Indiana Jones's Ten Finest Moments
by: Protoclown

Having grown up in the 1980s, it's certainly no surprise that Indiana Jones is one of my favorite action heroes of all time. I remember seeing all three movies in the theater, and it's occurred to me only recently, with something of a shock, that there are kids going into college now who were not yet alive when Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out. So many of today's youth may be unfamiliar with Dr. Jones and why he is so awesome, if they were not fortunate enough to see his adventures on VHS or DVD.

Maybe some teenagers don't understand why some "washed up old fart" like him getting a new movie has me seriously excited. So for those of you who missed out on the original ride, or for those who perhaps haven't seen the movies in a long time, I've prepared a list of some of Dr. Jones's finest moments. These aren't necessarily his most impressive feats, but rather key moments that define the character and why we love him so much. Because Indy isn't exactly your regular action hero--he often finds himself stumbling into success rather than achieving it because he's the best of the best or anything like that. He's an everyman who has to struggle to succeed--and he doesn't always get it right, which is a big part of why audiences respond to him so well.

And bear in mind before you decide that I left something off the list - these aren't the best moments of the Indiana Jones movies but rather the best moments of the man himself.

10. Willie Gets Ignored

There's a great sequence in Temple of Doom where Indy, Short Round, and Willie Scott have to camp for the night in the Indian jungle on their way to Pankot Palace. Indy and Short Round play poker while Willie dries her clothes from getting dunked in the water earlier. While she's on the outskirts of camp, she encounters just about every kind of creepy crawly jungle critter she can and freaks out screaming, running back and forth all over camp. Indy and Short Round continue their card game, however, completely ignoring her (save to complain about how loud she is) and catching each other in the act of cheating. I love this moment because it shows that Indy doesn't put up with anyone else's bullshit. Willie may annoy the hell out of the audience with all of her screeching, but Indy can't even be bothered to acknowledge her at all, and that makes him badass.

9. Indy Gets Pushy

After Indy sneaks aboard the German submarine in Raiders of the Lost Ark and joins the Nazis on their secret island, he finds himself in a base where the sub has docked. He quickly steals a guard's uniform so that he can blend in, and shortly after doing so, he sees rival French archeologist Rene Belloq approaching from the opposite direction. So what does he do? He goes out of his way to bump into him forcefully, totally risking his cover being blown, simply because Belloq is such a dick. It's a move that completely, 100% jeopardizes his mission, but he can't resist because he simply cannot suffer the presence of a complete prick like Belloq.

8. Face To Face With Der Führer

Indy and his father have to travel to Berlin to get back Dr. Jones Sr.'s stolen Grail diary in The Last Crusade, and they track down Dr. Elsa Scneider to a book burning rally where Hitler himself is in attendance giving a speech. After reacquiring the book, Indy gets pushed and shoved by the enthusiastic crowd and eventually finds himself right in front of the Führer, who has been signing books for Hitler youth. Hitler sees the disguised Jones holding the Grail diary and assumes he is a soldier wanting his book signed. From the stern look he gives Indy, we can tell that it is highly irregular for a grown man (particularly a soldier no less) to request an autograph like this. But Hitler signs the book without comment and continues on his way. This moment so perfectly captures the idea that Indy often finds himself in the worst possible situation and yet somehow manages to pass through on sheer luck alone.

7. "Whisky?"

In Raiders, shortly after Indy goes to Nepal to visit old flame Marion Ravenwood in her bar, some Nazis and their local thug brigade show up to rough up Marion and get the medallion they need to discover the location of the Ark of the Covenant. Fortunately for her, Indy decides to double back to the bar, and a chaotic fight ensues upon his arrival. This is the first time we actually see Indy in a proper fight, so we haven't witnessed how Indy handles himself just yet. When one of the thugs grabs Indy and shoves his face into the bar, upon which a trail of flames is getting ever closer to Indy's head, he merely reaches his arm out to Marion, crouching for cover behind the bar, and calmly asks "Whisky?", as if he's ordering a drink. She hands him a bottle, and he wastes no time in reaching back and smashing it over the thug's head. Here we learn that Indy is cool under pressure, which is fortunate, because he often finds himself under an abundance of it.

6. "Don't Call Me Junior!"

