Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Poster

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Classic film the best Indiana Jones the film that started a franchise
ivo-cobra816 October 2015
Classic Action Adventure film that started Indiana Jones character and a film franchise including a TV Show series on a big screen. It is one of my personal favorite adventure movies of all time. It was my second movie that I have saw and It will be always the best one in the series no order. Easily one of the best movies till this date I always enjoy this movie.

Best Indiana Jones and Steven Spielberg film ever.Raiders has more energy than three action films. And that is what makes it the classic that it is.Raiders is such a great film, containing some great action scenes (the Truck scene) and creating Indiana Jones, which is the best adventure hero ever made, partly I think due to Harrison Ford (I don't think these movies would have been as good with Tom Selleck). Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) also won 4 Academy Awards including for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration,Best Sound,Best Film Editing and Best Effects, Visual Effects.

The Effects were awesome and amazing in this film, their wasn't any CGI in it but there were the special effects editing and visual effects were great! That made this film so great and it worked so well. The story and the plot were brilliant and intense. For me Harrison Ford is the only Indiana Jones that it is , an archeology professor who often embarks on perilous adventures to obtain rare artifacts. Jones claims that he has no belief in the supernatural, only to have his skepticism challenged when he discovers the Ark. He acted the character believable like he was Indiana Jones a real adventurer. Paul Freeman as Dr. René Belloq, Jones' nemesis was one of the best villains out there, he acted his character terrific and convincing. Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, a spirited, tough former lover of Indiana's was one of the most amazing female characters, she was really believable. John Rhys-Davies as Sallah, "the best digger in Cairo" and Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody did terrific as the support cast, they didn't had so many scenes in the film, but in the third entry they were both trough whole film. Ronald Lacey as Major Arnold Toht and Wolf Kahler as Colonel Dietrich did wonderful performance as the ruthless Nazi villains in the film.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) stays one of the best films in the series franchise and my favorite best Indiana Jones film ever. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg did a wonderful job on this film. The year is 1936. Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. There you have the plot. The film that redefined adventure cinema, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark blends action serial thrills with old-fashioned Hollywood wit, and remains a beloved classic.

Steven Spielberg had hoped to direct a James Bond film, when George Lucas told him he had something better for him. Spielberg and Lucas looked for a leading man for over six months. "Then I saw The Empire Strikes Back," Spielberg said, "Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones" To create the illusion of Nazis being zapped with the energy of the Ark, actors wore what were essentially light bulb squibs, timed to go off at one-second intervals.

The film is bursting with great set-pieces (such as Ford being chased by a giant boulder) and has some memorable images, such as the rays of sunlight that open granite doors, the work of the great cinematographer Douglas Slocambe. John Williams composed the Oscar-nominated score for Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The support cast around Ford is good, too, with Paul Freeman playing a rival French archaeologist (René Belloq), Denholm Elliott playing Indy's college colleague Marcus Brody; Ronald Lacey as Gestapo agent Arnold Toht; and Karen Allen as the feisty love interest Marion Ravenwood. The film also crackles with humour. In one memorable scene, Indy is challenged to fight by a Cairo swordsman (played by Terry Richards). The actor had spent months in training for what was due to be a lengthy sword-versus-bull choreographed fight. But Ford, along with many of the crew, was suffering from stomach illness. He suggested to Spielberg that they cut the scene short. Spielberg agreed, resulting in the biggest laugh of the film. The Action scenes are terrific and stunning as the airplane scene was outstanding and I love it. Indy is challenged in to a fight ensues that is joined by a burly Nazi who pummels Indy before being punched backward and shredded to bits by the plane's propellers. Marion seizes one of the plane's machine guns and opens fire on Nazi soldiers, in the process setting a fuel dump aflame. The fire destroys the area and the plane explodes, but Indy and Marion escape. This is the best action scene ever! Indiana seize the truck containing the Ark. He survives a brutal chase and fight with Nazi soldiers, while he is driving the Ark to safety. The scene on the submarine is awesome, the illusion, spirits attacking the now-terrified Nazis, killing the entire contingent and destroying Belloq is awesome. can do.

