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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

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Top Rated Movies #39 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Storyline

The year is 1936. An archeology professor named Indiana Jones is venturing in the jungles of South America searching for a golden statue. Unfortunately, he sets off a deadly trap but miraculously escapes. Then, Jones hears from a museum curator named Marcus Brody about a biblical artifact called The Ark of the Covenant, which can hold the key to humanly existence. Jones has to venture to vast places such as Nepal and Egypt to find this artifact. However, he will have to fight his enemy Rene Belloq and a band of Nazis in order to reach it. Written by John Wiggins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Return of the Great Adventure. See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

12 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Indiana Jones  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,673,731 (USA) (9 September 2012)

Gross:

$248,159,971 (USA)
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(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)

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2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maureen McCormick auditioned for the role of Marion Ravenwood. She later admitted in her memoir, "Here's the Story", that she was addicted to cocaine during the audition. See more »

Goofs

When Indy speaks to the government men in the lecture hall, he places his large book on the table. One of the two straps holding it closed is undone. When he takes the book to show them a picture of the Ark, both straps are again closed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Satipo: [picking up poison dart] The Hovitos are near.
[tastes the end of the dart, spits it out quickly]
Satipo: The poison is still fresh, three days. They're following us.
Barranca: If they knew we were here, they would have killed us already.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The mountain in the Paramount logo dissolves into the mountain in the Peruvian jungle. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Young & Hungry: Young & Pregnant (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

I am the Monarch of the Sea
(1878) (uncredited)
From "H.M.S. Pinafore"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Sung a cappella by John Rhys-Davies
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Will stand the test of time forever.
26 September 2006 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

I've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark numerous times on TV, DVD and big screen. My local theatre had a special showing last night and the 400-seat screen completely sold out (as Indy films always do). Luckily for me and my pal, we got the last 2 tickets available! I can't think of many films that still sell-out 25 years after their original release. There's just something about Indy movies(iconic hero, affection, epic spectacle) that brings you back again and again.

The only trouble with that is there are zillions of reviews, critiques and dissections of this movie already out there, so what I have to offer will probably not be anything new. I will however not go the way of the cliché and mention 1930's serials, Tom Selleck or the sword/gun fight.

I will, however, ask you one question. Did you know that some of the more iconic, memorable sequences from Raiders owe quite a lot to Duck Tales? What? Surely it's the other way around? Well, no. The globe-trotting adventures of Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Duey, Luey and Donald in Carl Bank's Disney comic-books from the 50s came first. If you can find some of these then you'll surely notice the similarities.

The hunt for the Ark of the Covenant is more than just an excuse for action. So many movies these days seem to come up with action first and string them together with some lame plot. Movies like this are quickly forgotten and one of the reasons Raiders holds up so well is because it works the Covenant story so well into the plot.

The action comes in a succession of set-pieces. I do enjoy films that have to increasingly better themselves in every scene. Raiders introduced this as a standard that the sequels had to live up to. My fave scene has to be the massive truck chase through Egypt, which is made up of many of its own smaller sequences. One little idiosyncrasy I like about Indy is that even though he's a College Professor and Doctor, he has no beef killing people. So very far from the ubiquitous PC heroes of todays movies.

You might think that it's rather geeky to hype up the editing and sound design, but they do stand out from recent action movies. The gunfire and punching seem to have a sort of 'Indy' signature sound to them, that I've not heard in any other films. And obviously, John William's classic score is one of those themes that just everybody in the world knows (though I prefer his score to Temple of Doom), truly one of the best movie themes ever. Better than Star Wars!

I'm not sure if Spielberg planned on Raiders starting the Indy franchise but there's already enough in here to establish a whole universe of potential stories and character arcs. There's talk of a fourth movie at the moment, but I personally don't think it will happen and I don't want it to. It's perfect existing as a trilogy and a sequel that comes traipsing in 18 years after the last is just not going to feel right. Even if you are hungry for more Indy then there are loads of books and video games out there and then there's the Young Indiana Jones TV show (where are the DVDs?), which are official Indy canon and even starred Ford once (they bounced around in time).

I am giving Raiders 9/10 because I just have a soft spot for Temple of Doom (which is obviously a 10/10 movie). Even 25 years after it first came out it still has the power to captivate the audience and provoke sheer excitement every time. And in 25 years it will still be far superior to almost everything.

Now there's something you cannot say about The Fast and the Furious! Sigh, where did all the special movies go?


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