Raiders of the Lost Ark Trivia

Nick Nolte was one of the two actors who fortunately turned down the role of Indiana Jones.

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 when R2-D2 was kidnapped by Jawas.

In filming the Well of Souls sequence, the producers scoured every pet shop in London and the South of England for every snake they could lay their hands on. Hence there are snakes that are identifiable from many different geographical areas (such as the Cobra). However, once all the snakes were on set, it became clear that there were not nearly enough of them, so Spielberg had several hoses cut into lengths, and these were used as well. Looking closely, you can tell which are the real snakes and which are not, and according to Paul Freeman in our interview, the real snakes simply fell asleep on top of the black hose.

The truck that didn't have Marion in it was flipped over by firing a section of a telephone pole through the floorboards, and is easily viewable when paused.

Ford badly bruised his ribs during the scene where he was dragged behind the truck.

Indy's famous line to Marion while in their room on the Bantu Wind - "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage" - was ad-libbed by Ford.

Harrison Ford was actually dragged behind the truck for some of the shots. When asked if he was worried, Ford quipped: "No. If it really was dangerous, they would have filmed more of the movie first."

The submarine model from Das Boot was reused for some scenes in Raiders.

During filming in Tunisia, nearly everyone in the cast and crew got sick, except director Steven Spielberg. It is thought that he avoided illness by eating only the food he'd brought with him: cans and cans of Spaghetti-O's.

Indiana Jones never loses his hat because it was thought that such a thing would cause problems with continuity. It eventually becomes a running joke through the series. Though at the end of Raiders while on the Bantu Wind and the Ark alter, he doesn't have his hat with him.

The building used for one of the exterior shots of the university is the large music conservatory on the campus of The University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

The opening scene in the lost South American temple is partly based on a classic Disney Ducks adventure helmed by the legendary artist Carl Barks, many of whose comic books have inspired George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Exploring a lost temple, Donald Duck, his nephews, and Scrooge McDuck must evade a succession of booby traps - flying darts, a decapitating blade, a huge boulder, a tunnel flooded with a torrent of gushing water, etc. In the story "The Prize of Pizarro" ("Uncle $crooge" nr 26, June-August 1959), which hit the newsstands when Lucas and Spielberg were respectively 15 and 12 years old. Both men are avowed fans of the Barks comic books.

The hieroglyphics in the Well of Souls include engravings of R2-D2 and C-3PO. They can be seen on a post to the right of Indy and Sallah as they remove the Ark

All three films begin with the Paramount logo and fades into a rock formation with a similar shape.

An early draft of the script had Indy traveling to Shanghai to recover a piece of the Staff of Ra. During his escape from the museum where it was housed, he sheltered from machine gun fire behind a giant rolling gong. Also in the same script, Indy and Marion flee the chaos caused by the opening of the Ark in a wild mine-cart chase sequence. Both of these scenes were cut from the script, but ended up in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Director Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying: "I made it as a B-movie... I didn't see the film as anything more than a better made version of the Republic serials."

The crate in which the Ark is placed at the end of the movie has the serial number 9906753. The full text on the Ark crate reads: "Top Secret Army Intel. 9906753 Do Not Open!"

Indiana Jones's kangaroo-hide bullwhip was sold in December, 1999 at Christie's auction house in London for $43,000.00.

The musical theme for the Ark of the Covenant is heard several times throughout the film. Each time, it either trails off, segues into a different theme, or modulates into a different key. Only at the climax of the film is the entire theme heard and resolved in its original key.

Renowned British wrestler Pat 'Bomber' Roach gets killed twice in this film - once as a giant Sherpa left in the burning Nepalese bar and once as the German mechanic chewed up by the plane's propeller.

When Indy gets on the plane on his way to Nepal, the Nazi agent aboard is reading a Life magazine. It is issue Volume 1, Number 2, dated November 30th, 1936 (the second issue of the magazine). Pages 42 and 43 are dedicated to the water color paintings of Adolf Hitler.

Dennis Muren makes a cameo in Raiders as a Nazi spy who is tracking Indiana Jones on the airplane. Only his eyes can be seen, though, as most of his face is hidden behind the November 30th, 1936 issue of Life Magazine he is reading.

The whole idea for the film came up at a hotel in Hawaii called "Mauna Kea Beach Hotel", while George Lucas (who was escaping what he thought would be a disastrous opening of Star Wars) and Steven Spielberg were taking a holiday. They were both making a sand castle and decided they wanted to produce and direct an adventure film based on the 1940s serials. After their trip, they got together and developed the script with Lawrence Kasdan.

Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison wrote a script during shooting breaks on the location of this film. Mathison was there to visit her husband, Harrison Ford and Spielberg dictated to her a story idea he had; that script was eventually called E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The original name of the lead character in the script was Indiana Smith. His name was changed to Jones on the first day of production.

References to Steven Spielberg's first movie Duel include Indy is looking through the mirror of the Nazi truck, another truck is behind him, and you can't see the driver.

The monkey raising his paw and saying (in his own language) "Hail Hitler" was thought up by Lucas and is Spielberg's favorite scene.

Indy's hat was actually kept on with double-sided tape.

Whenever Indiana Jones steals clothing, it is always too small. Examples: inside the submarine pen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy steals a sailor's uniform; and in Last Crusade Indy steals both a dirigible porter uniform and a Nazi officer uniform that are both too small.

Exterior footage of the DC3 airplane carrying Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood across Asia is taken from the remake of Lost Horizon.

