Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed in the United States, Tunisia, France and England. The University of the Pacific in Stockton, Kaua'i in Hawaii, Sidi Bouhlel in Tunisia, La Pallice in France and Palm Canyon Trail in Arizona were among the filming locations. The Nazis hold Jones and Marion at the testing site while Belloq ceremonially opens the Ark, but finds only sand inside. Spielberg hated the name Indiana Smith, believing it would remind the public of Steve McQueen's character, Nevada Smith.
Although eventually released, Jones is placed on indefinite leave from Marshall College, and Dean Charles Stanforth resigns to prevent Jones from being fired. Jones and Sallah realize that the Nazis are digging in the wrong place, they infiltrate the Nazi excavation and use Ra's medallion and staff of the right size to locate the Well of Souls, the resting place of the Ark. The following year, Jones is reinstated to Marshall College as associate dean and marries Marion, Oxley, who has regained his sanity, and Mutt as witnesses. The Soviets infiltrate a secret government warehouse, located in Nevada, called Hangar 51, and force Jones to locate an alien corpse mummified by the Roswell UFO incident, in which he was forced to work 10 years earlier.
A magnet deciphers the Jones medallion, revealing that one side bears a warning against the disturbance of the Ark, and the other is the correct size of the staff of Ra, an object used to locate the Ark. After returning to the United States, two military intelligence agents inform Jones that German Nazi forces are digging in Tanis, Egypt, and one of their telegrams mentions Jones' former mentor, Abner Ravenwood. Ford plays Indiana Jones, a globetrotting archaeologist who competed with German Nazi forces in 1936 to recover the Ark of the Covenant, a long-lost relic that is said to make an army invincible. Two Soviet agents try to capture them, but Jones and Mutt escape and, following the meaning of the riddle, arrive in Peru.
In 1936, American archaeologist Indiana Jones retrieves a golden idol from a Peruvian temple with booby traps. Lucas wanted a relatively unknown actor, willing to commit to a trilogy of films, to play Indiana Jones. Although according to Lucas the character from Indiana is named after his childhood dog, Prorokova insists that the hero is named after the U. Indiana Jones and that the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is distributed by one entity, Paramount, but owned by another entity, Lucasfilm.
Indy manages to rescue Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) and the two escape from the Nazis on a motorcycle and a sidecar.