Trivia: Steven Spielberg Added Flames To Appease MPAA In 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'

A behind the scenes photo from Raiders of the Lost Ark has unearthed an interesting story from one of the most iconic adventure films of all time. As we all know, when the Ark is opened at the end of the film, all of the evil Nazis and their supporters are killed in incredibly gruesome ways. The worst was saved for Belloq (Paul Freeman), Indiana Jones' main nemesis throughout the film. In the movie, his head explodes while being engulfed in flames. However, that wasn't what director Steven Spielberg originally intended.

According to @mccrabb_will (via Io9) Spielberg originally wanted Belloq's head to explode on its own, but the MPAA deemed it too violent. So he added flames to make the explosion less graphic. Here's an image of the explosion without the flames:

Slate did a video on it explaining, which is a fun watch too.

As most of us know, the sequel to Raiders, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was the film that necessitated the MPAA created the PG-13 rating. Raiders of the Lost Ark is rated PG. I wonder if the shot would have been different if it was in Temple of Doom? Also, is a flaming exploded head less traumatic than just an exploding head?