Karen Allen Clarifies Indiana Jones-Marion Romantic History: ‘I Don’t Think of Him as a Pedophile’

While Allen is aware there are sinister undertones to Marion and Indiana Jones' romance, she doesn't believe that to be the case.
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen on the set of "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen on the set of "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Karen Allen has provided some clarity to an ambiguous line in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” that have led some viewers to peg Indiana Jones as a pedophile, or at least a predator. The line occurs during Allen’s introduction scene as Marion Ravenwood. Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones turns up at Marion’s bar, the first time the characters have seen each other in a decade. Marion punches Indiana and says, “I’ve learned to hate you in the last 10 years.” When Indiana says he never meant to hurt Marion, she responds, “I was a child! I was in love! It was wrong and you knew it.” Later as Indiana tries to apologize, Marion says, “Do you know what you did to me? To my life?”

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” does not provide any context for the conversation in the scene, leaving many viewers left to wonder what might have happened between Indiana and Marion. In a recent interview with Uproxx to mark the 4K Blu-ray release of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Allen spoke about the scene and how she never viewed the relationship between Indiana and Marion starting in a predatory way.

“I guess you could say [there are sinister undertones],” Allen said about the scene. “I think I say I was 16. I don’t know. That’s always what I imagined is she was 16, he was 26. And he was her father’s student. And it’s left very mysterious. We don’t even know what it is. I mean, they could have kissed a few times, and she was just completely bowled over, and he could have just not wanted to get involved with someone so young. And maybe my father would have been furious at him.”

Allen continued, “I mean, what’s great about it is we don’t know what the circumstances are. So she obviously cared deeply for him. He may have cared for her, too. But, in the end, decided it was a dangerous situation and he didn’t want to be involved. I mean, I guess, when something is as vague as that, you can color it any way you want to color it. I’ve tended to color it, sort of, that it was quite innocent. When she says, ‘It was wrong and you knew it.’ I mean, I think maybe he led her on in some way. But when she says she was a child, I think she meant she was 16. Something like that.”

“I don’t think of him as a pedophile,” Allen concluded. “That’s the direction some of these people are going.”

Marion’s introduction scene is also notable for the punch. According to Allen, she actually did punch Ford several times while filming the scene over multiple takes.

“I clocked him a couple of times,” Allen said. “He was slightly annoyed. But I mean, it happens. I had never punched anybody in a film before. So they were showing me how to do it, and I was doing my absolute best, and as far as I was concerned his chin just got in the way of my hand.”

Head over to Uproxx’s website to read Allen’s interview in its entirety.

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