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Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr. Ph.D is a fictional adventurer, OSS agent, professor of archaeology, and the protagonist of the Indiana Jones franchise. George Lucas created the character in homage to the action heroes of 1930s film serial. 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, The Last Crusade in 1989, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles from 1992 to 1996, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Alongside the more widely known films and television programs, novels, comics, video games, and other media also feature the character. Jones is also featured in the theme park attraction Indiana Jones Adventuremarker, which exists in similar forms at Disneylandmarker and Tokyo DisneySeamarker.

Jones is most famously played by Harrison Ford; he 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 Jones's voice to two LucasArts video games, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, while David Esch supplied his voice to Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.

Particularly notable facets of the character include his iconic look (bullwhip, fedora, and leather jacket), wry sense of humor, deep knowledge of many ancient civilizations and languages, and fear of snakes.


Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford, was first introduced in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, set in 1936. He is portrayed as an adventurous throwback to the 1930s film serial treasure hunters and pulp action heroes, with an alter ego of Doctor Jones, a respected archaeologist at Marshall College (named after producer Frank Marshall) [1986] - a fictional college in Connecticut. In this first adventure, he is pitted against the Nazis, traveling 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 Gestapomarker agent.

The 1984 prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, set in 1935, took the character into a more horror-oriented story, skipping his legitimate teaching job and globe trotting, and taking place almost entirely in Indiamarker. This time, Jones attempts to recover children and the Sankara Stones from the bloodthirsty Thuggee cult.

Young Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade
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, often to comical effect. Although Lucas intended at the time to do five films, this ended up being the last for over eighteen years, as Lucas could not think of a good plot element to drive the next installment.

The 2008 film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, became the latest film in the series. Set in 1957, 19 years after the third film, it pits an older, wiser Indiana Jones against Sovietmarker agents bent on harnessing the power of a crystal skull discovered in South America by his former colleague Harold Oxley (John Hurt). He is aided in his adventure by an old lover, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), and her son—a young greaser named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), later revealed to be his biological child Henry Jones III. This film also reveals that Jones was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (a predecessor department to the CIA) during World War II, attaining the rank of Colonel and running covert operations with MI6marker agent George McHale on the "Reds", which could mean the Soviet Union.


Young Indiana Jones in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
From 1992 to 1996, George Lucas executive produced a television series named The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which was designed as an educational program for children, spotlighting historical figures and important events, using the concept of a prequel to the films as a draw. The show featured a standard formula of a 93-year-old Jones (George Hall), wearing an eye patch, introducing a story, and then an adventure with either a 17-year-old Jones (Sean Patrick Flanery) or a 10-year-old Jones (Corey Carrier), and even a baby Indy (Neil Boulane). Historical figures featured on the show include Leo Tolstoy, Pancho Villa, Charles de Gaulle, Elliot Ness, Ernest Hemingway, Patrick Pearse and John Ford, in such diverse locations as Egyptmarker, Austria-Hungary, Indiamarker, Chinamarker, and the whole of Europe.

Old Indiana Jones in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
One episode, "Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues", is bookended by Harrison Ford, reprising his role as the character. Indiana loses one of his eyes sometime between 1957 and when the "Old Indy" segments take place.

The show provided some backstory for the films, as well as new information regarding the character. He 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. A large portion of the series centered around his activities during World War I.

In 1999, Lucas removed the episode introductions and epilogues by George Hall for the VHS and DVD releases, as he 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 video games, beginning with adaptations of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, two adaptations of 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 and the Fate of Atlantis, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, and Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, which 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, while Emperor's Tomb had David Esch fill the role. 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. Indy also stars in the new Lego Indiana Jones, where gamers can play as Indy through the movies Lego style.

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures was released on June 3, 2008 in the US.

A new Indiana Jones video game, Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, was released on June 9, 2009 by LucasArts.

Another new LEGO Indiana Jones game, titled LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, was released on November 17, 2009. This new game is expected to include new character features, a new level-creating feature and as well as including the storyline from the latest Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was not included in the previous release.

Indiana Jones has also made cameo appearances as an unlockable character in the games Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.

