If you haven’t seen either of these movies, stop reading now. Spoilers ahead.
- First (and least) there are the titles of the movies, which are both: [plural noun] of the [singular noun phrase]. (Technically, the full title of Pirates is Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, but we can overlook that.)
- The central artifacts of both films are made of gold, are hidden in a stone chest in a secret cavern, and bring supernatural misfortune on those who abuse them.
- Raiders and Pirates both have a small, intelligent monkey working for the bad guys. Neither monkey survives to the end of the film.
- Both movies revolve around a gold medallion with extraordinary properties, and:
- The heroine wears it around her neck;
- In one scene where she fingers the medallion thoughtfully, a candle flame gutters; and
- The medallion is rescued from a burning structure.
- The heroine outdrinks someone (though in Pirates she’s just pretending to drink).
- While a captive, the heroine dines in private with the villain, and:
- He gives her a new dress for the occasion;
- She grudgingly puts it on;
- She wolfs down food greedily; and
- She threatens him with a table knife.
- The hero and the heroine are stranded by the villain in a location totally cut off from civilization with virtually no hope of escape.
- Surrounded by skeletons, the heroine screams in fright.
- On being reunited with an old flame, both movies’ heroes are greeted with a slap in the face. (OK, in the case of Raiders, a right hook to the jaw.)
- Johnny Depp’s entrance even resembles Harrison Ford’s, vaguely: photographed first from behind, then in an extreme closeup of the eyes. Shortly thereafter, both heroes regard the corpses of their predecessors respectfully.
Finally, at the end of both movies, the central artifact is abandoned by the protagonists, reconcealed, and waiting to cause new mayhem upon its next accidental discovery.
How many of these parallels do you suppose were deliberate?