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  • Writer's pictureStuart Kavanagh

7 of the Longest Running Franchises in Film History

Franchises that have endured...

Last week, we saw the new trailer for the latest instalment of the Indiana Jones franchise released. It is the first film in the franchise since the widely panned Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was released all the way back in 2008.

Incredibly, the Indiana Jones franchise has been around for 42 years, ever since Raiders of the Lost Ark was released back in 1981. With that in mind, we are going to take a look at some of the longest running film franchises in big screen history.

Indiana Jones

This thrilling adventure series has captured our hearts since 1981, featuring Harrison Ford as the iconic archaeologist. Will James Mangold's upcoming instalment do the character justice? Find out on June 30th!

Indiana Jones is brilliantly portrayed by Harrison Ford. The intrepid archaeologist embodies courage, intelligence, and resourcefulness, qualities that have endeared him to fans across generations. His signature fedora, leather jacket, and whip have become emblematic of the character, further solidifying his status as a pop culture icon.

The films masterfully weave real historical events and artefacts with fictional elements, creating immersive and thrilling narratives that ignite viewers' imaginations. By exploring ancient civilisations and mythological relics, the franchise taps into our collective fascination with the unknown, resulting in an irresistible cinematic experience.

The Indiana Jones franchise is a beloved and enduring pillar of adventure cinema, thanks to its iconic protagonist, engaging storylines, and seamless fusion of history and fiction. As a testament to the creative genius of its creators, the series continues to inspire awe and wonder, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of film.


This sci-fi classic has been turning heads since 1984, with Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic portrayal of the Terminator. Exploring AI, fate, and humanity's survival, this trailblazing franchise continues to captivate us.

At the core of the franchise's enduring success is the iconic character of the Terminator, portrayed by the inimitable Arnold Schwarzenegger. His unforgettable line, "I'll be back," has transcended the screen, becoming an enduring symbol of the series. The Terminator's relentless pursuit of its target, coupled with its emotionless and seemingly indestructible nature, has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide.

The series also explores thought-provoking themes such as artificial intelligence, fate, and humanity's struggle for survival. It delves into the consequences of technological advancements and raises questions about the role of machines in our lives, something that is incredibly pertinent in these early days of mass used artificial intelligence.

The Terminator film franchise is a groundbreaking and influential series that has captivated viewers with its unique blend of thrilling action, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes. Put simply the Terminator franchise is a trailblazer in blockbuster sci-fi films.

Jurassic Park

Combining scientific wonder with awe-inspiring creatures, Jurassic Park has been a cornerstone of modern sci-fi since 1993. The franchise continues to capture our imaginations with its breathtaking visuals and thought-provoking themes.

Its enduring appeal is its exploration of the awe and terror of resurrected dinosaurs, brought to life through groundbreaking visual effects and animatronics. These majestic creatures, both fascinating and fearsome, have captivated audiences and sparked an enduring interest in palaeontology and the natural world.

Much like other franchises in this list, it touches on noteworthy subjects such as the ethical implications of scientific advancements and the consequences of playing with the forces of nature. These complex issues resonate with contemporary audiences and have kept the series relevant and engaging.

Additionally, the memorable characters, such as the visionary John Hammond, played by Richard Attenborough, and the pragmatic Dr. Alan Grant, portrayed by Sam Neill, have contributed to the series' success, with their depth and humanity grounding the fantastical elements of the story.

The Jurassic Park films are a triumphant and enduring force in science fiction and adventure cinema, thanks to its breathtaking visual effects, captivating creatures, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes. As a testament to the creative brilliance of its creators, the series continues to enthral and inspire.

Star Trek

This cultural phenomenon has been exploring space, human potential, and a better future since 1966. With iconic captains and diverse characters, the franchise continues to inspire hope and captivate audiences.

A key component of Star Trek's lasting appeal is its diverse and relatable characters, led by iconic captains such as James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, and Kathryn Janeway. These leaders, along with their dedicated crews, have ignited the imagination of audiences and exemplified the values of cooperation, curiosity, and diplomacy.

The Star Trek universe delves deep into thought-provoking themes, including ethics, politics, and the pursuit of knowledge. By addressing these complex issues through the lens of science fiction, the franchise encourages viewers to contemplate their own beliefs and envision a more optimistic future.

Furthermore, Star Trek is known for its groundbreaking special effects and imaginative set designs, which have consistently pushed the boundaries of visual storytelling. From the sleek starships to the myriad of alien species, the franchise's creative vision has been a driving force behind its success.

