Sometimes a main character’s success is contingent on being surrounded by equally successful supporting characters. Sometimes the best character in film history is made all the more unforgettable by amazing supporting characters. It’s not hard to find a movie that proves this, especially if you’re looking for an excuse to watch, ponder, or revel over the Indiana Jones Trilogy.
Below are the top 5 supporting characters from the Indiana Jones film canon, who best play off our hero, and whether friend or foe, work to make Jones Jr. an eternal character.
#5 – Short Run*
Film: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Best Line: “I keep telling you, you listen to me more, you live longer!”
Indy Influence: Despite being an obnoxious, horribly stereotyped concept of a child character, Short Run does serve as a key moral compass for a faltering Indiana in Temple of Doom. While Indiana pursues treasure with a mania not unlike the Nazi characters of Raiders and Crusade, Short Run attempts to keep Indy on point and focused on the heroic mission at hand.
*Had to twist my own arm to include Short Run, but I stand by the reason for it.
#4 – Dr Elsa Schneider
Relation to Indy: Colleague, Lover, Villain
Best Line: “How dare you kiss me!”
Influence on Indy: Elsa may be the series’ best villain, because she so represents Indy’s own journey. Throughout the trilogy, Indy’s internal battle serves as a reminder that all of us struggle to balance an innate desire to seek glory and treasure, while still playing the selfless hero when our circumstances call for it. After the greedy, unfocused Indy served up in Temple, Elsa mirrors Indy’s eventual deciding moment in Crusade. Despite harboring some compassion and genuine care for others, Elsa’s character is dominated by a desire for treasure-filled glory. When she finally succumbs to this desire, Indy is forced to watch the consequences, and then face a similar decision after watching Elsa’s consequences.
#3 Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir
Film: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Relation to Indy: Friend
Best Line: “You go first.”
Influence on Indy: Devoted friend, camel whisperer, and navigator of many languages and cultures, Sallah repeatedly shows up to save the day with his companionship for Indy, despite the risk of his own life, or even of his children. Sallah shows up at the right time, every time, sometimes bringing camels instead of horses, but always throwing down the escape rope or catching the poisoned fig just when Indy needs it.
#2 Dr Henry Jones Senior
Film: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Relation to Indy: Father and Educator
Best Quote: “I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne: ‘Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky…’”
Influence on Indy: As his father, Dr. Jones Sr. was key in transforming Indy into the hero we know. Throughout Last Crusade, it’s clear that Indy’s love of history, self-sufficiency, intellect, sense of integrity, and even romantic moves herald back to the father he remembers as distant growing up. However, it’s not just Dr. Jones Sr.’s impact on Indy’s youth that is vital; as their story progresses in Last Crusade, Dr. Jones Sr. grows to love and appreciate his adult son in ways he never did before, and even more, becomes close enough to his son to see his son’s weaknesses. His guiding words to Indy in perhaps Indy’s greatest moment of weakness, are what leads to our hero’s survival and triumphant ride into the sunset at the trilogy’s conclusion.
#1 – Marion Ravenwood
Film: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Best Quote: “Listen, Herr Mac, I don’t know what kind of people you’re used to dealing with, but nobody tells me what to do in my place.”
Influence on Indy: Perhaps it’s surprising to select the character from the first installment of our trilogy, rather than the father figure who ultimately finishes the trilogy alongside Indy. However, Marion’s role is as necessary to the audience’s developing love for Indy as his fedora, whip, and hatred for anything that slithers. Marion makes the audience’s true introduction to Indiana Jones, offering the first real glimpse into the hero’s past, charming ways, and tendency to work alone. Through Marion, we also see the qualities of our hero that both frustrate and endear him to the ones that love him.
- Dr Marcus Brody, for his devotion to the Jones men and for his questionable management of the museum where many of Indy’s discoveries find a home.
- René Belloq for his Top Archaeologist challenge with Indy, and for his classy and desert-appropriate garb.
- Indiana, for serving as Indy’s namesake, and for being damn cute.