Similarities Between Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones

Ever since I first saw Pirates of the Caribbean and the Curse of the Black Pearl, I’ve been noticing similarities between the Pirates franchise and the Indiana Jones films.  What I mean by similarities is not necessarily in tone or story (although there are some similarities there as well) but in oddly specific scenes that almost seem copied. It’s never been entirely clear to me whether these scenes were meant to be homages or if they really were just copied with the hope that no one would notice (a few are obvious homages). I’ve looked online and found a few forums and sites discussing this and noticing the same similarities that I’ve noticed, but there aren’t many. Mostly it seems to be one person bringing it up and other people saying “how dare you even mention the pirate’s films in any sort of comparison with the amazing Indiana Jones films”. And OK, that’s fair, I agree that Indiana Jones is miles ahead of the Pirates movies, but that’s not really the point. Either way I thought it would be fun to list all the scenes or things I found similar between the Pirates franchise and the Indiana Jones franchise. I’ll start with some of the overall, general similarities.

General Similarities:

  • Both franchises are in the action adventure genre with stories usually focused on the quest for some sort of supernatural McGuffin. Along the way there are usually moments of horror and darkness, but also moments of pure action or even slap-stick comedy.
  • Both Jack Sparrow and Indiana Jones are known for their genius plans that they usually “make up as they go along”.
  • Indiana Jones and Jack Sparrow both have iconic, unique gear and clothing that they always carry around. A common item being their hats. They almost never lose their hats, but when they do, they always magically find their way back.

And now for some more specific similarities.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:

  • Both Marion (from Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Elizabeth have medallions that cause a nearby candle to flicker.
  • Both Marion and Elizabeth are forced to dine with the villain who forces them to wear a dress they happen to have.  During the course of the dinner Marion/Elizabeth hides a knife to later threaten the villain with.
  • Similar monkeys that are on the villain’s side.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest:

  • Sailors are forced into slavery aboard Davy Jones’s ship and are whipped if they don’t work fast enough, much like the child slaves in Temple of Doom.
  • When Jack is trapped by the natives who want to cook him, he tries to blow away some sparks but instead causes the sparks to catch fire, making things worse. Very reminiscent of a scene in The Last Crusade where Henry Jones drops a lighter while he and Indiana are trapped. He blows on the lighter to try to put it out but instead causes a larger fire.
  • Jack being chased by the natives is just like Indiana Jones being chased by natives in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

pirates-running from nativesraiders-running from natives

  • One obvious homage is Elizabeth being cornered by two people with swords, she smiles and reaches for her own sword but finds it missing. She looks back up and this time nervously smiles. This is a clear replica of the scene in Temple of Doom when Indiana is cornered by two people with swords, right down to his two smirks, only Indiana is reaching for his gun, not a sword.

pirate jones

  • Both this film and Temple of Doom feature cut out hearts that still beat.
  • Jack has an old cloth that shows the item he is searching for, much like the cloth given to Indiana in Temple of Doom that shows the item Indiana in searching for.


Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End:

  • Surprisingly…….can’t think of anything. Needs more thought. Let me know if you can think of anything!


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:

  • Jack’s relationship to Angelica is very similar to Indiana’s relationship with Marion in that they both had very loving relationships but were not ready to commit. As a result they both broke the hearts of the young women they loved and those women grew up to be stronger for it.
  • The Fountain of Youth is very similar to the Holy Grail, both granting eternal life. Jack must try to save someone he loves with the cup from the fountain much like Indiana does for his father in The Last Crusade with the Holy Grail.
  • A Voodoo doll is used to harm Jack much like the voodoo doll used in Temple of Doom to harm Indiana.
  • The zombie henchmen are similar to the henchmen in Temple of Doom who are brainwashed, including Indiana himself.
  • The main villain dies from rapid aging caused by drinking from the wrong cup, just like the villain does in The Last Crusade.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales:

  • Haven’t seen it yet so this section will have to be updated later, but I hear that the beginning of the movie contains a scene where we see how a young Jack obtains some of his signature items, much like the beginning of The Last Crusade which showed a young Indiana getting many of his signature items.


Well, that’s it for now. I’m sure there are a few that I missed. Feel free to point any out to me!


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