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"So once again, Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine."
―René Emile Belloq[src]

René Emile Belloq was a French archaeologist and rival of his American counterpart Indiana Jones.

Born in Marseilles as part of the prestigious Belloq family, Belloq studied archaeology at the Sorbonne where he met and befriended Jones but eventually plagiarized his work with which he went on to win the Archaeological Society Prize. A career at the Louvre was cut short when Belloq was suspected of funding a grave robbing expedition and afterwards became a mercenary archaeologist with increasingly unethical methods in carrying out his work.

Over the following years, Belloq embarked on several adventures in the pursuit of artifacts, often pre-empting or in the wake of Indiana Jones. The involvement of his rival, however, managed to frustrate Belloq's plans on a number of occasions.

In 1936, after claiming a golden Chachapoyan fertility idol from Jones in Peru, Belloq was hired by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to assist in the Reich's search for the Ark of the Covenant, an expedition that would ultimately be his undoing.


Early life[]


René Belloq, an archaeologist from France.

René Emile Belloq was born around the 1890s[2] in Marseilles, France to a wealthy wine-making family[3] of noble French ancestry[4] at Forteresse Malevil, and claimed to share blood ties with the Knights Templar[5] and Jean Lafitte.[3] He had a twin brother,[6] and another sibling named Claude.[7] A student of history at France's most famous academies,[4] Belloq grew up admiring France's most acclaimed archaeologists–such as Dominique Vivant, Jean-François Champollion and Auguste Mariette–and made it his mission to become one himself by enrolling at the Sorbonne where a fellow American student named Indiana Jones was studying linguistics[8] while Belloq studied art and archaeology.[4]

In August 1922, the two met at an archaeological dig at Ur in Iraq on which Belloq absconded with several artifacts and sold them off, damaging the reputation of Doctor Andrés Silvio Uribe in the process. This,[9] coupled with Jones supposedly "stealing" credit for the Pu-Abi Harp's discovery, led a disgraced Uribe to blame Jones for his ruin and passed his hatred for the American on to his children Felipe and Francisca del Arco.[10] For his part, the act made Belloq a contact with dealers on the black market.[9] Likewise, Belloq would go on to establish a network in his native Provence[5] and formed some association with Forrestal.[11]

Back at the university, Belloq and Jones were friends, at least for a time, and Belloq came into the possession of a self-made comic by Jones about his childhood attempt to reclaim the Cross of Coronado from a grave robbing gang in Utah in 1912.[12] However, Belloq eventually came across a paper on stratigraphy by Jones and plagiarized the work. As a result, he was awarded the Archaeological Society Prize with Jones unable to prove the theft.[8] He would then graduate from the Sorbonne with a Masters in Archaeology.[4]

His accolade and inherited wealth bought Belloq a job at the Louvre in Paris as an assistant curator, holding the position for under a year.[8] However, while working for the Louvre's expeditions, Belloq became suspect in the funding of a grave robbing expedition in Iran where he used some unsavory business contacts and questionable methods to get several medieval Persian artifacts. This led to the deaths of several of the museum's employees, including his own assistants and the murder of a British archaeologist.[4] Fired, Belloq became a mercenary to whomever could afford him,[9] finance his expeditions and purchase his finds at a higher price than museums.[4]

At some point before he took to using his self-proclaimed "clever" and successful means of acquiring artifacts, Belloq traveled to Peru where he reached out to the indigenous Hovitos tribe while searching for the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors, even managing to establish good ties with the son of an Hovitos village chieftain, gifting him a cigarette lighter and other shiny objects for the others. Nevertheless, he was unable to convince the tribe to take him to the sacred valley of their Chachapoyan ancestors where the temple was located.[4]

Belloq also journeyed to Estray in the Orkney Islands,[13] where the ruins were believed to hold the lost treasure of tenth century Viking pirate Magnus Redhand.[14] Belloq's methods only resulted in angering the locals, and he subsequently left them distrustful of all archaeologists, with the impression that such scholars only tore up the land and scared the herds.[13]

Note: The following section is ambiguously canon.
It contains information that originates in a source that has not been deemed definitively canon.

