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The Surprising Disney Inspiration Behind Indiana Jones' Boulder Scene

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The adventures of Indiana Jones, created by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg, were groundbreaking when the first film debuted in 1981. The non-stop, action-packed adventures of the daring archaeologist and his father became a blockbuster franchise. Harrison Ford's charming globetrotter captured fans' imaginations, but some of the film's most iconic moments were inspired by a wide variety of adventure tales.

The most significant reference point was the British secret agent with the license to kill, James Bond. Spielberg reportedly dreamed of directing a Bond film, and he channeled ideas he had for the legendary spy into his new hero, right down to his wardrobe. The white tux Jones dons in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," which was a nod to 007's suave look in "Thunderball." Spielberg also cast Sean Connery as Indy's father in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Maybe fans could have spotted the connection between Bond and Jones, but it turns out Lucas and Spielberg were inspired by another legendary Scotsman. This iconic Disney character's previous exploits inspired what is now perhaps the most iconic action sequence in cinema history.

The boulder scene was inspired by Scrooge McDuck

As much as 007's dangerous missions helped inspire Dr. Jones, it's the gold-obsessed Scrooge McDuck who had the most significant influence on Indy's first adventure. In the 1954 comic book story, "Scrooge McDuck in 'The Seven Cities of Cibola,'" written by Carl Barks, the titular tail-feathered hero, and his nephews uncover an idol but avoid snatching the trinket so as not to trip any booby traps. Instead, the nefarious Beagle Boys try to steal the idol, loosening a giant boulder that comes tumbling down after them instead. That's right, the epic opening to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" comes straight out of a comic book.

The stunning spectacle became a standout moment in not just the franchise, but movie history. Lucas made sure to pay his respect to one of his favorite comic books, even writing the introduction for a compilation of Scrooge stories, "Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life and Times." This particular book is not currently in print, but it's great to know that a world adventurer's cinematic glory was inspired by a duck with a fortune.