It is becoming increasingly important for multimedia databases to provide capabilities for content-based retrieval of composite objects. Composite objects consist of several simple objects which have feature, spatial, temporal, semantic attributes, and spatial and temporal relationships between them. A content-based composite object query is satisfied by evaluating a program of content-based rules (i.e., color, texture), spatial and temporal rules (i.e., east, west), fuzzy conjunctions (i.e., appears similar AND is spatially near) and database lookups (i.e., semantics). We propose a new sequential processing method for efficiently computing content-based queries of composite objects. The proposed method evaluates the composite object queries by (1) defining an efficient ordering of the sub-goals of the query, which involve spatial, temporal, content-based and fuzzy rules, (2) developing a query block management strategy for generating, evaluating, and caching intermediate sub-goal results, and (3) conducting a best-first dynamic programming-based search with intelligent back-tracking. The method is guaranteed to find the optimal answer to the query and reduces the query time by avoiding the exploration of unlikely candidates.