Indiana Jones

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Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones character
Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.jpg
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark
First appearance Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Created by George Lucas
Portrayed byFilms:
Harrison Ford
(ages 36–58)
River Phoenix
(age 13)
TV series:
Corey Carrier
(ages 8–10)
Sean Patrick Flanery
(ages 16–21)
Harrison Ford
(age 50)
George Hall
(age 93)
(age 3)
Neil Boulane
Voiced byVideo games:
Doug Lee
(Fate of Atlantis,
Infernal Machine)
David Esch
(Emperor's Tomb)
John Armstrong
(Staff of Kings)
Full nameHenry Walton Jones, Jr.
Henri Defense [1]
Mungo Kidogo [2]
Captain Dynamite, Scourge of the Kaiser [2]
Jonesy [3] [4] [5]
TitleDoctor (Ph.D.)
Capitan (Belgian Army)
Colonel (United States Army) (WWII)
OccupationU.S Army Officer (OSS)
College Professor Archeologist
Family Henry Walton Jones, Sr. (father) (deceased)
Anna Mary Jones (mother) (deceased)
Susie Jones (sister) (deceased) [6]
SpouseDeirdre Campbell Jones (1926) [7]
Marion Ravenwood Jones (1957–present)
ChildrenSusan Jones (daughter)
Henry Walton "Mutt" Jones III (son) [8]
ReligionCatholic (nominal) [9]
Nationality American

Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr. is the title character and protagonist of the Indiana Jones franchise. George Lucas created the character in homage to the action heroes of 1930s film serials. The character first appeared in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark , to be followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles from 1992 to 1996, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. The character is also featured in novels, comics, video games, and other media. Jones is also featured in several Disney theme parks, including the Indiana Jones Adventure, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, and Epic Stunt Spectacular! attractions.

Protagonist the main character of a creative work

A protagonist is a main character of a story.

Indiana Jones is an American media franchise based on the adventures of Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr., a fictional professor of archaeology. It began in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. A prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, followed in 1984, and a sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was released in 1989. A fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released in 2008, and was the last in the series to be distributed by Paramount Pictures. A fifth film is scheduled to be released in mid-2021. The series was created by George Lucas, and its films are directed by Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford as the title character. The Walt Disney Company has owned the Indiana Jones intellectual property since its acquisition of Lucasfilm, the series' production company, in 2012, when George Lucas sold it for $4 billion. Paramount retains the distribution rights to the first four films and television series.

George Lucas American film director and producer

George Walton Lucas Jr. is an American filmmaker and entrepreneur. Lucas is known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and founding Lucasfilm, LucasArts and Industrial Light & Magic. He served as chairman of Lucasfilm before selling it to The Walt Disney Company in 2012.


Jones is most famously portrayed by Harrison Ford and has also been portrayed by River Phoenix (as the young Jones in The Last Crusade) and in the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles by Corey Carrier, Sean Patrick Flanery, and George Hall. Doug Lee has supplied the voice of Jones for two LucasArts video games, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine , David Esch supplied his voice for Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb , and John Armstrong for Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings . [10]

Harrison Ford American film actor

Harrison Ford is an American actor. He gained worldwide fame for his starring roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars film series and as the title character of Indiana Jones movie series. Ford is also known for playing Rick Deckard in the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner (1982) and its sequel Blade Runner 2049 (2017); John Book in the thriller Witness (1985), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor; and Jack Ryan in the action films Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994).

River Phoenix American actor, musician, and activist

River Jude Phoenix was an American actor, musician, and activist. He was the older brother of Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Liberty Phoenix, and Summer Phoenix.

<i>The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles</i> television series

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is an American television series that aired on ABC from March 4, 1992, to July 24, 1993. Filming took place in various locations around the world, with "Old Indy" bookend segments filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina and on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The series was an Amblin Television/Lucasfilm production in association with Paramount Network Television.

Jones is characterized by his iconic accoutrements (bullwhip, fedora, satchel, [11] [12] and leather jacket), wry, witty and sarcastic sense of humor, deep knowledge of ancient civilizations and languages, and fear of snakes.


A bullwhip is a single-tailed whip, usually made of braided leather, designed as a tool for working with livestock.

