When Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981 it was a revolution in the adventure movie genre. Besides the sarcastic humor and cheeky candor of Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones, it was the ideal combination of adventures, romance, special effects, and a riveting storyline flavored with mythical (legendary!) and historical elements.
The first adventure of the Indiana Jones quadrilogy (sic) is also a fantastic ode to travel that takes you from the Peruvian jungle to Egypt through Nepal and the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea. Discover below the complete itinerary of Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark and a list of filming locations.
1. Amazonian Jungle, Peru
Kauai, Hawaii, United States
Raiders of the Lost Ark starts with Indiana Jones looking for a golden idol in the Peruvian jungle. The island of Kauai (Hawaii) was used to portray the jungle.
2. Booby-Trapped Peruvian Temple
Kipu Ranch, Kauai, Hawaii, United States
The Kipu Ranch located on the Huleia River served as a filming location for the booby-trapped temple where Indy retrieves the idol. Kipu Ranch Adventures actually organize sightseeing tours that cover Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark filming locations.
[Indiana needs his bullwhip to swing across a chasm]
Indiana: Give me the whip.
Satipo: Throw me the idol. No time to argue! Throw me idol, I’ll throw you the whip!
Indiana: [throws the idol] Give me the whip!
Satipo: Adiós, señor.
3. Marshall College (Exterior)
Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Circle, Stockton, California, United States
After losing the idol to rival archaeologist René Belloq in Peru, Indiana Jones returns to the fictional Marshall College located in Bedford (Connecticut) where he teaches archeology.
The Conservatory of Music of the University of the Pacific in Stockton (California) was used to represent the facade of Marshall College.
4. Marshall College (Interior)
Classroom & Great Hall of Rickmansworth Masonic School, Chorleywood Road, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
While giving a lecture at Marshall College, Indy receives the visit from two Army intelligence agents who ask for his help to counter the plans of Nazi germans with the lost Ark of the Covenant.
The classroom and Great Hall of Rickmansworth Masonic School in Hertfordshire (UK) were used as filming locations to shoot the interior scenes at Marshall College.
Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, UK
Indiana Jones heads to Nepal to convince his old flame Marion Ravenwood to give him the headpiece of the Staff of Ra that is the key to finding the place where the Ark of Covenant is buried.
Marion: You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.
Indiana: It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.
6. Cairo, Egypt
After an unpleasant encounter with Nazis in Nepal, Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood flee to Cairo to uncover the Ark in Tanis.
The scenes in Cairo were actually shot in Tunisia. Kairouan was used for the panoramic view of 1930s Cairo with the street scenes taking place in Kairouan’s Medina, mostly near Avenue 5 November. The Marhala Bar where Indy sinks alcohol shots is nowadays a carpet shop on Avenue 7 Novembre near Bab ech Chouhada (gate).
Indiana: Do we need the monkey?
Marion: I’m surprised at you. Talking that way about our baby. He’s got your looks, too.
Indiana: And your brains.
7. Tanis Dig Site
Built set, Tozeur, Tunisia
The scenes around Tanis, the dig site where Indy tries to discover the Ark before René Belloq and the nazis, were shot on a built set in Tozeur (Tunisia).
Sallah: Indy, there is something that troubles me.
Indiana: What is it?
Sallah: The Ark. If it is there, at Tanis, then it is something that man was not meant to disturb. Death has always surrounded it. It is not of this earth.
8. Egyptian Desert
Chott El Djerid (dry salt lake) & Nefta (oasis), Tunisia
The filming locations used to represent the Egyptian desert that can be seen in the Tanis scenes are the dry salt lake Chott El Jerid and the oasis town of Nefta.
Belloq: What a fitting end to your life’s pursuits. You’re about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something. Indiana: Ha ha ha ha.
[under his breath]
Indiana: Son of a bitch.
9. Naval Base, Island in the Agean Sea
La Pallice (commercial port), La Rochelle, France
Indiana Jones finally uncovers the Ark of Covenant but for the second time his nemesis René Belloq creeps up on him and steals the discovery before shipping it to an island north of Crete in the Aegean Sea.
The naval base where the Ark is unloaded is the commercial port of La Rochelle (west coast of France), La Pallice.
Indiana: I’m gonna blow up the Ark, Rene.
Belloq: Your persistence surprises even me. You’re going to give mercenaries a bad name.
10. Ark Opening Ritual Site
Sidi Bouhlel, Tunisia
René Belloq, the French archeologist, convinces the nazis to open the Ark and test its power before sending it to Berlin. They all head to a rocky site on the island, including our hero Indiana Jones disguised as a guard and Marion who’s been captured.
Quite a famous location was used for this part of the movie: Sidi Bouhlel in Tunisia, also known as Tatooine to Star Wars fans!
11. Ark Opening Ritual Scene
Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, UK
The scene where René Belloq and the nazis perform the ritual to open the Ark was filmed in the Estree Studios in Hertfordshire (United Kingdom).
Marion, don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!Indiana
12. Washington D.C. Building (Office)
Rickmansworth Masonic School, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
After quite a demonstration of its power, the Ark is recovered by the US government and Indiana Jones meets again with the Army intelligence agents, in Washington D.C. this time, to discuss the fate of this fantastic archeological artifact.
Rickmansworth Masonic School in Hertfordshire (UK) was used again to represent the office interiors of the governmental building.
13. Washington D.C. Building (Stairs)
San Francisco City Hall lobby, Polk Street, United States
Indiana Jones leaves the meeting with the government officials disappointed as he understands he will never have the opportunity to study the Ark of Covenant to reveal its secrets. His dismay ends shortly though when he meets his love Marion on the steps of the building lobby (San Francisco City Hall).
Marion: Hey, what happened? You don’t look very happy.
Indiana: Fools. Bureaucratic fools!
Marion: What’d they say?
Indiana: They don’t know what they’ve got there.
Marion: Well, I know what I’ve got here. Come on. I’ll buy you a drink. You know, a drink?