In The Last Crusade, after Indy comes to Castle Brunwald to rescue his father, the two of them are quickly captured by Nazi soldiers looking for the Grail diary. Father and son get into an argument over the diary after Henry Sr. learns that Indy brought the book with him from the United States, and at one point in the exchange, he refers to his son as "junior" in a condescending tone. This enrages Indy, who grabs a machine gun from the nearest German soldier before he can even react and blows away everybody in the room. Afterward, he turns to his father and snarls "don't call me junior!". Henry Sr. just stands there in shock, evidently unaware of the kinds of dangerous situations his son regularly gets himself into and the terrible things he needs to do to survive. It's just great to see Indy channeling his rage and using it to escape from something he probably otherwise would not have gotten out of.

5. Indy Joins The Mourners

After the tank Indy was fighting on plunges off a cliff in The Last Crusade, Henry Jones Sr., Marcus Brody, and Sallah all run over to the cliff ledge to view the wreckage below. They assume that there's no way Indy could have survived such a fall, so they stand there in shock, silently mourning his death. Meanwhile, Indy, who apparently jumped off the tank at the last minute, is climbing up the side of the cliff several yards away from the others. Unnoticed by them, he walks up beside them and peers over the cliff, marveling over his narrow escape. Henry Sr. looks over and does a double take when he sees his son standing next to them. It's a hilarious scene and it reminds us that no matter how bad a scrape he gets himself into, Indy always manages to find his way out of it.

4. A Skewer In The Stomach

After being double crossed and poisoned by some Chinese criminal underlords at Club Obi-Wan in Temple of Doom, Indy becomes furious when they laugh at him and refuse to give him the antidote. So he stumbles around frantically with the poison coursing through his body and bumps into a food cart being pushed by a waiter. Without thinking, he grabs a flaming meat skewer and throws it with all his might into the stomach of one of the laughing gangsters. Chaos immediately erupts as Willie Scott screams and everybody rushes to exit the club with their lives. This is easily the most gruesome death that Indy himself is responsible for (the plane propeller and rock crusher deaths don't count as Indy is not directly responsible for either), but it doesn't get the same level of recognition that some of the other deaths get.

3. Indy Cuts The Bridge

After escaping the Temple of Doom Indy and the others must make their way across a flimsy rope suspension bridge crossing over a crocodile-filled body of water far below. Willie and Short Round make it to the other side okay, but Indy is only halfway across when Mola Ram's minions show up and start approaching Jones from both sides of the bridge. Ram forces Indy's friends back onto the bridge, and Indy demands he let them go, or else he will drop the sacred stones he stole from the temple. Ram calls his bluff (as always happens: see Belloq in the rocket launcher scene in Raiders and one of the Grail protectors in Last Crusade being threatened by boat propeller), so Indy says "screw it" and decides to cut the bridge in half, surprising the hell out of everybody on it with this super-ballsy move.

2. "No Ticket."

Indy and his father board a zeppelin to get out of Germany after retrieving the Grail diary in The Last Crusade, when Indy looks out the window before takeoff and notices a Nazi officer rushing for the aircraft. He quickly knocks out a zeppelin employee and grabs his uniform. When the Nazi comes on board looking for the Joneses, he discovers Henry Sr. reading a newspaper, but Indy is standing right behind him asking to see his ticket. The Nazi turns around, surprise and recognition on his face, as Indy punches him and throws him out the window. Realizing that there's a room full of witnesses, Indy has to think of a quick explanation. He simply points outside the zeppelin window and says "no ticket", causing everyone on board to hurriedly brandish their tickets so they can avoid being tossed out as well.