Fedora wide brimmed felt hat with a pinched crown

A fedora is a hat with a soft brim and indented crown. It is typically creased lengthwise down the crown and "pinched" near the front on both sides. Fedoras can also be creased with teardrop crowns, diamond crowns, center dents, and others, and the positioning of pinches can vary. The typical crown height is 4.5 inches (11 cm).

Satchel bag

A satchel is a bag, often with a strap. The strap is often worn so that it diagonally crosses the body, with the bag hanging on the opposite hip, rather than hanging directly down from the shoulder. They are traditionally used for carrying books. The back of a satchel extends to form a flap that folds over to cover the top and fastens in the front. Unlike a briefcase, a satchel is soft-sided.

Since his first appearance in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones has become one of cinema's most famous characters. In 2003, the American Film Institute ranked him the second greatest film hero of all time. [13] He was also named the 1st Greatest Movie Character by Empire magazine. [14] Entertainment Weekly ranked Indiana 2nd on their list of The All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture. [15] Premiere magazine also placed Indiana at number 7 on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. [16]

American Film Institute nonprofit educational arts organization devoted to film

The American Film Institute (AFI) is an American film organization that educates filmmakers and honors the heritage of the motion picture arts in the United States. AFI is supported by private funding and public membership fees.

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes & Villains is a list of the one-hundred greatest screen characters as chosen by the American Film Institute in June 2003. It is part of the AFI 100 Years... series. The list was first presented in a CBS special hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The presentation programme was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.

<i>Empire</i> (film magazine) British monthly film magazine

Empire is a British film magazine published monthly by Bauer Consumer Media of Hamburg based Bauer Media Group. From the first issue in July 1989, the magazine was edited by Barry McIlheney and published by Emap. Bauer purchased Emap Consumer Media in early 2008. Published in the United Kingdom, Empire organises the annual Empire Awards which were sponsored by Sony Ericsson, and from 2009 sponsored by Jameson. The awards are voted for by readers of the magazine.



<i>Raiders of the Lost Ark</i> 1981 action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Lawrence Kasdan from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by Frank Marshall for Lucasfilm Ltd., with Lucas and Howard Kazanjian as executive producers. The film originated from Lucas's desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s.

<i>Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom</i> 1984 action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, featuring Harrison Ford reprising his role as the title character. After arriving in North India, Indiana Jones is asked by desperate villagers to find a mystical stone and rescue their children from a Thuggee cult practicing child slavery, black magic and ritualistic human sacrifice in honor of the goddess Kali.

<i>Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade</i> 1989 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. It is the third installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford reprises the title role, while his father is portrayed by Sean Connery. Other cast members featured include Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott, Julian Glover, River Phoenix, and John Rhys-Davies. In the film, set largely in 1938, Indiana searches for his father, a Holy Grail scholar, who has been kidnapped by Nazis.

A native of Princeton, New Jersey, Indiana Jones was introduced as a tenured professor of archeology in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark , set in 1936. The character is an adventurer reminiscent of the 1930s film serial treasure hunters and pulp action heroes. His research is funded by Marshall College (named after producer Frank Marshall), [17] a fictional college of Yale University in Connecticut, where he is a professor of archaeology. He also attended the University of Chicago.

Princeton, New Jersey Borough in New Jersey, United States

Princeton is a municipality with a borough form of government in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States, that was established in its current form on January 1, 2013, through the consolidation of the Borough of Princeton and Princeton Township. As of the 2010 United States Census, the municipality's population was 28,572, reflecting the former township's population of 16,265, along with the 12,307 in the former borough.

Pulp magazine Cheap fiction magazines made from 1896 to the 1950s

Pulp magazines were inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the late 1950s. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. In contrast, magazines printed on higher-quality paper were called "glossies" or "slicks". The typical pulp magazine had 128 pages; it was 7 inches (18 cm) wide by 10 inches (25 cm) high, and 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) thick, with ragged, untrimmed edges.

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Yale consistently ranks among the top universities in the world.

