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Raiders of the Lost Ark: 30 Facts for 30th Anniversary

June 13, 2011
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 30th Anniversary

On Sunday, Raiders of the Lost Ark, one of the all-time classic adventure movies, celebrated 30 years since its release. Raiders of the Lost Ark stars Harrison Ford in his first appearance as the whip-wielding, two-fisted archaeologist Dr. Indiana Jones and was directed by Steven Spielberg. In celebration of those 30 years, we present 30 facts -- some well-known, some less so -- about Raiders of the Lost Ark for your enjoyment.

1. Everyone remembers the iconic first sequence of On Sunday, Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Dr. Alfred and a guide run afoul of trap after trap in pursuit of a golden idol. What many don't recall is that the guide, Sapito, is played by actor Alfred Molina. It was Molina's first movie role.

2. Raiders spawned three sequels.

3. The first sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, actually takes place before Raiders of the Lost Ark.

4. In the second sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we learn that Indiana Jones' first name is actually "Henry."

5. "Indiana," as Jones' father, played by Sean Connery, puts it, "was the dog."

6. The character was, in fact, named for a dog -- George Lucas' dog.

7. A young Indiana Jones was played in the third movie by River Phoenix.

8. In the third sequel, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth and final movie in the franchise, Indiana Jones' son is played by Shia LaBeouf.

9. The movie also spurred a TV show, "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," where younger versions of Jones were played by Sean Patrick Flanery and Corey Carrier.

10. Several episodes of the TV show featured Paul Freeman, who played the evil Rene Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as Frederick Selous.

11. Indiana Jones has appeared as the protagonist in 13 video games--two of them LEGO versions--and as an easter egg in two others.

12. Specifically, Indiana Jones is a playable, unlockable character in "Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga," a rare opportunity to team Jones with Han Solo, arguably Harrison Ford's two most famous roles.

13. Comic book artist Jim Steranko, famous for his work on Marvel Comics' " "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.," designed the look of Indiana Jones.

14. Tom Selleck was the original actor cast for Indiana Jones.

15. Selleck's contractual obligation with CBS forced him to turn down the role.

16. Indiana Jones is frequently forced to face his greatest fear: snakes.

17. Dr. Jones' two ever-present weapons: a pistol and a bullwhip.

18. In Raiders, Jones is nearly killed by eating a poisoned date.

19. His friend Sallah catches the date in mid-air, stopping Indiana just in time.

20. Sallah is portrayed by John Rhys-Davies, who later became well known for work on the TV show "Sliders," and as Gimli the dwarf in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

21. Danny DeVito was the first actor offered the role of Sallah, but his commitments to the TV show "Taxi" prevented his participation.

22. Raiders was filmed in Tunisia.

23. Raiders originally was rated "R" due to the graphic deaths of the Nazis and Belloq after the Ark of the Covenant is opened.

24. The special effect of flames were added to cover over Belloq's exploding head, helping to revise the film's rating to "PG."

25. One of the most famous scenes, where Jones watches a swordsman's elaborate routine, then calmly shoots him, was a fluke. Harrison Ford was suffering from dysentery, and rather than go with the planned choreographed fight, so the shooting was a timely alternative.

26. The famous boulder from the trap in the opening sequence was actually a 22-foot diameter fiberglass prop.

27. At 115 minutes long, Raiders is the shortest movie in the franchise (but not by much).

28. The airplane from the beginning sequence of the film that Indy and Jock escape on has the registration number "OB-CPO"--a direct reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi and C-3PO.

29. In the "Well of Souls" sequence, there weren't enough real snakes to cover the floor, so Spielberg called for hoses to be cut into lengths to serve as prop snakes.

30. Karen Allen, who plays Marion Ravenwood in Raiders, reprises that role in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.



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