MPAA made Spielberg add flames to Indiana Jones' exploding head scene

In yet another odd chapter from the US's movie rating history, the MPAA would not let Raiders of the Lost Ark's famous exploding head scene pass without an R rating—until director Steven Spielberg agreed to obscure the phony gore with flames.


Will McCrabb tweeted this piece of Indiana Jones trivia, along with a photo of the unobscured explosion. You can compare it to the video of the scene above.


At the time that Raiders was released, the PG-13 rating didn't exist. Perhaps if it had, we would have seen a less fiery version of the scene in the theaters.

Via Slate, which devoted a video to the subject:

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I thought "melty face" was much more frightening than "explody head."