Theme parks

The Indiana Jones Adventure attractions at Disneylandmarker and Tokyo DisneySeamarker ("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, opened in 1995 and 2001, respectively, with sole design credit attributed to Walt Disney Imagineeringmarker. Disney did not license Harrison Ford's likeness; nevertheless, a differentiated Indiana Jones audio-animatronic character appears at three points in both attractions.

Disneyland Resort Parismarker 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 Perilmarker is a looping roller coaster engineered by Intamin AG and opened in 1993.

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!marker is a live show that has been presented in the Disney's Hollywood Studiosmarker theme park of the Walt Disney World Resortmarker with few changes since the park's 1989 opening under a different name. The 25-minute show presents various stunts framed in the context of 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.


In his role as a college professor of archaeology, Henry Jones Jr. is scholarly and learned in a tweed suit, lecturing on ancient civilizations. But at the opportunity to recover important artifacts, he transforms into "Indiana," a near superhero image he has concocted for himself. 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." 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." According to Spielberg biographer Douglas Brode, Indiana created his heroic figure so to escape the dullness of teaching at a school. Both of Indiana's personas reject one another in philosophy, creating a duality. Harrison Ford said the fun of playing the character was because Indiana is both a romantic and a cynic, 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.

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 at the likes of Professor Abner Ravenwood, his mentor at the University of Chicagomarker, leading to a strained relationship with Marion Ravenwood. 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. Marcus Brody acts as Indiana's positive role model at the college. Indiana's own insecurities are made worse by the absence of his mother. In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the character becomes the father in a temporary family unit with Willie Scott and Short Round to survive. Indiana is rescued from the evil of Kali by Short Round's dedication. Indiana also saves many children from slavery.

Because of Indiana's strained relationship with his father, who was absent much of Indiana's youth searching for the Holy Grail, the character does not pursue the more spiritual aspects of the cultures he studies. Indiana uses his knowledge of Shiva to ultimately defeat Mola Ram. In Raiders, however, he is wise enough to close his eyes in the presence of the spirits who have been disturbed from their slumber in the Ark of the Covenant. By contrast, his rival Rene Belloq dies horribly for having the audacity to try to communicate directly with God.

In Crusade's prologue, Indiana's intentions are revealed as social, 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. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles explains how Indiana becomes solitary and less idealistic after fighting in World War I. 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.

Concept and creation

Indiana Jones is modeled after the strong-jawed heroes of the matinée serial and pulp magazines that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg enjoyed in their childhoods (such as the Republic Pictures serials, and the Doc Savage series). H. Rider Haggard's adventure hero Alan Quatermain of King Solomon's Mines was a notable template for Jones. The two friends first discussed the project in Hawaiimarker around the time of the release of the first Star Wars film. Spielberg told Lucas how he wanted his next project to be something fun, like perhaps a James Bond film. According to sources, Lucas responded to the effect that he had something "even better," or that he "got that beat."

The character was originally named Indiana Smith, after an Alaskan Malamute Lucas owned in the 1970s ("Indiana"); however, Spielberg disliked the name "Smith," and Lucas casually suggested "Jones" as an alternative.

Wardrobe and equipment

Indiana Jones was designed by comic book artist Jim Steranko. George Lucas suggested the flight jacket (which reminded Steranko of Lucas), the fedora (which reminded him of Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) and a whip (reminiscent of Zorro). Steranko added the Sam Browne belt, a belt with a holster, and the khaki shirt and trousers. Costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis said the inspiration for Indiana's outfit was Charlton Heston's Harry Steele in Secret of the Incas: "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."

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 when a documentary crew visited during shooting of The Last Crusade. This created the urban legend that Ford stapled the hat to his head. Although other hats were also used throughout the movies, the general style and profile remained the same. Elements of the outfit include:

