Prof. Jones: (chased by a boulder)
Why build a trap that destroys what you're trying to protect along with the people trying to ransack it? Monty:
The character is chased down a tunnel by something very large, clichédly a boulder or a giant monster
. There's only one thing to do: RUN!!
There's no stopping the rolling boulder. You cannot avoid it or reason with it. It will just keep rolling towards you, destroying everything in its path until it makes sure you are a steaming, bloody pancake on the floor
. The only way out is to race down the corridor as fast as you can, and finally dive into some passageway that is too small for it to enter when you reach the end
. Alternatively, clearing a pit
which the obstacle will fall into will also do the trick.
In the event that the chase takes place outside in open space, it sometimes seems that the characters can only run forward
Closely related is a bridge that collapses in the hero's wake.
While often an extended sequence, an Indy Escape
scene can also be used as part of a Death Course
In video games, it is sometimes possible to get behind the rolling obstacle of doom, making the whole stage much easier. In 3D video games, the camera will often fixate on the boulder and obscure the path you have to run, making the whole stage much harder
Compare with Rise to the Challenge
, Escape Sequence
and Descending Ceiling
. When the pursuing object or creature is full screen height, it's an Advancing Wall of Doom
. After the escape is over, expect someone to quip "Wasn't That Fun?
Unrelated, despite the name, to the Indy Ploy
. In order to turn an Indy Escape into an Indy Ploy, the character would have to improvise pretty quickly.
If there are some nooks and crannies along the way, but a neverending supply of hazards as well, it's a Corridor Cubbyhole Run
. If it's actually possible to evade the danger by moving sideways out of the way, but our character never does, he or she has fallen prey to One-Dimensional Thinking
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Anime & Manga
- Uncle Scrooge #7 story "The Seven Cities of Cibola" by Carl Barks (1952). The scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark was inspired by a segment of this work.◊
- Along with every trap possible and imaginable, this appears sometimes in the French comic Game Over. Unlike other examples of this trope, here the protagonist never escapes the boulder. The Little Barbarian once gets slowed down by spiderwebs until rolled over. At another time, he finds a hole in the ground where to dive, but the boulder bounces off of a wall and covers the hole, leaving the hero starving to death.
- There's an issue of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book that includes this, as well as homages to Indy in general. Heck, Sonic even dresses in a fedora.
Films — Animation
- Toy Story: The scene where Buzz Lightyear gets thrown out the window.
- Happens near the beginning of Chicken Little, where a water tower collapses and starts rolling toward a movie theater that was for coincidentally showing Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- In Chicken Run, just following another Indiana Jones shout out (a Indy Hat Roll), Ginger and Rocky make their escape of the crumbling pie-making machine pursued by some large rolling gears.
- The Incredibles: When Mr. Incredible fights the Omnidroid for the first time on the island, the robot shortly tries to crush him by retracting its members into a perfect sphere and rolling through the jungle.
- Played with. Mr. Incredible does the sensible thing and jumps out of the way. But the Omnidroid is a learning robot, and so learns to somehow steer its sphere form towards Mr. Incredible.
Films — Live-Action
- Indiana Jones
- Of course, in both Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom.
- Subverted in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indy and his dad are in a car being chased by a German fighter plane. They drive into a tunnel, the plane follows them, knocking its wings off the side of the entrance. The plane is now in flames but still following them with Indy's dad telling him to drive faster. The plane just goes past them with the pilot looking with astonishment at his plane on fire and it explodes after it leaves the tunnel.
- Subverted again in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, at the end. Indy, Marion, Mutt and Ox escape the ancient temple as it's being pulled into an interdimensional vortex. A huge deluge of water comes after them and it forces them up, the only way out of the underground city.
- UHF opens with an Indiana Jones spoof, including a parody of the famous boulder, which chases the protagonist all the way out of the temple and through the countryside. Interestingly enough, here the character being chased does think to swerve aside — but since this is parody, the boulder also swerves to follow him.
- In another Harrison Ford movie, The Fugitive, the bus carrying Dr. Richard Kimble to prison drives off the road and rolls onto a railroad track just as a train approaches. Kimble escapes the bus through a window and jumps off just as the train crashes into it. The train then derails and chases after Kimble (whose hands and feet are still in shackles) frantically runs away from it. Kimble jumps into a ditch as it goes overhead.
