Raiders of the Lost Ark

Corrected entry: As Indiana and Marion escape the Well of Souls (via pushing the large stone block at the end of the mummy tomb adjacent to the Well), there is a person distinctly propped up against the side of the stone walls, apparently napping. Even if this was supposed to be a watchman/worker falling asleep on the job, why didn't he notice the crunch and rumble and resulting loud THUD of a stone block being moved not ten feet away?


Correction: This is actually a visible remnant of a deleted scene. As originally shot, when Indy pushed the block out, it startled a worker who was standing nearby. When Indy emerged, he had to silence the worker before he alerted the rest of the camp. See Not really a mistake, as the subsequent startling is just not shown.

Phil C.

Corrected entry: When Indy is running after Marion in Cairo, just before he gets to the square filled with people carrying baskets, a man is sitting on the ground with a Walkman headphone on.

Correction: There are three men Indy sees in the alleys before he reaches the square, two of them sitting, one standing, and each in his own area. All of them are wearing turbans, have facial hair, and are placed in the middle to far background. This makes it impossible to say they are wearing headphones.


Corrected entry: In the big chase scene where Indy is driving the truck a Nazi manning a stationary gun on the back of another truck fires several rounds point blank into the tarp covering the cargo hold of Indy's truck until he rams them off the road. That tarp must be strong since they show no bullet holes for the rest of the scene.

Correction: The gun is only shown onscreen while firing once, and during that shot the barrel is pointing at an angle which would send the bullets over the hood of the target truck. There are some other incidents when it is heard firing, but we don't see it onscreen at those times, only hear it as the trucks crash together. Given the velocity of the chase and the violence with which Indy keeps ramming the chase truck, it's easy to assume that the gunner couldn't keep the gun aimed at the target long enough to hit it.

Phil C.

Corrected entry: In the very first scene of the movie when Indiana Jones comes back to Marion to save her from the bad guys, he snaps his whip on one guy, then pulls out a gun. Indiana Jones is invincible, but still it's a little hard to believe that even the great Indiana Jones can make a 6-shooter shoot 10+ times.

Correction: It is a common filmmaking technique to not show the hero reloading, particularly in the serials which this movie takes its inspiration from. There are plenty of times when Indy isn't actually onscreen when he could be reloading.

Phil C.

Corrected entry: When Indy drops the Staff of Ra in the hole to the map room, you can hear a very distinct "clank" when the rod hits the ground (as if it were made of metal, not wood, since Indy breaks the staff over his knee later in the scene).

Correction: Sounds like a hardwood staff on a marble floor to me.

Corrected entry: Throughout the entire movie you can see normal German army military, which is nonsense because these historic artifact-projects Hitler pursued were handled by the SS and not by the army.

Correction: It was common for the SS to "commandeer" regular military troops as needed to accomplish their goals. If they needed a lot of troops, the SS got their wish.

Corrected entry: U-boats were more than four times as fast on the surface (running on diesel engines) than when submerged (running on batteries). Since Germany was not at war at this time they would have run the boat on the surface almost exclusively. Since the boats were so hard for other surface vessels to see, the Captain would have maintained a constant look out on deck. There is no way Indy could have stayed hidden for the entire voyage.

Correction: While it is true that the German U-boat was 3x-4x faster on the surface, it is equally true that in the treaty or Versailles, Germany was banned from possessing U-boats. (The U.K. was still upset about costs exacted in WWI). A German U-boat approaching any ally or neutral ship would have to submerge, even before the war had started.

Corrected entry: When Indy is in the Map Room looking at his book, comparing the map room to what he sees, there is a wedding ring impression - when you take your ring off you have a tan line. Also in that scene there is a suntan line on one of his fingers of a plaster/bandaid.

Correction: The shot is of him from the right, you never get a good enough look at his left hand to see an impression of a wedding band.

Corrected entry: Sallah is surprised by the face of the snarling Anubis statue in a flash of lightning. Statues of Anubis were NEVER shown as snarling. They were shown with a closed snout only, whether crouching in their jackal form or standing upright in their head-of-Anubis-with-a-body-of-a-man pose.

Correction: Perhaps that is why he is so startled.

Corrected entry: When Indy threatens to blow up the Ark, at moment when Belloq says "okay Jones you win" you can see in the background Toth (dressed in black) sitting on the rocks next to two German soldiers who have Marion as a prisoner in between them. But when Belloq grabs a machine gun from one of the other soldiers and tells Indy to blow up the ark, Toth has disappeared and there is just Marion and the two Germans soldiers (no Toth).


Correction: Toth walks away. You can see him get up and move to the left when Belloq grabs the machine gun and screams "Zuruck."

Corrected entry: When Indiana and the other guy are removing the stone cover where the Ark is kept, they are struggling, yet they can lift the Ark out with relative ease. The Ark is made of solid gold and the lid itself is said to need two men to lift, plus it should contain the two stone tablets with the ten commandments on. It should have weighed just as much if not more than the stone covering.

Correction: The Ark was not made of solid gold, but of acacia wood covered with gold leaf (See Exodus 37:1-2).

