Raiders of the Lost Ark

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the now classic 1981 adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by George Lucas. Set in the year 1936, the film stars Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, an intrepid archaeologist who is asked by the US government to locate the biblical Ark of the Covenant before it is found by Hitler and the German Army. The film would spawn a feature film franchise which included three more feature films, several videogames, as well as a television series.


The following weapons were used in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark:

Contents


SPOILERS.jpg WARNING! THIS PAGE CONTAINS SPOILERS!


Handguns

Smith & Wesson M1917

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) carries as his primary sidearm in Raiders a large frame Smith & Wesson revolver of the "Hand Ejector, Second Model" type. Two similarly-modified prop weapons with barrels cut down to about four inches were employed by the production company—the first being a Smith & Wesson M1917 provided by Stembridge Gun Rentals, in California. This was used for studio work in the U.S., and is the gun Indy turns over to arch rival Belloq (Paul Freeman) after barely escaping a booby-trapped Peruvian temple with the golden idol. The same prop shows up again in a scene when Jones is packing his suitcase, where several identifying marks can be clearly seen in closeup, including the unique sight blade, and corner chunk missing from the grip.

Unmodified Smith & Wesson M1917 Revolver (Military issue with smooth grips) — .45 ACP

According to research done by members of the www.indygear.com web site, a different revolver was utilized onscreen later in the film; the secondary hero weapon was obtained from Bapty and Co. (U.K.) for U.K. production and Middle East location filming (this blank-firing gun is a British variant Smith & Wesson Mk II Hand Ejector chambered in .455 Webley). These two revolvers are differentiated by the front sights: the M1917 sight is rounded (with bluing removed from the barrel underneath), and the one on the "Bapty" Mk II ramps up at an angle. The M1917 also lacks round S&W medallions on its checkered grips, with simple smooth round tops. The actual production-used "Stembridge" .45 ACP Smith & Wesson M1917 Revolver, shown directly below, is now in private hands. It was thought that this particular gun was also seen in the car chase at the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom but it is now believed that a Colt Official Police was used instead.

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Indy surrenders his M1917 Revolver to Belloq (Paul Freeman) while in Peru.
"Besides, you know what a cautious man I am.." While in his residence, Indy pulls out another (in reality the same) M1917 while packing for his trip to find the Ark. This insert shot was filmed after the main scene, which is why the gun that lands in the suitcase is a different model.

Smith & Wesson Mk II Hand Ejector

The second Smith & Wesson revolver used onscreen is a British-issue Mk II Hand Ejector Model, again with shortened barrel, as loaned out by the Bapty company. This gun was used in the Ravenwood bar shootout (filmed at Elstree Studios, England), and Cairo, Egypt street scenes (filmed in Tunisia), where it was fired several times. Jones uses it famously to clear his path when confronted by a giant, menacing Arabian swordsman (Terry Richards). He then shoots several thugs, including the driver of a truck full of explosives that careens out of control, rolls over and explodes.

Smith & Wesson Mk II Hand Ejector - .455 Eley Caliber

Below is the actual modified 'Bapty' Smith & Wesson Mk II Hand Ejector used in the Cairo street scenes, and for all shooting action. It is also now in private collection.

Actual screen-used Mk II Hand Ejector revolver, as shown from "The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films" by J.W. Rinzler, p. 78. Note the ramped front sight on this revolver, not dissimilar from the ramped front sights found on more contemporary S&W revolvers.
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The Bapty in Indy's suitcase. (Note the grip medallion.)
Indy fires his Smith & Wesson Mk II Hand Ejector at the swordsman (Terry Richards). The script originally called for an extensive whip and sword fight but after beginning to shoot the scene, Harrison Ford (who was exhausted and ill from food poisoning at the time) suggested that he just pull his revolver and shoot the swordsman instead.
Indy takes cover with his Mk II Hand Ejector at the ready.
Indy fires his Mk II Hand Ejector at the thugs in the truck.
Indy with his revolver as he tries to free Marion (Karen Allen).