Several References to Journey to the Center of the Earth are made in Raiders (and Temple of Doom). In Journey to the Center of the Earth, James Mason escaped a huge roling boulder and is swept through tunnels by gushing water. Also, Mason is shown the desired path under the earth by a shaft of sunlight through a mountain crevice, similar to how Indy discovered the location of the Ark by a shaft of sunlight through the Headpiece Staff of Ra.

The truck used in the chase scene and the truck that blows up, are one and the same. They shot the chase scene first, then destroyed the truck by blowing it up.

The truck used in the movie was specially constructed to be higher above the ground than normal so as to allow clearance for Indiana Jones to pass underneath safely. A trench in the center of the road was also dug to give more room.

The scene in Cairo in which Indy shoots the giant swordsman was originally intended to be a long, choreographed fight scene featuring Indy's whip versus the Arab man's saber. But at the time Harrison Ford was suffering from dysentery after three months of filming in Tunisia, couldn't face the three additional days of filming and suggested that this much shorter version should be tried instead. Ford approached Spielberg and said: "Why don't I just shoot the son of a bitch?" And thus the most famous, and funniest scene in Raiders was born!

The final shot, with the camera panning out from the Ark in the government storage facility, is an homage to one of the final shots in Citizen Kane.

The script to E.T. was written during filming breaks at this film's location. Spielberg dictated the story to Melissa Mathison because she was a screenwriter and because she was there to be with her husband at the time, Harrison Ford.

George Lucas made what was at the time an unusual deal for this film. The studio financed the film's entire $20 million budget, in exchange, Lucas would own over 40% of the film and collect almost half of the profits after the studio a grossed a certain amount. It turned out to be a very lucrative deal for Lucas. Paramount executive Michael Eisner said that he felt the script for this film was the best he had ever read.

Just before the fight around the flying wing, Gobler says to Dietrich in German: "The plane is ready. It can be loaded."

The actor who plays the German pilot aboard the Flying Wing has a recognizable name: Frank Marshall, one of Raiders executive producers. He looked "German enough" to fill in when Spielberg began running out of extras.

In the submarine pen scene near the end of the film, Indy is confronted by a Nazi as he is hiding. The Nazi says to Indy in German, "Tired? Why do you sleep? Wash yourself! And straighten your shirt, so that you don't look like a pig at your court martial..." He is cut off by Indy's punch.

The actual name of the monkey used in the Cairo senses is Snuff, (he was reportedly more difficult to work with than any other actor). But as Paul Freeman (Belloq) once said, "Any film with a monkey giving a Nazi salute in it can't be all bad."

Indy Teaches at Marshall College which became Barnett College by the third film, somewhere in Connecticut, and, according to the novel, was almost married once to a woman named Rita.

The Indiana Jones series, is ranked at number 6 with of course Star Wars at number one. The Indiana Jones series grossed a total of $619.5 Million dollars between the two films.

The old astrologer who translates the text on the headpiece to the staff of Ra is named Imam; the young assistant who brings the dates to Indy and Sallah is named Abu.

During the shooting of the Flying Wing fight scene, Harrison tore a ligament in his knee but kept shooting. (Built Ford Tough!)

It took an estimated $18,000,000 (U.S. Dollars) to make Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Raiders took in about $242,000,000 in the U.S. alone at the box office.

It took a total of 73 days to film Raiders.

Harrison Ford had to race the giant rolling boulder 10 times to get it right, and Ford accidentally fell while racing the boulder, and was later added into the final cut.

The plaster boulder that chased Indy in the beginning of Raiders weighed 800 pounds.

Over 30 live tarantulas were crawling over Alfred Molina (Satipo), and four of them were killed either by each other, or from burning up in a lamp on the set.

Raiders is at #60 in AFI's Greatest American films!

Indiana Jones was 37 (born, July 1st. 1899) when Raiders took place, and 39 in Last Crusade.

Raiders was nominated for 9 Oscars, before winning 5, including a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing

Raiders is at #18 in the list of highest-grossing American films!

Harrison Ford was 38 (born July 13th, 1942) when Raiders was filmed.

The ID number on the Waco plane in the beginning of Raiders was OB-CP0, and homage to Obi-Wan, and C-3P0.

The name "Indiana" was actually the name of Lucas's malamute.

The idol in the beginning of Raiders is called, the fertility idol for the Chachopoy Warriors.

"Marion" was the name of the screenwriter Lawrance Kasan's wife's grandmother.

Director Joe Johnston directed an episode of George Lucas' "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"

Sallah's Full Name is, Sallah Mohammed Faisel El-Kahir.

Other than Harrison Ford himself, Pat Roach was the only actor to appear in all three of the original Indiana Jones films.

Did you know that Tom Selleck was originally going to play Indiana Jones? That's right, Tom Selleck was the favorite from the beginning. He had just finished shooting the pilot of Magnum P.I. for CBS, but when they hadn't picked it up at the time he tested with Lucas and Spielberg. "I was one of the last guys to get in the room," he recalled. But when CBS decided to go ahead with Magnum, Spielberg and Lucas only had three weeks left to cast the part, but when Spielberg saw Ford in The Empire Strikes Back the pieces fell together. And that's why we have Ford, instead Selleck!

The name "Indiana Smith" was the original name Lucas and Spielberg intended for the globe-trotting hero. But it sound too similar to Nevada Smith, a character made famous by Steve McQueen, so they changed it. And in the world of Indiana Jones, a little bit of name-dropping can tell a much bigger picture...