Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 mins | Adventure | 12 June 1981

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Producer:

Frank Marshall

Cinematographer:

Douglas Slocombe

Editor:

Michael Kahn

Production Designer:

Norman Reynolds

Production Company:

Lucasfilm, Ltd.
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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filmmaker George Lucas conceived Raiders of the Lost Ark as a story called “The Adventures of Indiana Smith” in the early 1970s, around the same time he came up with the idea for Star Wars (1977, see entry). As noted in Dale Pollock’s Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas (1983), Lucas teamed with director Philip Kaufman over a three-week period in 1975 to develop the “Indiana Smith” project, and Kaufman devised a narrative that combined Lucas’s archeologist-adventurer storyline with the legend of the “Lost Ark of the Convenant,” as it was described in the 1973 Trevor Ravenscroft book, The Spear of Destiny: The Occult Power Behind the Spear Which Pierced the Side of Christ, and How Hitler Inverted the Force in a Bid to Conquer the World. Similar to Star Wars, the story integrated themes of fascism, rebellion, and mysticism in the framework of a B-movie serial adventure, but Lucas became preoccupied with Star Wars and did not pursue Raiders of the Lost Ark until May 1977, when he offered the synopsis to director Steven Spielberg. At that time, Star Wars was set to open in one week, and Lucas had withdrawn to a Hawaiian resort with his close friends, including Spielberg, in fear that the film was going to fail at the box-office. As Lucas received good news about the Star Wars release, he reportedly became more enthusiastic about producing Raiders of the Lost Ark with Spielberg.
       Returning to Hollywood, CA, Spielberg ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filmmaker George Lucas conceived Raiders of the Lost Ark as a story called “The Adventures of Indiana Smith” in the early 1970s, around the same time he came up with the idea for Star Wars (1977, see entry). As noted in Dale Pollock’s Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas (1983), Lucas teamed with director Philip Kaufman over a three-week period in 1975 to develop the “Indiana Smith” project, and Kaufman devised a narrative that combined Lucas’s archeologist-adventurer storyline with the legend of the “Lost Ark of the Convenant,” as it was described in the 1973 Trevor Ravenscroft book, The Spear of Destiny: The Occult Power Behind the Spear Which Pierced the Side of Christ, and How Hitler Inverted the Force in a Bid to Conquer the World. Similar to Star Wars, the story integrated themes of fascism, rebellion, and mysticism in the framework of a B-movie serial adventure, but Lucas became preoccupied with Star Wars and did not pursue Raiders of the Lost Ark until May 1977, when he offered the synopsis to director Steven Spielberg. At that time, Star Wars was set to open in one week, and Lucas had withdrawn to a Hawaiian resort with his close friends, including Spielberg, in fear that the film was going to fail at the box-office. As Lucas received good news about the Star Wars release, he reportedly became more enthusiastic about producing Raiders of the Lost Ark with Spielberg.
       Returning to Hollywood, CA, Spielberg contacted screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the script for a film he planned to executive produce, Continental Divide (1981, see entry). In late 1977, Lucas read Continental Divide and agreed to hire Kasdan, and the three men spent one week in meetings, outlining the story on audiotape. The resulting 100-page transcript provided the basis for the final script, with Kasdan combining Lucas’s general storyline and vision with key scenes created by Lucas and Spielberg. The last name of “Indiana Smith” was changed to “Jones” because Spielberg deemed “Smith” too ordinary. When Kasdan delivered a first draft to Lucas in Aug 1978, he was diverted away from the project to re-work the script for Lucas’s upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back (1980, see entry).