FN Hi-Power

As seen in the Raven Bar shootout, Jones's secondary handgun is a Browning Hi-Power. It was one of Browning's last designs and was on the drawing board in 1925. The P35, made by Fabrique Nationale in Belgium, was a common gun in the hands of the Nazis but not until WWII broke out. It is unlikely but not impossible that Jones would carry this gun in 1936, just one year after manufacturing began. Indy was originally envisioned as carrying a Colt 1911. At the time, 9mm blanks were the most reliable, so the filmmakers used a Hi-Power instead. Jones loses this particular gun in the fire at the Raven Bar in Nepal.

Browning Hi-Power as carried by Harrison Ford in the film. From "The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films" by J.W. Rinzler, p. 78
Indy aims his FN Hi-Power in the Raven Bar shootout.
Sideview of Indy's Hi-Power.
The Big Nepalese Thug uses Indy's Hi-Power to shoot the German henchman threatening to shoot both of them.

Inglis Hi-Power

When the German U-boat stops the Bantu Wind, Indy is seen with a Hi-Power pistol manufactured by Inglis of Canada. The Inglis Hi-Power version has a distinctive rear sight "hump" and a lanyard ring just above the magazine well. Although the FN Hi-Power was introduced in 1935, the Inglis Hi-Power did not start production until early 1944.

Inglis Hi Power (Canadian Mfg) - 9x19mm
Indy with his Inglis Hi-Power aboard the Bantu Wind. The Inglis' distinctive rear sight "hump" is visible from this angle.

Walther P38

The Walther P38 9mm Parabellum 8-round pistol is seen in the hands of several Germans in the film, notably Toht (Ronald Lacey). In reality, this Walther was not produced until 1938, two years after the film's setting. A few hammerless prototypes existed in 1935, but it is still very unlikely any Germans would have had this gun.

Walther P38 pistol World War II date of production - 9x19mm
Toht (Ronald Lacey) with his Walther P38 pistol during the shootout in The Raven bar.
The Mongolian henchman (Sonny Caldinez) takes aim with the Walther at Indy in the bar.
The German pilot (Producer Frank Marshall in a cameo) holds the Walther while Indy fights with the mechanic.
Sideview of the pilot's Walther.

Luger P08

The Luger P08 is used by the German soldiers and Cairo locals in the film. One is also carried in the holster of Colonel Dietrich (Wolf Kahler) as well as the holsters of other officers.

Luger P08 - 9x19mm
On the right, a Luger is handed off as Belloq talks with Indy.
On the left, the Luger is seen.
During the truck chase, Indy gets shot in the arm with a 9mm Luger P08 held by a German soldier.

Mauser C96

The Mauser C96 is used by the Nazi thugs in Nepal, and one is used by Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) to shoot the last thug during the bar brawl.

Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" - 7.63mm Mauser
Marion after firing a Mauser C96 "Broomhandle"

Remington 1875

Barranca (Vic Tablian) is seen pulling a Remington 1875 on Indy while in Peru. Indy uses his whip to "snatch" the gun out of the Peruvian guide's hand.

Remington 1875 - .45 Long Colt
Closeup of Barranca's Remington revolver.
Barranca (Vic Tablian) prepares to use his Remington revolver.

Submachine Guns

MP40

The MP40 submachine gun is seen used by German soldiers as well as Nepalese and Arab henchmen. The MP40 is anachronistic since the film is set in 1936 and neither the MP40 nor its more expensive predecessor, the MP38, existed at the time. In reality, the Germans should be using Haenel-Schmeisser MP28/IIs or Bergmann MP35/Is instead. Surprisingly, the Arab thug that fires on Indy during the street chase holds the weapon correctly, while the well trained German soldiers hold the weapon by the magazine, which is incorrect.

