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‘Snowflake’ Channel 4 bosses CUT key Nazi face-melting scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Fans of the Indiana Jones movies went into meltdown over New Year after ‘snowflake’ Channel 4 bosses cut the famous face-melting Nazis scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Steven Spielberg’s classic 1981 film is rated PG in the UK, which means that it is approved for ‘general viewing’ and ‘should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older’.

But viewers accused the broadcaster of ‘butchering’ the first movie in the beloved Indiana Jones series by editing out the iconic sequence for a pre-watershed audience on Sunday night. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark sees archaeologist and treasure hunter Jones, played by Harrison Ford, in pursuit of the Ark of the Covenant, a treasure chest of Biblical artefacts. 

Also hunting the Ark are professional rival Dr Rene Belloq, played by Paul Freeman, and Ronald Lacey’s Major Arnold Toht, a Gestapo agent who aims to weaponise the Ark.

Towards the end of the movie, the Nazis face the wrath of God as they open the Ark to devastating consequences.

Bellog explodes while the face of Major Toht melts off his skull while Jones and love interest Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen, keep their eyes shut during the climax.

Raiders of the Lost Ark sees treasure hunter Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford, in pursuit of the Ark of the Covenant. Towards the end of the movie, Ronald Lacey’s Major Arnold Toht, a Gestapo agent who aims to weaponise the Ark, faces the wrath of God – and his face melts off

Towards the end of the movie, Ronald Lacey's Major Arnold Toht, a Gestapo agent who aims to weaponise the Ark, faces the wrath of God - and his face melts off

Towards the end of the movie, Ronald Lacey's Major Arnold Toht, a Gestapo agent who aims to weaponise the Ark, faces the wrath of God - and his face melts off

Steven Spielberg’s classic 1981 film is rated PG in the UK, which means that it is approved for ‘general viewing’ and ‘should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older’

Bellog explodes while the face of Major Toht melts off his skull while Jones and love interest Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen, keep their eyes shut during the climax

Bellog explodes while the face of Major Toht melts off his skull while Jones and love interest Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen, keep their eyes shut during the climax

Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in Steven Spielberg's 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in Steven Spielberg’s 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark

Fans of the Indiana Jones movies went into meltdown over New Year after 'snowflake' Channel 4 bosses cut the famous face-melting Nazis scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Fans of the Indiana Jones movies went into meltdown over New Year after ‘snowflake’ Channel 4 bosses cut the famous face-melting Nazis scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Taking to Twitter, one Indiana Jones fan complained: ‘What’s with the butchered copy of #RaidersoftheLostArk @Channel4 this evening?

‘Yes, before the 9.00pm watershed but this is a movie that has been seen by kids and grown-ups around the world since it opened. Sick to death of Nervous Norberts overreacting to Generation Snowflake.’

Another roared: ‘#channel4 ruined Christmas- raiders of the lost ark with no melty faces is like Christmas without a Terry’s chocolate orange #raidersofthelostark’.

‘Did Channel 4 just edit the melting Nazi head out of the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark? It’s been forty years!’ said another.

One social-media user posted: ‘Just watched raiders of the lost ark on channel 4. They cut out the nazi melting face scene at the end. Utter travesty!’ 

‘@Channel4 Seriously ! You sensored [sic] Raiders of the Lost Ark !! A film that has been aired almost every christmas since 1981! The opening of the Ark was one of the most iconic parts of the film #Snowflakes’, another tweeted. 

Viewers accused the broadcaster of 'butchering' the first movie in the beloved Indiana Jones series by editing out the iconic sequence for a pre-watershed audience on Sunday night

Viewers accused the broadcaster of ‘butchering’ the first movie in the beloved Indiana Jones series by editing out the iconic sequence for a pre-watershed audience on Sunday night 

At the end of the beloved adventure film, the Nazis face the wrath of God as they open the Ark

At the end of the beloved adventure film, the Nazis face the wrath of God as they open the Ark

Harrison Ford playing treasure hunter Jones at the start of the first in the adventure film series

Harrison Ford playing treasure hunter Jones at the start of the first in the adventure film series

One Twitter account humorously asked: ‘If Channel 4 has cut the melting faces from Raiders of the Lost Ark today are they trying not to upset… Nazis?’ 

Channel 4 aired the film at 6.30pm. A spokesperson said: ‘The film was edited for daytime when younger viewers could be watching.

‘It is available to watch unedited on All 4.’  

Ofcom rules state that broadcasters must ‘appropriately schedule’ pre-watershed programming.

For example, a movie scheduled to start at 8pm and end at 9.30pm which has generally mild content throughout until the final scene, which contains very graphic violence, would be unlikely to be appropriately scheduled. 

Although this scene would not transmit until after the watershed, because the film started well before, it would be likely to have attracted a significant number of younger viewers, including children, who would stay with the film until its conclusion.  

Ronald Lacey's Major Arnold Toht

Dr Rene Belloq, played by Paul Freeman

Also hunting the Ark are professional rival Dr Rene Belloq, played by Paul Freeman (right), and Ronald Lacey’s Major Arnold Toht (left), a Gestapo agent who aims to weaponise the Ark

Ford plays archaeologist Jones, who is in pursuit of the legendary Ark of the Covenant

Ford plays archaeologist Jones, who is in pursuit of the legendary Ark of the Covenant

Steven Spielberg's classic 1981 film is rated PG in the UK, which means that it is approved for 'general viewing' and 'should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older'

Steven Spielberg’s classic 1981 film is rated PG in the UK, which means that it is approved for ‘general viewing’ and ‘should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older’ 

Raiders of the Lost Ark won five Oscars and has frequently been called one of cinema’s greatest adventure films. 

Spielberg described the face-melting shot, which was created without using CGI, as ‘one of the most amazing effects I’d ever seen’. 

The Raiders of the Lost Ark effects crew made a mould of Lacey’s head using alginate, which is the same rubbery substance dentists use to make molds of teeth. 

That mould was then cleaned and sculpted, and eyes were added. 

A skull, carved from stone in order to withstand face-melting heat, was constructed to support the mould, while a gelatin formula was created to depict the dripping layers of flesh and muscle. 

The fake head was then put between two propane heaters and took about 10 minutes for the face to melt completely in the take that was ultimately used in the film.      


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