Indiana Jones is one of the most beloved film heroes of all time, and it’s hardly a character that can be played by just about anyone. Harrison Ford’s performance is so synonymous with the role that the idea of anyone else taking on the part seems sacrilegious; even if River Phoenix’s role as a young Henry Jones Jr. in the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Sean Patrick Flannery’s performance in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles both deserve credit, it’s impossible to think of anyone else in the role but Ford.
While the brilliance of director Steven Spielberg is a major reason why the films have been so successful, it seems like James Mangold has proven to be a suitable replacement based on the warm responses that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destinyhas received. Even though Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are regarded as some of the greatest films ever made, both Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull prompted more divisive reactions, so Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny certainly has room to grow within the franchise ranking.
Spielberg was never able to direct a James Bond movie, but he saw Indy as his version of 007. However, they are not the same character, as Indy’s love life has been much more tumultuous than Bond’s. Ironically, the only person to find love on the set of an Indiana Jones movie was Spielberg himself, as he married actress Kate Capshaw after casting her as Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Here is every Indiana Jones love interest, ranked worst to best.
3 Willie Scott — Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
While it’s wonderful that Spielberg himself found romance while he was filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Willie Scott was perhaps the worst character in the entire Indiana Jones franchise before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull introduced Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). What’s unfortunate is that the premise of the film is the great set-up for a screwball comedy in the style of 1930s classics. This would make sense given the film is set in the mid-1930s.
Unfortunately, Capshaw’s performance is largely grating, and the film too often relies on the gimmick of her reacting to gross events in the jungle and temple. It’s also slightly problematic to feature Willie so prominently in a film largely set in India, as it would have been more interesting to see Indy interacting with the native villagers.
2 Elsa Schneider — Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
While Elsa Schneider is obviously a villainous character in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, she serves as a great foil for Indy thanks to the excellent chemistry between Alison Doody and Ford. The twist is that Elsa is also romantically involved with Indy’s father, Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery), is one of the funniest gags in the film.
Her traitorous ways become a great plot twist that makes Indy feel more vulnerable, which subsequently makes the bond between him and his father even more impactful. It’s fitting that Elsa meets her fate out of greed, as unlike Indy, she cannot resist the temptation of eternal life that comes with the Holy Grail.
1 Marion Ravenwood
Indy has had a few flings in various movies, and has had even more in the expanded universe of novels, comics, and games based on the franchise. However, there will only ever be one true love in his life, and that’s Marion Ravenwood. Karen Allen’s performance in Raiders of the Lost Ark rivals Ford’s, as she is just as brave, intelligent, and resilient as he is. The film works brilliantly as a romantic comedy during the scenes between Indy and Marion because the chemistry between Allen and Ford was so strong.
It came as a disappointment that Allen did not reprise her role in either Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as many fans wanted to see what Indy and Marion’s relationship looked like in the years that followed. However, her father Abner does make a brief cameo during the very beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Fans may have only been disappointed in 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because the addition of the character of Mutt stole time from what should have been more scenes between Indy and Marion.
While Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was largely regarded as a massive disappointment, Allen’s return to the role of Marion is one of the film’s highlights. She and Ford feel just the same as they did in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it only made sense for Indy and Marion to end up together. Ending the film with their wedding was the perfect way to tie up Indy’s journey; it finally felt like he was embracing his retirement and remembering why his years of adventures mattered. He may not have come home with any treasure, but he did end up finding love in the end.