Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Legend of Indy is Born

Nathan Chandler

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

In the 1980s a set of Hollywood superstars combined their talents to make one of the most unforgettable movies of all time. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" featured classic storytelling, top-notch acting and an A-list production crew. How much do you know about this legendary film?

In what year was "Raiders of the Lost Ark" released to theaters?

"Raiders" hit theaters in 1981. It starred Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones as he sets off to find a precious artifact called The Ark of the Covenant, a wooden chest that protects the tablets of the original Ten Commandments.

Who directed the movie?

George Lucas and Philip Kaufman wrote the story, and Spielberg directed. Spielberg, of course, is one of Hollywood's biggest names, responsible for films like "Jaws" and "Schindler's List."

Indiana Jones is famous for carrying which object?

Jones is a whip-cracking adventurer. His trusty whip is both a weapon and a tool that gets him out of all sorts of dangerous situations.

Indiana Jones is trying to find the Ark of the Covenant before what other group of men can locate it?

The Nazis believe that the Ark will help them create an indestructible army. Jones, on the other hand, just wants the Ark so that he can get rich.

What's the name of Indiana's love interest?

Marion Ravenwood was played by Karen Allen. She leaves behind her bar in Nepal to help Indiana on his quest to find the Ark.

Which actor did the film's creators originally want to play the part of Indiana Jones?

Lucas and Spielberg wanted Tom Selleck, the star of TV's "Magnum, P.I." to play Indiana. "Magnum" was a huge hit on TV and CBS wanted to prevent Selleck from leaving the show -- so they prohibited their star from working on "Raiders."

George Lucas came up with the idea for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and then set it aside to work on which movie?

Lucas and Philip Kaufman conceived the idea for "Raiders," but then Kaufman was hired to work on "The Outlaw Josey Wales," so Lucas set aside the story. Lucas then set about making a little film called "Star Wars."

Indiana Jones is pretty fearless. What scares him?

Jones happily tromps around through jungles and caves in search of precious treaures. The only thing that will stop him? Snakes. He really, really hates snakes.

The scene where Indiana shoots a mean-tempered swordsman was improvised.

Harrison Ford had a sick stomach the day this scene was shot. He asked if there was a way to cut this part short and director Spielberg said maybe he should just shoot the guy -- so he did.

John Rhys-Davies plays which character?

John Rhys-Davies plays Sallah, a large bearded man who helps Indiana find the Ark. When the pair is forced to wade into a mass of snakes, Sallah says, "Asps, very dangerous, you go first."

What was Jim Steranko's role in the creation of the film?

Before shooting started, George Lucas hired graphic artist Jim Steranko to create concept art of Indiana and his adventures. Steranko's creative vision helped guide the team as they developed the film.

Who's the Nazi nemesis that's trying to beat Indiana to the Ark?

Jones is racing to beat Rene Belloq, who like Indiana is an archaeologist looking for the Ark. Belloq winds up dead due to his arrogance and greed.

When did Harrison Ford sign on to play the part of Indiana Jones?

After CBS forced Tom Selleck to relinquish his role as Jones, Harrison Ford took the part. He didn't sign a contract, though, until two weeks before shooting began.

Where did the film's creators come up with the name "Indiana"?

Writer George Lucas owned a big, furry dog named Indiana. The writers decided to borrow the dog's name for what eventually became one of the biggest heroes in Hollywood history.

Which of the following was NOT one of the film's shooting locations?

The filming crew shot scenes all over the world, from France, to Hawaii, to Africa. But not New Mexico.

What is Indiana's middle name?

Indiana's real full name is Henry Walton Jones, Jr. But of course, everyone just calls him Indy.

Actor Jeff Bridges turned down the role of Indiana Jones.

It's widely rumored that Bridges turned down the role of Jones. But it's just a rumor -- Bridges was never offered the iconic part.

What was the film's approximate budget?

Spielberg had about $18 million to shoot his epic film. He was acutely aware of his budget limitations, and thus, he did extensive pre-production work in order to complete shooting as quickly as possible.

In one famous scene, Indy is nearly crushed by a huge rolling boulder. The boulder was made of which material?

The huge boulder was made from fiberglass. Spielberg was so happy with the look of the boulder that he decided to extend the scene that included the rolling rock.

For one scene, Indiana is dragged behind a truck. Harrison Ford actually performed parts of this stunt himself.

Ford said he wasn't too worried about this particular stunt, so he did parts of it himself, with the truck dragging him through the dirt. At one point, Ford bruised his ribs during the stunt.

How much did the film earn at the box office?

The movie was the biggest hit of 1981 and became one of the most popular films of all time. It made roughly $390 million at the box office.

The scenes set in Egypt were actually shot in which area?

The crew set off for Tunisia to shoot the Egypt scenes. They used some of the same locations that George Lucas found for 1977's "Star Wars."

Why did the film initially receive an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America?

Near the end of the movie, a character's head explodes. The effect was a little too gory for the Motion Picture Association of America. To avoid the R rating, Spielberg added flames to obscure the scene's horrific details.

In one scene, Indiana descends into the Well of Souls, which is filled with snakes. How many snakes were used to created this creepy scene?

The film crew originally tried to use about 2,000 snakes, but that wasn't enough slithering scales to really fill the area. Instead, they used perhaps 10,000 snakes, which did the trick, along with some painted hoses for good measure.

What was Steven Spielberg's reaction to all of the snakes?

Spielberg wanted masses of squirming snakes for the scene, but when the time came to shoot, he was freaked out. He said later that the sight made him want to throw up.

How many Academy Award nominations did the film earn?

"Raiders" earned nine Oscar nominations. It won four.

Which of the following Academy Awards did the film NOT win?

The film won four Academy Awards, but not Best Picture. It won Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.

An early version of the script had Indy visiting which country to find the Staff of Ra?

An early script had Indy visiting China (more specifically, Shanghai) to locate the Staff of Ra. Although the scene was never used for this movie, it was later incorporated into "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

Which actress turned down the part of Marion?

Debra Winger was the first choice for the part of Marion. After Winger turned it down, Karen Allen stepped into the role and found herself cemented in Hollywood history.

In what year will the third sequel be released?

"Raiders" was so popular that it spawned three very successful sequels. A fourth will reportedly hit theaters in 2019.

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