Additionally, his career saw the Lourve hire Belloq in an official capacity to search for the Star Map of Baghdad in French-controlled Syria. While Belloq was in the country with French government's permission, Jones was suspicious, and asked a group of adventurers to keep an eye on his rival.[15]

Ambiguously canon information ends here.

Prize hunter[]

"His blood is more mercenary than it ever was French. He'll sell it."
Indiana Jones on Belloq's theft of the Uppsala Scroll.[src]
Belloq 1930

Catching up with Indiana Jones in Marrakesh, 1930.

In 1930, Belloq was on the trail of the Uppsala Scroll and traveled to Sweden to acquire it for the Nazis. Unfortunately, he reached the site too late, only finding Theresa Lawrence, who did not have the scroll, but instead possessed Baldur's Ring. He went to London, and with the help of some thugs, he stole the scroll from Marcus Brody. He traveled to Marrakesh, Morocco, where he met with his buyer, Krause. While showing the potency of the scroll's information, Belloq was unaware of Jones disguised nearby. When Jones stole the scroll and escaped, Belloq and Krause made the Nazi soldiers follow him. In a dead-end alley, Belloq found Jones fighting with a Nazi, and recovered the scroll. Giving the scroll to Krause, he offered to enlist Jones in future operations for the Nazis. Krause revealed that the scroll was a Torah, and Belloq was enraged at his deal gone sour - Jones had given the real scroll to Lawrence during the chase. With no deal, Belloq tried to maintain face with Krause and left Jones beat-up in the alley.[16]

In 1931, Belloq sought the Invincible Ruby of Ali Bey, and his research team recognized the need to obtain the five mammalian Wohat Statues. Belloq hired Ali Bey-Faisal to steal them from various museums around the world. After realizing that Jones was on the trail of the stolen statues, Belloq and Bey-Faisal planned to trick Jones into reclaiming the carvings, and then use them to find and enter Ali Bey's Palace. The night after the Lion statue was stolen from the Barcelona History Museum, Bey-Faisal hinted to Jones that Belloq had hired him, and made sure that Jones followed him back to a hotel, where he met with Belloq in the lobby. The two talked downstairs, allowing Jones to sneak into Belloq's room and take the statues. Belloq and Bey-Faisal then followed Jones to Kenya, where the palace was. While Bey-Faisal was to overcome Jones and claim the ruby, Belloq stayed out of the jungle. As Jones returned from the jungle empty-handed, Belloq asked if Bey-Faisal had gotten the ruby. Jones' response indicated that if Bey-Faisal had found it, he'd still need to be dug out.[17]

In August 1932, Belloq approached the German scholar Wolfgang S. Staubig with an interest in The Book of the Spells of Merlin manuscript believed to contain a runic incantation for summoning the image of a Chalice that could be very well the Holy Grail. Staubig was impressed by Belloq's erudition but perturbed by his association with the Nazis. He later informed Henry Jones, Sr., Indy's father, about his encounter with Belloq, something which the elder Jones noted in his Grail Diary.[18]

In 1933, Belloq came across a powerful artifact, the Crystal Skull of Cozan, on the black market and took it into his possession. He found a buyer in the Nazis who had recently began scouring the globe for occult relics. Jones turned up at his home looking for the Skull which he had uncovered. With help from the Daguerre brothers Jean and Claude, Jones was taken captive when the Nazis led by Franz Kroeger arrived in a U-boat to finish the deal. Belloq completed the transaction but fearing Nazi reprisal, attempted to have Jones shot even though Kroeger had already left. However, while the Frenchman was distracted with the Daguerres, Jones escaped cursing Belloq's name and the Nazis turned the U-boat's guns on Forteresse Malevil regardless, destroying it with two torpedoes. Belloq survived and later gave Jones coordinates to find the Skull.[5]

Belloq resurfaced during Mardi Gras in New Orleans in March 1934 after he found Jones was seeking his help in locating the Skull which had once again slipped his grasp. For a price, Belloq supplied Jones with a means to locate the Skull but Jones' antagonistic remarks prompted the Frenchman to challenge the archaeologist to a duel, waiting for him to show up while sitting atop Marie Laveau's unmarked grave. Jones chose the match to be decided by single shot revolver and took a bullet to the arm.[3] Three months later in June, Indy found that Belloq had already swooped in and excavated a spot in the Rub al Khali Desert of Saudi Arabia, a place which Indy had spent months planning to dig.[19]


Belloq keeps an eye on proceedings.

