Trivia: The filmmakers discovered to their chagrin that the snakes used for the Well of Souls sequence weren't afraid of fire at all - in fact, they would always try to get closer to the fire to warm themselves. At one point director Spielberg was caught on camera picking up a snake and telling it, face to face, "In the script, you're supposed to hate fire. Why do you like fire? You're ruining my movie."
Trivia: On the plane to Nepal, the guy with the Life magazine is Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren.
Trivia: Another THX-1138 reference from George Lucas: When Indy gets off the Nazi Sub inside the hidden dock, you can hear over the loudspeaker, "ein, ein, drei, acht." (German for one-one-three-eight.)
Trivia: The scene where Indy shoots the sword wielding bad guy wasn't in the original script. Three months' shooting had resulted in Harrison Ford having a nasty case of dysentery, and the choreographed fight would have taken three and a half days to shoot. Harrison Ford really didn't want to stay on set that long, so suggested that it would be a good alternative if he just shot him. Who actually suggested the change isn't certain, but it wasn't a spur of the moment decision, contrary to some thoughts - it was a planned alternative.
Trivia: The infamous sequence in which the three main antagonists are destroyed were achieved by: A) A hollow head model which got the air sucked out of it (Wolf) B) A head made of dental putty (which melts) under a heating lamp (Toht) C) A false head being blown off by a shotgun (Belloq).
Trivia: Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan got the name Marion Ravenwood from his wife's grandmother who was named Marion and a street near Beverly Glen called Ravenwood.
Trivia: Pat Roach (the bald German mechanic in the fight at the plane) actually appears in all three films. He is a former wrestler, and is best known in the UK for playing "bomber" in "Auf Wiedersehen Pet".
Trivia: The film was originally given an "R" rating by the MPAA because of Belloq's death (his head explodes and showers everywhere). To overcome the ratings, Spielberg had flames superimposed over the image (although it thins slightly as the head detonates).
Trivia: When Belloq is yelling at Indy on the island from down in the canyon, you can see a fly crawling about his face. He doesn't flinch, nor does he make any attempt to shoo it. It eventually ends up in his mouth, and he still doesn't react. In editing they removed the few frames where the fly flew off, in order to give the impression Belloq ate it (http://www.theindyexperience.com/interviews/paul_freeman_interview.php).
Trivia: When the Nazis have taken the ark from the Bantu Wind (Captain Katanga's ship) and no one can find Indy (until he climbs aboard the sub), Spielberg actually filmed Indy diving off the ship and swimming all the way to the sub. Harrison Ford did the stunt himself, though the footage was never used.
Trivia: Indiana Jones could have escaped the rolling ball of rock by simply standing still, because the boulder started out about 15 feet over his head. Even if the boulder ended up blocking the entrance, there are several shafts of sunlight visible throughout the tunnel, indicating several potential points of escape.
Trivia: When a Nazi falls from the back of the truck carrying the Ark, a "Wilhelm Scream" can be heard.
Trivia: The truck that Indy gets dragged under and the one that he blows up when he thinks he's killed Marion are actually the same truck. It was built specifically for the moving fight scene because they couldn't find a real truck that would work with all the stunts that were written for it. They used it again in the bazaar scene so that it would look like that type of truck was a common vehicle at the time.
Trivia: When Marion tells Indy he's not the man he was 10 years ago, Indy replies, "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage." Harrison Ford ad-libbed this line.
Trivia: For the well full of snakes, Spielberg didn't have enough when they had the scene prepared, so he had several hoses cut up and disguised as cobras.
Trivia: Actor Pat Roach is listed separately twice in the end credits 1) Giant Sherratt 2) 1st Mechanic.
Trivia: During filming of the fight scene around the German flying wing, Harrison Ford slipped and fell down and the plane's wheels rolled over his left knee, tearing his ACL. Rather than trust in the local medical care, they simply wrapped the knee up tightly, applied ice, and kept on going.
Trivia: When "Raiders of the Lost Ark" premiered in France in 1981, audiences there honestly believed that it was an adaptation of the 1964 French adventure film "L'Homme de Rio" (That Man from Rio), directed by Philippe de Broca and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. The French film is about a soldier on-leave who gets mixed up in a museum heist and kidnapping and goes on a wild intercontinental chase to track down three museum pieces. The action is similar in both films, as are some of the plot twists (such as both heroes being rescued from certain death by a crowd of children, for example). Although French audiences immediately recognized the similarities between the two films, Steven Spielberg denied ever seeing "L'Homme de Rio".
Trivia: Producer Frank Marshall is also listed in the end credits as "Pilot" - Steven Spielberg often uses his film crew and producers as extras.
Trivia: Sallah is a tall man, but his name can be translated to mean 'sprout'. (This is probably because Lucas and Spielberg were offering the part to Danny DeVito who is considerably shorter than John Rhys Davies and only didn't take the part because of scheduling conflicts.)
Trivia: Actor Peter Coyote auditioned in costume for the part of Indiana Jones, but he tripped and stumbled over power cables during the audition (conveying an awkward and nervous image, just the opposite of the confident and sure-footed Indiana Jones image that Steven Spielberg wanted). So, Coyote didn't get the part. But Spielberg never forgot Coyote's earnestness, and he later cast Coyote as the compassionate Agent Keys in "E.T. The Extraterrestrial".
Trivia: When Indy swims to catch the U-Boat, the DVD and video cut out the part which ran in Canadian theatres (if not wider) where he lashes the whip to the periscope. This is probably due to the fact that just previously, Indy used the whip while he was dragged at the back of the Nazi truck and never picked it up. It was loosely hanging and about to fall away from the truck. I am assuming this was pointed out to the producers and they cut out blatant evidence of the whip being used.
Trivia: The mine chase that happens in Temple of Doom was originally supposed to appear in Raiders. Unfortunately there was so much material in the film that they had to shift it to the prequel.