I love the original Indiana Jones film its my all time favorite action film the acting is great the action is awesome and intense at the same time the story is awesome Spielberg made a well mad Action/Adventure film this film is perfect. 10/10 Bad Ass Seal Of Approval
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A blockbuster how it was meant to be
belzebuebchen6 December 2004
Nowadays we keep forgetting how beautiful blockbusters can be. Too much CGI makes everything possible and therefore very often also arbitrary. In Raiders you actually seem to feel the physical pain some of the actors/stuntmen had to go through to provide 2 hours of pure entertainment.

Of course the story isn't waterproof, the Nazi weren't that present in Egypt in 1936 and how did Indy survive that ride on the submarine again? But lots of good and variable action scenes are accompanied by a story that develops fast and excitingly and is always close to being implausible but luckily never is.

Spielberg, Lucas and most of all Harrison Ford created a hero that is nowadays iconic. With their attempt to make an homage to adventure comics of the 1930's they created their own legend.

It's funny, exiting, thrilling and romantic. What more can you ask for?
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There will never be another film like Raiders
Dan Grant9 July 1999
It is a hot sunny day in South America. We see a bunch of men, shot mostly from the back. They are walking deep into the forest. We see a tall dark figure. He is wearing an old leather jacket, he has the 5 o'clock shadow looking like it's closer to midnight, he wears a fedora and he carries a bull-whip ( yes a bull-whip ). Finally, two of the men enter a cave and we hear about some guy named Forstall, who was good, very, very good, but he never came out of the place alive. But they enter anyway. They are confronted with tarantulas, spears that are triggered by blocking out the light, a pit that they must swing over and then more tiny poisonous darts that come out of the wall. All this to protect an ancient gold statue. They recover it. One guy dies and the other barely makes it out of the room before it all falls on him. Then he has to get out of the cave and a giant boulder chases him. Finally he makes it out of the cave only to be surrounded by Hovitos and his arch enemy named Belloq. He takes the gold statue that this guy worked so hard for and then the guy runs and makes it to the plane where he is in the passenger seat and there is big snake in the plane. He hates snakes. This mans name? Indiana Jones!

Whhhoooooo!! I'm left breathless just describing that opening. But is there a better beginning of a movie ever? Absolutely not. Does the beginning have anything to do with the rest of the film. No. It is all decoration for what the movie is going to put you through in the 90 minutes to come.

Indiana Jones is the best character to ever hit the screens. And he better be. He is created by George, Steven and played by Harrison Ford. That may seem normal now that we have lived with him for 20 years, but can you imagine what that must have been like back in 1981. That would be like Tom Hanks or Will Smith joining forces with James Cameron and Steven Spielberg for a completely original idea in today's terms.

Raiders took a simple idea and maybe an idea that the guys had from watching Saturday afternoon movies and made it larger than life. This film never stops for you to take your breath. It is filled with rich characters from Indy himself to Marion to Belloq and even to Marcus Brody. Each has their own personality that shines through in certain scenes. Some of my faves were when we first meet Marion having a shot contest in her bar in Nepal. Then there is her scene with Belloq and they get drunk together and she tries to leave using only a butter knife. And of course who can forget Indy's battle with the swordsman and his unrivaled determination to get the ark. " Indy, there is not time. If you still want the truck it is being loaded on a truck for Cairo. " ( a battered and bloody Indy ) " Truck? What truck?" ( and then later ) "Get some transport back to England, boat, plane, anything. Meet me at Omar's. I'm going after that truck. "

Sola ) " How? " ( Indy ) I don't know I'm making this up as I go."

Raiders has more energy than three action films. And that is what makes it the classic that it is. If you like movies, then Raiders is a movie that will not let you down. It is pure entertainment and that is indisputable. It finds the youngster in all of us and bombards us with this silly, whip-cracking, average, incredibly determined archaeologist and only asks us to have fun. And that we do. And to me, the only reason that Chariots of Fire won best picture that year is because it is a serious film. Raiders was heads and shoulders above Chariots and it should have cleaned up at the Oscars in 81. But more politics with the academy.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the epitome of entertainment. What more can be said about it. If you haven't seen this movie in a while or if you haven't seen it at all ( gasp ) then do yourself a favour and rent it tonight. It is awesome.