The rivals also had an eye on the Scales of Osiris, a relic believed to be a portal to the Egyptian Underworld. However, Belloq was unwilling to stand in judgement of Osiris, god of the underworld, and manipulated the newest member of the Adventure Society to take his place.[20]

At some point, Belloq came into contact with Wehrmacht Colonel Herman Dietrich.[8][21] Although the pair had little regard for one another, Dietrich kept himself in tabs with Belloq's operations and expensive services, leading Adolf Hitler's inner circle to eventually take notice of their association,[19] getting jobs from the German people to recover artifacts of significance to them which could symbolically represent their country's rise to power and domination over its enemies.[4]

When Jones was making plans to search for the Savarati Idol in Ceylon in 1935, Belloq made him aware of SS Colonel Albrecht Von Beck's intention to do the same. Jones noted in his journal that Von Beck and Belloq's rivalry appeared greater than theirs.[22] Later in the year, Belloq was in Shanghai, China looking for the remains of Nurhachi. When Jones recovered them first, Belloq had to assure gangster Lao Che — who had hired Jones to recover the urn — that his interest in the find was purely archaeological. Instead, he set his eyes on a large diamond which Jones was trying to acquire in exchange for Nurhachi.[12] However, Jones ended up losing the diamond in a shootout that came to take place in Club Obi Wan.[23]

Upon hearing that Jones's plane had crashed in India, Belloq flew to the site to confirm that his rival was dead after Che's pilots were unable to verify it. He then made his way to Mayapore village where the local Shaman and villagers told a story of how Jones had rescued their children from Mola Ram's Thuggee cult and returned the stolen Sankara stone. Astonished that Jones came close to death, Belloq regretted not being around to assist Ram in defeating his rival.[12]

In July 1935, Belloq made a phone call to an associate of Jones in the state of Indiana who—mistaking Belloq for an old friend of Jones—told him Jones was in India's Lost Delta, where the Temple of the Forbidden Eye had been discovered.[24]

The Temple of the Golden Idol[]

Around this time, Belloq became aware about Forrestal's apparent excavations to find the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors and that he had organized an expedition to Peru to find the Temple by using the research of the 19th century American explorer McHenry from the University of Chicago's library. Willing to take advantage of Forrestal's hunt for the temple, Belloq hired the local thieves Barranca and Satipo to steal the map from one of the archaeologist's campsites, but the thieves double-crossed Belloq and kept the map for themselves, telling the Frenchman that it was incomplete and thus useless in finding more treasure. Belloq was still able to work out the general area that Forrestal was looking to find the temple by calculating where Barranca and Satipo had gone hunting for the map.[4] Forrestal perished in his attempt to uncover the idol due the temple's booby traps. Although Belloq wouldn't learn of the reason for Forrestal's 'disappearance' from the Hovitos until later,[12] Belloq knew that he would need someone to brave the dangers protecting its treasures once he could pinpoint the Chachapoyan temple's location, that being a large mountain jungle valley from the Peruvian highlands.[4]

In 1936, Belloq sent Indiana Jones a message to inform his rival that South America held an artifact of mutual interest. He also pointed out that Forrestal had gotten there ahead of either of them and surely would have scouted out the fairest destinations.[11] Unknown to Jones, Belloq had tricked him into using some of Forrestal's papers by persuading and bribing an American contact of his who told him about Jones' interest in the expedition, letting the papers become accessible to academics to further Jones' research. Upon learning that Indiana Jones had successfully taken up the search for the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors as he had done years prior, Belloq anonymously tipped off Barranca and Satipo that his rival had the rest of Forrestal's map and the pair offered their services as guides to Jones. Keeping up his machinations, Belloq then warned the Hovitos that outsiders were looking to violate the sacred ground of their ancestors.[4] While Belloq didn't have Jones' map, he was one step ahead of him[12] just as Jones suspected.[19] With a group of Hovitos warriors, Belloq finally achieved his goal of accessing the valley. The sound of a gunshot led them to Barranca, who had been chased away having betrayed the archaeologist at Dead Man Falls. The treacherous guide informed the group of Jones' location before the Hovitos killed him for his presence in the valley.[4]

