Adventure Movies

10 Best Archaeology Movies on Rotten Tomatoes That Aren’t ‘Indiana Jones’

June 12, 20237 Mins Read

First appearing in 1981, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) has cemented his place as one of the best movie heroes of all time. Armed with his trademark fedora, whip, and knack for getting out of any tricky situation, Jones has entertained audiences for over four decades. Debuting in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he followed it up with the beloved sequels Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade and the not-so-beloved Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny brings the archeologist out of retirement for one last adventure, and while reviews have been mixed, it is nice to see the character on the big screen once again. It calls to mind the other great movies that feature archeologists battling danger to discover ancient secrets. While none of the others reached the heights of Jones, they still make for thrilling journeys filled with memorable characters.

10 ‘National Treasure’ (2004)

Nicolas Cage as Ben Gates holding a torch in National Treasure
Image Via Disney

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%

When professional treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) learns that his grandfather’s story about a mythical treasure is true, he sets out to find it. Racing against a crew of criminals, Gates’ journey reveals that the map to the treasure is hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

National Treasure is cheesy, but it works due to Cage’s typically committed performance and a sense of adventure that harkens back to the early Indiana Jones‘ movies. Like Jones, it combines action and humor to great effect and is one of the best treasure-hunting movies.

Watch on Disney+

9 ‘The Mummy’ (1999)

Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser in The Mummy
Image via Universal

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

When librarian Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and adventurer Rick (Brendan Fraser) team up to discover the secrets of an ancient Egyptian city, they instead reawaken a powerful mummy. As the mummy wreaks havoc and takes many lives, the pair and their companions are forced to save the day while maybe falling in love along the way.

Seen by many as one of the best movies to replicate the sense of adventure present in Indiana Jones, The Mummy is a favorite of many ’90s kids. Supplying scares and laughs in equal measure, the movie benefits from the charismatic duo of Fraser and Weisz, while Arnold Vosloo also shines as the villain.

Watch on Peacock

8 ‘The Goonies’ (1985)

Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, and Ke Huy Quan in The Goonies (1985)
Image via Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

One of the best movies of the ’80s, The Goonies follows a group of kids as they discover a treasure map that seems to hint at hidden pirate gold. While the group of friends tries to make the discovery of a lifetime, they must also avoid a family of criminals that are hot on their trail.

Produced by Stephen Spielberg, The Goonies feels like a more family-orientated take on his work on Indiana Jones. The cast is stacked with young faces that would go on to have great careers, such as Sean Astin, Ke Huy Quan, and Josh Brolin, and perfectly captures the sense of adventure we all felt as children.

Watch on Hulu

7 ‘The Lost City’ (2022)

Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock in The Lost City
Image Via Paramount

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Reclusive author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) writes swashbuckling tales full of adventure and romance but spends her downtime lounging around the house. Forced to go on a publicity tour, she is soon kidnaped by billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who seeks the true treasure that her books are based on.

An adventure-comedy that feels like a throwback to similar movies from the ’90s and ’80s, The Lost City benefits from the chemistry shared between Bullock and Channing Tatum, who plays the dimwitted cover model that seeks to save her. Most of all, The Lost City is just a lot of fun thanks to its amusing script and great cast.

Watch on Prime Video

6 ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ (2019)

Eugenio Derbez and Isabela Merced in 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold'
Image via Paramount Players/Nickelodeon Movies

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

A live-action adaptation of the classic children’s cartoon Dora and the Lost City of Gold, sees a teenage Dora (Isabela Merced) facing her strangest adventure yet: high school. When a class trip results in Dora and her new friends getting stranded in the jungle, they go off in search of a rumored city of gold.

While most live-action adaptations fail to capture the spirit of their animated counterparts, Dora succeeds thanks to a nice dose of self-aware humor and a committed performance from Merced. Like the beloved Scooby-Doo movies, Dora pokes fun of the more ridiculous parts of the original while carving its own place in the franchise.

5 ‘Romancing the Stone’ (1984)

Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as Jack Colton and Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone
Image via 20th Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Another adventure starring a romance novelist, Romancing the Stone, stars Kathleen Turner as successful novelist Joan Wilder. After her sister is kidnaped, Joan is sent a treasure map and ordered to Colombia to find the treasure as her sister’s ransom. She is soon joined by smuggler Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), and they team up in the jungle.

Like the name implies, Romancing the Stone is a more romantic take on the Indiana Jones formula as Joan and Jack grow closer throughout their journey. It carries Indy’s playful tone throughout its enthralling adventure and is one of the best Jones clones.

4 ‘The Lost City of Z’ (2016)

Robert Pattinson and Charlie Hunnam in The Lost City of Z
Image Via Amazon

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Based on real-life explorer Percival Fawcett, The Lost City of Z stars Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett as he sets out to discover a fabled lost city. Joined by his companion Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson), the pair experience many dangers in one of the best Amazon Prime Original movies.

The Lost City of Z sets itself apart from other archeological adventures by focusing on an explorer that really existed, with his story proving to be just as thrilling as any fictional tale. Hunnam is fantastic as Fawcett, and alongside Pattinson, he is joined by Sienna Miller and Tom Holland, who play his wife and son.

Watch on Prime

3 ‘The Dig’ (2021)

Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes as Edith and Basil standing next to a mound in The Dig
Image Via Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Set in England in the 1930s, The Dig stars Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty, a wealthy landowner who becomes intrigued by the mounds that rest on her property. Hiring self-taught archeologist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to investigate the burial site, he discovers a ship from the Dark Ages hidden in the earth.

A re-imaging of the real excavation of Sutton Hoo that occurred in 1939, The Dig is more of a period drama than a rollicking adventure. Headlined by great performances from Mulligan and Fiennes, The Dig focuses just as much on exploring its characters as it does the buried secrets beneath their feet.

Watch on Netflix

2 ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ (1950)

The cast of King Solomon's Mines
Image Via MGM

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Based on the classic novel, King Solomon’s Mines follows a party of explorers as they venture into Africa to find a missing man. The man disappeared while searching for King Solomon’s lost mine, which is said to contain unimaginable riches, and the rescuers encounter it in their own travels.

There have been many adaptations of the source material, but the 1950 version remains the most popular and well-received. Filmed on location in Africa, King Solomon’s Mines features striking scenery throughout its journey into the jungle.

1 ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’ (1948)

Humphrey Bogart as Dobbs and Tim Holt as Curtin in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Image via Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Set in the Old West, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre revolves around three men as they set off in search of gold in Mexico. As the prospect of money becomes more realistic, the men grow distrustful of each other as their suspicions threaten to rip them apart and destroy their lives.

One of the best Westerns of all time, Sierra Madre has proven to be a major influence in both the Western and adventure genres. Highly regarded for its direction, performances, and screenplay, the movie was nominated for all three at the Academy Awards.

KEEP READING: ‘Indiana Jones’ Movies Ranked from Worst to Best

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