Raiders of the Lost Ark

Factual error: When Indiana Jones is fighting the big German by the airplane, the German punches Indiana Jones on his right cheek. Indy's face and body are both knocked down to the right, in the direction of the punch. When you watch this, you can see it's impossible to be knocked down in such a way. (01:17:55)

6

Factual error: It should be a tricky task to put an object the size of the Ark on board a German VIIC submarine; perhaps you can find enough place inside but how do you manage to introduce that bulky case through the narrow hatches of the sub? Even the torpedo load hatches were just a little more than 21 inches in diameter.

4

Factual error: Indy's satchel is a Mk VII gas mask bag, which was created for use in World War II, so it didn't even exist at the time the film takes place (1936). The similar Mk V existed at the time, though.

4

Factual error: When flying from Nepal to Egypt Indy passes over Arabia. The state of Jordan is shown, but in 1935 Jordan was called The Emirate of Transjordan.

Jacob La Cour

Factual error: At the beginning of the movie, when Indiana is looking for the temple, you can hear a bird call. It also can be heard when Indy is running from the natives. The bird is a willow ptarmigan. It lives in very cold areas in the far north of North America. Even a very directionally-challenged ptarmigan could not possibly end up in South America. You can also hear the unmistakable laughing sounds of the kookaburras, only found in Australia.

3

Factual error: When Sallah and Indiana are sitting and talking on the terrace, with Cairo in the background, you can see a modern TV antenna over Indy's left shoulder. At the time the movie is set televisions were not available. (00:35:10)

1
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Suggested correction: Where? No antennas at all anywhere.

1

Factual error: The film starts in the year 1936, and just like the RPG Indy uses to threaten Belloq with, the MP40s (or at the earliest, MP38s) are an arms-historical anachronism in this movie. As the numbers in their names imply, the MP38 was first produced in 1938. The weapons in the movie are not the similar-looking ERMA MP-36, you can see the ribbed, vertically angled magazine holders typical for the MP40 - its predecessors had either a 30°-canted, smooth magazine holder (MP36) or a round viewing port for checking the ammo (MP38). (01:31:45)

Daniel4646
3

Factual error: The German submarine that Indy stows away on has the number 26 on its side. The U-26 was a Type IA U-boat (it came into service in 1936 and was sunk in 1940), but the sub in the movie seems to be a Type VIIB or VIIC. It's true that the two types looked fairly similar, but they were different classes of U-boat.

1

Factual error: When Indiana Jones ambushes the Nazis with the Ark, he threatens them with an anti-tank rocket. This is set in 1936, and anti-tank rockets weren't developed until the American M1 in 1942. The Germans immediately copied it from captured weapons and made their own much larger version known as the Panzerschreck, then Panzerfaust. The Russian RPG which Indy is holding was developed from the Panzerfaust in 1949. (00:41:55)

Factual error: When Marion is thrown into the pit of snakes and grabs the statue to prevent her fall, underneath her skirt she is wearing black spandex shorts. Shorts such as these did not exist in the 1930s time period of the film.

Factual error: The captain of the Bantu Wind, Katanga, wears a hat that originated from the Yugoslav People's Navy. But the Yugoslav Navy wasn't formed until 1945, 9 years after this movie takes place.

1
Raiders of the Lost Ark mistake picture

Factual error: During the travel to Nepal, "Thailand" is written on the map. The country has had this name only since 1939. This film takes place in 1936, when Thailand was called Siam. (00:23:20)

Dr Wilson

Factual error: Look to the right of the table lamp, there is a bottle of Myers Rum that has the modern plastic (silver/clear) cap and plastic pour spout. Not 1940s era. (01:33:10)

turkman143

Factual error: At the beginning of the movie, Indy escapes in biplane with registration OB-CPO (a Star Wars nod, as noted in trivia). However the OB registration is used by Peru, and it should be followed by four digits, not by three letters. (00:12:10)

ziner

Factual error: When Indy flies to Nepal, there is a scene of the sea plane taking off with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. The movie is set in 1936, and the bridge wasn't completed until 1937, with pictures from December 1936 showing large gaps still in the deck that do not appear in the movie. (00:23:00)

jimba

Factual error: The truck that turns over and blows up after Indy shoots the driver is a Mercedes Benz L701. It began production in 1944, and this movie is set in 1936, so the truck is not period correct. Also, the alleys are too narrow to allow this truck to turn a corner.

