Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation

Raiders of the Lost Ark:
The Adaptation
Raiders Adaptation movie poster
Directed byEric Zala
Produced byChris Strompolos
Screenplay byLawrence Kasdan
Story byGeorge Lucas
Philip Kaufman
  • Chris Strompolos
  • Angela Rodriguez
  • Eric Zala
Music byJohn Williams
CinematographyJayson Lamb
Edited byJayson Lamb
Rolling Boulder Films
Release date
Running time
100 minutes
Budgetc. $5000[1]

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation is a 1989 American fan film, made as a shot-for-shot remake of the 1981 Indiana Jones adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Using the original film's screenplay and score, it principally starred and was filmed, directed, and produced over a seven-year period by three Mississippi teenagers (Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb).


Set in 1936, the film pits Indiana Jones (Strompolos) against a group of Nazis who are searching for the Ark of the Covenant which Adolf Hitler believes will make their army invincible.


Taken from[1]


Shooting for the film began in 1982, when Strompolos, Zala and Lamb were only 12 years old, and continued over the next seven summers.[2] It was made on a shoe-string budget of around $5000,[1] greatly contrasting with the original's $18 million budget. It was shot out of sequence, so due to its long filming period many actors randomly appear at different ages throughout the course of the film. As Raiders of the Lost Ark was not available on any home media format when they began filming, they were forced to collect all kinds of material about the film, including magazine articles, photographs, and even an illicit recording of the film's audio captured during a re-release screening of the original film in 1982.[2][3]

In 2014, members of the cast raised money on Kickstarter[4] to re-unite and complete the film with the one scene they were not able to re-create as teenagers: the explosion of the flying wing aircraft.


Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation was finally finished and premiered in 1989 at the auditorium of the local Coca-Cola plant in Gulfport, Mississippi. Later, the boys went their separate ways, going off to college, and the film was largely forgotten.[5] In 2002, Eli Roth (who had obtained a multi-generation dub of the film while in film school) gave a copy to Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles, hoping that Knowles would screen it at that year's Butt-Numb-a-Thon film festival. When a late delivery for the premiere screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers led to a gap in the schedule, Knowles played the Adaptation to fill in time. It was so well received by the audience that when the film was stopped right before a popular action scene, the audience reportedly booed the Rings premiere, wanting to see the rest of the Raiders adaptation.[2] The film has a rare 100% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 9 reviews.[6]

With the excitement from this partial screening, Roth tracked down Strompolos, Zala, and Lamb, and an official screening was held at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas in 2003.[7] By this time, the film had also reached Steven Spielberg, who wrote a letter to the filmmakers, calling the boys' achievement an inspiration.[8] Some time later, while the filmmakers were in Los Angeles promoting the film, Spielberg invited them to meet with him at his office.[2]

Since the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, and despite its amateur status and the poor quality of the surviving copies, critics have generally praised the spirit and dedication of the filmmakers. Lee Sandlin of The Chicago Reader even hinted that the film was "better than the original".[9]

In 2004, film producer Scott Rudin purchased the rights to make a film about the experience of the three boys, with Daniel Clowes writing the screenplay.[10] A separate project, Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, directed by Tim Skousen and Jeremy Coon, was released on June 17, 2016,[11] and is available on Netflix.

Home media

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation was released to DVD and digital on The Raiders Guy's official website. Now available at

Popular culture

A clip of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation was featured in a 2018 episode of The Goldbergs, titled "Adam Spielberg."


  1. ^ a b c "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation". Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Windolf, Jim (March 2004). "Raiders of the Lost Backyard". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  3. ^ "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation The Making Of". Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  4. ^ "Raiders Guys and the Lost Airplane Scene".
  5. ^ Onstad, Katrina. "Indy Spi". Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Knowles, Harry (May 31, 2003). "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK shot-for-shot teenage remake review!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Hepola, Sarah (May 30, 2003). "'Lost Ark,' Resurrected". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  9. ^ Sandlin, Lee (May 22, 2008). "Indie Indy". Chicago Reader. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (February 25, 2004). "Rudin's on an 'Ark' lark". Variety. Archived from the original on November 17, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  11. ^ D'Angelo, Mike. "Raiders! shows how The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made got made," The A.V. Club (June 16, 2016).

External links


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