Just a couple of years after he created one instantly iconic franchise with Star Wars, George Lucas took the world of cinema by storm and caught lightning in a bottle for a second time. Inspired by the old adventure serials he used to watch when he was a kid, Lucas created Indiana Jones, a smooth-talking, infinitely cool archeologist/explorer with a leather jacket, a satchel, and a bullwhip.
Steven Spielberg saw the character as an American James Bond, so he jumped at the opportunity to sit in the director’s chair. Just like Bond movies, the Indy movies are endlessly quotable. So, without further ado, here are the 10 Most Memorable Quotes From The Indiana Jones Movies.
Updated on June 1st, 2020 by Ben Sherlock: The last couple of months have brought a few announcements about the long-delayed fifth Indiana Jones movie. Steven Spielberg has stepped down from the director’s chair, although he’ll remain onboard as an executive producer alongside long-time collaborator George Lucas. James Mangold of Logan and Ford v. Ferrari has been tapped to replace Spielberg and helm Indy’s next adventure. So, in anticipation of Mangold’s Indiana Jones 5, we’ve added a few new entries to this list.
15 “It Belongs In A Museum!”
In the opening sequence of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we see a young Indy, played brilliantly by River Phoenix, thwarting a plot to steal an artifact by claiming that it belongs in a museum.
The scene then cuts to the present day, as an adult Indy is fighting for the same artifact, with the same claim that it belongs in a museum. “It belongs in a museum!” is an oft-parodied line, but it does have an important message about preserving historical items.
14 “You Call This Archeology?”
Dr. Jones gets his title from the fact that he’s an accomplished archeologist, although we never see him dusting bones. Instead, we see him punching Nazis and hanging off of moving cars.
In the climactic set piece of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Indy and his father are trapped on a Nazi tank rumbling through the desert, Henry, Sr. sarcastically quips, “You call this archeology?”
13 “That’s Why They Call It The Jungle, Sweetheart.”
The Willie Scott character from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has been criticized for being a clichéd damsel in distress who’s always screaming and can’t handle a few minutes in the elements. But the Indiana Jones films are pulpy adventure stories at heart, and the back-and-forth that this leads to between Willie and Indy is primo pulp material.
When Willie says, “We’re surrounded; the entire place is crawling with living things,” Indy replies, “That’s why they call it the jungle, sweetheart.” Yes, it’s old-fashioned, but then, this movie is set in 1935. What do you expect?
12 “Germany Has Declared War On The Jones Boys.”
What makes Kingdom of the Crystal Skull even more of a disappointment is that The Last Crusade made for such a perfect ending to Indy’s story. And part of that involved capping off the trilogy with bigger, bolder action than ever before.
When the threequel first gets going, Indy and his father find themselves on the run from not just a handful of rotten eggs, but the entirety of Nazi Germany.
11 “He Chose…Poorly.”
The final test on the way to retrieve the Holy Grail is to pick out the Grail from a line-up of chalices. The Grail Knight explains this test to Walter Donovan, who picks the biggest, fanciest cup he can find and takes a swig.
In a matter of seconds, he ages to his death, then decomposes and crumbles into dust. With a dry, darkly comic wit, the Knight says, “He chose…poorly.”
10 “Antidote.” “To what?” “The poison you just drank, Dr. Jones!”
This exchange takes place in the tense opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (which is seen as a sequel, but is technically a prequel, since it’s set before Raiders) and it sets the tone perfectly. Indy is having a tense conversation with some Chinese gangsters over a drink, and then one of them – Lao Che – takes out a little vial and informs Indy he’s just ingested poison.
In the end, he gets the antidote after chasing it across a nightclub dance floor. After that, Indy ends up escaping on Lao Che’s private plane, so that doesn’t end well for him either.
9 “No ticket!”
Both the first and third Indiana Jones movies satirize the Nazis by having them as wacky villains, but the third one most deeply immerses us in the world of Nazi-occupied Europe. Indy even comes face-to-face with Adolf Hitler at a book-burning. There’s also an extended sequence set on a Zeppelin.
To fit in, Indy takes the uniform of a ticket collector and then impersonates the ticket collector, asking all the passengers for their tickets. After tossing Vogel, one of the movie’s primary villains, out of a window on the Zeppelin and getting some stares, Indy said, “No ticket!” Then everyone started scrambling for their tickets.
