When it comes to adventure films, the one name that springs immediately to mind is Indiana Jones. In an attempt by Steven Spielberg to recapture the magic of the classic adventure movie serials, the creation of Raiders of the Lost Ark led to the iconic character of Indiana. Portrayed by Harrison Ford in all for movies, the character is best known for his dusty hat and trusty whip that aid him in his quest for treasure hunting. He first appeared hunting for the legendary Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark, showcasing his cunning ability to decipher history and his hatred of snakes. His adventures would continue in the sequels of Temple of Doom (1984), The Last Crusade (1989), and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), all of which featured Ford in the role of Indiana.
While it’s hard to compete with such a legendary adventurer as Jones, that still doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of adventure films that try to match that appeal. The exciting aspects of globe-trotting, history divulging, and treasure hunting are in no short supply with films that find daring heroes risking it all to solve a mystery and procure rare artifacts. So if you’ve already had your Indiana Jones marathon and are looking for more excitement, indulge in these other fine adventure films that are working the trek.
The Adventures of Tintin
Based on the classic adventure comic book series by Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin follows the titular writer on his many adventures with best dog Snowy. In this computer-animated adaptation, Tintin has found an interest in an old model ship. But when the ship becomes of great interest to a buyer who is willing to break into apartments to get it, Tintin finds there may be more to the ship than he first realized. He soon finds himself following a trail of clues as he tries to solve the mystery of the long-lost vessel known as the Unicorn. Directed by Steven Spielberg (E.T., Hook) as his first animated feature, the film features motion-captured animation and features the voices of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg.
Based on the hit series of video games, Tomb Raider follows the adventures of Lara Croft. Lara has been living a life of independence and fierce training while also trying to solve the mystery of her missing dad. It’s only when she discovers his secret office that she learns her father went missing on a mission of unearthing a mysterious treasure from Japanese folklore. She ventures off to the island to find out what happened but will have to deal with a ruthless explorer seeking the same thing. Directed by Roar Uthaug (The Wave), this action-adventure picture stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft with supporting performances by Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu Kristin, and Scott Thomas. This is the third Tomb Raider film, rebooted from the previous adaptations of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003) with Angelina Jolie as the lead.
The Mummy (1999)
It is 1925 and danger is lurking within the sands of the Sahara Desert. Lying inside an ancient tomb resides a terror that hasn’t been awakened in 3,000 years. That terror will be experienced by an unlucky pair of a librarian and aspiring Egyptologist who stumble into the crosshairs of an Egyptian priest cursed to remain as one of the undead for all of eternity. Written and directed by Stephen Sommers (Van Helsing), this exciting adventure picture stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Jonathan Hyde, and Kevin J. O’Connor. The success of the film led to the sequels of The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), as well as the spin-off film The Scorpion King (2002).
Romancing the Stone
Romance and adventure collide in this quirky fish-out-of-water film. Joan Wilder finds her life rather dull as a writer living in New York City. But she soon finds herself thrown into quest of murder, kidnapping, and smugglers, she’s off to Colombia to pay a ransom. It is there that she meets the brash bird smuggler Jack T. Colton who can help her navigate the jungle and maybe find a lost treasure. She may even find herself falling for such a dashing figure who helps get her out of dangers that lurk on such a rousing adventure. Directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future), the film stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Alfonso Arau, and Manuel Ojeda.
The Princess Bride
If you like your adventures to be a bit more fantastic and brilliantly self-aware, The Princess Bride remains one of the funniest of adventure films. Told in the form of a grandpa reading to his sick grandson, the story concerns The Princess Bride known as Buttercup who is not only forced to marry but is also kidnapped by outlaws. It is only when Dread Pirate Roberts arrives on the scene that she is saved but this mysterious stranger may be the true love of her life she knew many years ago. Directed by Rob Reiner (This is Spinal Tap) and with a screenplay by William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), this dryly comedic fantasy adventure of sword fights and magic stars Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, and Billy Crystal.
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)
In this 21st-century adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel by Jules Verne, professor Trevor Anderson leads an expedition to Iceland that doesn’t go as planned. With his nephew and a guide in tow, the three of them find themselves trapped in a cavern. Seeking a way back to the surface, the trio only tunnel down further until they reach a mysterious and hidden world of dinosaurs. Though this prehistoric spot is a wondrous discovery, they’ll have to find their way out soon before the volcanic activity of the area threatens to consume them. Directed by Eric Brevig (Yogi Bear), this family adventure film stars Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, and Anita Briem. The film also had a sequel/reboot with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012).
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Based on the classic children’s novel, Jumanji takes the leap from board games to video games in this 21st-century sequel to the 1990s film. Four teenagers of very different circles find themselves thrown into the jungle video game world of Jumanji when playing a cursed console. But they’re not in their teenage bodies. They now occupy the video game avatar bodies of Smolder, Mouse, Shelly, and Ruby Roundhouse, each with their own set of skills and weaknesses. It’s up to Spencer, the geek of the group, to use all his gamer knowledge to help his friends beat the game and find a way out of a dangerous digital adventure. Directed by Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story), the film stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale and was successful enough to onto the sequel of Jumanji: The Next Level (2019).
American history merges with treasure hunting in this exhilarating adventure film. Benjamin Franklin Gates is a historian who specializes in discovering artifacts and has amassed quite the collection over time. His latest adventure involves a map placed on the Declaration of Independence that could lead to some untold fortune. But Gates will have to hurry as he’s not the only one racing to uncover a valuable piece of America’s past. Directed by Jon Turteltaub (Phenomenon), this rousing adventure stars Nicolas Cage in the lead with supporting performances by Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Justin Bartha, and Christopher Plummer. The adventures of Gates also continued in the sequel of Book of Secrets (2007).
For the younger crowd who’d like to see themselves going on quests for treasures, The Goonies is that exceptional film of youthful thrills. A collective of children known as the Goonies are spending their last weekend together and plan to make it an exciting one. They discover a treasure map in their attic could lead to a lost pirate treasure, leading them into an underground cavern of danger and excitement. Directed by Richard Donner (Superman: The Movie) with a screenplay by Chris Columbus (Home Alone), this kid-oriented adventure stars Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, and Ke Huy Quan.
King Kong (2005)
In this remake of the classic monster movie, the towering King Kong has never appeared so fierce before. A struggling movie director is seeking to shoot an exciting picture but has to use his deceptive tactics to sneak around and trick people into letting him film on the mysterious island of monsters. It is there that they encounter all sorts of deadly and enormous creatures, from man-eating bugs to ferocious dinosaurs. But when the giant ape of King Kong falls for the lovely actress who follows the men to the island, he is captured and put on display in New York City, leading to a destructive chase. Directed by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), this throwback jungle adventure stars Andy Serkis (performing as both motion-captured ape and a live-action character), Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Jamie Bell, Evan Parke, Lobo Chan, and Kyle Chandler.