- The 1959 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth features some pre-Indy giant rolling boulder action.
- In Stand by Me, the boys are taking a shortcut along a train bridge. Of course, they're halfway across when a train starts coming for them, evoking this trope.
- There is a shadow of this trope in The Empire Strikes Back, during the duel between Vader and Luke. Luke is searching around the facility for Vader and ends up in a very narrow hallway. Vader pops out of a niche (he was holding his breath) and starts swinging at Luke, who can barely defend himself. The angle in which its shot shows just how massive Vader is, and his relentless assault mimics the unstoppable boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- In the 1979 Disney Sci-fi The Black Hole, there's a scene with a magna-meteor boulder rolling down a giant corridor that nearly kills the film's heroes.
- In Die Hard With A Vengeance, McClane flees the water gushing through the aqueduct in a dump truck when the villains attempt to drown him.
- Avalanche, one of the challenges in Takeshis Castle, features this, and it involves the contestants running up a narrow tunnel and then running back into cubbyholes to avoid the polystyrene boulders.
- In episode 3 of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Captain Marvelous and Doc are chasing a mysterious man in black* and they end up in a cave where a giant boulder starts chasing them. Marvelous' solution is to throw his sword into the ground, then get down behind it, while the boulder goes over their heads due to the sword acting as a ramp.
- The Christmas special of season four of Eureka has Carter running from a gigantic Christmas ornament.
- In the Japanese superhero series Uchū keiji Gyaban, the hero escapes from a boulder in every opening credits sequence — at least in the French version of the series, which is better known as X-OR.
- Invoked in Stern Pinball's Batman game, which features a teetering bridge that causes a small model Batmobilenote to race away from the pinball rolling right behind it.
- In Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure, the opening animation for multiball shows Indy escaping from a rolling boulder.
- Dungeons & Dragons module B4 The Lost City. The PCs can encounter a Rolling Boulder Trap that acts exactly the same as the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It activates when the PCs open a door and pursues them down a corridor. The module advises the Dungeon Master to not allow the boulder to kill the PCs unless they act stupidly (e.g. by not trying to avoid it).
- In The Gamers Alliance, the heroes of the Grand Alliance have to run from a giant boulder which does its best to smash them inside an ancient temple in the Ruined Kingdom. It turns out that the boulder and the descending ceiling traps are actually activated simultaneously and thus they end up cancelling each other.
- The Raiders of the Lost Ark scene was then parodied by The Simpsons, casting Homer as the boulder and Bart (complete with trademark head-wear) escaping down the stairs with a jar full of change.
- Also parodied by Western Animation/Rugrats.
- The Megatanks in Code Lyoko sometimes act as such rolling boulders of doom. Ulrich gets pancaked (and thus devirtualized) once.
- One episode of Codename: Kids Next Door ("operation F.L.A.V.O.R.") has Numbuh Five being chased down a hallway by a giant rolling ball of ice cream.
- An episode of Dexters Laboratory has a scene spoofing the temple escape from Raiders. Dexter exchanges the atomic power he was looking after with a doll, and it still doesn't stop a giant yarn ball from coming after him. It's only stopped by the doorway of Dexter's room.
- The Raiders of the Lost Ark scene was parodied in the Class of 3000 episode "Eddie's Money", with Sunny Bridges as Indy. The boulder is just one of the hazards involved in accessing what turns out to be the world's most inconviently located gift store. (Turns out they do most of their business on-line.)
- Happens all the time on Inhumanoids, in which a majority of the action sequences are underground and involves Kaijus with lousy aim.
- The classic boulder appears shortly in Wakfu, episode "The Dragon-Pig", along with most typical Temple of Doom traps. Note that here the tunnel is perfectly circular, hence there's no corners where to hide from the boulder, even if you're a small piglet.
- In Robot Chicken, there is a segment showing construction workers of the original temple trap from Raiders of the Lost Ark, as they do a run down on the design to the owner, who seems completely flabbergasted at how ridiculous it all is, as they enthusiastically explain it will look awesome.
- The scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark is parodied in American Dragon Jake Long: as Jake, Trixie and Spud enter a cave, Spud activates a trap and a rock rolls toward them... Only to pass between Jake's legs. Then the rock activates the REAL trap, and that part of the cave start collapsing and burning.