Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation is an almost shot-for-shot remake of/tribute to the original Raiders movie, produced over seven years and on a shoestring budget by a small group of Louisiana teenagers.

Starting in 1982, at which time the cast and crew were only 11 and 12 years old, the production of Raiders consumed their next seven summer vacations. The 100-minute finished film is a tribute to their extraordinary perseverance and ingenuity, and it's (almost) all there; the famous boulder trap sequence, the bar fight in the burning Nepalese tavern, the map room and the Staff of Ra, the escape from the snake pit, the truck fight/chase and the opening of the Ark.

The young filmmakers' inventiveness is truly impressive. A dinghy with an outboard motor serves as Jock's biplane and a small dog named Snickers stands in for the monkey. Real snakes (donated by a pet store) lend verisimilitude to papier mache Egyptian tombs and Boy Scout uniforms are cunningly converted into Nazi regalia. It's all played in dead earnest and it's very cool stuff.

The film was finally completed in 1989 and it received exactly one public screening, in the auditorium of the local Coca Cola factory. After that the cast and crew got on with their lives and largely forgot about the movie, up until 2003 when a fourth-generation copy was screened as a filler during Harry Knowles' Butt-numb-a-thon film festival. Since then it's attracted a cult following of millions and also inspired the excellent memoir Raiders!: the Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.


The latest news is that Napoleon Dynamite producer Jeremy Coon has optioned the Raiders! memoir with hopes to produce both a feature film and a documentary based on the story.