In this first adventure, he is pitted against Nazis commissioned by Hitler to recover artifacts of great power from the Old Testament (see Nazi archaeology). In consequence, Dr Jones travels the world to prevent them from recovering the Ark of the Covenant (see also Biblical archaeology). He is aided by Marion Ravenwood and Sallah. The Nazis are led by Jones's archrival, a Nazi-sympathizing French archaeologist named René Belloq, and Arnold Toht, a sinister Gestapo agent.

In the 1984 prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom , set in 1935, Jones travels to India and attempts to free enslaved children and the three Sankara stones from the bloodthirsty Thuggee cult. He is aided by Short Round, a young boy, and is accompanied by singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw). The prequel is not as centered on archaeology as Raiders of the Lost Ark and is considerably darker.

The third film, 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade , set in 1938, returned to the formula of the original, reintroducing characters such as Sallah and Marcus Brody, a scene from Professor Jones's classroom (he now teaches at Barnett College), the globe trotting element of multiple locations, and the return of the infamous Nazi mystics, this time trying to find the Holy Grail. The film's introduction, set in 1912, provided some back story to the character, specifically the origin of his fear of snakes, his use of a bullwhip, the scar on his chin, and his hat; the film's epilogue also reveals that "Indiana" is not Jones's first name, but a nickname he took from the family dog. The film was a buddy movie of sorts, teaming Jones with his father, Henry Jones, Sr., often to comical effect. Although Lucas intended to make five Indiana Jones films, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the last for over eighteen years, as he could not think of a good plot element to drive the next installment. [18]

The 2008 film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull , is the latest film in the series. Set in 1957, 19 years after the third film, it pits an older, wiser Indiana Jones against Soviet agents bent on harnessing the power of an extraterrestrial device discovered in South America. Jones is aided in his adventure by his former lover, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), and her son—a young greaser named Henry "Mutt" Williams (Shia LaBeouf), later revealed to be Jones' unknown child. There were rumors that Harrison Ford would not return for any future installments and LaBeouf would take over the Indy franchise. [19] This film also reveals that Jones was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, attaining the rank of colonel in the United States Army. He is tasked with conducting covert operations with MI6 agent George McHale against the Soviet Union.

In March 2016, Disney announced a fifth Indiana Jones film in development, with Ford and Spielberg set to return to the franchise. Initially set for release on July 10, 2020, [20] the film's release date was pushed back to July 9, 2021 [21] due to production issues.


Indiana Jones as he appears at Disney theme parks. Hollywood Studios - Indy and the idol - by hyku.jpg
Indiana Jones as he appears at Disney theme parks.

Indiana Jones is featured at several Walt Disney theme park attractions. The Indiana Jones Adventure attractions at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea ("Temple of the Forbidden Eye" and "Temple of the Crystal Skull," respectively) place Indy at the forefront of two similar archaeological discoveries. These two temples each contain a wrathful deity who threatens the guests who ride through in World War II troop transports. The attractions, some of the most expensive of their kind at the time, [22] opened in 1995 [23] and 2001, [24] [25] respectively, with sole design credit attributed to Walt Disney Imagineering.[ citation needed ] Disney did not originally license Harrison Ford's likeness for the American version;[ citation needed ] nonetheless, a differentiated Indiana Jones audio-animatronic character appears at three points in both attractions. However, the Indiana Jones featured in the DisneySea version does use Harrison Ford's likeness but uses Japanese audio for all of his speaking parts.[ citation needed ] In 2010, some of the Indy audio-animatronics at the Disneyland version were replaced with ones resembling Ford. [26]

Disneyland Paris also features an Indiana Jones-titled ride where people speed off through ancient ruins in a runaway mine wagon similar to that found in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom . Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is a looping roller coaster engineered by Intamin, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, and opened in 1993.

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! is a live show that has been presented in the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park of the Walt Disney World Resort with few changes since the park's 1989 opening, as Disney-MGM Studios. The 25-minute show presents various stunts framed in the context of a feature film production, and recruits members of the audience to participate in the show. Stunt artists in the show re-create and ultimately reveal some of the secrets of the stunts of the Raiders of the Lost Ark films, including the well-known "running-from-the-boulder" scene. Stunt performer Anislav Varbanov was fatally injured in August 2009, while rehearsing the popular show. [27] Also at Disney's Hollywood Studios, an audio-animatronic Indiana Jones appears in another attraction; during The Great Movie Ride's Raiders of the Lost Ark segment. [28]


Graphic novels

Indy also appears in the 2004 Dark Horse Comics story Into the Great Unknown, collected in Star Wars Tales Volume 5 . In this non-canon story bringing together two of Harrison Ford's best-known roles, Indy and Short Round discover a crash-landed Millennium Falcon in the Pacific Northwest, along with Han Solo's skeleton and the realization that a rumored nearby Sasquatch is in fact Chewbacca. Indy also appears in a series of Marvel Comics.

