The scenes set in Egypt were filmed in Tunisia, and the canyon where Indiana threatens to blow up the Ark was shot in Sidi Bouhlel, just outside Tozeur. The canyon location had been used for the Tatooine scenes from 1977’s Star Wars (many of the location crew members were the same for both films) where R2-D2 was attacked by Jawas The Tanis scenes were filmed in nearby Sedala, a harsh place due to heat and disease. Several cast and crew members fell ill and Rhys-Davies defecated in his costume during one shot Spielberg averted disease by eating only canned foods from England, but did not like the area and quickly condensed the scheduled six-week shoot to four-and-a-half weeks. Much was improvised: the scene where Marion puts on her dress and attempts to leave Belloq’s tent was improvised as was the entire plane fight. During that scene’s shooting, a wheel went over Ford’s knee and tore his left leg’s cruciate ligament, but he refused local medical help and simply put ice on it.
The fight scenes in the town were filmed in Kairouan, while Ford was suffering from dysentery. Stuntman Terry Richards had practiced for weeks with his sword to create the scripted fight scene, choreographing a fight between the swordsman and Jones’ whip. However, after filming the initial shots of the scene, after lunch due to Ford’s dysentery, Ford and Spielberg agreed to cut the scene down to a gunshot, with Ford saying to Spielberg “Let’s just shoot the sucker”. It was later voted in at No.5 on Playboy magazine’s list of best all time scenes. Most of the truck chase was shot by second unit director Michael D. Moore following Spielberg’s storyboards, including Indiana being dragged by the truck (performed by stuntman Terry Leonard), in tribute to a famous Yakima Canutt stunt. Spielberg then filmed all the shots with Ford himself in and around the truck cab. Lucas directed a few other second unit shots, in particular the monkey giving the Nazi salute.