Belloq and the Hovitos warriors ambushed Jones after he recovered a fertility idol in the shape of Pachamama from the temple. After the Hovitos threw Barranca's corpse to the ground, Belloq asked Indiana for the idol, remarking that it was the price for trusting in the wrong friends. With no other options left and unable to tell the Hovitos that Belloq was not to be trusted, Jones gave the idol to Belloq and took advantage of his rival turning around to run away, hotly pursued by the Hovitos.[1] Despite good relations with the tribe,[4] Belloq let out a laugh in the wake of the departing Hovitos[1] and simply took the relic for himself, betraying their friendship.[4] He promptly unloaded the idol in Marrakesh, where the artifact eventually made its way to the antiquities dealer Saad Hassim's shop.[25]

Search for the Ark[]

René Belloq: "How odd that it should end this way for us after so many stimulating encounters. I almost regret it. Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?"
Indiana Jones: "Try the local sewer."
―Belloq threatening Indiana Jones in Cairo, 1936.[src]

Following his rendezvous with Jones in Peru,[1] Belloq returned home where he was contacted by Colonel Herman Dietrich and taken to see Adolf Hitler himself in Berlin, who wished to hire Belloq to find the Ark of the Covenant personally.[19]

Belloq, Gobler, Dietrich

Belloq and his Nazi collaborators.

Belloq agreed, siding with the Nazis during their search and fashioned a crude but working replica of Marion Ravenwood's medallion using the imprint burned onto Major Arnold Ernst Toht's right hand.[1] Belloq and the Nazis found the Map Room, where Belloq deciphered a warning that urged against disturbing the Ark, but he disregarded it as old hat having encountered similar such foreboding words on previous occasions.[12] However, crucial information was contained on the other side of the medallion that was missing from the replica and, as a result, his people ended up digging in the wrong place to find the Well of the Souls.[1] With no leads to proceed, Belloq discarded a sketch of the Ark's location in the Map Room.[11]

Belloq is amused

Belloq is amused.

Noting their lack of progress, Dietrich's aide Major Gobler suggested that Marion Ravenwood might hold the answers, but Belloq insisted that she knew nothing. René attempted to extract information from her to placate Dietrich and Gobler, giving Marion food and a new dress, looking at her indiscreetly while she changed clothes. Marion then convinced him to join her in a drinking contest, during which René got drunk. Ravenwood was ultimately playing along to plot her escape but, unfortunately for her, Toht foiled her plans.[1]

The next morning, Belloq saw a group of diggers in the far distance and it was soon discovered that Indy had found the Ark. Gloating, Belloq stole the Ark from him, assuring Jones that what was briefly his was now his own and that he would become a "permanent addition" to the snake-infested Well of the Souls. To tease him, Belloq even mused that perhaps in a thousand years he may be worth something, at which Jones laughed sarcastically before insulting Belloq. However, Belloq became more than a little disappointed when Marion was thrown by Toht into the Well. However, though reluctant, Belloq quickly accepted her fate and left with Nazis.[1]

After Indy and Marion escaped and destroyed the Flying Wing that was going to be used to fly the Ark out of Tanis to Berlin, it was put on a truck and Belloq traveled with Dietrich and Toht to guard the Ark on the trip to Cairo so it could be taken to Germany. However, Indiana intervened to steal the Ark back. Upon hearing one of the Nazis, Belloq turned around as the other passengers to see Jones riding to the cargo truck and avoiding the shots of Gobler's gunner. Once inside the cargo truck, while Jones fought against the truck's driver, Belloq's car went through a construction site while avoiding running over the workers. Afterwards, with complete control of the truck, Jones used it to knock Belloq's vehicle into a couple of selling stalls.[1]

The chase continued, with Belloq and his passengers going in front of Jones, waiting for the opportunity to knock them off the road. Eventually, a sergeant took control of the truck and knocked Jones to the front of the truck, and Belloq asked him along Dietrich to speed forward to crush Jones against the back of his car, but Jones slipped away under the truck. Upon appearing ready to take back the truck's cockpit, Belloq tried to warn the sergeant, but Jones quickly knocked the sergeant off the truck and ran over him to the sped up to Belloq's car and knock it off the road for the last time. Temporarily stuck away from the road, Belloq took off his hat and hit his driver while insulting him before he backed up the vehicle. Back at Cairo, as Jones and the truck were hidden on Omar's Garage, Belloq and his fellows arrived only to see that Jones was nowhere before departing.[1]

Mohler speaking to Belloq

Belloq unloads the Ark in Geheimhaven.