Movie tie-in novelizations

The four Indiana Jones film scripts were novelized and published in the time-frame of the films' initial releases. [29] Raiders of the Lost Ark was novelized by Campbell Black based on the script by Lawrence Kasdan that was based on the story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman and published in April 1981 by Ballantine Books; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was novelized by James Kahn and based on the script by Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz that was based on the story by George Lucas and published May 1984 by Ballantine Books; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was novelized by Rob MacGregor based on the script by Jeffrey Boam that was based on a story by George Lucas and Menno Meyjes and published June 1989 by Ballantine Books. Nearly 20 years later Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was novelized by James Rollins based on the script by David Koepp based on the story by George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson and published May 2008 by Ballantine Books. In addition, in 2008 to accompany the release of Kingdom of Skulls, Scholastic Books published juvenile novelizations of the four scripts written, successively in the order above, by Ryder Windham, Suzanne Weyn, Ryder Windham, and James Luceno. All these books have been reprinted, with Raiders of the Lost Ark being retitled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. While these are the principal titles and authors, there are numerous other volumes derived from the four film properties.

Original novels

From February 1991 through February 1999, twelve original Indiana Jones-themed adult novels were licensed by Lucasfilm, Ltd. and written by three genre authors of the period. Ten years afterward, a thirteenth original novel was added, also written by a popular genre author. The first twelve were published by Bantam Books; the last by Ballantine Books in 2009. (See Indiana Jones (franchise) for broad descriptions of these original adult novels.) The novels are: [30]

  • Rob MacGregor (author)
  • Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi , February 1991.
  • Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants , June 1991.
  • Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils , December 1991.
  • Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge, February 1992.
  • Indiana Jones and the Unicorn's Legacy, September 1992.
  • Indiana Jones and the Interior World, December 1992.
  • Martin Caidin (author)
  • Indiana Jones and the Sky Pirates, December 1993.
  • Indiana Jones and the White Witch, April 1994.
  • Max McCoy (author)
  • Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone, May 1995.
  • Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs, March 1996.
  • Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth, March 1997.
  • Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx, February 1999.
  • Steve Perry (author)
  • Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead, September 2009.


From 1992 to 1996, George Lucas executive-produced a television series named The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles , aimed mainly at teenagers and children, which showed many of the important events and historical figures of the early 20th century through the prism of Indiana Jones' life.

Sean Patrick Flanery as the young adult Indiana Jones. Sean Patrick Flanery, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.jpg
Sean Patrick Flanery as the young adult Indiana Jones.

The show initially featured the formula of an elderly (93 to 94 years of age) Indiana Jones played by George Hall introducing a story from his youth by way of an anecdote: the main part of the episode then featured an adventure with either a young adult Indy (16 to 21 years of age) played by Sean Patrick Flanery or a child Indy (8 to 11 years) played by Corey Carrier. One episode, "Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues", is bookended by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, rather than Hall. Later episodes and telemovies did not have this bookend format.

The bulk of the series centers around the young adult Indiana Jones and his activities during World War I as a 16- to 17-year-old soldier in the Belgian Army and then as an intelligence officer and spy seconded to French intelligence. The child Indy episodes follow the boy's travels around the globe as he accompanies his parents on his father's worldwide lecture tour from 1908 to 1910.

The show provided some backstory for the films, as well as new information regarding the character. Indiana Jones was born July 1, 1899, and his middle name is Walton (Lucas's middle name). It is also mentioned that he had a sister called Suzie who died as an infant of fever, and that he eventually has a daughter and grandchildren who appear in some episode introductions and epilogues. His relationship with his father, first introduced in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was further fleshed out with stories about his travels with his father as a young boy. Indy damages or loses his right eye sometime between the events in 1957 and the early 1990s, when the "Old Indy" segments take place, as the elderly Indiana Jones wears an eyepatch.

