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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure  |  12 June 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 609,869 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 753 user | 225 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

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



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Top Rated Movies #36 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 28 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronald Lacey ...
Wolf Kahler ...
Barranca / Monkey Man
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?


George Lucas initially created Indy with the name of Indiana Smith. Steven Spielberg didn't like using the name Smith, and convinced Lucas to make the surname Jones instead. See more »


There are several Nazi officers seen smoking. In Nazi Germany, officers on duty weren't allowed to smoke, furthermore smoking was largely discouraged in Nazi Germany. 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 »


Spoofed in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (1990) 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

When you're hungry, everyone believes you

There are only so many films in history that I can watch again and again, gaining new appreciation for, one of them is this film. I went from the movies to VHS, and finally to DVD. The availability and quality of this film keep raising the bar of what I can get from it.

I read someone posted that this is the king of B movies or something of that sort, while I honestly think in some scenes like when Indy is running from the Hovitos and he rises over the hill, the film had a really strange documentary feeling, like if a comic actually came to life and like in the Twilight Zone, you were stuck in it. It is great to see this film, now that I edit and produce small independent films, and have worked in post production in Los Angeles. I honestly think almost every scene in this film is better than what's coming out today in sci-fi/adventure. I might pull back that comment in regards to some nice visuals in Riddick, and maybe the new Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but I'm not certain.

The amount of time and effort put into the comedy, adventure, and depth of each character dazzles me because I really can't tell it was filmed the same year Fame was. It really has a unique look to it. The key lighting in the piece is amazing, almost everything looks like it was perfectly worked out.

My only complaint is the attempt to visualize the opening of the Ark, as most of the other scenes don't deal with the supernatural except maybe a burning crate with a nazi symbol on it. George should redo that last scene in my opinion, and tighten it up, because I really think it wasn't coming together, however when I was a child it was so amazing and scary realistic. It's all perspective, but my point it that now in this modern filming era, the acting and film production is holding tight to this day.

I forward you to just enjoy this film and look for things like formulas on chalkboards, skeletons in classrooms, proper patches on Nazi gear, gun accuracy. Research the film's era and background, and it only gets better. That's the ability that Spielberg and Lucas have, attention to detail and clever twists on most of their bodies of work.

Watch this film again, it's worth it, I promise you.

94 of 162 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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