Making Of...
Making Of...

Raiders of the Lost Ark Behind The Scenes

AKA:
Raiders of the Lost Ark Picture
1981
Indy and Belloq
Go behind the scenes and learn what went on during the making of the 1981 Action / Adventure movie starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman et al.
Contributed by: Eric
The idea for "Raiders" was originally thought up by Lucas whilst on vacation in Hawaii after the completion of "Star Wars", whilst building sandcastles with his friend, Steven Spielberg. His original idea saw the role of Indiana as much smoother, more like James Bond. After their trip, they got together and developed the script with Lawrence Kasdan.

Eric disagrees:

Lucas came up with the ideas for Raiders and Star Wars at the same time, but put Raiders out of his mind so that he could do Star Wars. He then brought the idea for Raiders up to Spielberg shortly after the release of Star Wars.

Anyone know the real story?
Harrison Ford wasn't in fact the first choice for the role. Lucas and Spielberg originally wanted Tom Selleck cast as Indiana Jones, but he was committed to the CBS TV series "Magnum P.I." and CBS would not release him from his contract. Selleck has apparently occasionally sadly lamented to friends and colleagues "That was supposed to be my role"... Magnum P.I. did an episode that parodied "Raiders," complete with hat, whip, booby traps, etc.
Contributed by: Matt Lombardi
Tom Selleck wasn't the only well known actor who auditioned for Indy. Remember the character simply called "Keys" in "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" (directed by Speilberg)? He was played by the very likeable actor Peter Coyote. Peter came in to audition for the part of Indiana Jones, dressed in the hat & jacket, with bullwhip in hand. But upon enterting Speilberg's office, he tripped over a floorlamp falling to the ground, and Steven and Peter both knew immediately that the search must continue..!
Contributed by: Eelco Claassen
Indiana Jones' name allegedly came from the name of George Lucas's dog, an Alaskan Malamute called "Indiana". However, who knows if this story wasn't cooked up by Mr. Lucas to 'mask' the fact that "Indiana Jones" strongly resembles the name "Nevada Smith", a character portrayed by Steve McQueen in 1966. Both names feature a first name based on an U.S. state and using Jones as a last name would only be a logical step to an equally common name as Smith.
Jock's airplane at the beginning has the registration number "OB-CPO", referring to Obi-wan and C-3PO from Star Wars (1977). It was located after an exhaustive search in Junction City Oregon. Owned and cherished by Henry and Alice Strauch, the plane was the only one found that fit all the requirements of the movie - single engine, open cockpit, and the original floaters which allowed for landing and taking off on water. After filming, the valuable antique plane returned home to Oregon and its regular routine - Henry Strauch flies it to work and back each day!
The scene where Indy threatens to blow up the Ark with a bazooka as it is being carried through a canyon was filmed in the same canyon in Tunisia used in Star Wars (1977) when R2-D2 was zapped and stolen by Jawas.
Contributed by: Matt Lombardi
Tom Selleck wasn't the only well known actor who auditioned for Indy. Remember the character simply called "Keys" in "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" (directed by Speilberg)? He was played by the very likeable actor Peter Coyote. Peter came in to audition for the part of Indiana Jones, dressed in the hat & jacket, with bullwhip in hand. But upon enterting Speilberg's office, he tripped over a floorlamp falling to the ground, and Steven and Peter both knew immediately that the search must continue..!
The script originally included a long fight between a swordsman and Indiana with his whip. Actor Harrison Ford was suffering dysentry at the time and asked if the scene could be shortened. Harrison asked "Why don't we just shoot the fu**er". Steven thought that was great and that's how it was filmed, saving several days schedule.
Harrison Ford quipped to a documentary interviewer that they kept his hat on by stapling it to his head. In fact it was help on with double-sided tape.
Harrison Ford was actually dragged behind the truck for some of the shots. When asked if he was worried, Ford replied: "No. If it really was dangerous, they would have filmed more of the movie first." In fact Ford badly bruised his ribs during the scene.
Contributed by: Leigh Barrett
The truck that blows up outside the Arab market was supposed to have ramped up much more spectacularly -- it didn't make the height and just skidded over onto its side.... And the scene of Indy riding the statue through the wall of the Well of the Souls featured the stuntman losing his footing and nearly falling off (the handle under the arm of the statue is clearly visible). Both shots were kept in the interest of budget (rebuilding a wall and righting the truck would have gone into mucho-dollars), and probably "gritty realism."
Contributed by: Robert Baum
In the scene aboard the boat as an injured Indy is unwinding from the trek to recover the Ark, Ford improvised the line, "It's not the years, it's the mileage." Making for a mildly amusing comment on his having been dragged behind the truck.
The classic Raiders scene where Indy shoots the swordsman was meant to be an entire whip and sword fight sequence... But due to Harrison Ford being tired after a long day of shooting while suffering from stomach problems, he suggested that they just dispatch the villain in the now classic way. Not surprisingly, a swordfight finally did occur in "Temple of Doom" after an joke where Indy attempts it again but fails.
Contributed by: C.T. Warren
The infamous snakes in the Well of Souls scene, sparked a tradition of Indy & friends having to get through a gauntlet of creepy-crawling creatures. the snakes were followed up by scarabs in "The Temple Of Doom", rats in The "Last Crusade", and a double-dose of (howler?) monkeys and army ants in "The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull"
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Deleted Scenes
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Alternate Versions
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Raiders of the Lost Ark