As Harrison Ford would tell Entertainment Tonight, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was shot on a very tight schedule, with little time to account for delays. This presented a major problem when the majority of the crew came down with dysentery and simply couldn’t afford to take any time off. To make matters worse, the illness hit just as Ford was supposed to film an elaborate sword versus whip fight. He and George Lucas had spent a long time creating a 3-page script for the choreography (it was one of the movie’s few relatively structured sequences), and Steven Spielberg “had searched the world for the best swordsman.” Even if everyone was healthy, the sequence would have required three days of filming.
On the first of the three dedicated days, Ford was feeling unwell and decided to see if Spielberg — one of the few healthy people on set — would be willing to scrap the fight. “I went up to Steven as soon as I arrived and I said, ‘Steven, why don’t we just shoot this son o’b****?’ And Steven said, ‘Uh … my God, I was thinking that too,'” Ford explained. The rest, as they say, was history.