I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at my local movie theatre this week, and it was spectacular. A tip of the fedora to Li.st Trivia Queen @kaydbug89 for inspiration.
  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark was born in Hawaii.
    George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were vacationing in Hawaii in May 1977 on the weekend Star Wars came out. Spielberg mentioned he wanted to do a James Bond film. Lucas suggested they instead work on his idea for an adventure movie based on Saturday matinee serials. That idea became Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  2. Indiana was the name of the dog.
    Lucas' dog, an Alaskan malamute, was named Indiana. Lucas originally wanted to name his main character "Indiana Smith" as a nod to the 1966 Steve McQueen western Nevada Smith. Spielberg protested, and Lucas picked Jones.
  3. Artwork defined Indiana Jones' on screen look.
    George Lucas commissioned graphic artist and illustrator Jim Steranko to set the tone and visualize concepts of the movie in 1979, before shooting the movie began. Steranko created four paintings (two shown) influenced by Humphrey Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Doc Savage pulp magazine covers, and a production still from the 1937 film Zorro Rides Again that showed Zorro jumping from a horse onto a moving truck.
  4. Tom Selleck was originally cast as Indiana Jones.
    But CBS legally barred Selleck from appearing in the film due to his commitment to Magnum, P. I.. Spielberg suggested Harrison Ford as a replacement, but Lucas was reluctant since Ford was already Han Solo in his Star Wars films. Spielberg prevailed, and Ford was added to the cast two weeks before principal photography began.
  5. Harrison Ford was 37 years old at the time of filming.
    Indiana Jones is 37 in 1936, the year the film takes place.
  6. Marion was portrayed by Sean Young in the film's screen tests for all actors who auditioned for the role of Indy.
    Young would later star opposite Ford in Blade Runner (1982).
  7. The name Marion Ravenwood was a combination of two names.
    Marion was the name of screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan's wife's grandmother. Ravenwood came from Ravenwood Court, a street off North Beverly Glen Blvd. in LA that Kasdan drove to get to the studio every day. Spielberg cast Karen Allen for the role after noticing her in Animal House (1978).
  8. Karen Allen was 29 years old at the time of filming.
    Marion Ravenwood is 27 in 1936. Marion's two-year relationship with Indiana began when she was 15, and she hadn't seen him in 10 years at the start of the film. Allen is credited with coming up with her own backstory for her character.
  9. The first shot of the film mimics the famous Paramount logo with natural scenery.
    Producer Frank Marshall drove all over Hawaii to find a peak that matched Spielberg's vision.
  10. Alfred Molina made his feature film debut, but his character Satipo did not live long.
    While shooting the temple scene, Spielberg wanted the tarantulas to crawl all over Molina, but they were still. The animal wranglers put a female tarantula on Molina's back, and the male tarantulas became aggressive and very mobile so Spielberg got the shot.
  11. Indy's run from the boulder as he escaped from the temple was originally only supposed to be a minor detail.
    When production designer Norman Reynolds brought the 22-foot diameter fiberglass boulder onto set, Speilberg liked it so much that he extended the rolling boulder path another 50 feet to make it a major part of the scene. The scene was shot twice from five different angles, so Ford had to outrun it ten times. His stumble was authentic, and left in the final cut.
  12. Ford improvised the scene where Indy shoots first.
    As originally planned, the swordsman would chase Indy through the bazaar, with Indy dodging a death blow and causing the swordsman to chop through meat at the butcher's shop. The day of filming, the temperature in Tunisia was 100+ degrees and Ford was suffering from food poisoning. Over 150 members of the cast and crew got sick from food-based illness in Tunisia, and the stressful conditions led Spielberg to compress a six-week shoot into four-and-a-half weeks.
  13. Indy is famously afraid of snakes, but Harrison Ford is not.
    When shooting the scene is the Well of Souls, the production had 2000 snakes on set. The snakes didn't cover the entire set, and Spielberg wanted at least 7000 more snakes. Producers raided pet shops in London (the Well of Souls set was located at Elstree Studio) and elsewhere around the UK and Europe. The scene was filmed with 10,000 snakes.
  14. The scene between Belloq and Marion in his tent was improvised.
    The original script called for Marion to fend off snakes in the Well of Souls in a revealing dress, but did not indicate why she ended up wearing the dress. In order to get her into the dress, Allen and Paul Freeman (Belloq) improvised the scene where she hides a knife in her other clothes and tried to seduce Belloq and escape. Allen thought it would be a good callback to the drinking game scene that introduces her character in the movie.
  15. Sound designer Ben Burtt created an original sound library for the film.
    The sounds for the snakes in the Well of Souls are Burtt running his fingers through a cheese casserole his wife made and wet sponges being dragged across grip tape on a skateboard. The sound of the giant boulder is a Honda Civic coasting down a gravel embankment. Burtt lifted his own toilet tank lid to create the sound of the heavy Ark lid being lifted. Burtt and Richard L. Anderson were awarded a special achievement Academy Award for Sounds Effects Editing for the film.
  16. R2D2 and C3PO appear in the movie.
    They are carved into a golden Pillar in the Well of Souls.
  17. Belloq appears to eat a fly in the desert.
    During the scene where Indy threatens the Nazis with a bazooka, a fly is seen flying around Belloq's mouth. Contrary to popular belief, he did not swallow it. The fly flew away when he said "bad," but Spielberg noticed it in post-production and thought it would be funny to cut a few frames so the fly couldn't be seen flying away.
  18. One famous scene was significantly sped up.
    Special makeup effects supervisor Chris Walas used a negative facial mold on top of a stone skull covered with thin layers of gelatin and added colored yarn to mimic muscle and sinew. Two propane heaters on either side of the head took 10 minutes to melt the face. The final shot was sped up. Belloq's exploding head was made of mostly the same materials, but some meat & liver were placed inside. That explosion was so disgusting that the effects team had to add a pillar of fire in the foreground.
  19. Indiana Jones never loses his hat in the film.
    Jones' hat stays on as an homage to classic serials of the 1940's. An outtake of the film shows Ford pretending to staple his hat to his head before a scene, starting rumors that he had actually done so. Indy loses his hat once each in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  20. Raiders of the Lost Ark was the only Indiana Jones movie nominated for Best Picture.
    Chariots of Fire was the surprise winner that year; most had predicted Reds would win.