Archaeological adventurers

by Mighty_Emperor | created - 10 Nov 2012 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

Seekers for ancient truths and artefacts. Treasure hunters, adventurers and scholars or just someone with a mission.

See also: Mummy movies, which often feature archaeologists, although they are often unfortunate victims. I also have an occult detective list, which has some crossover with this list, as well as being another well-known archetype.

Further reading: * Adventurer Archaeologist:

Comments: As I don't have a Facebook account I cannot interact with the new comments system, so have switched it off. I will start a thread on the message board and link it in here shortly.

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1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 758,509 | Gross: $248.16M

Here for the thumbnail, the list starts below:

2. King Solomon's Mines (1919)

89 min | Adventure

Adventurer Allan Quartermain leads an expedition into uncharted African territory in an attempt to locate an explorer who went missing during his search for King Solomans gold mines.

Director: Horace Lisle Lucoque | Stars: Albert Lawrence, H.J. Hamlin, Raymond Brown, Edna Joyce

Votes: 5

Allan Quartermain is perhaps the classic archaeological adventurer and features strongly in this list.

4. Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935)

Approved | 73 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror

While investigating the theft of antiquities from an ancient tomb excavation, Charlie discovers that the body of the expedition's leader concealed inside the mummy's wrappings.

Director: Louis King | Stars: Warner Oland, Pat Paterson, Thomas Beck, Rita Hayworth

Votes: 1,560

5. The Live Wire (1935)

Approved | 57 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

A sailor finds an ancient vase on an uncharted island. He is later hired by archaeologists to lead them back to the island. They discover the temples of a lost civilization.

Director: Harry S. Webb | Stars: Richard Talmadge, Alberta Vaughn, George Walsh, George Chesebro

Votes: 44

6. King Solomon's Mines (1937)

Not Rated | 77 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

White hunter Allan Quartermain and his enigmatic guide help a young Irish woman locate her missing father in unexplored Darkest Africa.

Directors: Robert Stevenson, Geoffrey Barkas | Stars: Paul Robeson, Cedric Hardwicke, Roland Young, John Loder

Votes: 852

Public domain

Get from the Internet Archive:

7. Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)

Approved | 65 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Disguised as an Austrian archaeologist, Moto helps unearth the priceless crown of the legendary Queen of Sheba and sans disguise defends it from a variety of thugs and criminals.

Director: Norman Foster | Stars: Peter Lorre, Joseph Schildkraut, Lionel Atwill, Virginia Field

Votes: 476

8. Terry and the Pirates (1940)

Passed | 300 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Dr. Herbert Lee (John Paul Jones), an archaeologist seeking to decipher ancient Mara inscriptions, is aided by his son, Terry (William Tracy), and Terry's pal, Pat Ryan (Jeff York), and ... See full summary »

Director: James W. Horne | Stars: William Tracy, Jeff York, Joyce Bryant, Allen Jung

Votes: 49

9. Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)

Approved | 269 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a prophecy that will enable him to conquer the world. His nemesis, Dr. Nayland Smith, and ... See full summary »

Directors: John English, William Witney | Stars: Henry Brandon, William Royle, Robert Kellard, Gloria Franklin

Votes: 228

Also includes regular character Flinders Petrie, the name of a real-life archaeologist who had connections with Indiana Jones.

10. 'Pimpernel' Smith (1941)

Passed | 120 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Professor Horatio Smith, while seeming very unassuming, rescues victims of Nazi persecution during World War II.

Director: Leslie Howard | Stars: Leslie Howard, Francis L. Sullivan, Allan Jeayes, Peter Gawthorne

Votes: 1,104

A fearless archaeologist* battles Nazis - now that sounds familiar.

That coincidence aside, the film inspired Raoul Wallenberg who would go on to save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews.

* Horatio Smith - an unusual first name and a mundane surname.

11. Dangerous Venture (1947)

Approved | 59 min | Action, Adventure, Western

Sue Harmon gets Hoppy and his friends to join their expedition looking for Indian artifacts. Expedition leader Atwood makes a deal with nearby cattle rustler Morgan to loot the Indian ... See full summary »

Director: George Archainbaud | Stars: William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Rand Brooks, Fritz Leiber

Votes: 79

Has a character called California Carlson who appears in a lot of these Hopalong Cassidy films. Odd that there's be a character named after a state of the US there.

