Just hearing the title “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or the name “Indiana Jones” brings to mind that amazing theme music that is synonymous with Indiana Jones and gets the blood pumping right from the first chord!
Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of those true classics that has completely defined an entire genre of movies. Join us as we take a look back at the classic film with some amazing facts about it that you probably didn’t know….
1. One of the most famous scenes should have been different
In the original script, the scene in which Indiana Jones shoots a swordsman rather than fighting him saw Indie use his whip to get the sword out of the attacker’s hands and would have been more elaborate!
2. Food poisoning changed this!
The reason it was changed was that Harrison Ford and much of the crew had been struck down with food poisoning and so the more physical sequence was too much for Ford and he couldn’t get it right. In the end, he suggested just “shooting the sucker”, which Steven Spielberg loved the idea of and used for the film.
3. Spielberg managed to avoid the poisoning!
Almost the entire cast and crew became ill at some point during the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark, due to food poisoning. Steven Spielberg managed to avoid this, however, by only eating the food he brought himself – lots and lots of tins of Spaghetti-O’s!
4. Two famous characters appear in the film
In the scene with the Well of Souls, you can see R2D2 and C3PO from Star Wars depicted in hieroglyphic form on a pillar behind Indiana Jones – did you spot them?
5. Inventive sound effects were used
In the scenes with fist fights, most of the sound effects for the punches striking on people were created by hitting a pile of leather jackets with a baseball bat!
6. One prop whipped up a storm at auction!
The kangaroo-hide bullwhip used by Harrison Ford in the movie was sold at auction in December 1999. It was sold at Christie’s and fetched a massive $43,000!
7. One scene was edited to avoid an R rating
At the end of the film with the exploding head, the producers did not want the film to have an R rating, and so added flames in to the scene to make it appear less graphic than it was and appease the censors.
8. One actor says Auf Wiedersehen twice in the film
During the film, two characters are killed, both played by Pat Roach, most famous for playing Bomber in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet! He plays a Sherpa who is left in the burning bar at the start of the film, and also the large Nazi that is sliced up by the plane’s propellers!
9. George Lucas did alright from the film!
George Lucas made a deal that was pretty much unheard of at the time, agreeing that the company would finance the entire film (all $18 million of the budget) in exchange for him owning more than 40% of the film and also getting half of any profits after the film had grossed a certain amount!
10. It wasn’t easy to get the film made
In spite of having what was seen as a massive dream team, with the coupling of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, every studio the pair went to turned the project down! It took a lot of persuasion for Paramount to take the project on, but it’s fair to say they’re glad now that they did!
11. The sound effect of the boulder wasn’t a boulder
At the start of the film, in the now-famous boulder scene, the sound effects crew tried rolling boulders down hills and it just didn’t sound right. They were at a loss until Sound Designer Ben Burtt noticed the sound of their cars driving down a gravel track – he grabbed his microphone and held it near the wheels as they drove and the sound effect was achieved!
12. Indie’s hat wasn’t as old as it looked
The hat worn by Indiana Jones actually came from the famous Herbert Johnson shop on Saville Row and was their “poet’s” style hat. The hat was brand new, so Costume Designer Deborah Nadoolman twisted and contorted the hat, then she and Harrison Ford sat on it in turn to give it the weathered and used look seen in the film!
Raiders is one of those classic films. Are you a big fan and of Indiana Jones in general? Which is your favourite film in the series? Let us know all of your thoughts and memories in the comments as always!