Indy and Marion escaped with the Ark on a liner, the Bantu Wind, but the Nazis recaptured the Ark and took Marion with the German U-boat Wurrfler. Indiana Jones managed to hitch a ride on the Wurrfler in an attempt to save Marion. From there they went to the Nazis' secret island base near Crete, where Belloq planned to open the Ark to see whether or not it was genuine.[1] To this end, Belloq made a deal via radio with Captain Mohler to set up the Tabernacle on the island, against Dietrich's wishes, promising Mohler that if he arranged a Jewish ceremony, Belloq would speak favorable of the captain to Hitler once they returned to Berlin.[19] Belloq was quite shocked to encounter Indiana once again while he and the Nazis were on their way to the Tabernacle. Indy threatened to destroy the Ark unless they turned Marion over, but Belloq called his bluff and Jones was recaptured.[1]


Belloq on fire

Belloq absorbed by holy fire before dying.

With Indy and Marion bound to a stake at the Tabernacle later that night, Belloq eventually began the ritual, dressed in garments[1] designed according to instructions given in the Old Testament and reciting Aramaic incantations. He also held a First-century replica of the ram's-head staff Moses was believed to have carried during the Jewish Exodus from Egypt.[9] To his dismay, there appeared to be nothing more than dust and sand inside the Ark; all that was left of the Ten Commandments. However, spirits flew down on them and Belloq, believing this was going to be a wonderful experience shouted that it was beautiful. However, one spirit transformed into the hideous Angel of Death and howled menacingly at Belloq. As Toht and Dietrich were screaming in fear, Belloq's jubilant face turned into horror as his body absorbed the holy fires of the Ark like a conduit. The fires then shot outward and struck all of the soldiers dead. As the Tabernacle became surrounded by a fiery inferno, Belloq let out a final scream of agony before his head exploded while his remains were swept up and disintegrated by the fiery whirlwind.[1]


Upon Belloq's mysterious disappearance, a son he had sired at some point in his life decided to track down Jones using entries from his father's diary to find out what had happened, and enact his revenge against Jones and Ravenwood, not believing Jones' vague claims about what had truly happened as no evidence was left because of all the filming equipment having been destroyed.[12]

One year after Belloq's death, when Indiana Jones visited the Orkney Islands, he was received harshly by Duncan, who immediately assumed he was as inconsiderate as Belloq, but reluctantly refrained from further antagonizing Jones after Ian Soames told him that Jones shouldn't be judged by another's actions, with Indy agreeing that thanks to someone like Belloq, it would make sense for the locals to not trust people of his profession.[13] Around that year, the Uribe siblings finally decided to act in their father's name and lured Jones to Lake Titicaca to ruin his reputation and kill him,[10] unaware of Belloq's involvement in their father's disgrace.[9] While Jones managed to convince Francisca of his innocence, Felipe ended up perishing in an earthquake when he tried to harness the Chimu Taya Arms of Cuzco's powers to reestablish the Incan rule over Peru.[10]

When Jones returned to the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors to further explore the site some years later, he ended up uncovering a second idol in a secret chamber, which hadn't been noticed on his first visit. Claiming it, Jones remarked that this time, Belloq would not be around to steal it from him for his luck.[26]

In 1957, when Jones was captured by Soviets agents led by Colonel Antonin Dovchenko while on an archaeological Mayan dig, Jones considered that his unseen kidnappers weren't likely to be archaeologists as violence between rivals seldom took place since Belloq's death.[27] Unknown to him, Belloq's son was still plotting his revenge around this time but after finding out that Jones and Ravenwood were due to wed, he opted to give them some respite for their honeymoon before enacting his plans.[12]