12. The Feathered Serpent (1948)

Approved | 61 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror

Charlie Chan and his two eldest sons, investigate a murderous gang who is forcing an archaeologist to search for a treasure in Mexico.

Director: William Beaudine | Stars: Roland Winters, Keye Luke, Mantan Moreland, Victor Sen Yung

Votes: 267

13. King Solomon's Mines (1950)

Passed | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

Adventurer Allan Quartermain leads an expedition into uncharted African territory in an attempt to locate an explorer who went missing during his search for the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon.

Directors: Compton Bennett, Andrew Marton | Stars: Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger, Richard Carlson, Hugo Haas

Votes: 4,906

14. Secret of the Incas (1954)

Approved | 100 min | Adventure

An adventurer searchers for hidden treasure in the Peruvian jungles.

Director: Jerry Hopper | Stars: Charlton Heston, Robert Young, Nicole Maurey, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 949 | Gross: $1.40M

A strong influence on the design of Indiana Jones.

15. Watusi (1959)

Approved | 85 min | Adventure

Alan Quartermain's son comes to Africa to find the treasure his father was unable to bring home.

Director: Kurt Neumann | Stars: George Montgomery, Taina Elg, David Farrar, Rex Ingram

Votes: 217

16. Valley of the Kings (1964)

101 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

Two children on vacation in Egypt with their archaeologist parents expose the villainy of Arab workmen and help their father find the treasure he seeks.

Director: Frederic Goode | Stars: Kenneth Nash, Elizabeth White, J. Peter Graeffe, Salah El Din

Votes: 14

17. Treasure of Matecumbe (1976)

G | 117 min | Adventure, Family, Western

In 1869 Kentucky, a young boy and his friends set out to find a treasure chest hidden by his late father in the Florida Everglades during the Civil War.

Director: Vincent McEveety | Stars: Robert Foxworth, Joan Hackett, Peter Ustinov, Vic Morrow

Votes: 352

18. King Solomon's Treasure (1979)

88 min | Adventure, Fantasy

Three adventurers lead an expedition into darkest Africa in search of the treasure of King Solomon, and on the way encounter hostile natives, volcanoes, dinosaurs and a lost Phoenician city ruled by a beautiful queen.

Director: Alvin Rakoff | Stars: David McCallum, John Colicos, Patrick Macnee, Britt Ekland

Votes: 190

19. The Awakening (1980)

R | 101 min | Horror

An archeologist discovers his daughter is possessed by the spirit of an Egyptian queen. To save mankind he must destroy her.

Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Charlton Heston, Susannah York, Jill Townsend, Stephanie Zimbalist

Votes: 1,661 | Gross: $8.42M

20. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

85 Metascore

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 758,509 | Gross: $248.16M

21. I cacciatori del cobra d'oro (1982)

92 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

An American soldier and a British intelligence agent try to track down an ancient relic called the Golden Cobra, rumored to have supernatural powers.

Director: Antonio Margheriti | Stars: David Warbeck, Almanta Suska, Luciano Pigozzi, Protacio Dee

Votes: 242

22. Americard Express (1982)

3 min | Short, Comedy

A parody of "Raiders Of the Lost Ark" and credit card commercials.

Director: Scott Rhodes | Star: Scott Rhodes

Votes: 19

23. Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)

PG | 97 min | Adventure

A group of adventurers are gathered together to retrieve some mystical gems which are in the possession of a deadly cult.

Director: Ferdinando Baldi | Stars: Tony Anthony, Ana Obregón, Gene Quintano, Jerry Lazarus

Votes: 426

24. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

PG | 118 min | Action, Adventure

57 Metascore

After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan, Amrish Puri

Votes: 377,862 | Gross: $179.87M

25. Romancing the Stone (1984)

PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

63 Metascore

A mousy romance novelist sets off for Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure hunting for treasure with a mercenary rogue.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Zack Norman

Votes: 71,523 | Gross: $76.57M

26. I sopravvissuti della città morta (1984)

98 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A safecracker takes a job where he must go to Istanbul and steal a scepter that once belonged to the god Gilgamesh but is now in the temple of a secret cult.

