Trivia / Raiders of the Lost Ark

  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Common Knowledge: George Lucas has been known to use the phrase "pointer scene" on DVD Commentary when comparing an Infodump in another film to the scene where Jones explains the history of the Ark to the government men. The closest thing to a pointer in the scene is Jones drawing on a blackboard with chalk, but so many parodies of the film include presentation pointers that fans tend to remember seeing one in the original film.
  • Fake Nationality: The French Belloq is played by the very British Paul Freeman.
    • The Welsh John Rhys Davis plays Sallah.
    • The British Ronald Lacey plays the Nazi torturer Toht.
    • The British Alfred Molina plays the South-American Sapito.
  • Older Than They Think: George Lucas has confirmed that the iconic boulder Chase Scene was borrowed from the climax of the Disney comic "The Seven Cities of Cibola" (1954) by Carl Barks, starring another famous Adventurer Archaeologist Scrooge McDuck.
  • Prop Recycling: The U-boat sailing prop was the U-96, rented from the production of Das Boot. In fact, the German crew woke up one day to find it was suddenly missing because someone forgot to tell them that Spielberg was borrowing it. The secret U-boat base was filmed at the La Rochelle U-boat Pen, which was also used in the filming of Das Boot.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: The swordsman chase scene originally involved Indy disarming the man with his whip, but Ford was sick with dysentery at the time, and he asked if he could just shoot the man, which the final cut had him doing.
  • Star-Making Role: For Harrison Ford. Star Wars was a huge success and his Lovable Rogue became an Ensemble Dark Horse, but it was after Raiders of the Lost Ark that he stopped being "the guy from Star Wars" and became Harrison Ford. Tellingly, despite his ties to George Lucas, Ford only got the role when first pick Tom Selleck couldn't get time off from Magnum, P.I., considering Lucas was against using him to avoid having him be his Robert De Niro answer to Martin Scorsese using him in several of his early films.
  • Throw It In: Harrison Ford ad-libbed the line "It's not the years, honey. It's the mileage.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Michael Sheard was the runner-up to play Toht before ultimately being cast as the U-boat captain. He would play Hitler in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
    • Klaus Kinski was offered the role of Toht, but he chose to do a killer snake film Film/Venom instead because it offered more money.
    • Spielberg had originally offered the role of Toht to Roman Polanski, who was intrigued at the opportunity to work with Spielberg but decided to turn down the role because he wouldn't be able to make the trip to Tunisia.
    • Tom Selleck was one of the choices to play Indiana Jones, but he couldn't make it due to his commitment to Magnum, P.I..
    • Sean Young auditioned for Marion, while Debra Winger turned it down.
    • Early storyboard sketches show Toht originally having a light in one of his eyes and a cannon for an arm that could transform into a flamethrower! No, this was Spielberg's idea shot down by Lucas for being far-fetched, why do you ask?
    • On a more disturbing note, Lucas and Spielberg actually considered making Marion twelve in the backstory when she first had a relationship with an adult Indy. For perspective, that's the same age as Short Round. (Not that the final product was that much of an improvement; in the official backstory, Marion was fifteen and Indy was still in his twenties.)
  • You Look Familiar: An unusual example as Indy's first treacherous guide and the monkey man, as well as the two giant mooks, are played by the same two actors.

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