The fact that Indy shows up at number six is a pretty clear indication that this list is in no particular ranked order. The man in the hat is a chief contender for all-time favorite status, and I suspect I'm not alone in that. The character is homage to the pulp novels and Saturday matinees of a century ago, a youngish curmudgeon out for fortune and glory, leavened by a touch of integrity and a reluctant conscience. Academic talent indifferent to the academy, more swashbuckler than scientist, lover and fighter with mixed results on both accounts, Jones is an everyman who speaks Greek and Latin (but not Hovito), paid attention in Sunday School, and learned his way around a whip the hard way. No small part of his enduring appeal is the portrayal by Harrison Ford at the height of his 1980s powers. Can you imagine Tom Selleck in the fedora, as originally intended?
Indiana Jones inspired my earliest writing efforts, painful as they are to revisit now with their tortured, overwrought prose and derivative characters. For that, and everything else, he will always be at the top of my list. Who didn't - and recent tepid film installments notwithstanding, still doesn't - want to be Indiana Jones?