Corrected entry: Indiana Jones says in the movie that Moses came down from Mt. Horeb with the Ten Commandments. This is not true. Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments. (00:17:20)

Correction: Horeb and Sinai are the same mountain.

Corrected entry: In the Well of Souls, Marion's underwear changes from white to black.

Correction: There is not one clear shot to support this, at no time is it possible to see what Marion was wearing underneath the dress that Belloq gave to her, nor can this be determined when she was hanging on to the statue just after Toth threw her into the well of souls.


Corrected entry: When the Well of Souls is opened it makes a vacuum sound. This would be impossible if the snakes were entering from outside, or if they were to survive.

Correction: If it were a "vacuum" sound, air would be rushing INTO the vault, not out of it as the escaping mist obviously shows. Given the atmospheric effects that appear when the Ark is finally opened later, this seems to suggest the sounds and the mist escaping are manifestations of spirits that are angry at the disturbance of the Ark's resting place.

Phil C.

Corrected entry: When Marion is being chased by the Nazis, she hides in a basket, but doesn't shut the lid properly. When the monkey screeches to let the Nazis know she is there, the lid is completely shut.

Correction: There was also a delay of several seconds in between shots of the basket. Plenty of time for Marion to get settled and close the lid properly.

Phil C.

Corrected entry: During the process of escaping from the Well of Souls after being entombed there by the Nazis, Jones ends up shoving out a large concrete block from the inside of an aboveground concrete structure, through which Jones and Marion crawl to freedom. How is it that the Germans and Belloq wouldn't have thought to investigate this aboveground structure themselves in their search for the Ark?

Correction: The Germans didn't because they were following Belloq's lead. Belloq didn't because he was so sure of himself that he didn't want to admit his directions might be incomplete or wrong. Even if they had investigated the building, they would have found nothing; the burial passageway would have led to a blank wall. The Well of Souls was on the other side of this wall; it was only opened when Indy knocked the statue through it.

Phil C.

Corrected entry: Indiana Jones escapes capture on the England-bound cargo ship by swimming to a nearby German U-Boat. After we see Jones climb aboard the deck of the U-Boat and salute the captain of the cargo ship, there is a sequence of scenes showing the German U-Boat crew preparing to submerge the ship. Even if Jones miraculously managed to get inside the ship undetected, he would not have been able to find a hiding space inside the cramped confines of a German U-Boat.

Correction: The U-boat never does submerge, and we are left to assume Indy rode on top the entire way to the German base. WWII submarines had a much higher surface speed than submerged speed, so only went underwater with good reason.

Corrected entry: Why does Indy go all the way to the floor in the Well of Souls and then spray the snakes with petrol to light it. Given his phobia (and general safety precautions - Sallah points out that they are asps and "very dangerous") would he not spray them from above (outside, or hanging from the rope), or even pour some petrol straight down on them, or better still, lower the bucket to the floor and let it tip over. He could easily light it with a dropped torch and never get too near the snakes he hates so much.


Correction: And risk damaging the Ark? He needed to see where things were, and pour the gas as necessary. You don't want to damage anything valuable by DROPPING a can of gas (or whatever) from that far up and hoping you only get the snakes.

Corrected entry: While they are in the German camp around the well of souls, Sallah is trying to blend in with the other native workers. As he passes a long table of Germans eating, a few call out in German for water (Wasser) yet he replies in English "I'll go and get you some water" a number of times. Not very undercover.


Correction: The scene is set in Egypt, and Sallah is Egyptian, so when the German soldiers want water, he is not going to reply to them in German. He would reply to them in Arabic, but for the sake of expediency with the dialogue, Sallah is speaking in English. Since he is also native to the area, he is also dressed accordingly.


Corrected entry: When Indy is fighting the German guy near the plane and the guy gets ripped apart by the propeller blades his blood is splattered all over the cockpit window where Marion is, yet when Indy goes to get her out the cockpit window is completely clean.

Correction: The blood that gets splattered is on the screen of the rear cockpit, where the tail gunner is and not at the front, where the pilot would sit. If you notice carefully, the propellers are facing backwards towards the rear of the plane, this is where Indy and the big German are fighting, when the German gets cut up by the propeller the blood lands on the swastika on the rear tail fin. Marion goes to the front cockpit via the fuselage of the plane, (the two cockpits are not separate) and this explains why when Indy releases Marion from the front cockpit, the window is clean and is not covered with blood.


Revealing mistake: While Indy and Marion are in the Well of Souls, and they encounter the snakes, Indy falls to the ground only to be confronted by a hissing Cobra rearing its head. Look carefully and you'll see the snake's reflection on the safety glass between it and Indy. Briefly you can also see the torch's reflection while he's waving it around. You can also see Marion's reflection when she falls in later on and is face to face with the cobra. [This has been corrected in the new DVD set. You can only see it if you have the original VHS. I think it's visible in the "making of" on the DVD as well.]

More mistakes in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Sallah: Indy, why does the floor move?
Indiana: Give me your torch. [He drops it in and sees why.] Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?
Sallah: Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.

More quotes from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Trivia: When a Nazi falls from the back of the truck carrying the Ark, a "Wilhelm scream" can be heard.

More trivia for Raiders of the Lost Ark

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.