Early on in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy is seen leaving his class at Barnett College to go to his office. When he gets there, his outer office is filled with student's clamoring for Dr. Jones's attention. What do they want from him?

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Is the joke that Indy hates the bureaucratic side of his job? Or that his students are obsessed with him?

  • 2
    Good question!!
    – Mistu4u
    Nov 18, 2012 at 3:59
  • 2
    I think throughout the series he views teaching as a "necessary evil", as many academics who spend a great deal of their time out in the field do, but that's just an opinion.
    – jonsca
    Nov 18, 2012 at 4:28

3 Answers 3


Ok, I've done some of my own research.

I think the joke is that Indy is an adventurer (albeit, a scholarly one), and that he isn't cut out for the day-to-day bureaucracy and paperwork of academia. They're a necessary evil of his job, but one that he'd rather avoid.

His secretary, Irene, says:

       Dr. Jones, I'm SO glad you're back. 
       Your mail is on your desk. Here are 
       your phone messages. This is your 
       appointment schedule. And these term 
       papers *still* haven't been graded!

Back at school, Indy is immediately overwhelmed with paperwork. What's more, I looked at the original script, by Jeffrey Boam, and I discovered the following:

Students once again CLAMOR for his attention: 
"Doctor Jones!" "Wait, Doctor Jones!" "My grade!" "My term paper!"

Instead of dealing with his irate students, he makes up a scheme (where poor Irene has to try and decide who should be seen first) and then jumps out his office window to escape it all.

  • So was Indi going to see all the papers at once? Because he replied he would like to see each of 'em. Or did he mean he would see them later?
    – Mistu4u
    Nov 18, 2012 at 19:55
  • 1
    Each of the students have their own grievances with Dr. Jones, so he says he'll see them one at a time. If you watch the scene closely, the two girls he first sees are extremely annoyed with him. He acknowledges their frustrated looks, and then promises to see everyone in order. Nov 18, 2012 at 20:02
  • By saying Indy doesn't take his job seriously you might interpret too much into it. Hunting down the Cross of Coronado probably took a while, hence the secretary saying I'm so glad you are back. The university doesn't stand still while Indy is away, so work simply piled up.
    – Oliver_C
    Nov 18, 2012 at 20:34
  • 2
    @Oliver_C You may not like it, but that's how he's portrayed. There is no indication in the film that this is an isolated incident, or he's feeling especially overwhelmed. It's not a serious scene, it's a funny one: He climbs out of his office window! I'm sorry if you don't like his character, but that's just the way it is. He ain't perfect! Nov 19, 2012 at 11:47
  • 2
    @Oliver_C Yep, 'fraid so. BTW: It's clearly an attempt at shirking, as you tell by the way the students react to his request. If he genuinely cared, he wouldn't have escaped to his office when they grew upset at his suggestion. I hate to break this to you, but Indiana Jones is "honest, trusting and true" (as George Lucas described him), but that doesn't mean he enjoys grading papers. Nov 20, 2012 at 13:13

Look. If you've been a professor, you don't even blink at this scene. It seems, based on the time of year, like this is at the beginning of the semester, although oddly some of the student requests seem like end of term things (like the paper).

However, go to a faculty office, of a professor who has office hours and teaches a class with a lot of students (or an advisor and professor, like me). I can't walk the 60 steps from my office to the bathroom without being stopped in a rapid fire of questions: Dr H, did you get my email? Can you add me to that class? Did we have homework? Can you tell me where to get my book? Are you sure I can't take that class? Do you know my ID number? (I am not making any of these up). In fact. Dr. Jones' response is the one that many of us wish: that we could just climb out the window and sneak away. Dang it, my office window doesn't open. And seriously, a secretary? Oh, the good old days that none of us can remember, when academic departments had budgets with actual money in them and apparently staff galore (I suspect this is nostalgia re-writing actual history to some extent, but we can dream, can't we?)

This scene is not indicative of Dr. Jones' teaching competence or not, necessarily; it in fact is reasonable that he'd say he could see every student in turn, and equally realistic that he'd despair at getting through the line. Again, I've been putting my key in the door to lock up, hurrying to get to a rehearsal on time, when a student says "I just have a quick question" and it takes five minutes to ask and then there are three other things and oh hang on, let me find my laptop and turn it on and show you...and all the while something inside you is trying to scream...Sorry, was this too emotional? Anyway, that is what it looks like from inside academia.

  • Sounds tough! The thing is: You've never leapt out your window to escape it all, so I think you're probably a better professor than Indy is! :) Jul 16, 2022 at 20:51

Well I am just explaining it like it seemed to me. There are two possible reasons I can see.

1) I think, while Indiana was teaching in the class, the students did not know about his previous days adventure. But then his friend Marcus Brody entered the class and Indiana talked to him about the recovery of the golden cross. As soon as the students left the class, they might have got the news about their teacher's adventure. So they decided to stay and talk to and get the autograph of their famous teacher. There are two ways, I am guessing, they came to know about it.

a) They might have got the news from anybody inside the school.

b) They were eavesdropping on Indiana and Marcus's conversation from outside the class, because Indiana met them just outside the class.

2) There may be another explanation. The result of any exam in the school was out on that day and the students came to know about it. So they were murmuring outside the classroom out of excitement. Maybe Indiana was going to declare the result. That is why he wanted to see everybody.

lrene, put everybody's name
on a list...
and l'll see each and
every one of them in turn!
  • Here's the problems with your theory: 1) Even Marcus wasn't sure that he had the cross until Indy told him. 2) Indiana didn't just meet them outside of class. 3) Nobody knew about the Cross of Coronado except Indy at that point. Also, what exactly would a news reporter report? The only witness to the whole opening event was Indiana Jones. Are you saying that he got back and immediately called a reporter to do an interview? Why would kids who want his autograph say things like "My grade!"? And also, unless this was the first day of school, wouldn't they have already gotten his autograph? Nov 18, 2012 at 18:21
  • Another problem: Since nobody knew about the exciting adventure that Indiana Jones had just been on, including Marcus, your answer suggests that these college kids (who are just learning the basics of archaeology) would recognize the Cross of Coronado on sight. Nov 18, 2012 at 18:31
  • @DjangoReinhardt, edited my ans. Added the point on grades. Your point on autograph is also quite true. But nobody cares about autograph of a school teacher until that day when he gets famous. Then they want it! You got my point? About how the students came to know, I said maybe they were eavesdropping when Indiana was talking to Marcus!
    – Mistu4u
    Nov 18, 2012 at 19:46
  • If you want the scene again, you'll notice that they don't talk about the Cross of Coronado. Marcus simply asks, "Did you get it?". So by your theory, the students would have to be watching through the door and immediately recognize what it was. They could not "eavesdrop". Nov 18, 2012 at 19:47

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