Screen Rant writer Jamie Williams came up with a great and timely idea. With all of us here being hard core movie fanatics and a new Indiana Jones movie debuting this week – he suggested that we each share our most significant memories related to the Indiana Jones movies.
This is going to be a long one because I couldn’t bring myself to edit any of my guys’ memories.
First, from our most ardent supporter of the upcoming Indy movie, Niall Browne:
“Growing up I always knew that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were friends. I don’t know where I learned this fact – but I always knew it. I probably figured it out from the credits of the Indiana Jones movies, after all this was a time before the internet and media based television shows. Lucas has always been one of my heroes – and despite what a lot of people think – I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man.”
“To people of a certain age – men of a certain age, Harrison Ford is an icon. He is Indiana Jones, he is Han Solo – these legendary roles made him a role model to boys around my age. I don’t remember the first time that I saw an Indiana Jones film, but the earliest memory that I have about Indiana Jones is from around the time Temple of Doom was released – that would be 1984 – I was four years old. I saw the film at the cinema, and although I have a very fuzzy recollection of the events, my parents tell me that I loved the experience.”
“The strongest memory that I have of the franchise is of the Last Crusade, being a huge James Bond fan – it was a nine year old’s dream to have Ford and Sean Connery in one film. Even today Last Crusade is my favorite film in the series – from the religious artifact to the relationship with his father, the Jones boys remind me very much of my dad and me. Sentimental I know, but that’s the power of cinema.”
“Over the years there have been hundreds of Indiana Jones rumors, one that I always hoped for was that Kevin Costner would play Indy’s evil younger brother. This was never to be, a shame but the reality of things. I got to the point where I honestly never believed that they would make a fourth Indiana Jones film. I couldn’t see it happening, I thought that they would talk about it and write numerous scripts, but that I would never see a new movie. Man, I’m glad that I’m wrong!”
“Indiana Jones has influenced me directly and indirectly throughout my life, even at University I studied archeology. It was however for a very brief moment as it clashed with my film classes. I had to decide that I could either become Indiana Jones or watch him. I made a choice for the latter. I could never be that cool! I even studied Medieval literature at College – Arthurian legend, the Holy Grail – a nod to Sean Connery’s character from The Last Crusade – a Medieval Literature Professor. Heck, even in my day job – I teach! If only it were – ‘Part Time.’”
“Now on the dawn of Indy’s return I’m excited. I’m as excited today writing this as I was nine years ago before the release of Star Wars: Episode I, I’m older now – but I still have that excited feeling that only George Lucas knows how to unleash. Will this fourth Indy adventure be as good as the previous efforts? I don’t think for a second that it will, but it’s making me feel nineteen years younger – and that is a miracle in itself.”
“Indiana Jones, I salute you.”
Next we have the guy who came up with the idea, Jamie Williams:
“To Hell with a fireman, ball-player or doctor, I wanted to be Indiana Jones ‘when I grew up.’”
“I can’t exactly point to where or how it started. The idea that he had dual personalities was always appealing to my young mind. By day, he’s a clean-cut, Clark Kent-type professor of archeology. But at night (or more appropriately in a far-away country), he was a rugged, unshaven adventure-seeker; a trait he always appeared to be more comfortable with in my opinion. But then again, maybe I’m reading too much into that. By the way, just where the Hell did Indy teach? If someone can point to me where, you get a cookie!”
“It becomes clear to me as an adult. As crazy as it sounds, we all wanted to be Indiana Jones because he was one of us. Sure, James Bond is cool and what not. But you can’t relate to a guy who always has the answer to his problem(s) stored away in a gadget from Q’s lab or one-liners perfectly quipped after killing his latest enemy. On the other hand, Indy was human. The guy bled when shot at, bruised when punched and was always having to think on his toes just as his adversaries were about to do him in.”
“I’m not gonna lie. There is a part of me that envies you readers old enough to remember seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark in theaters during the summer of 1981 and having your heads explode (i.e. alongside Belloq’s of course!) I just can’t fathom what that was like experiencing a film of that magnitude. [You'll find out in a minute - Vic] Surely, the opening ‘teaser’ with Indy retrieving the golden idol from the Peruvian jungle resulting in traps galore (including the iconic giant ball) was enough to satisfy audiences. But… there was even more to come within the remaining 115 minutes – i.e. among others, that amazing truck-chase sequence where Indy is going after the Ark.”
“Honest to God, there is just… no way to properly describe just what Raiders means to me as a film-lover. There was a period in my life as a child where I watched Raiders Non. Stop. I could quote you lines right outta the mouths of the characters and mime all the action set-pieces. Thus from an early age, I was born to be film nerd.”
“Its influence is evident in the blockbuster tentpoles you see nowadays from the likes of Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan, Bryan Singer, Michael Bay, J.J. Abrams to name just a few off the top of my head. Young filmmakers who were just at the right age when Raiders opened furthered their own passion to make movies.”
“To this day, Raiders of the Lost Ark is the finest example of pop entertainment. Audiences will never get another film like that ever again no matter how great Kingdom of the Crystal Skull may be (which I certainly hope it is, mind you).