8 “Jock! Start the engine!”
The opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark might be the greatest opening scene of all time. An opening scene, especially in an action-adventure movie like this, is responsible for setting the tone for the movie.
Raiders opens with Indy heading into an ancient temple in the middle of the jungle to uncover an old relic. He avoids all the booby traps on the way in, then takes the relic and makes his way out of the temple. There, he’s chased back to the plane by an indigenous tribe of dozens of warriors. He yells to his pilot, “Jock! Start the engine!”
7 “We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and X never, ever marks the spot.”
A lot of the best quotes from the third Indy movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, are dialogue exchanges between Indy and his dad. For example, when they take a plane from the Zeppelin and get pursued by Nazi fighter pilots, Henry, Sr. tells Indy, “I didn’t know you could fly a plane,” and Indy replies, “Fly, yes. Land, no.”
However, as with all Indy movies, there are some classic one-liners to be found in the threequel. One example comes near the beginning, as Indy disproves a common misconception about searching for hidden treasure: “X never, ever marks the spot.”
6 “If you want to be a good archeologist, you gotta get out of the library!”
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is by far the least popular movie in the franchise. It is a modern take, set in the ‘50s with a grizzled octogenarian Dr. Jones fighting some Soviet villains.
The movie is heavy on CGI (it even features aliens) and that, paired with its poor plotting and corny dialogue, led to a lot of fans comparing it to the Star Wars prequel trilogy. However, the fourquel does have one classic Indy quote: “If you want to be a good archeologist, you gotta get out of the library!” That’s his whole ideology.
5 “Half the German army’s on our tail, and you want me to go to Berlin?”
Right after a big car chase involving Indy riding a motorcycle like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, with his father in the sidecar, Henry, Sr. suggests heading to Berlin. That’s where the bad guys have taken his diary, which contains crucial information about the whereabouts of the Holy Grail that will aid them in their quest.
Indy doesn’t think they need it, because his buddy Marcus has a map, but Henry, Sr. insists the diary includes more information than just a map. Indy says, “Half the German army’s on our tail, and you want me to go to Berlin? Into the lion’s den?” His dad replies, “Yes! The only thing that matters is the Grail.”
4 “What is Shankara?” “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”
The Shankara stones are the MacGuffins at the center of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Indy finds himself in an Indian village, where they inform him that the stones (and their children) have been taken by a mysterious religious cult.
Right as they’re about to head off on their journey, Short Round asks, “What is Shankara?” to which Indy replies, “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.” The movie itself was criticized for taking the story to darker places than in the original, Raiders, but the back-and-forth between Indy and his new kid sidekick Short Round are lighthearted and fun.
3 “A boat?! We’re not sinking, we’re crashing!”
Willie Scott has been criticized for being a typical damsel in distress character. All she does is scream and run away from danger and rely on the men around her – one of whom is like a ten-year-old boy – to save her. But she does have one redeeming quality: this classic line.
Indy, Willie, and Short Round find themselves stuck on a plane with no pilot headed for the side of a mountain. Indy finds that there are no parachutes, but there is an inflatable raft. Willie says, “A boat?! We’re not sinking, we’re crashing!” But Indy makes it work and they raft down the mountain.
2 “Don’t call me Junior!”
It was a stroke of genius to introduce fans to Indiana Jones’ father in Last Crusade, because their unique dynamic made a powerful dramatic core for the movie. And casting Sean Connery, the original James Bond, as the father of the character who was conceived as an American James Bond (this was Spielberg’s idea, according to the DVD’s making-of doc) was just the cherry on top.
He and Harrison Ford developed such an entertaining and real rapport that they genuinely seem to be an estranged father and son in the movie. The end result is maybe the best installment in the series.
1 “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”
Every great character has a weakness, ranging from Superman’s aversion to Kryptonite to Marty McFly’s disdain for being called “chicken.” In the case of Indiana Jones, he’s deathly afraid of snakes. We see this in Raiders of the Lost Ark when he lowers himself into the giant underground tomb that contains the Ark of the Covenant and finds that the floor is covered with slithering, hissing snakes.
He looks on at the snakes, frozen with fear, and says, “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” He pulls through in the end, but then the Nazis get a hold of the Ark of the Covenant.
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