8 Of The Coolest Mistakes In The Indiana Jones Franchise

Thursday, September 13 by
Dr. Jones 

In celebration of the impending release of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Blu RayTM, we want to take a moment to look back on some of Indy’s most interesting production inaccuracies, while refraining from pointing out all the hardcore factual errors. Because let’s be honest; Jewish ghosts, mind-exploding aliens, heart-stealing Thuggee’s and thousand-year-old crusade knights have always given the Indiana Jones movies no chance of achieving historical or scientific accuracy.

“High-Tech” Safety Measures

The Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Scene: The Well of Souls

The Mistake: As Indy falls to the ground, he’s confronted by a hissing Cobra. But take a careful look (if you own the VHS, as this was taken out of the DVD and Blu Ray versions) and you’ll see the snake’s reflection on the safety glass that had been placed between it and Mr. Ford.

Belloq Eats a Bug While Threatening to Blow up the Ark

The Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Scene: Canyon Stand-Off

The Mistake: Numerous flies can be seen buzzing around the canyon as Indy and Belloq face off, but the most identifiable, and yes, probably the most famous fly in history is the one that can be seen flying into Belloq’s mouth…never to emerge. So, did he eat it? According to actor Paul Freeman, the fly did fly away, but it was edited (as an inside joke) to look like it disappeared into his mouth.

Indy Gets Shot, Doesn’t Notice

The Movie: Temple of Doom

The Scene: Rope-Bridge Stand-off

The Mistake: After his stand-off with Mola Rom and the Thuggee’s deteriorates and he decides to cut the bridge, Indy, now in a vertical climb, struggles to keep from falling as he’s being shot at with bows and arrows. Try as he might, he’s hit with two arrows…that bounce off his back harmlessly. Nice.

What’s the Deal with that Random Unconscious Guy?

The Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Scene: Fight on the Runway

The Mistake: Before it was cut, there was a scene just after the Well of Souls escape where Indy pushes a large stone out of the mummy room and finds an Arab man guarding the exit. So Indy simply knocks the guy unconscious. Though the scene never made it into the film, you can still see evidence of its existence: when Indy initially climbs out of the mummy chamber he looks off to the left where the guard would have been. Then, when Indy and Marion are running from the Well of Souls to the plane, the unconscious guard can be seen in the background.

The Stone Wall Head Bounce

The Movie: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The Scene: The Library Catacombs

The Mistake: Beneath the library in Venice, Indy and Elsa run into a few obstacles while on their search for the tomb of Sir Richard. One of these is a damaged stone wall they need to get through. Indy uses his shoulder as a battering ram, but you can actually see his head bounce off the rock pretty hard as he’s breaking through. Ouch! Good thing its fake rock, otherwise that could have been the end of the movie right there.

The Nazis Accommodate Indy By Driving Over a Continuous, Body-Sized Trench

The Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Scene: The Truck Chase

The Mistake: While climbing underneath the ark truck, you can clearly see that Indy is laying in a depressed area of the road. This was actually a trench, dug right down the middle of the road to provide stuntman Vic Armstrong with the necessary room to complete the dangerous stunt.

What Magic is This?

The Movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Scene: Area 51 Escape

The Mistake: At the end of Crystal Skull’s frenetic opening sequence, Indy’s escapes, hurtling through the prairie from the Area 51 warehouse on a rocket sled, which comes to a pretty abrupt stop in a pool of water. In real life, this would be like a major car crash with no seat belts, yet Indy and Dovchenko aren’t thrown from the sled. While this isn’t the first or last physics conundrum of the Indy films, the weirdest thing here is that you can actually see that the rocket’s chair has seat belt straps on it for just such a ride. We can either attribute this to being overlooked by the props staff or Spielberg just preferring to completely mock the laws of physics with a visibly unused safety device.

Are Those Snakes Dead?

The Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Scene: The Well of Souls

The Mistake: Despite getting a ton of snakes for the Well of Souls scene, Spielberg and Lucas couldn’t seem to get quite enough to really make the floor seem like it was made of them as they’d intended. Running up against a tight time schedule, they improvised by cutting up water hoses and layering them amongst the real snakes. Take a closer look and you’ll see which are which.

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