In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones is doing a lecture in his classroom, explaining to his students that X never marks the spot:

Archeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it's truth you're interested in, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall. Forget any ideas you got about lost cities and exotic travel and digging up the world. We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and X never, ever marks the spot

Later in the movie, he is looking for clues in a library with Dr. Schneider and comes upon the Roman Numeral X. After seeing this, he states:

X marks the spot!

enter image description here

He then proceeds to excitedly start "digging" where the X is marking the spot

Why did Indiana Jones immediately start digging where the X marked the spot when he specifically told his students that X never marks the spot?

  • 40
    I'm not sure what you are looking for here, it is clearly where the clue leads. Archeology is not what Indiana Jones does away from University - he does "follow maps to buried treasure", he breaks all the rules of what he teaches to students in class. The fact that in this one exceptional case, a literal X character does mark the spot, is just the funny payoff.
    – iandotkelly
    Jul 8, 2023 at 12:47
  • 2
    @iandotkelly sounds like your comment just answered the question. Hmmmm... Jul 8, 2023 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


The script indicates that Indy is not unaware of the irony of the situation. For all his worldly experience (and noting the lies that he told his students to dissuade them from leading the kind of reckless lifestyle he leads) he's evidently never encountered a situation where "X" actually marks the literal spot.

INDY: And ten. Now where’s the ten? Look around for the ten.

[Indy walks past aisles of book-lined shelves. He stops, turns, then looks down.]

INDY: Three, seven and ten.

[He climbs a spiral staircase leading up to a LOFT and looks down at Brody and Elsa. The floor beneath their feet is an elaborate tile design containing a huge "X" -- visible only from this higher angle.]

INDY: Ten.
(wryly; to himself)
"X" marks the spot.

  • 3
    Great reference. I would just add (the obvious :) to this very obvious question) that throughout the film series, a running mechanism is "angle and point of view" shifts and "optical illusions". (They think they're at a cliff, but the camera quickly moves and we the audience see a bridge, and so on.) This is another of those.
    – Fattie
    Jul 11, 2023 at 12:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .