays homage to Indiana Jones with some well-placed wit, fantastical elements, dazzling action sequences, and a heartfelt story of a woman seeking more time with a parent she lost too soon. Similar to the other movies like Indiana Jones on this list, it’s incredibly campy and quite silly, but it’s a fun watch, nevertheless.
Lara Croft wasn’t the only video game protagonist directly inspired by movies like Indiana Jones. The mid-2000s saw the rise of another action hero in the Uncharted series’ Nathan Drake, a sly and witty treasure hunter (supposedly) descended from the famed explorer Sir Francis Drake.
The Uncharted film, over a decade in the making before it finally hit theaters in 2022, is not a particularly faithful adaptation of its source material. The casting of its two lead actors, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, as Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan, is a headscratcher, but both actors do a fairly decent job with what they’re given as they hunt down a lost treasure from the Magellan expedition.
If you look at the film as just an action-adventure movie and not an Uncharted adaptation, it’s a lot of fun. Yes, it retains the same campiness and ridiculousness as many other films in its genre, but it also offers some decent action sequences. And while it’s a far cry from the brilliance of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and will likely require you to suspend disbelief at least a few times, it’s still a serviceable popcorn flick.
‘Jungle Cruise’ (2021)
Another movie like Indiana Jones, 2021’s Jungle Cruise movie is based on a Disney theme park ride of the same name. Starring Dwayne Johnson as steamboat skipper Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt as botanist Lily Houghton, Jungle Cruise sees the pair on the hunt for a mystical tree in the Amazon with powerful medicinal properties. Joining them is Lily’s brother MacGregor, played by British comedian Jack Whitehall.
The film’s romantic story and period setting draw from Indiana Jones, but it also shares a lot of its DNA with another of Disney’s action-adventure IPs, Pirates of the Caribbean. Like the latter, the film takes a turn toward the fantastical as a story involving long-dead conquistadors and immortality unfurls, not unlike the blooms of the tree they seek.
Jungle Cruise is another passable action-adventure film. While it lacks some of the heart of Indy and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, it has two charming leads and tells a story that’s sure to delight younger viewers. As far as movies like Indiana Jones go, it’s just fine—nothing awful, but nothing spectacular, either.
‘The Lost City’ (2022)
A fun twist on the action-adventure genre, The Lost City is as much of a comedy as it is an action flick. Starring the always lovable Sandra Bullock as novelist Loretta Sage and the charming Channing Tatum as her less-than-bright cover model Alan, the screwball comedy is arguably one of the better movies like Indiana Jones out there.
The film also draws a lot of inspiration from the 1984 action rom-com Romancing the Stone, which is evident in the comedic moments and dynamic between its two stars. The film sees depressed writer Loretta kidnapped by a conniving billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe), who wants her help in finding an ancient crown in a lost city featured in one of her books. Alan hires Navy SEAL/CIA operative Jack (Brad Pitt) to rescue her, but hijinx ensue, leading to a hilarity-filled hunt for the lost artifact.
The Lost City, similar to many movies like Indiana Jones, is flawed but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It knows it’s a send-up of popular action-adventure movies and executes its vision fairly well. Bullock and Tatum are magic together, and Radcliffe makes an excellent over-the-top villain. If you’re looking for a fun movie like Indiana Jones to watch with a great cast and slight Indy vibes, this is it.
Which movies like Indiana Jones will you watch?
These six modern movies like Indiana Jones all owe a debt of gratitude to the fedora-wearing adventurer introduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Each of them takes elements popularized by the iconic film series and tries something different with them as they attempt to make their own spin on a beloved genre.
Each honors the trailblazing spirit of the Indiana Jones series, infusing bits of one of the film’s most iconic heroes into its protagonists. The lighthearted, swashbuckling nature of Rick O’Connell. The confidence of Lara Croft. The intelligence of Benjamin Franklin Gates. The quick wit of Nathan Drake. It’s a sign of Indy’s legacy and enduring power. It also shows that, even though the Indy series is approaching its curtain call, it will continue to inspire more movies like Indiana Jones for years and generations to come.
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