In 1999, Lucas removed the episode introductions and epilogues by George Hall for the VHS and DVD releases, and re-edited the episodes into chronologically ordered feature-length stories. The series title was also changed to The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.

Video games

The character has appeared in several officially licensed games, beginning with adaptations of Raiders of the Lost Ark , Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom , two adaptations of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (one with purely action mechanics, one with an adventure and puzzle based structure) and Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures , which included the storylines from all three of the original films.

Following this, the games branched off into original storylines with Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis , Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine , Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb and Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings . [31] Emperor's Tomb sets up Jones's companion Wu Han and the search for Nurhaci's ashes seen at the beginning of Temple of Doom. The first two games were developed by Hal Barwood and starred Doug Lee as the voice of Indiana Jones; Emperor's Tomb had David Esch fill the role and Staff of Kings starred John Armstrong.

Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine was the first Indy-based game presented in three dimensions, as opposed to 8-bit graphics and side-scrolling games before.

There is also a small game from Lucas Arts Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures . A video game was made for young Indy called Young Indiana Jones and the Instruments of Chaos, as well as a video game version of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles .

Two Lego Indiana Jones games have also been released. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures was released in 2008 [32] and follows the plots of the first three films. It was followed by Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues in late 2009. The sequel includes an abbreviated reprise of the first three films, but focuses on the plot of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull .

Social gaming company Zynga introduced Indiana Jones to their "Adventure World" game in late 2011. [33]

Character description and formation

Harrison Ford as the mature Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Indianajones4.jpg
Harrison Ford as the mature Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

"Indiana" Jones's full name is Dr. Henry Walton Jones Jr., [34] and his nickname is often shortened to "Indy".

In his role as a college professor of archaeology, Jones is scholarly and learned in a tweed suit, lecturing on ancient civilizations. At the opportunity to recover important artifacts, Dr. Jones transforms into "Indiana," a "non-superhero superhero" image he has concocted for himself. [35] Producer Frank Marshall said, "Indy [is] a fallible character. He makes mistakes and gets hurt. ... That's the other thing people like: He's a real character, not a character with superpowers." [36] Spielberg said there "was the willingness to allow our leading man to get hurt and to express his pain and to get his mad out and to take pratfalls and sometimes be the butt of his own jokes. I mean, Indiana Jones is not a perfect hero, and his imperfections, I think, make the audience feel that, with a little more exercise and a little more courage, they could be just like him." [37] According to Spielberg biographer Douglas Brode, Indiana created his heroic figure so as to escape the dullness of teaching at a school. Both of Indiana's personas reject one another in philosophy, creating a duality. [35] Harrison Ford said the fun of playing the character was that Indiana is both a romantic and a cynic, [38] while scholars have analyzed Indiana as having traits of a lone wolf; a man on a quest; a noble treasure hunter; a hardboiled detective; a human superhero; and an American patriot. [39]

Like many characters in his films, Jones has some autobiographical elements of Spielberg. Indiana lacks a proper father figure because of his strained relationship with his father, Henry Senior. His own contained anger is misdirected towards Professor Abner Ravenwood, his mentor at the University of Chicago, leading to a strained relationship with Marion Ravenwood. [35] The teenage Indiana bases his own look on a figure from the prologue of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade , after being given his hat. [40] Marcus Brody acts as Indiana's positive role model at the college. [40] Indiana's own insecurities are made worse by the absence of his mother. [41] In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom , he becomes the father figure to Willie Scott and Short Round, to survive; he is rescued from Kali's evil by Short Round's dedication. Indiana also saves many enslaved children. [41]

Indiana uses his knowledge of Shiva to defeat Mola Ram. [41] In Raiders of the Lost Ark, he is wise enough to close his eyes in the presence of God in the Ark of the Covenant. By contrast, his rival Rene Belloq is killed for having the audacity to try to communicate directly with God. [35]

