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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure  |  12 June 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 598,094 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 748 user | 224 critic | 11 from

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



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Top 250 Movies #34 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 28 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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Barranca / Monkey Man
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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


Indiana Jones - the new hero from the creators of JAWS and STAR WARS. See more »


Action | Adventure


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | | | |

Release Date:

12 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Indiana Jones  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,673,731 (USA) (7 September 2012)


$242,374,454 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sam Neill was considered for the role of Indiana Jones. He would eventually play a character with an iconic hat in a Spielberg-directed movie: Alan Grant in Jurassic Park (1993). See more »


Marion lights a cigarette with a butane lighter. Butane lighters were introduced in the 1950s. See more »


[first lines]
Satipo: [picking up poison dart] The Hovitos are near. The poison is still fresh, three days. They're following us.
Barranca: If they knew we were here, they would've killed us already.
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Crazy Credits

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


I am the Monarch of the Sea
(1878) (uncredited)
From "H.M.S. Pinafore"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by William S. Gilbert
Sung a cappella by John Rhys-Davies
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Excellent movie and brilliantly crafted entertainment with a superb casting
24 December 2004 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

I remember seeing this movie when I was young, and it may well have been in the cinema with my Father, I can't quite remember (if he does, then please post the answer), anyway I do remember seeing it and being thoroughly entertained and that feeling of excitement and total fun staying with me to this very day as that is the feeling that the movie conjures up whenever I think of it.

I think a part of that is down to the fact it's a complete retake on the old serial movies combined with obvious comic book style, and that is just perfect for kids and appeals to them no end, or rather it did then! So it was with excitement that I opened my presents on my birthday and found the boxset for the Indiana Jones Trilogy, and with even more excitement when I finally watched the first in the trilogy, Raiders of the lost Ark.

It was just as I remembered, fun, excitement, wise cracks, a tiny splattering of romance but with a manliness that kids would allow, and lots of stunts and action. It's a superb movie and captures that style of serials, adventure stories and comic books perfectly, how I know that for sure is only through repeats since I wasn't alive during those times.

The set pieces are fantastic, and although some of the wilder end sequences are slightly dated now, it hasn't lost the excitement factor. It's a perfectly crafted movie as well, moving from location to location without any distraction or superfluous scenes, it just feels like it's all there for a reason and that it belongs there.

Harrison Ford is excellent in the role, and I'm inclined to think he was more Indy than he was Solo, but that's a personal opinion. He has many more facial movements and voice inclinations in this early movie than he does nowadays, now he belongs to the moody, quiet school of acting, then he was dynamic, adventurous, strong and as wisecracking as the best of them.

There are some excellent movie making moments in this with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg showing talent galore just oozing out of every pore (where did all that go for Star Wars I to III Mr Lucas?), and they end up making an excellently entertaining movie.

Some could argue that there could be a bit more depth or seriousness to the story, but come on, it's a ripping adventure yarn, you don't need depth. Saving the Ark from the Nazi's, surely that's enough! An excellent movie and great fun too, without a doubt one of my favourite of all time.

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