In a nutshell, the Star Trek franchise has captivated the hearts and minds of audiences with its engaging characters, insightful themes, and pioneering visual effects. As a beacon of hope and inspiration within the science fiction realm, the series has left an enduring mark on the fabric of popular culture.

James Bond

A symbol of intrigue and adventure, the Bond franchise has set the bar for action and espionage cinema since 1962. Featuring compelling protagonists, iconic gadgets, and unforgettable villains, this series shows no signs of slowing down.

A key factor in the franchise's sustained appeal is its enigmatic protagonist, James Bond, who has been portrayed by several talented actors, including Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig. This suave, sophisticated, and deadly secret agent has captivated viewers with his daring escapades and iconic gadgets, making him a timeless symbol of intrigue and adventure.

The franchise is also renowned for its memorable villains and their elaborate schemes, which consistently challenge Bond's wit and resourcefulness. These antagonists have become an integral part of the series' charm, contributing to its reputation as a thrilling and engaging cinematic experience.

Additionally, the James Bond films have always been ahead of the curve in terms of action sequences and visual effects. From innovative car chases to breathtaking stunts, the series has consistently raised the bar for action cinema, setting new standards for adrenaline-pumping entertainment.

The James Bond film franchise has captivated and entertained audiences for decades with its compelling protagonist, iconic gadgets, unforgettable villains, and unparalleled action sequences. As a shining example of creativity and innovation in action and espionage cinema, the series shows no signs of slowing down and continues to shape the landscape of modern film.

Mad Max

Blazing a trail in dystopian cinema since 1979, Mad Max features the compelling Max , an immersive post-apocalyptic setting, and unmatched action. This innovative franchise continues to leave its mark on the world of film.

At the heart of the franchise's enduring appeal is its brooding protagonist, Max , portrayed most notably by Mel Gibson and later by Tom Hardy. This haunted, resourceful loner navigates the desolate wasteland, fighting for survival and justice, making him an intriguing and relatable character in a brutal world.

The Mad Max films are celebrated for their immersive post-apocalyptic setting, marked by scarcity, tribalism, and the constant struggle for survival. This harsh backdrop serves as a canvas for exploring themes of humanity, resilience, and redemption, allowing the series to resonate with audiences on a deeper level.

Additionally, the franchise is renowned for its intense, adrenaline-fueled action sequences and stunning practical effects, which have pushed the boundaries of filmmaking. From the desolate roads of the original "Mad Max" to the jaw-dropping spectacle of "Mad Max: Fury Road," the series has consistently delivered exhilarating, pulse-pounding entertainment.

The Mad Max film series has mesmerised audiences with its gripping portrayal of a dystopian universe, compelling lead character, profound thematic explorations, and unmatched action. As a paragon of bold and inventive storytelling within the post-apocalyptic realm, the franchise continues to make a significant impact on the ever-evolving world of film.

Star Wars

A cultural touchstone since 1977, Star Wars has wowed us with epic adventures, unforgettable characters, and timeless themes. As a pillar of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, this saga continues to inspire generations to come.

One of the primary elements of Star Wars' enduring allure is the memorable cast of characters, including the likes of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. These heroes and villains have captured the hearts of viewers, embodying the struggle between the light and dark sides of the Force and inspiring countless fans.

The Star Wars universe is also renowned for its intricate world-building, encompassing a vast galaxy filled with diverse planets, civilisations, and creatures. This richly imagined cosmos has fueled the imaginations of fans, creating a sense of wonder and excitement that permeates the franchise.

Moreover, the series explores universal themes such as hope, redemption, and the power of choice, making the story resonate with audiences on a deeper level. These timeless motifs are woven throughout the epic narrative, adding depth and meaning to the thrilling adventures.

Furthermore, Star Wars has consistently pushed the envelope in terms of visual effects and sound design, with each instalment raising the bar for cinematic artistry. The franchise's groundbreaking innovations have left a lasting impact on the film industry.

The Star Wars saga has mesmerised fans with its enthralling narrative, iconic characters, expansive universe, and groundbreaking visual achievements. As a pillar of the science fiction and fantasy genres, the franchise has etched itself into the annals of cinematic history, leaving a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

What do you thinkof this list? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on our socials at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Stuart Kavanagh is a journalist currently residing in Broken Hill, Australia. He writes for the Barrier Truth newspaper, along with being the owner of the sports and entertainment website, He contributes at when time permits. He is also the Media & Communications Director at the Newosis Mental Health Foundation. You can find more about the work Newosis Mental Health Foundation does here.

Football mad, he is always down for debate and discussion at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.

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