The Indiana Jones movies may not lay claim to a solid mythology. But they have unquestionably influenced American pop culture, inspiring an array of cinematic copycats, video games, TV shows and parodies. Here are a few examples of the impact of Indy. -- JEN CHANEY
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" emerged as the biggest money-maker of 1981, a fact that cemented plans to crank out two sequels. But "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" weren't the only '80s flicks that attempted to capitalize on Indy's spirit of adventure. Others included "High Road to China," starring Tom Selleck, the man originally cast as Dr. Jones; a remake of "King Solomon's Mines"; the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner hit "Romancing the Stone"; and kiddie classic "The Goonies," featured below in an unnecessarily long, Chunk-filled trailer:
The iconic opening scene of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" -- featuring Indiana Jones and the Escape From a Really Huge Boulder -- also fueled more obscure homages. For example, "Weird Al" Yankovic and co. attempted to recreate that cinematic moment in the little-seen 1989 comedy "UHF," which co-starred a pre-"Seinfeld" Michael Richards:
Like any respectable blockbuster, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" eventually spawned its own video game. (Which, incidentally, looks pretty similar to Atari's much-reviled "E.T." game.) Get ready, because the graphics for this baby are just AWESOME:
While that may have been the "official" Indiana Jones release, any pop-culture-savvy gamer knows that "Pitfall!" was a vine-swinging salute of sorts to Harrison Ford's swash-buckling archeologist. And it was a lot more fun to play. To quote the gentleman in this commercial: "Quick! To the Atari video computer system!"
The TV Show
With the final Jones movie seemingly done, producer George Lucas attempted to take the story to television with "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," a short-lived series that followed the fedora-sporting hero during his youth. It aired on ABC for just two seasons, but recently reemerged on DVD, just in time (natch) to promote "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Here's an old-school teaser:
More Movie Homages
In more recent years, adventures like "The Da Vinci Code" and "National Treasure" have borrowed a few pages from the Indiana Jones playbook, focusing on men in search of valuable, historically relevant treasures who must travel the globe to track them down:
And the parodies of "Raiders" and its ilk have continued long after "UHF" came and went. An episode of "The Simpsons," numerous online videos and this particularly charming segment from "Robot Chicken" have all poked affectionate fun at Indiana Jones, the Hero, the Legend and the Pop Culture Commodity.