1. Indy Gets Impatient

Longtime Indy fans knew exactly what scene was going to be number one long before getting down here, and with good reason: this is probably the single most famous and character-defining moment in the whole trilogy, and the best part is that it wasn't even planned from the beginning. Marion Ravenwood has just been kidnapped by some Nazi stooges and hauled away in a basket, and Indy has been frantically trying to locate and rescue her, when suddenly the crowd parts in fear, and a large, menacing Arab man with a nasty-looking scimitar stands before him. He grins evilly and starts swinging his sword around, showing off his skill in an attempt to intimidate Indy. The audience naturally expects a big fight here, but Indy simply looks annoyed, pulls out his revolver, and shoots him unceremoniously, immediately turning to continue his search for Marion. I know this kind of thing seems like standard fare now, but back in 1981 it was hilariously fresh and surprising, and it showed us how far removed from your typical action hero Indiana Jones actually is. Most of you have probably heard the story that this is the result of Harrison Ford's dysentery that he suffered from during the shoot. This fight would have required several days of shooting, which Ford did not want to do, so he asked Spielberg if they could make this change. It resulted in less work for everyone and provided what is probably the single best moment in the entire series, absolutely proving that sometimes less is actually more.

And there you have it, the list of what I think are Indy's Ten Finest Moments. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comes out this week, and I certainly hope that it manages to create new awesome moments that would cause a need to adjust these rankings. I have been looking forward to more Indiana Jones adventures (though I never honestly thought it would happen) for almost twenty years, so here's hoping it doesn't disappoint. I'm trying to go into it with as few expectations as possible, but with George Lucas's involvement, it's impossible not to fear that we may end up with another situation like the Star Wars prequels on our hands. If that is the case, then I'll be the guy in the theater doing this:

Have any questions or comments about this piece?
Email Protoclown

If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:

Ten Things I Like And Hate About Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
Ten Things I Like And Hate About Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace

Reader Comments

Last of the Time Lords
May 20th, 2008, 05:08 AM
Truly awesome list. "No ticket" is my favorite moment in the series. They also did a great reference to it in the Kevin Smith film "Dogma".
Scruffy drunken Brit
May 20th, 2008, 05:24 AM
The new one comes out on Thursday over here, can't wait to see it, been a fan of Indy since I was a sprog.

Gonna go and play Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis, back later.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
May 20th, 2008, 10:50 AM
Yes, the Hitler scene! I love that scene, it caught me completely off-guard the first time I saw it, and I was laughing hysterically for a while afterwards. Great list, I c an't really think of any other parts to mention (though maybe the part on the tank where he shoots through 4 guys at once should get an honorable mention).

I got a preview-pass, so I'm seeing Crystal Skull tonight ^_^. Hopefully, like Protoclown said, it won't go where the Star Wars perquels went, or the (ugh) Die Hard sequel.
May 20th, 2008, 10:59 AM
Awww, Indy using his own feet to stop the mine cart or jumping around because his foot is almost on fire aren't included

Still, good list Proto!
May 20th, 2008, 11:16 AM
My biggest fear for Crystal Skull is that Jar Jar will pop up and ruin the whole thing.
Retardedly Handsome
May 20th, 2008, 12:15 PM
I can't wait to see the new Indy movie. Definitely been waiting a long time for it. Another scene that really gives a feel for who Indy is is when he has to sneak out the window because all of the girls want to talk to him after class. For that point alone I almost wanted to become an archeology professor.
Forum Virgin
May 20th, 2008, 01:12 PM
Got my tickets to see Indy 4 for Wednesday night! Unlike BakaGaijin, my greatest fears is the franchise screwing Shia Labeouf. Great list, though.
Fucking Finland
May 20th, 2008, 01:40 PM
Back in the early 90s I was a huge Indiana fan, I even remember roaming around my home town with my "whip", which was merely approx. 2 meter long rope I had stolen from the gardenshed, while humming the theme song.

Nice list, I agree completely with number 1. But you should've add the part from The Temple of Doom where Indy tries to pull of the same manouver against two sword wielding arabs, only to notice that he has lost his revolver. I've always loved the face he makes at that moment.

Damn, I should really buy the DVDs. We used to have the trilogy on VHS, but they wore out long time ago. :/
Suicidal Chipmunk
May 20th, 2008, 04:40 PM
I hope Jar-Jar actually DOES show up in the new Indy movie, 'cuz then we'd finally have enough excuses to go kill George Lucas.
LOVES the tubal ligation!
May 20th, 2008, 05:25 PM
With how Lucas has been going, its going to turn out the crystal skull is actualy the gungen glowing orb of peace or whatever that shit was and the colapsing underground tower thingy from the trailer is actualy a wormhole to Jarjar's POS plannet.
Forum Virgin
May 20th, 2008, 05:36 PM
heh, the last picture reminded me of that South park episode.
Basement Monkey
May 20th, 2008, 06:44 PM
I am going to see it Thursday I am a little worried, the ticket was free though but I really hope that is does not suck.
May 20th, 2008, 07:01 PM
I'm hoping this some how sparks off two more sequels. Seriously, I need me some more Indy.
Commarade General
May 20th, 2008, 09:04 PM
Me and my brother -he's my senior for four years- have been waiting for Indiana Jones 4 for 19 years (I'm 22 right now). Now it's finally comming arround.

