It’s not until you look back at the original Indiana Jones trilogy that you realize just how many memorable moments there are in the series. To whittle that list of seminal moments down to just ten is excruciating, and it will be different for everyone.
These are the moments that stuck with us long after the credits rolled. They are shocking, humorous and exciting. Some have become part of the iconic legends (like the boulder) while others can be quoted in pop culture with no need of an explanation (like “No ticket!” ala Kevin Smith).
The reality is that the films overall are memorable and worth another look for any fan of the adventure genre. Here are our favorites…
10. “The three challenges” from The Last Crusade
Although much longer than a mere moment, this scene began the climax of the third movie, giving us some booby traps that had otherwise been absent from the script.
9. “The Jones boys tied up” from The Last Crusade
The addition of Sean Connery to the cast of the Indiana Jones saga was brilliant, and his chemistry with Harrison Ford was impeccable, as shown in this scene.
8. “The mine chase” from Temple of Doom
While The Last Crusade was the installment that spotlighted chase sequences, it was the breathtaking mine chase from Temple of Doom that was most exciting.
7. “I hate snakes” from Raiders of the Lost Ark
What better way to demonstrate Indiana Jones’ loathing of snakes than to drop him into a pit of vipers?
6. “Hitler signs the diary” from The Last Crusade
Tongue-in-cheek humor has been a hallmark of these films, and it is demonstrated here when Indiana Jones has an unpredictable run-in with der Führer himself.
5. “Snake surprise and chilled monkey brains” from Temple of Doom
As a child watching these films in theaters on Saturday afternoon, nothing was more fun than the gross-out moments. That was taken to its fullest level in Temple of Doom with a feast at Pankot Palace.
4. “Face melting” from Raiders of the Lost Ark
The climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark showed how shocking the series could be, and what better way to dispatch the Nazis than with lightning to the chest, face melting and exploding heads?
3. “Burn your heart out” from Temple of Doom
Our first look at the Temple of Doom where a young man is sacrificed by the Thuggee cult caused a furor about the film’s PG rating. But to the 13-year-old kid in a multiplex in Ohio, it was glorious.
2. “Giant boulder” from Raiders of the Lost Ark
In reality, the entire opening sequence of Raiders is so full of moments, it’s hard to pull one out. But if we had to choose, the giant boulder climax to the scene is the most memorable.
1. “Shooting the swordsman” from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom
The scene where Indy shoots the swordsman in Raiders easily got the most laughs in the theaters, as did the call-back in Temple of Doom when Indy realizes he doesn’t have a gun.
“What’s black and white and red all over?” from Raiders of the Lost Ark – A Nazi in a propeller, natch!
“The rope bridge” from Temple of Doom – What would Indy do?
“No ticket!” from The Last Crusade – There’s better ways to get rid of Nazis, but none as funny.
Article composed by Kevin Carr. Additional reporting by Nathan Deen.