In the prologue of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jones is seen as a teenager, establishing his look when given a fedora hat. Indiana's intentions are revealed as prosocial, as he believes artifacts "belong in a museum." In the film's climax, Indiana undergoes "literal" tests of faith to retrieve the Grail and save his father's life. He also remembers Jesus as a historical figure – a humble carpenter – rather than an exalted figure when he recognizes the simple nature and tarnished appearance of the real Grail amongst a large assortment of much more ornately decorated ones. Henry Senior rescues his son from falling to his death when reaching for the fallen Grail, telling him to "let it go," overcoming his mercenary nature. [40] The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles explains how Indiana becomes solitary and less idealistic following his service in World War I. [42] In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull , Jones is older and wiser, whereas his sidekicks Mutt and Mac are youthfully, arrogant, and greedy, respectively. [43]

Origins and inspirations

Indiana Jones is modeled after the strong-jawed heroes of the matinée serials and pulp magazines that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg enjoyed in their childhoods (such as the Republic Pictures serials, and the Doc Savage series). Sir H. Rider Haggard's safari guide/big game hunter Allan Quatermain of King Solomon's Mines is a notable template for Jones. [44] The two friends first discussed the project in Hawaii around the time of the release of the first Star Wars film. [45] Spielberg told Lucas how he wanted his next project to be something fun, like a James Bond film (this would later be referenced when they cast Sean Connery as Henry Jones Sr.). According to sources, Lucas responded to the effect that he had something "even better", [45] or that he'd "got that beat." [46]

One of the possible bases for Indiana Jones is Professor Challenger, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1912 for his novel, The Lost World. Challenger was based on Doyle's physiology professor, William Rutherford, an adventuring academic, albeit a zoologist/anthropologist. [47]

Another important influence on the development of the character Indiana Jones is the Disney character Scrooge McDuck. Carl Barks created Scrooge in 1947 as a one-off relation for Donald Duck in the latter's self-titled comic book. [48] Barks realized that the character had more potential, so a separate Uncle Scrooge comic book series full of exciting and strange adventures in the company of his duck nephews was developed. This Uncle Scrooge comic series strongly influenced George Lucas. [49] This appreciation of Scrooge as an adventurer influenced the development of Jones, with the prologue of Raiders of the Lost Ark containing homage to Barks' Scrooge adventure ″The Seven Cities of Cibola,″ published in Uncle Scrooge #7 from September 1954. [50] This homage in the film takes the form of playfully mimicking the removal-of-the-statuette-from-its-pedestal and the falling-stone sequences of the comic book. [51] [52] [53]

The character was originally named Indiana Smith, after an Alaskan Malamute called Indiana that Lucas owned in the 1970s [54] and on which he based the Star Wars character Chewbacca. [55] Spielberg disliked the name Smith, and Lucas casually suggested Jones as an alternative. [45] The Last Crusade script references the name's origin, with Jones's father revealing his son's birth name to be Henry and explaining that "we named the dog Indiana", to his son's chagrin. [56] Some have also posited that C.L. Moore’s science fiction character Northwest Smith may have also influenced Lucas and Spielberg in their naming choice. [57]

Lucas has said on various occasions that Sean Connery's portrayal of British secret agent James Bond was one of the primary inspirations for Jones, a reason Connery was chosen for the role of Indiana's father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade . [58] [59] Spielberg earned the rank of Eagle Scout and Ford the Life Scout badge in their youth, which gave them the inspiration to portray Indiana Jones as a Life Scout at age 13 in The Last Crusade. [60]

Costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis noted that the inspiration for the series as well as Indiana Jones' outfit was Charlton Heston's Harry Steele in Secret of the Incas (1954) and called Raiders of the Lost Ark "almost a shot for shot" remake of the Heston film, stating that Indiana Jones was "a kinder, gentler Harry Steele." Landis also stated that "We did watch this film together as a crew several times, and I always thought it strange that the filmmakers did not credit it later as the inspiration for the series." [61]

Historical models

Many people are said to be the real-life inspiration of the Indiana Jones character—although none of the following have been confirmed as inspirations by Lucas or Spielberg. There are some suggestions listed here in alphabetical order by last name:


Upon requests by Spielberg and Lucas, the costume designer gave the character a distinctive silhouette through the styling of the hat; after examining many hats, the designers chose a tall-crowned, wide-brimmed fedora. As a documentary of Raiders pointed out, the hat served a practical purpose. Following the lead of the old "B"-movies that inspired the Indiana Jones series, the fedora hid the actor's face sufficiently to allow doubles to perform the more dangerous stunts seamlessly. Examples in Raiders include the wider-angle shot of Indy and Marion crashing a statue through a wall, and Indy sliding under a fast-moving vehicle from front to back. Thus it was necessary for the hat to stay in place much of the time.

