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Behind the scenes Raiders of the Lost Ark footage discovered on old family VHS tape

By Josh Weiss
Indy outruns a boulder in iconic opening of Raiders

The Indiana Jones franchise is like a treasure trove of ancient and valuable artifacts just waiting to be discovered. For example, a rare collection of behind-the-scenes footage from Raiders of the Lost Ark has made its way to YouTube.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Since the posting of this story, the behind-the-scenes video has been removed from Hughes' YouTube account. We will re-embed the footage when (and if) the video is uploaded again.

The silent video was ripped from a VHS recording, taken by YouTuber Joe Hughes' grandfather, who was on a trip with his family in Hawaii when Raiders' principal photography was also taking place there in early October 1980.

Despite no dialogue or sounds of any kind within the footage, the content obviously shows the filming of the iconic opening scene from the film, in which Indy (Harrison Ford) collects a priceless golden idol in Peru only to be chased by a boulder, lose the idol to his archaeological nemesis, Belloq (Paul Freeman), and escape to a waiting floatplane with a collection of arrow-shooting natives in his wake.

"This has been sitting in my grandfather's VHS collection for decades, and I don't believe it has ever been shown to the public," wrote Hughes in the video's caption.

Skimming through all 45 minutes, you'll see fun stuff like Ford hanging out on set between takes or else being dusted with copious amounts of white dust for the part where he jumps out of the Peruvian temple and away from the boulder, covering himself in cobwebs and debris along the way. Of course, the quality of the footage isn't exactly HD, so we could very well be looking at Ford's stunt double on the project, Vic Armstrong.

"When filming the 'Jock! Start the Engine!' scene, the production of Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark rented a plane from my grandfather's neighbor (who was a good piloting friend as well). His family was there filming during the trip to Hawaii, and captured a lot of behind-the-scenes footage of the creation of the small moment," continued Hughes in his video description. "This upload is for educational purposes. It is amazing the ups and downs the whole process took, and it must have taken a very large budget for such a small moment. I will soon have a commentary track with my grandfather to provide more details. I mean really, they wrecked the plane and had to repair it. It's quite the story."

All the while, there are unrelated shots of kids riding on rafts or going for swims just to remind you that this is an amateur home movie, albeit an extremely cool one.

A fifth Indiana Jones movie is currently in the works, with both Steven Spielberg and Ford returning to the franchise. Right now, the sequel is slated for release on July 9, 2021.