Was There an Ending Filmed for Raiders of the Lost Ark That Was Cut From U.S. Prints of the Film?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: There was an alternate ending filmed for Raiders of the Lost Ark that was cut from all U.S. prints of the film for fear it would be offensive to U.S. film-goers.

One of the most fun aspects of living in the DVD/Blu-Ray/YouTube generation is that so many never-before-seen pieces of pop culture history are now available to us, whether as extras on DVD/Blu-Ray collections or just as clips that pop up on YouTube out of nowhere. The recent Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures box set, for instance, has a partial alternate version of the classic fight between Indiana Jones and the Sworsdman.

While in the released film, Indy famously just pulls out his gun and shoots the guy, that shortened version of the scene resulted from Harrison Ford being physically unable to continue to film the original, much more elaborate scene where Indy fights him off only using his bullwhip (it appears likely that some intestinal issues on Ford’s part played a major role in him being unable to film the scene). The box set shows what little they filmed of the original version. There are other notable deleted scenes in the film, of course, including one that explained how Indy was able to survive being on the Nazi submarine towards the end of the film (he ties himself to the periscope with his bullwhip). However, one of the most famous deleted scenes in the film is most famous for the fact that it doesn’t actually exist!

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