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===Search for the Ark===
===Search for the Ark===
{{Dialogue|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.|Raiders of the Lost Ark}}Learning that Jones had taken up the search for the [[Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors]] as he had done years prior, Belloq informed the Hovitos that outsiders were looking to violate the sacred ground of their ancestors. With a group of Hovitos warriors, Belloq finally achieved his goal of accessing the valley in [[1936]]. The sound of a gunshot led them to [[Barranca]], one of Jones's treacherous guides who had been chased away after being disarmed by the [[archaeologist]]'s whip. The guide informed the group of Jones's location before the Hovitos killed him for his presence in the valley.<ref name="Raiders Sourcebook" />
{{Dialogue|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.|Raiders of the Lost Ark}}
[[File:Acdjtnth.png|thumb|220x220px|René in the Hovito forest about to claim the [[Chachapoyan Fertility Idol]].
Learning that Jones had taken up the search for the [[Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors]] as he had done years prior, Belloq informed the Hovitos that outsiders were looking to violate the sacred ground of their ancestors. With a group of Hovitos warriors, Belloq finally achieved his goal of accessing the valley in [[1936]]. The sound of a gunshot led them to [[Barranca]], one of Jones's treacherous guides who had been chased away after being disarmed by the [[archaeologist]]'s whip. The guide informed the group of Jones's location before the Hovitos killed him for his presence in the valley.<ref name="Raiders Sourcebook" />
[[File:Belloq is amused.jpg|thumb|right|Belloq is amused.]]
[[File:Belloq is amused.jpg|thumb|right|Belloq is amused.]]

Revision as of 14:09, February 13, 2019

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

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

Born in Marseilles, 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 mercernary 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 many of 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 Emile Belloq[3] was born in Marseilles, France to a wealthy wine making family at Forteresse Malevil, and claimed to be a relative of Jean Lafitte.[1] He had at least one sibling, a brother named Claude.[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 student named Indiana Jones was studying linguistics.[5]

In August 1922, the two met at an archaeological dig at Ur in Iraq where Belloq absconded with several artifacts and sold them off, damaging the reputation of Doctor Andrés Uribe in the process. However, the act made Belloq a contact with dealers on the black market. Returning to the university, Belloq 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.[5]

His accolade and inherited wealth bought him a job at the Louvre in Paris as an assistant curator. He held the position for under a year as he became suspect in the funding of a grave robbing expedition in Persia which led to the deaths of several of the museum's employees, including his assistants and the murder of a British archaeologist.[5] Fired, Belloq became a mercenary to whomever could afford him.[6]

At some point before he took to using his self-proclaimed "clever" means of acquiring artifacts, Belloq traveled to Peru where he made contact with the indigenous Hovitos tribe while searching for the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors. However, he was unable to convince the Hovitos to take him to the sacred valley of their Chachapoyan ancestors where the temple was located.[7]

Belloq also journeyed to Estray in the Orkney Islands where the ruins were believed to hold the lost treasure of tenth century Viking pirate Magnus Redhand. Belloq's methods only resulted in angering the locals, and he subsequently left them distrustful of all archaeologists.[8][9]

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.[10]

Price 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 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.[11]

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.[12]

The following year, Belloq approached 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 the Holy Grail. Staubig was impressed by Belloq's erudition but perturbed by his association with the Nazis.[13]

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.[14]

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. Jones chose the match to be decided by single shot revolver and took a bullet to the arm.[1] In the June of that year, 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.[15]


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.[16]

When Jones was making plans to search for the Savarati Idol in Ceylon in 1935, Belloq made him aware of 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.[17] 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.[18]

Upon hearing that Jones's plane had crashed in India, Belloq flew to the site to confirm that his rival was dead. 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 the Thuggee and returned the stolen Sankara stone.[18]

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.[19]

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]

Learning that Jones had taken up the search for the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors as he had done years prior, Belloq informed the Hovitos that outsiders were looking to violate the sacred ground of their ancestors. With a group of Hovitos warriors, Belloq finally achieved his goal of accessing the valley in 1936. The sound of a gunshot led them to Barranca, one of Jones's treacherous guides who had been chased away after being disarmed by the archaeologist's whip. The guide informed the group of Jones's location before the Hovitos killed him for his presence in the valley.[7]

Belloq is amused

Belloq is amused.