       One year later, on 1 Aug 1979, DV noted that Kasdan was still at work on Raiders of the Lost Ark after completing The Empire Strikes Back, and Lucasfilm Ltd. was set to shoot the picture in 1980. By early Aug 1979, Lucas’s University of Southern California (USC) film school colleague, Howard Kazanjian, had been hired as executive producer after finishing production on More American Graffiti (1979, see entry), the sequel to Lucas’s 1973 hit film American Graffiti (see entry). Nearly three months later, the Raiders of the Lost Ark script was complete, and Paramount Pictures Corp. acquired distribution rights in a “hefty and unusual deal,” according to a 29 Oct 1979 LAT news item, which listed Lucas as executive producer. The Jim Smith biography, George Lucas (London, 2003), explained that Lucas and Spielberg demanded a contract that was fundamentally different from standard Hollywood agreements, in which they were given $20 million upfront, and 80% of all film rentals, earning profits from box-office returns before Paramount recouped its investment. The filmmakers also insisted upon a large share of four “Indiana Jones” sequels, merchandising, and licensing rights. Although the project was in high demand, other major studios balked at Lucas and Spielberg’s conditions, and, as noted in various contemporary sources, including a 5 Dec 1979 Var article and the 1 Jun 1981 edition of New York, the five-picture contract between Paramount and Lucas was considered the most lucrative deal in Hollywood studio history at that time.
       On 13 Nov 1979, HR announced that principal photography was scheduled to begin in Mar 1980 at EMI-Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, England, where much of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back were filmed. As noted in a 30 Jan 1980 DV column, casting was underway as of late Jan 1980, and on 11 Apr 1980, DV reported that actor Tom Selleck was Lucas’s first choice for the male lead. Selleck was a relatively unknown fashion model and commercial actor at that time, but Lucas did not want to hire a celebrity so he could keep the film within a low budget of approximately $7 million. However, Selleck had recently been cast in the title role of the television drama Magnum P.I. (CBS television network, 11 Dec 1980—12 Dec 1988), and its producers were unwilling to release the actor from his production schedule. A 9 May 1980 HR news item announced that Selleck had declined the part, and four days later, the 13 May 1980 DV reported the casting of Harrison Ford, who would make his fourth appearance in a Lucas film after American Graffiti, Star Wars, and The Empire Strikes Back. According to George Lucas, Spielberg’s girl friend, Amy Irving, was initially considered to play “Marion,” but when the relationship ended she was replaced with Karen Allen, whose casting was first reported in the 13 May 1980 DV. On 10 Apr 1980, HR announced that Danny DeVito was cast in the role of “Sallah” as part of the actor’s multi-picture deal with Paramount, but he did not remain with the project, and was replaced by John Rhys-Davies. Although Lucas reportedly created the character “Belloq” for French singer Jacques Dutronc, the role was played by Paul Freeman.
       Principal photography began 23 Jun 1980 in La Rochelle, France, where the German U-Boat submarine and tramp steamer ship scenes were filmed. Shooting took place at La Rochelle’s submarine base, in a site used by the Nazis in World War II. As stated in production notes, producer Frank Marshall located a U-Boat replica at Bavaria Studios, which built the vessel for a film that never went into production. The submarine was shipped from Germany to La Rochelle and reassembled in the harbor five days prior to the 23 Jun 1980 start date. The steam freighter in the sequence was an Egyptian vessel, chartered in Ireland and refitted in England before sailing to La Rochelle. The two vessels were anchored three miles from shore, and the cast and crew were ferried to the site for five consecutive days in stormy weather.
       By early Jul 1980, the production had already moved to EMI-Elstree Studios, as stated in a 2 Jul 1980 Var column, where construction had been underway all summer on five sound stages with a team of over 200 crew members. Although the filmmakers planned to shoot the “Well of Souls” scene first, with more than 6,000 reptiles, including pythons, boa constrictors, and cobras, the set was not ready in time, and the production skipped ahead to the “Map Room” and the “Temple of the Chachpoyon Warriors” sequence. To capture "Indy's" race against a rolling boulder, the crew attached the boulder prop to an arm-like contraption that allowed the rock to spin on a hinge and follow the action. The mechanism was designed for reshoots, but when the boulder careened down its chute, the stalactite props on set were broken, and had to be reconstructed for each take.
       After nine weeks at EMI-Elstree, the filmmakers relocated to Tozeur, Tunisia, on 25 Aug 1980, as stated in a 22 Oct 1980 Var article. Shooting took place in the desert in 130-degree heat with over 700 background actors, as well as in the towns of Kairouan and Shrine City. The production base camp took up all 114 rooms at the Sahara Hotel in Monastir before moving to the Hannibal Palace Hotel in Port El Kantaoui. The “Procession” sequence was filmed at Sidi Bouhlel, fourteen miles northest of Tozeur, which was commonly referred to as “Star Wars Canyon” because it served as the backdrop of the Star Wars scene in which “Luke Skywalker” first meets “Ben ‘Obi-Wan’ Kenobi.” Due to unexpected rainfall, the scene was not completed on schedule, and a second unit crew arrived several days later for pick-up shots.
