12 November 2017

Kaua'i HI, USA

The first movie about the adventurous archaeologist Indiana Jones, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, starts in 1936 in the jungle of Peru when he discovers a golden idol in an ancient temple. Jones manages at the last moment to escape from the booby-trapped temple.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:07:56
Outside of the temple Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is forced to surrender his recently discovered treasure to RenĂ© Belloq (Paul Freeman), a rivalling archaeologist from France. Belloq also makes the local people, the Hovito Indians, go after him and Jones has to run for his life. This opening scene was not filmed in South America but in Hawaii, on various places on the island Kaua’i. Filming took place in September and October of 1980.

These were the last scenes to be shot for the movie, that starts with the Paramount logo slowly dissolving into the Kalalea Mountains. The triangular shaped peak in the middle is known under various names, including Kalalea Mountain and Anahola Mountain. Its original name was Mano (Hawaiian for shark) and because its shape looks like the profile of a gorilla the peak was nicknamed Kong Mountain.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:00:07
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:00:15
Kalalea Mountain, Kaua’i, 22 June 2017

When Indiana Jones first appears he is seen with his back to the screen. It is not Harrison Ford but his stand-in Wil Welsh.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:00:27
Kalalea Mountain, 22 June 2017

Kipu Ranch, Kaua’i, 23 June 2017
The scenes after Indiana Jones has left the temple, meets Belloq near a waterfall, runs for his life and escapes in a seaplane were filmed at the Kipu Ranch. This is a working cattle ranch but visitors are welcome to book a tour at Kipu Ranch Adventures. We chose the Ultimate Ranch Tour, a three-hour off-road tour with an ATV. You have the choice of driving yourself or with a guide. The waterfall unfortunately is not included in this tour.

Our two guides, Robin and Marlon, told a lot about the history of the Kipu Ranch. When it became clear that we were looking for locations from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marlon showed us the meadow with the mountain in the background were Indiana Jones is being chased. He made a special stop just so we could make photos.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:11:32
Kipu Ranch, Kaua’i, 23 June 2017

Kipu Ranch, Kaua’i,
23 June 2017
Included in the tour is a stop at the river where the seaplane is waiting for Indiana Jones. With the help of a liana he manages to jump into the river, climbs aboard the plane and manages to escape from the arrows of the Indians. The liana is no longer there but visitors are invited to recreate the jump into the water with a rope. To our surprise several people did not mind getting wet, we saw adult men becoming a boy again. Marlon told that for the movie the liana was attached to a mango tree. Some of its branches were removed especially for the film and you can still see the marks on the tree. Harrison Ford did his own stunts but when he was slightly injured after a few takes, director Steven Spielberg did not want him to do it again. The person in the movie seen jumping into the water is a stunt woman.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:11:16
Kipu Ranch, Kaua’i, 23 June 2017
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:11:51
Kipu Ranch, Kaua’i, 23 June 2017
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 0:11:58
Kipu Ranch, Kaua’i, 23 June 2017

Besides what the tour guides told, information on the location shoot comes from The New Kaua’i Movie Book: Films made on the Garden Island by Chris Cook published in 2015.

Screenshots © Paramount Pictures