Harrison Ford apparently used this script throughout filming. Notes range from single words to complete pages of writing and cover all aspects of the film making process, ranging from dialogue alterations and questions about the plot to suggestions and perspectives used to create the iconic character of “Indiana Jones”. —Daniel M Eckhart
Raiders of the Lost Ark (also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise; and it pits Indiana Jones (Ford) against the Nazis, who search for the Ark of the Covenant, because Adolf Hitler believes it will make their army invincible. The film originated with Lucas’ desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Production was based at Elstree Studios, England; but filming also took place in La Rochelle, Tunisia, Hawaii, and California from June to September 1980.
Released on June 12, 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark became the top-grossing film of 1981; it remains one of the highest-grossing films ever made. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Picture, and won four (Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, Visual Effects) as well as winning a fifth Special Achievement Academy Award in Sound Effects Editing. In 1999, the film was included in the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as having been deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Rolling Stone Interviews 1980-1981:
Original Medway Productions Script for Raiders of the Lost Ark. With page changes. Signed by Vic Armstrong, Harrison Ford’s stunt double, and Jim Steranko, who created the original concept art for Indiana Jones. Medway Productions is an oblique reference to the then-home of George and Marcia Lucas.
Raiders of the Lost Ark Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, revised third draft August 1979 [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
A holy grail of Indiana Jones artifacts: a 125-page transcript of the original story-conference meeting involving producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The blog, Mystery Man on Film, somehow got its hands on the alleged transcript, which features the filmmakers talking at great length in January 1978 about what would eventually become Raiders of the Lost Ark. The thing’s a pure joy to read. In it, you can find the genesis of everything from Indiana Jones’ name to his fear of snakes to his (possibly risque) romantic history with Marion Ravenwood.