       According to production notes, the “Truck Chase” scene was mainly based on Spielberg’s sketches, with input from second unit director Michael “Micky” Moore. Harrison Ford performed most of his own stunts.
       The production moved to Kauai, HI, on 30 Sep 1980 for the South American temple scenes at the beginning of the film. Shooting also took place at the Royal Masonic School in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England, and in the Northern California cities of San Rafael, Marin, and San Francisco.
       After seventy-three filming days, principal photography was completed in Oct 1980, twelve days ahead of schedule, with a final budget of $22.8 million.
       The film marked the highest-grossing release in Paramount’s history to that time, earning nearly $50 million in its first three weeks, and a total of $135,026,753 in 111 days, according to a 5 Oct 1981 HR news item.
       Raiders of the Lost Ark was nominated for four Academy Awards in the following categories: Cinematography, Directing, Music (Original Score), and Best Picture. It won Academy Awards for Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, and Visual Effects, and received a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. The film ranked 66th on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films in 2007, down from the 60th position it held on AFI's 1997 list. Raiders of the Lost Ark was also ranked tenth on AFI's list of 100 Years…100 Thrills, while the character of "Indiana Jones" placed second on the list of 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains.
       The film was re-released on 7 Sep 2012 for a limited, one-week engagement at IMAX theaters to promote sales of the Blu-ray home video edition.
       The Raiders of the Lost Ark franchise spawned a prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984, see entry), and two sequels, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, see entry) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, see entry). In addition, George Lucas created and executive produced a television spinoff, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from 4 Mar 1992—24 Jul 1993. An extensive merchandising campaign included video games, comic books, toys, and novelizations
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Our appreciation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperation,” and, “Photographed in France, Tunisia, Hawaii and at EMI Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, England.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Aug 1979.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1980.
---
Daily Variety
11 Apr 1980.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 1980.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1981
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1981
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Oct 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Jun 1981
Calendar, p. 1.
New Republic
4 Jul 1981
pp. 26-27.
New York
1 Jun 1981
pp. 11-13.
New York Times
12 Jun 1981
Section III, p. 10.
New Yorker
15 Jun 1981
pp. 132-135.
Rolling Stone
25 Jun 1981
pp. 20-24.
Saturday Review
Jun 1981
pp. 12-15.
Time
15 Jun 1981
pp. 74-76.
Variety
15 Aug 1979.
---
Variety
5 Dec 1979.
---
Variety
2 Jul 1980.
---
Variety
22 Oct 1980
p. 41, 52.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Steven Spielberg Film
A Lucasfilm Ltd. production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Prod mgr, Tunisian unit
Prod mgr, French unit
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, Tunisian unit
1st asst dir, French unit
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, Peruvian-Hawaiian unit
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Operating cam
Operating cam, 2d unit
Operating cam, 2d unit
Operating cam, 2d unit
Asst cam
Asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Dolly grip
Dolly grip, 2d unit
Gaffer
Gaffer, Peruvian-Hawaiian unit
Head rigger
Still photog
Filmed in
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Asst art dir, Tunisian unit
Prod illustrator
Prod artist
Prod artist
Sketch artist
Sketch artist
Decor & lettering artist
Draftsman
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Cosnt mgr
Prop master
Asst const mgr
Scenic artist
Modeller
Chief buyer
Head plasterer
Supv plasterer
Master painter
Const storeman
Prop master-Tunisia
Prop supv