Any chance that the Hoverboard from Back to the Future also comes out this year? I don't care if its bright pink!!!

Damn childhood fantasies.
after enough bourbon ...
May 20th, 2008, 09:07 PM
One of my favorite moments was in Last Crusade, when Ilsa is preening over captured Indy and Dad, implying that "it was nice while it lasted" - in other words, "you were a good boink", to which both Dad and Indy say "Thanks" at the same time. The look on both their faces was worth the price of admission.

Good List. I agree with #1 - classic.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
May 20th, 2008, 09:35 PM
mmm, indy and star wars seemsto practicaly be able to build our entire culture...
Fake Shemp
May 20th, 2008, 11:10 PM
Awesome list Proto - #1 was fantastic, and I love the tip of the hat to it in Temple of Doom where his holster comes up empty.
Really, Really looking forward to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it's going to have to really go out of its way to suck for me to not enjoy it. What's really making my arse clench in fear right now however is Lucas's comment about how he can see Shibby LaBarf taking over the main roll in upcoming Indy movies, with Harrison stepping back into more of the Sean Connery roll in Last Crusade. That would be a travesty worse than...well, Jar Jar.
Amicable Herculean
May 20th, 2008, 11:45 PM
Great list, but I can't believe you left out Indy's immprtal line, "I hate Snakes!"
Jason's a Furry! Run!
May 21st, 2008, 01:31 AM
Just got back from Crystal Skull. I'm sure this site will do a full review so I'll save myself until then, but here's the short story (short to me at least):

Really enjoyed it, kept me entertained the whole way through. Had some really awesome scenes, and at least one that not only crosses the line into fantastically over-the-top, it takes a piss on it (who likes nukes?). Of course, I really enjoyed that scene as well. Generally, the plot goes quite... well, it's a bit hard to explain without spoiling some stuff. Definitely goes deep into paranormal region (really deep), and I liked it. It seemed amazingly cool.

Overall (after just one viewing, I'll need more. So many more), I'd peg it at above Temple of Doom and below The Last Crusade (being closer to the former than the latter). Not exactly a bad thing, mind you, since I really enjoyed Temple of Doom as well. A pretty good series revival, if you ask me (now I need to see it again, see how it holds up).

Also: I was very happy to see Janitor getting some more roles, even if it was little more than a cameo. Totally love him ^_^
May 21st, 2008, 03:46 AM
I can definitely agree with the list. I remember seeing the Hitler scene in the theater and going "Oh Sh--" when Hitler took the book and the the collective sigh of relief in the audience. Glad to see the empty holster mentioned, too. That was great.

I know, too, it's not "best scenes" but one of my favorites is when he and Marion are recovering on the 'pirate' vessel and she accidentally clocks him and then tends to his wounds. "Dammit, Indy, where doesn't it hurt?!" and he holds up his elbow and goes "Here!" and then realizes the more places he names, the more kisses he gets...
grants but one wish
May 21st, 2008, 04:23 AM
ah, classic moments every one, and most of them hillarious
Shining Beacon of Virtue
May 21st, 2008, 06:08 PM
Harrison Ford is immortal.
Forum Overlord
May 21st, 2008, 09:58 PM
One that was great was when Sean Connery wrestles with a random Nazi in the WW1(?) area tank. And squirts the guy in the face with is pen and blinds the guy.

But I love when Hitler signs the note book his men where looking for.
The Goddamned Batman
May 22nd, 2008, 03:30 AM
Well, I just saw the new movie, and the Top Ten list remains unchanged.