The hat became so iconic that the filmmakers could only come up with very good reasons or jokes to remove it. If it ever fell off during a take, filming would have to stop to put it back on. In jest, Ford put a stapler against his head to stop his hat from falling off when a documentary crew visited during shooting of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This created the urban legend that Ford stapled the hat to his head. [80] Anytime Indy's hat accidentally came off as part of the storyline (blown off by the wind, knocked off, etc.) and seemed almost irretrievable, filmmakers would make sure Indy and his hat were always reunited, regardless of the implausibility of its return. Although other hats were also used throughout the films, the general style and profile remained the same. Elements of the outfit include:

The fedora and leather jacket from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are on display at the Smithsonian Institution's American History Museum in Washington, D.C. [87] The collecting of props and clothing from the films has become a thriving hobby for some aficionados of the franchise. [88] Jones' whip was the third most popular film weapon, as shown by a 2008 poll held by 20th Century Fox, which surveyed approximately two thousand film fans. [89]


Originally, Spielberg suggested Harrison Ford; Lucas resisted the idea, since he had already cast the actor in American Graffiti , Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back , and did not want Ford to become known as his "Bobby De Niro" (in reference to the fact that fellow director Martin Scorsese regularly casts Robert De Niro in his films). [45] During an intensive casting process, Lucas and Spielberg auditioned many actors, and finally cast actor Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones. Shortly afterward pre-production began in earnest on Raiders of the Lost Ark. [45] However, CBS refused to release Selleck from his contractual commitment to Magnum, P.I. (which was gradually gaining momentum in the ratings), forcing him to turn down the role. [45] One of CBS's concerns was that shooting for Magnum P.I. conflicted with shooting for Raiders, both of which were to begin about the same time. However, Selleck was to say later in an interview that shooting for Magnum P.I. was delayed and did not actually begin until shooting for Raiders had concluded.

Subsequently, Peter Coyote and Tim Matheson both auditioned for the role. However, after Spielberg suggested Ford again, Lucas relented, and Ford was cast in the role less than three weeks before filming began. [45]

Cultural impact

Archaeological influence

The industry magazine Archaeology named eight past and present archaeologists who they felt "embodied [Jones'] spirit" as recipients of the Indy Spirit Awards in 2008. [90] That same year Ford himself was elected to the Board of Directors for the Archaeological Institute of America. Commenting that "understanding the past can only help us in dealing with the present and the future," Ford was praised by the association's president for his character's "significant role in stimulating the public's interest in archaeological exploration." [91]

He is perhaps the most influential character in films that explore archaeology. Since the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, the very idea of archaeology and archaeologists has fundamentally shifted. Prior to the film's release, the stereotypical image of an archaeologist was that of an older, lackluster professor type. In the early years of films involving archaeologists, they were portrayed as victims who would need to be rescued by a more masculine or heroic figure. [92] Following 1981, the stereotypical archaeologist was thought of as an adventurer consistently engaged in fieldwork. [93]

Archeologist Anne Pyburn described the influence of Indiana Jones as elitist and sexist, and argued that the film series had caused new discoveries in the field of archaeology to become oversimplified and overhyped in an attempt to gain public interest, which negatively influences archaeology as a whole. [94] Eric Powell, an editor with the magazine Archaeology, said "O.K., fine, the movie romanticizes what we do", and that "Indy may be a horrible archeologist, but he's a great diplomat for archeology. I think we'll see a spike in kids who want to become archeologists". [90] Kevin McGeoughs, associate professor of archaeology, describes the original archaeological criticism of the film as missing the point of the film: "dramatic interest is what is at issue, and it is unlikely that film will change in order to promote and foster better archaeological techniques". [92]


Cosplay of Indiana Jones and associated characters at Fan Expo Canada 2016 in Toronto. Fan Expo Canada 2016 Indiana Jones IMG 0190.jpg
Cosplay of Indiana Jones and associated characters at Fan Expo Canada 2016 in Toronto.