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
SOUND
Sd des
Supv sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Asst dial ed
Prod sd
Sd boom op
Prod maintenance
Re-rec
Re-rec
Apprentice sd ed
Foley ed
Sd eff rec
Rec tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Mechanical eff supv
Sr eff tech
Eff tech
Eff tech
Eff tech
Eff engineering
Spec eff equip supv
Spec eff elec
Spec eff carpenter
Spec eff welder
Eff asst
Eff asst
Spec visual eff prod at
Marin County, CA
Opt photog supv, ILM
Prod supv, ILM
Art dir-Visual eff, ILM
Matte painting supv, ILM
Visual eff ed supv, ILM
Prod co-ord, ILM
Prod assoc, ILM
Anim supv, ILM
Anim supv, ILM
Eff cam, ILM
Cam op, ILM
Cam op, ILM
Asst cam, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt printer op, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Asst art dir, ILM
Illustrator, ILM
Matte artist, ILM
Matte photog, ILM
Matte photog asst, ILM
Modelshop foreman, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Anim, ILM
Asst eff ed, ILM
Asst eff ed, ILM
Asst film ed, ILM
Prod co-ord, ILM
Cloud eff, ILM
Spec make-up eff, ILM
Laboratory tech, ILM
Laboratory tech, ILM
Laboratory tech, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Admin asst, ILM
Prod accountant, ILM
Prod accountant, ILM
Prod accountant, ILM
Still lab tech, ILM
Still lab tech, ILM
Electronic systems des, ILM
Computer engineering, ILM
Des eng, ILM
Electronics eng, ILM
Electronics eng, ILM
Electronics eng, ILM
Electronics tech, ILM
Electronics tech, ILM
Electronics tech, ILM
Equip engineering supv, ILM
Machinist, ILM
Spec projects, ILM
Supv stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Pyrotechnics, ILM
Ultra high speed cam
Addl opt eff
Addl opt eff
Titles
MAKEUP
Chief make-up artist
Make-up artist
Chief hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Prod supv
Asst prod mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr, Tunisian unit
Loc mgr, Tunisian unit
Loc mgr, Peruvian-Hawaiian unit
Continuity
Continuity, 2d unit
Assoc to Mr. Spielberg
Armorer
Animal handler
Animal handler
Animal handler
Research
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Mr. Marshall
Asst to Mr. Spielberg
Asst to Mr. Kazanjian
Asst to Mr. Lucas
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst, French unit
Doctor, 2d unit
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Loc accountant
Accountant, Tunisian unit
Accountant, French unit
Accountant, Peruvian-Hawaiian unit
Unit pub
Prod co-ord, Tunisian unit
Prod co-ord, Peruvian-Hawaiian unit
Prod supv, Tunisian unit
Transportation capt, Peruvian-Hawaiian unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt arranger
Mr. Ford's stand-in
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
12 June 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 12 June 1981
Production Date:
23 June--October 1980
Copyright Claimant:
Lucasfilm, Ltd. (LFL)
Copyright Date:
14 August 1981
Copyright Number:
PA112321
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo
Color
Metrocolor®
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
115
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26345
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1936 South America, archeologist-professor Indiana “Indy” Jones explores the jungle for a golden godhead. Retrieving the idol from an ancient temple, Indy unwittingly triggers a series of booby traps and narrowly escapes, but he is thwarted by the unexpected appearance of a rival archeologist named René Belloq, who is delighted to seize the relic and unleash an army of tribal warriors. Dodging arrows, Indy gets away on an awaiting seaplane. Back in the U.S., Indy returns to his university classroom, where is visited by colleague Marcus Brody. The erudite gentleman chides Indy for his illicit practices of hunting artifacts for financial gain, then alerts his friend to the presence of two U.S. intelligence agents on campus, who are waiting to meet him. In a lecture hall, the men ask Indy to interpret a secret German communiqué recently intercepted in Cairo, Egypt. The agents reveal that Nazis are excavating the area for biblical artifacts to prove Adolf Hitler is the Christian Messiah, and to wield the relics’ mystical powers. When the German dispatch gives orders to acquire a “headpiece” from a professor named Abner Ravenwood, Indy acknowledges the name of his former mentor and realizes the Nazis have discovered the ancient city of Tanis, the focus of Ravenwood’s research. Indy explains that Tanis is the burial place of the Lost Ark of the Covenant, which holds the Ten Commandments, but its exact location has remained a mystery for 3,000 years. According to ancient lore, the ark’s tomb in the “Well of Souls” can only be located by taking a special headpiece to the “Map Room” in Tanis and holding it ... +