Director: Antonio Margheriti | Stars: David Warbeck, John Steiner, Susie Sudlow, Luciano Pigozzi

Votes: 212

27. The Jewel of the Nile (1985)

PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

When Joan Wilder is abducted while on a trip along the Nile, her boyfriend, Jack Colton, and pal Ralph rush to rescue her and retrieve a fabled jewel.

Director: Lewis Teague | Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Spiros Focás

Votes: 43,977 | Gross: $75.97M

28. King Solomon's Mines (1985)

PG-13 | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Fortune hunter Allan Quatermain teams up with a resourceful woman to help her find her missing father lost in the wilds of 1900s Africa while being pursued by hostile tribes and a rival German explorer.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, Herbert Lom, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 10,897 | Gross: $15.06M

29. Treasure of the Amazon (1985)

R | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A ragtag group of adventurers, including a former Nazi, is led by a half-maddened grizzled treasure hunter who wants a second chance to find the mythical treasure of the Amazon, after his first mission went terrible wrong.

Director: René Cardona Jr. | Stars: Stuart Whitman, Donald Pleasence, Bradford Dillman, Sonia Infante

Votes: 399

30. La leggenda del rubino malese (1985)

PG-13 | 95 min | Action, Adventure

An expedition enters an unexplored jungle to search for a legendary ruby.

Director: Antonio Margheriti | Stars: Christopher Connelly, Marina Costa, Lee Van Cleef, Luciano Pigozzi

Votes: 111

31. Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)

PG | 99 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Allan Quatermain once again teams up with Jesse Huston where the discovery of a mysterious old gold piece sends Quatermain looking for his long-lost brother, missing in the wilds of Africa after seeking a lost white race.

Director: Gary Nelson | Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones, Henry Silva

Votes: 7,704 | Gross: $3.75M

32. Lung hing foo dai (1986)

R | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Jackie Chan and his bumbling sidekick are sent on a quest through Europe to find a mysterious treasure held by a shadowy organization of monks.

Directors: Jackie Chan, Eric Tsang | Stars: Jackie Chan, Alan Tam, Rosamund Kwan, Lola Forner

Votes: 14,630

aka Armour of God

33. Firewalker (1986)

PG | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A pair of adventurers try to track down an ancient Aztec/Mayan/Egyptian/Apache hoard of gold.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Chuck Norris, Louis Gossett Jr., Melody Anderson, Will Sampson

Votes: 4,959 | Gross: $11.83M

34. Le miniere del Kilimangiaro (1986)

PG-13 | 95 min | Action

An American college student in 1930s Africa searches for a lost diamond mine near Mt. Kilimanjaro. He must battle Nazis who are using the mine to finance their war plans, Chinese gangsters ... See full summary »

Director: Mino Guerrini | Stars: Tobias Hoesl, Elena Pompei, Christopher Connelly, Matteo Corsini

Votes: 70

35. Bloodstone (1988)

PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

When an newlywed American couple goes to India on their honeymoon, little do they realize that they were about to go on the adventure of their life time. A ruby, back from the ages of the ... See full summary »

Director: Dwight H. Little | Stars: Brett Stimely, Rajinikanth, Anna Nicholas, Charlie Brill

Votes: 504

36. Top Line (1988)

94 min | Sci-Fi

Author Ted Angelo discovers a U.F.O. in the Columbian jungle. When he tries to spread the word, he earns more than the usual disbelief. Suddenly he's hunted by almost every organization, ... See full summary »

Director: Nello Rossati | Stars: Franco Nero, Deborah Moore, Mary Stavin, William Berger

Votes: 249

A kind-of Romancing the Stone rip-off but then the hero stumbles across a centuries-old flying saucer.

This is the first crossover between archaeological adventurers and ancient aliens that I know about. Even though it isn't quite in the "so bad it's good" territory I think I'd still rather watch this than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (which feels like a fancier version of Top Line).

37. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

65 Metascore

When Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. must follow in his father's footsteps to stop the Nazis from getting their hands on the Holy Grail first.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 594,689 | Gross: $197.17M

38. River of Death (1989)

R | 107 min | Adventure

An adventurer (Hamilton) decides to go in search of the lost city in the Amazon jungle. A motley crew of other people with reasons of their own decide to join him for the wealth of the lost... See full summary »

Director: Steve Carver | Stars: Michael Dudikoff, Donald Pleasence, Robert Vaughn, Herbert Lom

Votes: 858 | Gross: $0.54M

39. The Serpent of Death (1990)

R | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

An unscrupulous archaeologist searches for Alexander's treasure, using clues he finds by desecrating historical sites and artifacts; but he is not the only one who is trying to find the treasure.

Director: Anwar Kawadri | Stars: Jeff Fahey, Camilla More, Spiros Focás, Michael Gothard

Votes: 107

40. Armour of God 2: Operation Condor (1991)

PG-13 | 80 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Agent Jackie is hired to find WWII Nazi gold hidden in the Sahara desert. He teams up with three bungling women (the 3 stooges?) who are all connected in some way. However a team of ... See full summary »

Director: Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Carol 'Do Do' Cheng, Eva Cobo, Shôko Ikeda

Votes: 15,833 | Gross: $10.44M

aka Operation Condor or Armour of God II

41. Yôkai hantâ: Hiruko (1991)

89 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

A school was built on one of the Gates of Hell, behind which hordes of demons await the moment they will be free to roam the Earth. Hiruko is a goblin sent to Earth on a reconnaissance ... See full summary »

Director: Shin'ya Tsukamoto | Stars: Kenji Sawada, Masaki Kudou, Hideo Murota, Naoto Takenaka

Votes: 1,010

42. Xi Zang xiao zi (1992)

97 min | Action, Fantasy

A monk from Tibet is sent to Hong Kong by his master. He is to recover a magical bottle to which he has the cap from a lawyer. When these items were united long ago they protected Tibet ... See full summary »

Director: Biao Yuen | Stars: Biao Yuen, Michelle Reis, Wah Yuen, Nina Li Chi

Votes: 266

aka Kid from Tibet

43. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992–1993)

45 min | Action, Adventure, Family

The adventures of the archaeological treasure hunter in his youth as related by an elderly Indiana Jones.

Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, George Hall, Corey Carrier, Ronny Coutteure

Votes: 6,219

44. Stargate (1994)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

42 Metascore

An interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, Viveca Lindfors

Votes: 159,791 | Gross: $71.57M

Also introduces ancient astronaut themes as well as Daniel Jackson, one of the best known recent archaeological adventurers.

45. City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Western

43 Metascore

one year after their first western adventure, Mitch Robbins and his friends discover a treasure map that belonged to their late trail guide Curly and they set out to discover its secrets.

Director: Paul Weiland | Stars: Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Daniel Stern, Jon Lovitz

Votes: 16,335 | Gross: $43.62M

46. Double Blast (1994 Video)

PG | 89 min | Action, Drama

Two kids with martial arts training and their black belt father rescue a female professor from gangsters, because they want a stone tablet that she has discovered which may lead to untold ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Spring | Stars: Linda Blair, Dale Cook, Joe Estevez, Lorne Berfield

Votes: 86

47. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Hollywood Follies (1994 TV Movie)

94 min | Action, Adventure

Indiana Jones struggles to help film director Erich von Stroheim finish his latest film with limited time and budget.

Director: Michael Schultz | Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Allison Smith, Bill Cusack, Julia Campbell

Votes: 433

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was edited into 22 TV movies, of which this seems to be the earliest one.

48. MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis (1994 TV Movie)

93 min | Action, Adventure

MacGyver and his former college professor are first hunting some artifacts attributed to Zenon, an ancient scientist from Atlantis, and later the lost city of Atlantis itself.

Director: Michael Vejar | Stars: Richard Dean Anderson, Brian Blessed, Sophie Ward, Christian Burgess

Votes: 1,703

MacGyver gets in on the Indiana Jones business, and Brian Blessed helps him.

49. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Attack of the Hawkmen (1995 TV Movie)

96 min | Adventure, War

Young Indiana Jones takes to the skies in the new French air force, and parachutes into Germany to convince Anthony Fokker to defect.

Director: Ben Burtt | Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Ronny Coutteure, Patrick Toomey, Marc Warren

Votes: 517

There are an awful lot of these.

50. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Treasure of the Peacock's Eye (1995 TV Movie)

94 min | Action, Adventure