  • The fedora – made by Herbert Johnson Hatters in England for the first three films. Indy's fedora for Crystal Skull were made by Steve Delk and Marc Kitter of the Adventurebilt Hat Company. The hat style is the "Australian" or the "Poet," fitted with a Petersham bow.
  • The leather jacket – a hybrid of the "Type 440" and the A-2 jacket, were made by Leather Concessionaires (now known as Wested Leather Co). Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade. For Temple of Doom, jackets were made in house at Bermans & Nathans in London based on a stunt jacket they provided for Raiders of The Lost Ark, while Tony Nowak made the jacket in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • The bag – a modified Mark VII British gas mask bag
  • The whip – a 10-foot to 8-foot bullwhip crafted by David Morgan for the first three films. The whips for Crystal Skull were crafted by a variety of people, including Terry Jacka, Joe Strain and David (different lengths and styles were likely used in specific stunts).
  • The pistol – usually a World War I-era revolver, examples include the Webley Green (Last Crusade and Crystal Skull), or a .45 ACP Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector 2nd model revolver (Raiders). He has also been seen using an M1917 revolver, and a 9 mm Browning Hi-Power.
  • The shoes – "Indy Boots" made by Alden Shoes, which are still sold today (though in a redder (brick) shade of brown than seen in the movies)

Jones's fedora and leather jacket (as used in The Last Crusade) are on display at the Smithsonianmarker's American History Museum in Washington, D.C.marker The collection of props and clothing from the films has become a thriving hobby for some aficionados of the franchise. Jones's 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.


Originally, Spielberg suggested Harrison Ford; Lucas resisted the idea, since he had already cast the actor in three of his movies (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 cast Robert De Niro in his films). During an intensive casting process, Lucas and Spielberg auditioned many actors, and finally cast then little-known actor Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones. Shortly afterward pre-production began in earnest on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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. After Spielberg suggested Ford again, Lucas finally gave in, and he was cast in the role — less than 3 weeks before filming of Raiders began.

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. Sadly for Selleck, he could have finished his participation in Raiders and still had time to return for Magnum.


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. In alphabetical order by last name:

George 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 the third film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


Though some archaeologists criticize Indy's methods as befitting a "looter" rather more than a careful worker of precious sites, many have adopted the popular figure as something of a standard-bearer for their profession. The industry magazine Archaeology, believing that Jones, as one editor said, was "a horrible archaeologist but a great diplomat for archeology," named eight past and current archaeologists who they felt "embodied [Jones'] spirit" as recipients of the "Indy Spirit Awards" in 2008. That same year Ford himself was elected to the Board of Directors of 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."

While himself a homage to various prior adventurers, aspects of Indiana Jones also directly influenced some subsequent characterizations:
  • Lara Croft, the self-styled female archaeologist of the Tomb Raider franchise, was originally designed as a man, but was changed to a woman, partly because the developers felt that the original design was too similar to Indiana Jones. Paramount Pictures, which distributed the Indiana Jones film series, would later make two films based on the Tomb Raider games.
  • Prince of Persia producer Ben Mattes explained that their "inspiration was anything Harrison Ford has ever done: Indiana Jones, Han Solo."
  • The video game series Uncharted is also very heavily influenced by Indiana Jones, as well as some of the influences that led to Indiana Jones himself, such as pulp magazines and movie serials. The design team felt the sources shared themes of mystery and "what-if scenarios" that romanticized adventure and aimed to include those in Uncharted.


  1. The character's full name is stated in the Corey Carrier narration of the feature-length episode My First Adventure from the The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
  2. "Based on a 1885 novel by Henry Rider Haggard, exploits of Alan Quartermain have long served as a template for the Indiana Jones character. King Solomon's Mines (1950), Quartermain finds himself unwillingly thrust into a worldwide search for the legendary mines of King Solomon. The look and feel of Indiana and his past adventures are quite apparent. Both Quartermain and Jones are confronted by angry villagers and a myriad of dangerous booby traps. Look to King Solomon's Mines for a good idea on the feel and tone Lucas and Spielberg are after with their latest Indiana Jones outing".
  3. Nashawaty, Chris; "National Treasure"; Entertainment Weekly; March 14, 2008.
  4. , pp. 97–98, "Andrews is allegedly the real person that the movie character of Indiana Jones was patterned after... crack shot, fighter of Mongolian brigands, the man who created the metaphor of 'Outer Mongolia' as denoting any exceedingly remote place."
  5. "Some sources say that Breasted was the inspiration for Indiana Jones; others say it was Robert Braidwood."
  6. Bond Inspiration For Indiana Jones
  7. As quoted in Gary Steinman, "Prince of Persia: Anatomy of a Prince," PlayStation: The Official Magazine 13 (December 2008): 50.

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