At one point in the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark", Indiana Jones needs to transport the Ark of the Covenant out of Egypt and explicitly requests that Sallah find him a plane or boat going to England.

At 1:22:08 in the movie, the dialogue is:

Indiana: Get back to Cairo. Get us some transport to England - boat, plane, anything. Meet me at Omar's. Be ready for me. I'm going after that truck.

My question is, why did he want to take the Ark to England? Didn't he teach out of Marshall College in Connecticut and wasn't he hired by the US government?

  • Maybe my memory of the movie is a bit faulty.. but could you or someone edit this question so it makes sense? I'm not even sure what you're asking.
    – Arammil
    Jul 13, 2013 at 7:58
  • @Arammil I revised the question. Hopefully that helps to clarify.
    – Mike B
    Jul 13, 2013 at 18:34

3 Answers 3


He just knows there aren't going to be any direct transoceanic flights. This is WWII-era; it's not like flying across the ocean is an everyday occurrence. You have to get to unoccupied England first before you have any hope of getting to the US.

  • 1
    Don't you mean direct transatlantic flights rather than transcontinental flights? But, even more, if you look at the map in the first part of the movie, and see how many stops it takes, in that time period, for him to go from America to find Marion, then go to the Middle East, that makes a strong case for getting it to a nearby Allied nation than trying to reach all the way to the US.
    – Tango
    Jul 13, 2013 at 6:04
  • 4
    Raiders is set in 1936 (possibly extending into 1937) so war hasn't been declared by anyone yet. The Nazis are stockpiling arcane items to aid them in their upcoming conquests.
    – mkennedy
    Jul 13, 2013 at 14:08
  • 6
    @mkennedy: The Nazis hadn't officially declared war on anyone yet. But the Spanish Civil War had already begun and was being fought/aided by both the Axis (German Luftwaffe plus Italian soldiers) and Allied nations (International Brigades). Japan had already invaded Manchuria. And Mussolini had already begun acting on his imperial ambitions by invading Abyssinia/Ethiopia. Jul 13, 2013 at 17:36
  • I think, considering as said above the world war had not yet started, as a more or less 'last minute' affair England was more likely to be more amenable or even 'safe' to Jones as a place to make any necessary preparations with flights etc back to the U.S. ... but thats just my two cents.
    – Arammil
    Jul 14, 2013 at 7:56
  • he said 'transoceanic' not 'transcontinental', big difference.
    – Stevetech
    Jul 22, 2013 at 8:50

Using Wikipedia as a reference, we see that Egypt was formally a colony of Great Britain, and the English had a very strong presence in Egypt, event as late as the 1950s. While Egypt was an independent nation before 1936 (the year in which the film is set), England had definitely left its mark culturally. They maintained their military presence afterwards, including during WWII.

The number of foreigners in the country rose from 10,000 in the 1840s to around 90,000 in the 1880s, and more than 1.5 million by the 1930s of which over half were Europeans

Travel between Egypt and Great Britain would have been much more common than between, say, the US and Egypt at the time.


This was addressed in the film's official novelisation with the addition of an extra two lines of dialogue (possibly added by the author or, more likely, that were in the original screenplay but edited out of the film). In brief, it's the closest free port with no Nazi influence.

“I have a better idea.” Indy got up. “You two get back to Cairo as fast as you can and arrange some kind of transportation to England-anything, a ship, a plane, I don’t care.”
“Why England?” Marion said.
“There are no language barriers and no Nazis,”
Indy said. He looked at Sallah. “Where can we meet in Cairo?”

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Official Novelisation

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