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The Indiana Jones movies have been classics pretty much since the first one came out in 1981. The excitement depicted on screen, as well as the link to history, made the films appealing around the globe. This George Lucas franchise rose up alongside his wildly popular Star Wars films, but offered a less-technical setting in which daring adventures could take place. In the ’80s the films seemed to be everywhere. But, despite how huge they were there are a few facts that most fans of the films don’t know.

indiana jones temple of doom 1984
Via: YouTube

4) Harrison Ford Wasn’t the First Choice

Tom Selleck was supposed to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), but had to back out because of filming for Magnum P.I. Oh, and Indiana Jones was initially named “Indiana Smith” by Lucas before undergoing a name change by Steven Spielberg. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it somehow.

tom selleck nancy reagan 1985
Via: US National Archives

3) It Wasn’t All Made Up

Some of the legends in the movies are based on real people or objects. The Ark of the Covenant was mentioned in the Bible, the Chachapoyas were a real, ancient Peruvian people (with cities far older than Machu Picchu), and people have been searching for the Holy Grail since the 12th century. The Nazis did also try to use archaeology to find anything they could use as “evidence” that the Aryan race was superior.

crack in the rocks at Petra in Jordan
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) was filmed in part at the historic city of Petra in Jordan. Via: Vyacheslav Argenberg/Wiki Commons

2) To PG or Not to PG?

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) is the reason we have the PG-13 rating for films today. The board of the Motion Picture Association of America thought the film too violent, to which Spielberg suggested they change their ratings system. They gave the film a PG rating at the time, but came out with the PG-13 rating shortly thereafter at Spielberg’s request that there be an intermediate ratings between PG and R.

1) Love/Hate Relationship

The famous line, “That belongs in a museum” from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) has caused a lot of controversy since it implies that researchers have a right to dig up, study, and then take and display artifacts found in foreign nations with unrelated histories to the places the objects were found. The films in general have been called a blessing and curse for archaeologists who appreciate the increase in public interest that the films lend to the subject, but dislike the rather backwards notions towards archaeology and anthropology represented in the films set in the 1930s-1950s.

pre-contact golden objects from Columbia on display at the Metropolitan Museum of art in NYC
Pre-contact golden objects from Columbia on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Via: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The next film, the 5th one and as-yet untitled, is being shot in part at Bamberg Castle in Northumberland, UK, where the crew recently made it seem is if the historic castle was engulfed in flames. Reactions to the clip below ranged from excitement to shocked horror, as some fans thought the castle really was ablaze. The film is expected to be released in 2022.

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