By the way RaNkeri, I'm glad you mentioned the nod to that sword fighter moment in Temple of Doom. I meant to make a reference to it in the piece, but I ended up forgetting about it when I was writing that section. So I'm glad someone mentioned it, because it was truly a great moment!
Built in the 80s
May 22nd, 2008, 04:53 AM
Great list. My favourite moment is definitely when he joins the mourners in Last Crusade. Funny stuff.
Built in the 80s
May 22nd, 2008, 04:54 AM
Gutted to hear the list remains unchanged!
Jason's a Furry! Run!
May 22nd, 2008, 10:05 AM
Kinda expected, though I'd be lying if I said some of the new scenes didn't wow me.
I hate this hacker crap!
May 22nd, 2008, 04:22 PM
I'm glad the Hitler moment was included. I was like 'oh sh--- haha' when I first saw it.
I must preserve my P.B.F.
May 22nd, 2008, 07:04 PM
Knowing the movie didn't change the list makes my dicision final, i'm not seeing the new movie until the dvd comes out because i'm a cheapo. The skewer scene has to my favorite, it was unexpected.
Forum Chaos Lord
May 22nd, 2008, 10:01 PM
It's not an Indy moment, but I liked the scene in Crusade where the Imam gave the Nazis aid in permission for a sweet roadster. "You shall have men, camels, supplies, equipment... And Tanks."
Forum candy dispenser
May 22nd, 2008, 11:15 PM
After watching Raiders this past weekend, I was actually thinking about sending you a "10 things I like about Raiders", but then I thought better of it. One of the things on my list was that Alfred Molina was in it. I was going to call that entry "Dr. Octopus double-crosses Indy for the Idol.
Oh well, I'll leave the 10 things list to the pros.
after enough bourbon ...
May 23rd, 2008, 07:14 PM
I liked the bit of (probably edited) choreographed fighting in ToD between the prince and Short Round juxtaposed with Indy and .... was it big thugee dude? Anyway it was nicely done.

It probably doesn't make your top ten, Proto, but I liked it.
May 26th, 2008, 10:05 PM
Never seen any of them, but I'm meaning to; Indy looks bad ass :D
ni kar'tayl gar darasuum
May 26th, 2008, 11:33 PM
Good ol' Hitler: "He's as clumsy as he is stupid"

Found out Indy's horse in crusade was Rambo's horse in III.
gotta agree with #1 moment, specially since Ford winged it.

Don't blame Lucas for Jarjar, his adopted kid was responsible for that crapper.
Blame Lucas for listening to poor advisors. and the kid was the jedi on the platform w/ bail in sith.
sure lucas should learn to say no, but that might've stopped Indy from comin back.
Oozes machismo
May 26th, 2008, 11:51 PM
They're all kickass. The skewer through the stomach would rank higher than the bridge cutting in my book, but that's nitpicky. The shooting of the swordsman in Raiders is easily #1.

And I blame Lucas for Jar Jar. Part of the reason kids don't write movies is because they're fucking stupid.
Forum Virgin
May 29th, 2008, 01:30 AM
Oh, man. Did this ever bring back memories. My favorite Indy moment: "Chilled monkey's brains, Dr. Jones." The most memorable dinner party ever.
Smooth Operator
Jun 6th, 2008, 01:36 AM
"No time fo' love, doctah Jones!"
Sapper Whacker
Jun 10th, 2008, 04:11 PM
I'm surprised the "father using umbrella to kill guy with seagulls" moment didn't make the list, it's one of the most unexpected things I've ever seen in a movie.
The Goddamned Batman
Jun 10th, 2008, 05:15 PM
And it's truly awesome, one of the best moments in the series, no doubt. But it's not something Indy did, it was his father. If I'd called it "Dr. Jones's Ten Finest Moments" I could have cheated and used that one, but I didn't.
Sapper Whacker
Jun 10th, 2008, 06:11 PM
Yeah, I love that part because it's one of the very few times when Jones Senior is not only comedic relief but saves Indy when it looks like they're going to die. I'd also like to add that Sean Connery retiring tore a hole through my heart, as he was one of the great actors of our age.
Forum Virgin
Mar 22nd, 2011, 12:19 AM
One of my favorite moments that didnt make it is the guy in TOD getting his heart ripped out.But the swords man getting shot will always be numero uno in my book.

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