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Excellent movie and brilliantly crafted entertainment with a superb casting
Richard Brunton24 December 2004
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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Ba-De-Da, Ba-De-Da-De-Daaaa, Ba-De-Da, Ba-De-Da-De-Da
ToldYaSo27 February 1999
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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Will stand the test of time forever.
Shawn Watson26 September 2006
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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Harrison Ford, in the role that suited him best...
Nazi_Fighter_David27 July 2008
Ford stars as Indiana Jones, an archaeologist adventurer, who spends his time traveling all over the world through jungles, deserts, oceans, and caverns in search for hidden treasures—like the priceless long-lost Ark of the Covenant (the Hebrew sacred artifact that held the supposed Ten Commandments). Unfortunately, a group of treasure-hungry Nazis wants it too, having heard that any army who wins it would receive supernatural powers…

With his trademark hat, whip, leather jacket, and pistol for backup, our stubborn, intelligent, determined and loyal hero escapes innumerable dangers, evades multiple obstacles including fearsome thugs in a busy Cairo bazaar, and hangs underneath a fast-moving truck in an exciting chase through a road… These are only some of the film's incredible set pieces… Steven Spielberg likable hero is not invincible, though, facing impossible odds, capable of getting beaten, struck violently, heart broken, and falling asleep after the first kiss…

The villains—especially Indy's suave and cultured French rival wearing a Panama hat and white suits, Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman)—are not really that much different from him, except in their motivation… The shrill heroine, Marion (Karen Allen)—is not the girl always in discomfort either, but a resourceful, dynamic and formidable woman who doesn't require the hero at all…

"Raiders of the Lost Arc" is a perfect package of unforgettable scenes, countless action, humor, astonishing technical effects, thrilling sequences, and terrific performances… It was followed by three fun sequels…
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My favorite movie of all time!
Aaron137519 April 2001
There are few movies I can watch over and over again, but this is one of them. This movie has it all: action, romance, comedy, and suspense. Harrison Ford is at his best as Dr. Jones, one of the most exciting archeologist ever. From the start to the end you are hooked to this movie. I love the opening when he as to dodge traps as he tries to get this treasure, I love it when he is running through the streets trying to save the girl, I just love every bit of it. Spielburg said he wanted a b-type movie like he remembered from his youth, but this far surpasses any b movie and any a movie as far as I am concerned.
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When you're hungry, everyone believes you
kristoffe brodeur20 November 2004
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.
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Conception of a Series.
Robert J. Maxwell9 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Original, exciting, and lots of fun. Spielberg directed it and Kasdan and Lucas wrote it. Without it, we wouldn't have had "Romancing the Stone", "The Jewel of the Nile," "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Empire", and many others too numerous to list. They were all more or less rip offs of this one. Of course the original was highly successful. I dragged my lugubrious ex to the theater and even SHE enjoyed it. For a while there was an attempt to merchandise Indiana Jones' leather jackets, fedoras, and bull whips but they didn't get far.

The fact that this was such a commercial blockbuster raised the inevitable question, which may be roughly phrased as, "What do I do NOW, Ma?" What you do is produce sequels: "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "Indiana Jones and the Amazon Women of the Moon," and so on. Each imitation, each sequel, was less innovative and more desperate and sloppy, but that's in the nature of decadence.

Harrison Ford, whose career this put the stamp of approval on, is an archaeologist who is recruited to find the Ark of the Covenant hidden somewhere in the Middle East. It's 1936 and the Nazis are after it and who knows what havoc they might wreak with its powers? Jones drags along Karen Allen, a former lover and assistant, to provide a pulchritudinous sidekick with whom he can exchange insults. Anything resembling sex is out of the question, though, just as it would never have been considered in one of the 1930s Saturday afternoon theater serials on which this kind of story is based.

Here's the schematic diagram of the plot: Introduction, suspense, action, suspense, action, suspense . . . n. Then the climax -- a really BIG action scene.