Ladies and germs, what I’m basically trying to say is… I still want to be Indiana Jones… when I grow up.
Here’s what contributor Heath McKnight had to say:
“I was very young when I discovered Indiana Jones. I loved Raiders, but was too young to appreciate it when I first saw it. Temple of Doom scared the crap out of me (I was 9 or 10 when I saw it in the 1980s, on HBO or a tape rental, yes we didn’t have DVDs or On Demand back then) with the scene of the guy ripping the dude’s heart out!”
“However, I was 13 when The Last Crusade came out in 1989, and it was a lot of fun! I couldn’t get enough of the film with its non-stop action, its comedy, Sean Connery (I wish he was in Crystal Skull), River Phoenix as a young Indy (I loved how he wasn’t afraid of snakes until he fell into the pit of snakes, then the hard cut to Harrison Ford as Indy), evil Nazis, the Biblical overtones, and more.”
“This was the Indy film I came to love, because I think I was old enough to appreciate almost everything in the movie. I caught it recently on TV (never the best way to watch a movie, least of all Indiana Jones), and watched it all over again. I also know many guys and gals in my age range of around 29 to 34, seem to like The Last Crusade the best.”
Let’s not forget our TV aficionado Bruce Simmons:
“From the Indiana Jones franchise, I developed an interest in exotic type weapons. Whips being the main influence from how I saw Indy wield his whip, I took up the hobby.”
“What did I learn? Whips do not anchor onto cross beams like the do in the movies.. [No, no broken bones or anything, just some subtle tests] Cracking a whip over your head at a target usually hurts your back very badly unless you learn the technique very carefully, which is very different from other angles of use like side-arming. Also: Whip cracking thrashes the end and you go through many whip-tips because the crack of a whip is the result of the tip creating a tiny sonic boom. Something about the tapered shape, transverse energy, recoil and forward motion of the energy.. (American Scientist) Regardless, IT HURTS if hit with it!!”
“My hobby then branched out to other exotic toys, such as boomerangs, bolos and other various farming instruments of old… Word from the wise: When learning the boomerang, you need lots of space, some sort of head wind would help, and really really good ears and lightning reflexes. [Yes, I have an interesting story to tell, but that's for some other day.]”
Finally, the impact that Indiana Jones had on me, Vic Holtreman, owner of Screen Rant…
It’s funny that Jamie mentions envying folks who are old enough to have experience Raiders of the Lost Ark at a movie theater when it first opened. I was pretty damned near the perfect age to appreciate that amazing movie when it opened in 1981. Back then I was 20 years old, and had come of age in the wonderful era of the resurgence of Sci Fi. I was in my teens when I saw Star Wars (before any “Episode” nonsense was tacked on to the title, and Han shot first) and that big, beautiful, never ending ship come over my head in that opening scene – 17 when I saw the nothing-like-it-ever-before Ridley Scott film Alien, and the best ever Star Wars film: The Empire Strikes back.
Back then Spielberg and Lucas were the wunderkind – young geniuses creating magical films destined to become classics for generations to come.
Now remember this was LONG before the internet – we actually had to get our movie information from magazines! Starlog Magazine was the go-to source for Sci-Fi movies at the time. That needs to be said so you can understand how I could have possibly walked into a screening for Raiders of the Lost Ark on opening night knowing absolutely nothing about it.
I was out with a couple of close friends and my sister (back then partner-in-crime and uber-movie-geek like myself) when we decided to go catch a movie at the last minute. We went to the local multiplex and bought tickets to this movie about a guy with a whip. It was so late that we ended up sitting in the front row.
I can tell you for a fact that my mouth never closed once during the entire movie. And the funny thing is, I realized at the time that I was watching something that would impact me for the rest of my life and would be a yardstick against which I would compare other films for years to come.
I just could not believe what I was watching – the movie grabbed me by the scruff of my neck, whipped me around and never let me go until the closing credits. The coolness of Ford as Indiana Jones in the opening reveal, his incredible self-assuredness as he navigated the traps in that first sequence, the skin-of-his-teeth escapes, not leaving behind his whip or his hat, the movie not giving me time to breathe before a giant rolling stone ball came after him… I mean it was bloody non-stop excitement the likes of which I don’t think I’ve experienced ever again, and that countless movies have tried to match without success.
It was pretty shattering to be met with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom after such an amazing experience. Trading the incredible Karen Allen for the whiny and annoying Kate Capshaw and that kid “Short Round.” I don’t know what the hell they were thinking.
Of course eventually we got Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which brought things back around in 1989, but by then the magic had started to wear off and I’d begun to get cynical about all things cinema.
You can talk all you want about CGI and modern special effects, but I truly think that there was no better time to be young and a movie fan than the period from about 1977 to 1989. Man, what a time that was. I’ll never forget it and if it wasn’t for those years you wouldn’t be reading this site today.
I may be hard on George Lucas now, but God bless him for his early work.
So what does Indiana Jones mean to you and how has it influenced your love of movies? We’d love to hear your stories!
Images from TheRaider.net