In 1969, Belloq's beliefs about how his rival could attain historical worth a millennia later nearly became true when Jones, depressed with his life after the loss of his son Mutt Williams and his incoming divorce with Ravenwood, attempted to stay in the past Syracuse, Sicily of 214 BC upon time traveling there with his friends and a Neo-Nazi unit led by Jürgen Voller thanks to the Antikythera mechanism, not wishing to return to the present day under the belief that there wasn't something else for him there. However, knowing that her godfather could alter history if he stayed in the past, Helena Shaw resorted to knock Indy out and bring him back to the present.[28]

In the early 21st century, before its eventual publishing, Indy's journal was circulated by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation to intelligence agents from North Korea, China and Cuba. Among its contents, Belloq's message to Jones about Forrestal's search for the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol was preserved there due to Jones sticking it to one of the pages with tape. Further research acknowledged Belloq as a esteemed French archaeologist and known rival of Indy's who had information regarding his background in the federation's file KG-T-135 and an acquired file from the Sureté.[11]

Personality and traits[]

"Too bad the Hovitos don't know you the way I do, Belloq."
Indiana Jones[src]

Like his rival Indiana Jones, René Emile Belloq scoured the globe for antiquities, but would rather sell them for his own profit instead of giving them to a museum as Indy did.[1] Always seemingly one step ahead of his contemporaries,[29] Belloq was always interested in hunting treasures for the highest bidder, as he was brilliant yet strayed for money. He had otherwise not interest of the deep value the artifacts he could sell had, feeling that Jones' decision to deliver back one of the Sankara Stones stolen by the Thuggee back to the Mayapore village because they were the "rightful owners" was foolish,[12] in spite of once caring for the historical value of his finds.[4] On several occasions, he simply let Jones do the dirty work and then stole whatever artifact Jones had found for himself,[1] adept at usually taking the prize but not taking the risks,[29] even manipulating Jones with baits to do so.[4] However, Belloq had a low opinion of his Nazi employers, dismissing them as "fools" for their discomfort over the use of a Jewish ritual to accompany the opening of the Ark of the Covenant, naively thinking that there was nothing to fear.[12] In contrast, Herman Dietrich considered Belloq as a high-priced mercenary whose trustworthiness was less than admirable.[19]

A shifty, sly and conniving man, René Belloq spoke several languages in addition to his native French: English, German, Spanish and those of various tribes indigenous to South America including the language spoken by the Hovitos. Belloq enjoyed the finer parts of French society, including clothes, food and drink. He had a weakness for beautiful women, providing they were intelligent as well, but wouldn't let them get in the way of his goals. He was also willing to sacrifice his years long friendship with the Hovitos in order to claim the fertility idol, acknowleding he wouldn't be welcome back there for a very long time if ever. Belloq liked tomake his appearance seem perfect, whether dressed in his jungle khaki attire or in his white suit with Panama hat.[4]

Belloq saw Jones as a worthy rival and spoke of being his "shadowy reflection".[1] He even reflected that they had an entertaining rivalry to the point he admitted that Jones was clever enough to avoid the booby traps from the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors.[12] On his rival's part, while considering him sloppy, Jones privately admitted in his journal that Belloq's penmanship was admirable.[11] As much as they fiercely competed against each other, Belloq would sometimes genuinely assist Jones if doing so impaired another rival, such as in the case of Albrecht Von Beck.[22] Regardless, Belloq enjoyed seeing Jones suffer, acknowledging Jones' ophidiophobia as the man was sealed into the Well of the Souls.[12] During a previous encounter, Jones was directly responsible for Belloq requiring two false teeth.[6] Up until his death – once he had abandoned the money of museums in exchange for the more lucrative offers of private collectors – Belloq was never unemployed.[4] As Jones noted in his later years, Belloq was the rare example of an archaeologist who utilized violence against another.[27]

Behind the scenes[]

"As far as I was concerned, the sequence finished with me screaming. I had spent quite a few takes screaming and screaming, so they just got the wide-open mouth ready. So it was amazing to see the finished sequence. I had no idea that was going to happen."
Paul Freeman[src]

René Emile Belloq was portrayed by Paul Freeman in Raiders of the Lost Ark.[1]