Movie Nut

Factual error: Several times during the movie, Indy is under fire from Nazis or other bad guys wielding what look like MP-38 sub machine guns. The movie is set in 1936, 2 years before the weapon was even designed. The Erma EMP-36 has wooden parts (the grip), the muzzle spike at under the barrel is more pointy and the front sight are more massive than MP-38/40, and the magazine is tilting slightly forwards towards the muzzle. The MP-38/40 is all stamped sheet metal (no wood, because it would slow down production), the muzzle spike under the barrel is more smooth (maybe so it won't get stuck?) and the front sight is more simple (basically just a ring with rumble strips) than the ERMA's, and the magazine on the MP-38/40 is vertical.

ssgemt

Factual error: During the fight scene at the German flying wing, the pilot ducks into the plane and pulls out a pistol and cocks it. The pistol is a P38 9mm semi-auto that the Germans did not issue until 1938, two years later.

Earthquake
Raiders of the Lost Ark mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: After Marion supposedly dies in the truck explosion and Indy is drinking outside at the bar, watch to the left of him. You can see a man wearing a modern t-shirt and jeans walking through the crowd. (00:42:20)

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: This is probably the most famous non-mistake of all time. Denim jeans date from 1871. They were first sold by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873 and the design hasn't changed much since then! Plain white cotton T-shirts date from 1898 and were first issued by the US Navy to their sailors in 1913. The design caught on immediately and they flew off the shelves. In short, there is nothing at all unusual about a man wearing jeans and a T-shirt in the late thirties.

He's the only person wearing that outfit in Cairo. Every single other person is wearing "traditional" clothing. He's clearly not meant to be in shot.

He could have been one of the few American tourists in the area.

Noman Premium member

"There is nothing at all unusual about a man wearing jeans and a T-shirt in the late thirties." However there is a good deal unusual about a caucasian man in jeans and a tshirt in cairo in the 1930s. He is entirely out of place.

Unusual does not mean impossible, and in order for him being there to be a mistake it has to be impossible. It isn't. Unlikely is not impossible. This is not a mistake.

That's not how it works. Say someone is wearing a jacket, is off screen for 4 seconds, then cuts back and the jacket is gone. It's technically possible they ripped it off themselves in 4 seconds on a whim, but that's not actually feasible. There's one solitary man in jeans and a T-shirt in Cairo in the 30s, when every single other person on-screen is wearing different clothing. The most likely explanation is it's a screwup.

More mistakes in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indy: There's a big snake in the plane!
Jack: Oh, that's just my pet snake Reggie.
Indy: I hate snakes, Jack! I HATE 'EM!
Jack: Oh, come on! Show a little backbone, will ya?

More quotes from Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark mistake picture

Trivia: There's a Star Wars reference to Obi-Wan and C-3PO on the plane rescuing Indy at the start - it has the registration OB-CPO.

More trivia for Raiders of the Lost Ark

Question: After the scene where Indy first goes onto the German U-boat, he runs around apparently looking for something, then the scene changes to the inside of the sub where you can hear that the order has been given to dive. Was there an actual scene cut out of the film where Indy lashes himself to the periscope? (When Raiders first came out in Aus, I vividly remember seeing it with this scene.)

Answer: The scene you describe was indeed filmed. It was cut out of the US release of the film although I cannot speak for the Australian version. The scene also appears in the Marvel Comics adaptation. http://www.theraider.net/films/raiders/deleted_scenes.php has a list of this and the other deleted scenes.

Phil C.
More questions & answers from Raiders of the Lost Ark

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