While himself an homage to various prior adventurers, aspects of Indiana Jones also directly influenced some subsequent characterizations:

Related Research Articles

Indiana Jones Adventure dark ride attraction based on the Indiana Jones film series

The Indiana Jones Adventure is an enhanced motion vehicle dark ride attraction at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, based on the Indiana Jones film series. Guests accompany intrepid archaeologist Dr. Indiana Jones on a turbulent quest, aboard military troop transport vehicles, through a dangerous lost temple guarded by a supernatural power.

<i>Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull</i> 2008 film by Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a 2008 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones series. Released nineteen years after the previous film, the film is set in 1957, pitting Indiana Jones against Soviet agents—led by Irina Spalko —searching for a telepathic crystal skull. Jones is aided by his former lover, Marion Ravenwood, and her son, Mutt Williams. Ray Winstone, John Hurt, and Jim Broadbent are also part of the supporting cast.

Marion Ravenwood Indiana Jones character

Marion Ravenwood is a fictional character who first appeared in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Played by Karen Allen, she enters the story when Indiana Jones visits her in Nepal, needing her help to locate the Ark of the Covenant with a possession originally obtained by her father, Dr. Abner Ravenwood. After 27 years of absence, the character returned in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and was once again played by Allen.

Sallah fictional character in the Indiana Jones franchise

Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir, better known simply as Sallah, is a fictional character played by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies in two of the four Indiana Jones films; Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He also appears in various comics and novels, and is featured in the Disney theme park attractions, the Indiana Jones Adventure and The Great Movie Ride.

<i>Indiana Jones</i> (comics) comic book series

The Indiana Jones franchise has produced a large number of comic books. Marvel Comics initially owned the rights before passing them to Dark Horse Comics in 1990. Marvel published adaptations of the films Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, while Dark Horse adapted the Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis video game, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Lego Indiana Jones is a Lego theme based on the Indiana Jones film franchise, licensed from Lucasfilm. The exclusive franchise was first announced in June 2007, and followed the successful Lego Star Wars franchise, also with Lucasfilm. The first set of products were launched in 2008, based upon two of the three earlier films. Sets featuring scenes from the fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, were released alongside the film, later in 2008. The Temple of Doom film was not featured until 2009, in a large set which re-created the mine-cart chase using new narrow-gauge Lego train track.

<i>Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures</i> 2008 video game

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a Lego-themed action-adventure video game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by LucasArts. The game allows players to recreate moments from the first three Indiana Jones films: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). It features the same drop in/out co-operative play mode as seen in the Lego Star Wars video games, although it is restricted to local console play. The game was released on 3 June 2008 in the United States and Canada, and 6 June 2008 in Europe. A downloadable demo for Windows was made available on 13 May 2008. This game is based on the Lego Indiana Jones toy line. The Mac OS X version of the game was released on 4 December 2008 by Feral Interactive.

<i>Lego Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Brick</i> 2008 film by Peder Pedersen

Lego Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Brick (2008) is a 3-D computer-animated Lego short film that was directed by Peder Pedersen. It combines details from all four Indiana Jones features into one continuous adventure with a humorous twist, and includes several inside-jokes for fans of both the Indiana Jones films and the Star Wars series.

Golden Idol

The Fertility Idol, more commonly referred to as the Golden Idol, is a fictitious artifact that appears in the opening sequence of the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first entry in the Indiana Jones adventure film franchise directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first relic that the audience sees the protagonist Jones acquire, establishing him as a treasure hunter. The idol's likeness has become iconic in popular culture.

Indiana Jones is the title character of a film and media franchise, an archaeologist played by Harrison Ford.

<i>Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom</i> (soundtrack) 1984 film score by John Williams

The soundtrack to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a score release of the film's music, first released on CD & LP in 1984 and reissued on CD in 2008.

Since its debut in 1981, the Indiana Jones franchise has become part of American popular culture. References have been made in television series, movies, music and other material since the original film was released.


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