Lawrence Kasdan's script for the film originally had his name as Victor Lovar but subsequent drafts settled on Emile Belloq except for the fourth draft which experimented with the name Chartiere. After the fifth and final draft, however, Emile changed to René when the Lucasfilm researcher Deborah Fine advised an alteration to avoid confusion with an existing person which could have presented legal complications.[30] later honored the previous forename by establishing Emile as Belloq's middle name.[8] Although Belloq's first name appears as "René" in Campbell Black's novelization, other sources frequently refer to "Rene", without the accent over the final e.[19]

During the early development of the film, Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini almost signed to play Belloq. However, after director Steven Spielberg saw Freeman's performance as journalist Antony Thomas in the ATV movie Death of a Princess, Freeman got the part.[31] Before Freeman's casting, French singer Jacques Dutronc was approached but he turned it down as he can't speak English; while Jonathan Pryce was also considered.[32]

In taking the role Belloq, Paul Freeman wasn't initially asked to demonstrate the French accent desired for the character. Freeman, an Englishman, supposed that Steven Spielberg assumed he could do one the first time they met, as Spielberg had suggested he play Belloq despite Freeman's nationality. Only later did Spielberg ask Freeman to come to his office at Elstree Studios and provide an accent that satisfied the director. When the time came to film the scene in Marion Ravenwood's tent, both Freeman and Karen Allen were allowed by Spielberg to improvise. Freeman noted how, despite not being consulted, Spielberg rewrote some bits of the story to make sense of his performance of Belloq, who ultimately was kinder and more civilized than how Belloq was originally written to be.[30]

The character of Belloq has several similarities with the real-life Jacques de Mahieu. Mahieu was a French anthropologist, esotericist and Nazi collaborator who conducted field studies in Latin America on behalf of the Ahnenerbe, including studies of the Chachapoya culture. The breastplate worn by Belloq in the climactic final scene is actually quite true to the Hoshen, the breastplate worn by the High Priests who were the only ones to have contact with the Ark of the Covenant, according to the description of the Hoshen as found in the Torah.

Additionally, another real-life French archaeologist—Pierre Montet—actually did excavation work at the real Tanis, beginning in 1939 (not long after the events of the film took place). According to National Geographic, "Montet brought Tanis into the 20th century after nearly a dozen years of excavations. He unearthed a royal tomb complex that included three intact and undisturbed burial chambers—a rare and marvelous find. The tombs held dazzling funereal treasures such as golden masks, coffins of silver, and elaborate sarcophagi. Other precious items included bracelets, necklaces, pendants, tableware, and amulets. Statues, vases, and jars also filled the tombs, all part of an array that still bears witness, after thousands of years, to the power and wealth of Tanis's rulers".[33]

According to Paul Freeman, Belloq was considered for a return in the film that became Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but the idea was dropped for unknown reasons, despite George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg's telling the actor that they would call him for the second movie.[34]

Belloq was also set to make an appearance in the opening of Dark Horse Comics' Indiana Jones and the Lost Horizon set on a New York City skyscraper in 1926 involved with a fake Shroud of Turin. However, the project came to a halt when the entire Indiana Jones comic line was ended due to poor sales.[35]

Belloq appears in the Indiana Jones segment of George Lucas' Super Live Adventure which combined elements from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He attempts to acquire the magic wand of the show's protagonist, Hiromi (a girl traveling through several worlds based on Lucasfilm productions), but she's rescued by the timely arrival of Indiana Jones. Hiromi and Jones are attacked on a rope bridge by individuals dressed as Thuggee described in the script as "Belloq's natives" and the man later fills the role of Lao Che in Temple of Doom by introducing Willie Scott to Jones at Club Obi Wan. He ultimately meets his end at the Ark of the Covenant's resting place when he opens the artifact and flames reduce him to a flailing skeleton.[36]

Although Belloq doesn't appear in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull itself,[37] he can briefly be seen a trailer for the film which reused footage from the Raiders opening of the Ark scene.[38] Belloq also received a mention in James Luceno's junior novelization.[27]