In 1936 South America, archeologist-professor Indiana “Indy” Jones explores the jungle for a golden godhead. Retrieving the idol from an ancient temple, Indy unwittingly triggers a series of booby traps and narrowly escapes, but he is thwarted by the unexpected appearance of a rival archeologist named René Belloq, who is delighted to seize the relic and unleash an army of tribal warriors. Dodging arrows, Indy gets away on an awaiting seaplane. Back in the U.S., Indy returns to his university classroom, where is visited by colleague Marcus Brody. The erudite gentleman chides Indy for his illicit practices of hunting artifacts for financial gain, then alerts his friend to the presence of two U.S. intelligence agents on campus, who are waiting to meet him. In a lecture hall, the men ask Indy to interpret a secret German communiqué recently intercepted in Cairo, Egypt. The agents reveal that Nazis are excavating the area for biblical artifacts to prove Adolf Hitler is the Christian Messiah, and to wield the relics’ mystical powers. When the German dispatch gives orders to acquire a “headpiece” from a professor named Abner Ravenwood, Indy acknowledges the name of his former mentor and realizes the Nazis have discovered the ancient city of Tanis, the focus of Ravenwood’s research. Indy explains that Tanis is the burial place of the Lost Ark of the Covenant, which holds the Ten Commandments, but its exact location has remained a mystery for 3,000 years. According to ancient lore, the ark’s tomb in the “Well of Souls” can only be located by taking a special headpiece to the “Map Room” in Tanis and holding it up to the rising sun on the “Staff of Ra.” The refraction will cast a beam on a floor model of the city, and reveal the ark’s secret location. To prevent Hitler from obtaining the ark, the agents offer Indy a lucrative deal to retrieve the artifact, and he begins his journey, unaware he is being followed by a Nazi operative named Arnold Toht. In a remote region of Nepal, Indy finds Ravenwood’s tavern and learns the professor is dead, but his daughter, Marion, is running the family business. The young woman, who was once romantically involved with Indy, is displeased by the reunion and blames him for exploiting her innocence. Marion feigns ignorance about the headpiece, but she is tempted by Indy’s $3,000 payment and instructs him to come back the next day. When Indy leaves, Arnold Toht skulks inside with an army of Nepalese henchmen and demands the headpiece, threatening Marion with a hot poker from her fire pit. However, Indy comes to her rescue and a gun battle ensues, setting the tavern ablaze. In the commotion, Toht grabs the medallion, but it has been scorched by the fire and brands his palm. As Toht drops the artifact and runs away, Indy and Marion overcome their attackers. Marion seizes the headpiece with her scarf and vows to remain by Indy’s side until he pays her in full. The two fly to Cairo, where they are welcomed by Indy’s colleague, Sallah, who reports the Nazis have made progress excavating the Map Room in Tanis. After a brief respite, the couple is attacked in a marketplace, and Indy mistakenly believes his lover has been killed in a truck explosion. Consoling himself with alcohol, Indy is detained by his nemesis, René Belloq. The archeologist explains that after snatching Indy’s godhead in South America, he joined forces with the Nazis and has secret plans to obtain the ark for himself. Outraged, Indy nearly starts a gunfight, but he is saved by Sallah’s brood of children. Sallah takes Indy to the home of a mystic, who decodes the text on Ravenwood’s headpiece to reveal the exact location of the Map Room, and the men are pleased to learn that the Nazis are digging in the wrong place. At dawn, Indy and Sallah sneak to the real Map Room excavation, where Indy rappels into the chamber, affixes the headpiece to its staff, and holds it up to the rising sun to ascertain the exact coordinates of the ark’s burial place. Back at Nazi base camp, Indy disguises himself as an Arab and is joyous to find Marion alive. Although the young woman is tied to a post in Belloq’s tent, Indy refuses to release her because it will draw attention to his whereabouts, and he pursues his quest for the ark with promises to return. At sundown, Indy and Sallah excavate the Well of Souls, and pry open the roof to discover a chamber filled with venomous snakes. Despite Indy’s aversion to reptiles, he fends off the serpents with torches and retrieves the ark. As the sun rises, the ark is hoisted out of the chamber and Indy prepares to follow, but his escape is thwarted by Belloq, who has discovered the site and is thrilled to usurp Indy’s discovery yet again. Belloq, Arnold Toht, and a commander named Colonel Dietrich, throw Marion into the snake pit and trap the couple inside, sealing off light and air. However, Indy uses his bullwhip to topple a statue and knock down a wall. The couple resurfaces at an airfield where Nazis prepare to airlift the ark, but Indy fights off a Nazi muscle man, who meets his death by backing into the plane propeller, the aircraft explodes due to a gas leak. Realizing the ark will be diverted away on a truck, Indy orders Marion to meet him back in Cairo and chases the convoy on horseback. Although Indy hijacks the truck, he is thrown from the speeding vehicle and slides underneath the carriage to regain control of the wheel. In Cairo, Indy and Marion set sail with the ark, but their steamer is overtaken by a German U-boat, with Belloq and Colonel Dietrich aboard. When the Nazis recapture Marion and the ark, the steamer captain convinces the Germans that Indy is dead, and they fail to notice as he stows away on the submarine. As the U-boat lands on a remote island, Belloq convinces Dietrich to open the ark before delivering it to Hitler, and the men lead a procession to find a suitable place for the unveiling. Indy ambushes the Nazis along the way, but Belloq challenges the archeologist to destroy the relic, and Indy backs down. Indy and Marion are tied to a stake and watch from afar as the ark is opened. Although there is nothing inside but sand, steam rises from the vessel, taking the form of ghosts. As Indy warns Marion to keep her eyes shut, chaos ensues. Arnold Toht, Colonel Dietrich, and their soldiers are mesmerized by the phantoms, and Belloq is possessed by a supernatural fire that shoots laser beams from his eyes and drills onlookers through their hearts. After a gas storm sweeps away the bodies, Indy opens his eyes and embraces his terrified lover. Back in Washington, D.C., Indy reconvenes with the secret agents to receive payment for the ark and protests that the relic has been taken into custody without input from scientific researchers, who can safeguard its powers. Despite Indy’s pleas, the ark is taken away to a vast warehouse, where it is obscured in a sea of identical wooden crates labeled “top secret.” +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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