Dr. René Emile Belloq (Paul Freeman) is the main antagonist of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He was a French archaeologist and mercenary who was Indiana Jones' rival. In the film's opening, Belloq and the Hovitos tribesmen force Indiana to hand over the Golden Idol, which he has survived numerous booby traps to obtain. Belloq helped the Nazis in finding the Ark of the Covenant, as he wants to use the relic to speak with God. Near the end of the film, the spirits within the Ark kill the Nazis and cause Belloq's head to explode, allowing Indiana to take the Ark back to the United States government. At one point in the film, Belloq says to Indy that they are very much alike and that he is Indy's "shadowy reflection."
The novelization of the film reveals Belloq became Indiana's rival since graduate school, when he plagiarized his essay on stratigraphy, thus winning an award that supposedly belonged to Indiana. Another encounter in 1934 is detailed, when Indiana spends months preparing a dig in Rub' al Khali, only to arrive and discover Belloq has excavated the region. Indiana also encounters Belloq in two novels by Max McCoy, set before the films, where the two meet for the first time (contradicting the novelization of Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Belloq gives Indiana information for locating a crystal skull.