The greatest Indiana Jones moments of all time
From poisoned cocktails to giant boulders and attacking a tank on horseback...
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is here. It's the last outing for Harrison Ford as the tomb-botherer in all-brown clobber. And the first not to be directed by Steven Spielberg.
James Mangold, powerhouse director of Logan and 3:10 to Yuma, takes the reins for Dial of Destiny. And the more forgiving of reviews suggest it's just as bold, silly and fun and the original four movies.
- Great Raiders Of The Lost Ark facts
- Things You Probably Didn't Know About Temple Of Doom
- Essential Last Crusade facts you need to know about
Don't have time for a full revisit of The Last Crusade, Temple of Doom, Raiders of the Lost Ark and — yes, we're not forgetting this one — Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? We've picked out 10 of our favourite moments from the Indiana Jones adventures of the past.
However, we'd better warn you. This list will make you want to rewatch these classics. Subscribed to Disney Plus? The service currently streams all four of the earlier Indiana Jones films. There's no reason not to if you have the hours to spare.
Let's get on with those top-10 moments...
10 best Indiana Jones moments
1. Boulder chaseStream on Disney Plus
The classic Indiana Jones boulder chase sounds like something that belongs in Temple of Doom. But it’s part of the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a trap activated when Indy steals the golden idol. You might assume this was just a ball of foam, but it was actually made primarily of fibreglass and weighed an estimated 300-500lb. It’s not a boulder you’d want to roll over you, even if it was a prop.
2. Fighting the plane mechanicStream on Disney Plus
Indiana Jones is often at his most watchable when he’s in peril. This is a classic example. He’s in a fight with a wrench-wielding Nazi, which seems bad enough. But then a man-mountain enters the scene, and he doesn’t even seem to react to a punch. If that won’t do it, how about a plane propellor? A bit grim for a PG-rated movie? Perhaps, but we’re not talking about Saw gore levels here. The mechanic was played by wrestler Pat Roach. He was a chap from Birmingham who features in all three of the original Indy films.
3. Shooting the sword fighterStream on Disney Plus
Does anything represent the swagger of Indiana Jones better than this scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark? Following a chaotic escape from the bazaar, Indy finds himself hemmed in by a crowd, pushed into an arena with a black clothed swordsman. He flings his weapon about as if he’s about to enjoy disembowelling Jones, but he’s soon downed with a sigh and casual pistol shot. This “Arab swordsman” was actually played by a Welsh dude called Terry Richards. It was a different time.
4. No ticketStream on Disney Plus
Jones stows away on a blimp in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. However, the Nazis know Indy’s father is aboard. He is eventually spotted by a Nazi henchman, but Indy promptly knocks the baddie out and throws him out of the nearest window. The “no ticket” explanation he gives the other passengers is a nugget of comedic gold. Fact of the day: the zeppelin used for exterior shots was a 2.4 m-long foam model created by Industrial Light & Magic.
5. Tank perilStream on Disney Plus
This near-10-minute sequence in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a true nail-biter. The scene stars with the entrance of the Nazi tank, the unbeatable foe. But Indy starts to outwit it on horseback. However, once he boards the things it’s all pain and peril for Jones, and he just about manages to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. This is action film pacing at its very best. Was it a real tank? No, this replica was made out of an HYMAC 590 digger, and powered by Rover V8 engines.
6. Rope Bridge (of doom)Stream on Disney Plus
What does Indiana Jones do in a dire situation? Improvise. In this most iconic scene of the Temple of Doom, Indy finds himself surrounded on a rope bridge, above a river packed with hungry alligators (sure, they should probably be crocodiles, but whatever). In the face of certain death, he cuts the rope bridge, even though Short Round and Willie Scott are still stuck on there too. Classic Indy.
7. Nazi face-melterStream on Disney Plus
The climactic scene of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark haunted our childhoods. Picking the wrong chalice leads to an unfortunate case of face-melting for the Nazi crew. And Indiana Jones only manages to escape a similar fate by closing his eyes. A simple solution to a dire problem but, hey, a classic scene of cinema was still borne out of it. The actors’ faces were cast, modelled, and then many layers of gelatine were painted onto the skull structure. These were then melted away with propane-powered space heaters. What you see in the movie is a hugely sped-up recording of this process.
8. Don’t call me juniorStream on Disney Plus
This scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade contains one of the best rapid-fire tonal shifts in the series. Indy and his father are confronted by gun-wielding Nazi soldiers out for Indy senior’s diary. He begins chastising younger Indy for bringing the diary, ratcheting up the tension. But this all turns out to be used as a distraction technique, giving Indy the window to grab a gun and blast the Nazis into oblivion. “Don’t call me junior” is the punchline in a glorious action-comedy set piece.
9. Snake pitStream on Disney Plus
“Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?” It hardly reads as a piece of script-writing genius out of context, but this line from Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most iconic and quoted of the whole franchise. Indy is afraid of snakes and, to be honest, so were we just from watching this scene. It’s a true sign of the power of practical effects, even if a lot of these “snakes” were actually slow worms and dummy snakes.
10. Indy gets poisonedStream on Disney Plus
The first scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a corker. We open to Indiana Jones in a meeting with some shady characters in a nightclub. He sips a cocktail, only to be told he has been poisoned, while being taunted with the antidote. Jones has to fight his way to find it as the club descends into chaos. And punching. A brilliant start to a somewhat polarising film.