In 1981, Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb, all living in Mississippi, all too young to watch a PG-13 movie (which didn’t even exist yet), saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then they saw it again, and again, and again. It blew their little 11-year-old minds, so much so that in 1982, they began to remake the film, shot by shot. This was a time before you could torrent a movie, and download the screenplay, and find out where it was shot on IMDb. The pre-teens were on their own, and it took them seven summers to finish the project. Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation premiered in 1989 in the auditorium of a Coca-Cola plant in Gulfport, Mississippi, minus the airplane scene.
Strompolos, Zala, and Lamb’s incredible devotion has now been immortalized in Drafthouse Films’ Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (out in theaters and on VOD on June 17th). The documentary follows the reunited trio as they attempt to film the missing scene, and includes interviews with John Rhys Davies (Sallah!) and Eli Roth, among others. Raiders! is “the story of this long-gestating project’s culmination, chronicling the friends’ dedication to their artistic vision-mixed in with some movie magic-to create a personal, epic love letter to a true modern classic.” That’s according to Drafthouse Films, which also released a cleverly edited side-by-side trailer of the original and the youngsters’ remake.
To find out more about Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, including screening information, head to the documentary’s website. As for Strompolos, Zala, and Lamb giving the shot-for-shot treatment to Temple of Doom: it will happen the same day Harrison Ford says something nice about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (So, never.)