MP40 - 9x19mm
The Nepalese thug opens fire with the MP40 during the bar shootout.
Closeup of the MP40 as Toht's henchman charges the weapon.
The Arab gunner fires the MP40 at Indy.
The Arab fires the MP40, holding the weapon better than the well-trained Germans.
Cairo henchmen brandish their MP40's during a conversation between Indy and Belloq.
Belloq (Paul Freeman) commandeers an MP40 and tells Indy to blow up the ark.
Belloq (Paul Freeman) with the MP40.
The crewmen of the Bantu Wind are surrounded by German soldiers carrying MP40s.

Rifles

Mauser Karabiner 98k

A bolt action rifle used by German soldiers and Egyptian henchmen in the film. The Mauser Karabiner 98k began manufacture in 1935 so it is conceivable that it would be out of the country by 1936, however the German soldiers would more likely be carrying Gewehr 98s.

Karabiner 98k - German manufacture 1937 date - 7.92x57mm
Karabiner rifles are seen in a truck during the Cairo foot chase.
Cairo henchmen brandish their rifles during a conversation between Indy and Belloq.
German soldiers with a variety of weapons including the Karabiner 98k

Machine Guns

Dual MG 81 Machine Gun

A dual or "Zwilling" mount MG 81 machine gun (incongruously fitted with an MG 15 saddle drum) is seen mounted at the rear turret of the 'Flying Wing' plane, and while trapped inside, Marion (Karen Allen) commandeers the weapon and guns down a squad of Nazi soldiers sent after Indy. This weapon is an MG 81 Zwilling (twin mount) with a Doppeltrommel 15 saddle drum "attached." The Doppeltrommel saddle drum was used exclusively with the MG 15 machine gun (i.e. would not function on the MG 81 as shown, due to a completely different belt feed system,) and the one on this weapon appears to have been cosmetically widened by propmakers to accommodate its seating on the dual MG 81. This MG 81 also has non-typical flash hiders fitted, along with MG 15 "style" targeting sights making it vaguely resemble a twin mounting of the longer barreled MG 15's (a configuration that never existed.) Of note is that the Doppeltrommel only held a maximum of 75 rounds, which, at over 1000 rounds a minute (i.e. MG 15 - the single MG 81 was even higher at 1500+) fired through dual barrels, it is highly likely Marion would have run out of ammunition almost immediately, given that it would have only fired for around 2 seconds before being out of ammunition. The gun in the film actually fires acetylene blasts at a much lower rate of fire.

MG 15 with Doppeltrommel saddle drum
Flying Wing twin mount MG 81 machine gun with modified MG 15 saddle drum
Marion (Karen Allen) prepares to fire the dual machine guns.

MG34 machine gun

The MG34 Belt fed machine gun seen mounted on Gobler's (Anthony Higgins) car during the truck chase.

MG34 7.92x57mm Mauser with 75-round ammo drum.
Gobler pulls alongside the truck so his gunner (Billy Horrigan) can have a shot at Jones.
The gunner swings the MG34 around and prepares to fire, however Indy rams them off the road before he can properly get off a shot.

Other

RPG-2 (mocked up as a German anti-tank rocket launcher)

Near the climax of the film, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) points a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon at the ark while it is being transported by Belloq and the Germans. The weapon was custom made for the production by the movie's armorer, Simon Atherton, who has stated that the weapon is actually a Chinese Type 56 copy of the Soviet RPG-2 made to look like a WWII-era German anti-tank weapon. The launcher also appears to be outfitted with a shoulder grip similar to an M9 Bazooka's. The Germans had no such rocket launching weapons in 1936 (when the movie takes place); both the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust would be developed later, during the war. As such, this launcher can be looked at as a handy plot contrivance.

RPG-2
"HELLO!!!" Indiana Jones with the "German" RPG-2.
"I'm gonna blow up the ark Rene!" Another view of Indy pointing his RPG-2.

See Also

The Indiana Jones Franchise
Film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)   •  The Temple of Doom (1984)  •  The Last Crusade (1989)  •  The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Television The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-1994)
Video Games The Infernal Machine (1999)  •  The Emperor's Tomb (2003)


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