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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 #36 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wolf Kahler ...
Don Fellows ...
Bill Reimbold ...
Fred Sorenson ...
Patrick Durkin ...


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:





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Release Date:

12 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Indiana Jones  »

Filming Locations:


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?


In the map room, one of the buildings has red graffiti written on it that says, "Nicht stören", which is German for "Do not disturb". See more »


The Erma/Volmer machine pistol - the submachine gun used in several places in the film - is the MP-40 (Machine Pistol, model of 1940); the handguns used by the Germans are the P-38 (Pistol, model of 1938), neither of which was in use in 1936. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


A British Tar
(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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Ba-De-Da, Ba-De-Da-De-Daaaa, Ba-De-Da, Ba-De-Da-De-Da
27 February 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

If you've seen this movie and heard the score, then my one line summary won't read like a mating call for sheep, but rather the absolutely exhilarating "Raider's March" which stirs my blood and makes me think of an unforgettable hero, Indiana Jones. If not, see it now.

I love going to movies. I always have. I remember when this film came out. My friends had seen it before I had. They boasted it was great, the best film ever. Some even said it was better than Star Wars (utter blasphemy to a devout 10 year old Jedi-wannabe). I thought no way is this film better than Star Wars, but I was still curious and began the begging of my father to take me.

When I was young, almost all of the films that I had seen, I saw with my Dad. He would take me and my mother would stay at home with my siblings. We saw a number of films that failed to generate a reaction with him as they did with me, but this one was different. This one, my Dad might've enjoyed just as much.

Who can forget the scene where Indy faces bandits in the marketplace, fighting swords with his wits and fists, only to be finally challenged by a dark robed adversary brandishing a heavy, dismembering type of sabre as he swings the impressive blade about his head menacingly?

Indiana looks his opponent up and down briefly and draws his pistol casually and shoots the villain dead as if his patience had been tested a moment longer than he could tolerate.

My father, and the entire audience for that matter, laughed and cheered at this incredible scene. And it was the first time I'd actually been aware of his enjoyment of the film. Usually I'm so transfixed that I wouldn't notice if my legs were on fire. He enjoyed it so much, that he still tends to bring up that scene, even today.

My father and I shared a great moment in movie history, and I will never forget it for as long as I live. I will always be grateful for the time we spent together and the films that I otherwise would have been unable to see without him taking me.

Just a side note about the scene I've described above. It wasn't meant to go that way at all. As Steven Spielberg explained in a television interview, the scene was meant to have an elaborate fight sequence, but Harrison Ford was suffering from diarrhea and couldn't go through with the elaborate set-up required. Someone said, "the only way we can finish this scene today is if he shoots him". Steven said, "Wait a minute, we might have something there."

As for where it ranks with Star Wars, it's hard for me to say, so I won't. Star Wars was the first film I ever saw, and there's a story in that as well. Thanks again, Dad.

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