The Arab Swordsman (also known as the Cairo Swordsman) was working for Nazi intelligence agents operating in Cairo in 1936. He was a member of the city's underworld, who had a reputation as a feared assassin and muscle-man, but his actions led him to meet his death at hands of the American archaeologist Indiana Jones.
Hired by Nazi intelligence agents operating in Cairo during 1936, the Arab Swordsman was under orders to kill Indiana Jones. He challenged the archaeologist to a duel during a frantic search for the kidnapped Marion Ravenwood. A busy Cairo marketplace suddenly parted as the black-robed man confronted Jones with an over-sized scimitar.
Giving a small laugh, he began displaying his skill with his weapon to intimidate the American. However, Jones, deciding he had no time for a protracted fight against the flamboyant swordsman, simply took out his revolver and shot him. The Cairo onlookers cheered Jones' action and ran off with the assassin's sword.
Behind the scenes
The scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark as shot for the film was dramatically shortened; the original film's script, written by Lawrence Kasdan, intended Indy to fight the swordsman with a lengthy choreography and usage of his whip. However, Harrison Ford along with most of the crew were suffering from dysentery. Ford then suggested they "just shoot the sucker". Steven Spielberg agreed, resulting in the biggest laugh of the film and one of its most memorable sequences.
In both the film's novelization and comic book adaptation, the Arab Swordsman is inexplicably absent from the story, and Indy never fights him in Cairo as he witnesses the "death" of Marion immediately after getting rid of the bandits who try to kill him.
The Arab Swordsman's scene is humorously referenced in the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. After Indy escapes the temple, two Thuggee swordsmen challenge him (even briefly showing off their skill with the sword much like the Arab Swordsman), and he smugly reaches for his gun. However, this time Indy can do nothing but smile sheepishly and fight them with his whip after he remembers that his gun was lost by Willie Scott earlier in the film at the Shanghai car chase. The music cue confirms the homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The player fights this character in the Cairo mission of Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures. The swordsman will not attack the player, and as in the film, the player defeats him by shooting him with the pistol. In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, the Arab Swordsman's role is the same as in the movie, Indy finds and defeats him. However, in the DS version of the game, the Arab Swordsman (depicted as an old man) is never shot by Indy and fights both Indy and Marion Ravenwood. In the sequel, the Arab Swordsman, wearing a turban, blocks all of Indy's bullets, but after a monkey steals his sword, Sallah takes advantage of this and knocks out the Arab Swordsman with a banana.
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Non-canonical appearance)
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars Galactic Spy (Non-canonical appearance)