Belloq and the Hovitos warriors ambushed Jones after he recovered a fertility idol in the shape of Pachamama from the temple. Despite friendly relations with the Hovitos, Belloq simply took the relic for himself after setting the Hovitos onto Jones. He returned home, where he was contacted by Colonel Herman Dietrich and taken to see Adolf Hitler himself, who wished to hire Belloq to find him and the Nazis the Ark of the Covenant.[2]

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 Toht's right hand. However, crucial information was contained on the other side of the medallion and, as a result, his people ended up digging in the wrong place to find the Well of the Souls.[2]

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 a new dress and joining her in a drinking contest. However, Ravenwood was ultimately playing along to plot her escape but, unfortunately for her, Toht foiled her plans.[2]

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 thousand years he may be worth something, to 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.[2]

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.[2]

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.[2]

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. To this end, he made a deal with Captain Mohler to set up the Tabernacle on the island, against Dietrich's wishes. 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.[2]

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, but 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.[2]


Upon Belloq's disappearance, his son 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.[18] In 1937, one year after Belloq's death, his brother Claude searched the Eye of the Fates in order to find Jones and take out him for his brother's death, but Jones ultimately managed to get Claude being taken in custody.[4]

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 on a secret chamber which came unnoticed on his first visit. Claiming it, Jones remarked that this time, Belloq would not be around to steal it from him for his luck.[20]

In 1957, when Jones was captured by Soviets agents and taken to Nevada along his colleague George McHale to find the Roswell remains at Hangar 51, Jones deduced that his kidnapper wasn't an archaeologist as any rival archaeologist of his used violence as a weapon towards him since Belloq's death.[21] Unknown to him, Belloq's son was still plotting his revenge but after finding out that Jones and Ravenwood were due to wed on October 19, he opted to give them some respite for their honeymoon before enacting his plans.[18]

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. On several occasions, he simply let Jones do the dirty work and then stole the prize for himself.[2]

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. 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.[7]

Belloq saw Jones as a worthy rival and spoke of being his "shadowy reflection".[2] Up until his death – once he had abandoned the money of museums in exchange for the more lucrative amounts paid by private collectors – Belloq was never unemployed.[7] As Jones noted on later years, from all his rival archaeologists, Belloq was the last rival of his who resorted to violence as a weapon.[21]

Behind the scenes

Exploding head

Belloq's head explodes.

René Emile Belloq was portrayed by Paul Freeman in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lawrence Kasdan's script for the film originally had his first name as Emile, but this had to be changed when the legal research department of Lucasfilm Ltd. discovered there already was an Emile Belloq. later honored the previous name by establishing Emile as Belloq's middle name.

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.[22] 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.[23]

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.

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 Arkg, Belloq's eyeballs catch fire and his skin decay, melting in the process. 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. In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Belloq's body explodes during the deaths of Toht and Dietrich. 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 explode after losing his powers.

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 novelisation states that the two learned of each other as archaeology students, from which most sources base the event and is supported by the unproduced episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles where Belloq was going to be a character in the unproduced 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.[24] However, the dates for the characters' first meeting 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. Max McCoy's novel Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs later depicted their first encounter in 1933.

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, although George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg told Freeman that they would call him for the second movie.[25]

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.[26]

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.

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

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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] Belloq has never been released with his white suit attire in any official Indiana Jones merchandise.


Non-canon appearances


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Raiders of the Lost Ark
  3. Although Belloq's first name appears as "René" in the Raiders of the Lost Ark novel, other sources frequently refer to "Rene," without the accent over the final e.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Indiana Jones and the Eye of the Fates
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 IJ Belloq's Marshall College entry on (backup link on
  6. Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook
  8. The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones — "Magic, Murder, and the Weather!"
  9. The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones — "Something's Gone Wrong Again!"
  10. Indiana Jones Artifacts Adventure hook
  11. Indiana Jones Adventures: Volume 1
  12. Indiana Jones Adventures: Volume 2: Curse of the Invincible Ruby
  13. Grail Diary
  14. Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs
  15. Raiders of the Lost Ark novel
  16. Indiana Jones Adventure World
  17. Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb: 1935 Journal
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 The Greatest Adventures of Indiana Jones
  19. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye
  20. Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
  21. 21.0 21.1 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull junior novel
  22. Chapter 4: Casting, if the hat fits at
  23. 1000 Facts about the Greatest Movies Ever vol. 3
  24. SWicon The Lost Chronicles of Young Indiana Jones on (backup link on
  25. Belloq from Indiana Jones at
  26. Interview with Dark Horse artist Hugh Fleming at
  27. CARDED UNPRODUCED BELLOQ IN CEREMONIAL ROBES at Raiders of the Lost Toys (Web archive)
  29. Cool Toy Review

External links

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