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Philip Kaufman (born October 23, 1936) is an American film director and screenwriter credited with co-creating the story of Raiders of the Lost Ark with George Lucas who cites Kaufman as the one who brought in the idea of using the Ark of the Covenant as the movie's MacGuffin.[1]

The exact extent of his other contributions to the story is unclear. During the story conference with Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan to develop the Raiders screenplay, Lucas acknowledges Kaufman as having a hand, in-part, in the idea of a female partner character trapped in a Rick's Place-inspired watering hole which was developed over the course of the meeting into the Nepal-based daughter of a mentor figure for the final movie.[2] The name Marion Ravenwood was conceived by Kasdan.[3]

The George Lucas biography Skywalking credits Kaufman with the Washington ending where the Ark is crated and stored away.[4] Howard Kazanjian: A Producer's Life notes that Kaufman's "story by" credit on Raiders came about after he had seen an early cut of the movie and his lawyer intervened on his behalf to request it. Although Lucas had already decided to give his friend a share of the profits, he was hesitant to put his name on-screen as it would have consequences for follow-up features such as requiring residual payments and citation on stories Kaufman otherwise wouldn't be involved in. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) settled the dispute by allowing Lucas to 'gift' the credit as a one-time gesture instead.[5]

In the end, Kaufman is acknowledged in the credits of three of the four sequels, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, for their usage of characters from the first film that he had developed with Lucas. Outside of the titular archaeologist himself, the recurring characters across those films are Marcus Brody, Sallah and Marion Ravenwood.[6][7][8][9] Kaufman is not credited in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where Jones is the only returning character.[10]

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