Kenner released an action figure of Belloq in their Raiders toyline in the 1980s along with an additional figure of Belloq in his ceremonial robes that was given away as part of a mail-order promotion. It was intended for an eventual general release but the line was discontinued before this came to pass.[39] Additionally, there were plans by Kenner for a Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors set which would have included an action figure of Belloq in his jungle attire. The set, however, went ultimately unproduced when the whole Indiana Jones toyline was abruptly cancelled.[40] Similarly, there were plans by Hasbro for a 2009 action figure of Belloq in his white suit attire, but the toyline was cancelled before one could be made.[41] A sixth scale figure of Belloq in his white suit and hat was instead released by Sideshow Collectibles that same year.[42]


Exploding head

Belloq's head explodes.

Belloq's demise has been depicted differently throughout the franchise. In the Raiders novelization and comic book adaptation, instead of having his head exploding during the opening of the Ark, Belloq's eyeballs catch fire and his skin decays, melting in the process.[19][43] In the TV short film LEGO Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Brick, Belloq, along two Hovitos, is apparently killed by the giant boulder of the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors in Peru.[44] In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Belloq's body explodes during the deaths of Toht and Dietrich.[45] However, in the sequel, Belloq becomes a lightning monster who kills Toht and the other Nazis and sends Dietrich away, but Indy and Marion manage to use a machine to defeat the monster, causing Belloq's body to explode after losing his powers.[46]

There is some inconsistency for when Belloq and Indiana Jones first met. Plans to depict the first meeting between the two were made but never materialized. The 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark novelization states that the two learned of each other as archaeology students, from which most sources base the event,[19] and is supported by the unproduced episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles where Belloq was going to be a character in the unrealized third season of the series. He was to be introduced in "Honduras, December 1920" and reappear in "Brazil, December 1921". However, the series was cancelled before these episodes could be made.[47] The dates for the characters' first meeting do differ with the synopsis for the television series placing it in Honduras, December 1920 while Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide has it in Iraq two years later.[9] Max McCoy's novel Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs later depicted their first encounter in 1933.[5]



Belloq as a LEGO minfigure.

Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Raiders of the Lost Ark
  2. 2.0 2.1 In Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook, René Emile Belloq is described as a man just entering middle age. As the middle age is between 45 and 65 according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it can be deduced that to the fullest, Belloq might have been born in the early 1890s.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs
  6. 6.0 6.1 Indiana Jones und das Erbe von Avalon
  7. Indiana Jones and the Eye of the Fates
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 IndianaJones Belloq's Marshall College entry on (backup link on
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 The Greatest Adventures of Indiana Jones
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 FAIJ The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones – "Double Play: Magic, Murder and the Weather!"
  14. FAIJ The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones – "Something's Gone Wrong Again!"
  15. Indiana Jones Artifacts Adventure hook
  16. Indiana Jones Adventures: Volume 1
  17. Indiana Jones Adventures: Volume 2: Curse of the Invincible Ruby
  18. Grail Diary
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 19.8 Raiders of the Lost Ark novel
  20. Indiana Jones Adventure World
  21. IndianaJones Dietrich's Marshall College entry on (backup link on
  22. 22.0 22.1 Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb: 1935 Journal
  23. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  24. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye
  25. FAIJ The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones – "The Gold Goddess"
  26. Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull junior novel
  28. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  29. 29.0 29.1 Top Trumps Specials: Indiana Jones (Card: René Belloq)
  30. 30.0 30.1 The Complete Making of Indiana Jones
  31. Chapter 4: Casting, if the hat fits at
  32. 1000 Facts about the Greatest Movies Ever vol. 3
  33. The true story of the 'lost city' made famous by Indiana Jones at National Geographic
  34. Belloq from Indiana Jones at
  35. Interview with Dark Horse artist Hugh Fleming at
  36. George Lucas' Super Live Adventure
  37. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  38. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull teaser trailer
  39. CARDED UNPRODUCED BELLOQ IN CEREMONIAL ROBES at Raiders of the Lost Toys (Web archive)
  41. Cool Toy Review
  42. Cool Toy Review
  43. Raiders of the Lost Ark comic
  44. LEGO Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Brick
  45. LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
  46. LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
  47. StarWars The Lost Chronicles of Young Indiana Jones on (backup link on