But the thing that made it successful and keeps it so enjoyable after thirty years is that the action wasn't of the usual sort. Oh, sure, Jones and his girl friend are threatened with immanent death lots of times -- involved in comic fist fights, shot at with poisoned arrows. That's de rigeur. But how often does a hero find himself dashing through an underground tunnel downhill pursued by a three-ton rolling marble? Another element that contributed to its appeal was its reconstruction of the period, 1936. The exotic settings of 1936 aren't just rebuilt. They're lovingly reproduced. The ordinary set dressings are there to suggest the exotic -- always look for beaded curtains -- but the men don't waltz around in immaculate double-breasted white suits and pith helmets. The settings are overblown, to be sure. I strongly doubt that in all of Nepal there was a saloon with the size and atmosphere of Karen Allen's. I'm not at all sure there were ANY saloons in Nepal in 1936. But they're meant to suggest authenticity, not embody it, and they succeed in an creative way.

Finally, the characters are kind of enjoyable in themselves, from the often frightened and only barely willing Indiana Jones himself, through the cartoon Nazis with the monocles and Swastika armbands. Oh, boy, watch the ark of the covenant MELT them down to nothing while they are frozen in place and screaming! The force unleashed.
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The Best Trilogy Made
MMacKK25 December 2004
The Indiana Jones series was the best series ever made, in my opinion. It was extremely fun and enjoyable to watch and it can be watched repeatedly, with no lesser joy. Harrison Ford as Indy is extremely charismatic, like Han Solo, but the character of Indiana for me has an essence that creates a more likable character (modesty, I think) and by doing that, it creates a better trilogy for me, indeed surpassing the Original Star Wars Tilogy (don't get me wrong I love Star Wars as well).

Raiders is such a great film, containing some great action scenes (the Truck scene) and creating Indiana Jones, which is the best adventure hero ever made, partly I think due to Harrison Ford (I don't think these movies would have been as good with Tom Selleck).
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A wonderful movie, but I still prefer The Last Crusade.
Li-116 July 2003
Rating: **** out of ****

There is no doubt in my mind that Indiana Jones is the best movie series in the history of cinema. And the one start it all was Raiders of the Lost Ark, a fast-paced adventure packed with one death-defying cliff-hanger situation after another. To this day, Raiders remains one of the best action movies, holding up better than most of today's rapid-cut, MTV-style "thrill rides." Raiders relied on no CGI, no flashy editing, just pure, exhilarating film-making and storytelling, a combo of its kind that has only been surpassed by its second sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Harrison Ford stars as Jones, an archaeologist who dresses in a brown coat and fedora, armed with a revolver and lion-taming whip. A delightful opening involving elaborate booby traps informs us he's used to these adventures (especially his even closer brushes with death in Temple of Doom, which was a prequel). When he returns to the states from his latest "excavation," he's informed by the military that the Nazis are after the ark of the covenant, an artifact that could possess the power to make the Nazis an invincible army. So Jones sets out to retrieve the ark first, in what will prove to be one of his greatest adventures.

There's probably little doubt that Raiders is the fan/critical favorite of the trilogy, but there are a few things that I actually have to gripe about, blasphemous as it may be. For one, even though the story is excellent, it's not without its holes. Most perplexing is in the film's opening scenes, when we wonder why Jones bothered to bring along potentially traitorous porters when it's such a short distance from the river to the cave temple. Also (spoilers), one needs only to see the film once to realize that if Indy had never tried to intercept the Ark, the Nazis would a) have never found it or b) still would have suffered the same horrible fate regardless.

The action sequences are superb, though an early bar shootout isn't quite as adrenaline-pumping as it could be and looks quite bland compared to the film's other action scenes. Thankfully, the following street chase is playful and exciting and keeps the joyous momentum flowing. Overall, I'd still argue that both Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade boast more inventive action but there's no questioning that the action scenes in Raiders are fantastic and likely superior to any film you may have seen the last few years.

As bitchy as I may sound, I'm not trying to harp on Raiders, at least not too much. The movie does feature the famous (and deservedly so) truck chase, one of the most unbelievably thrilling and exhilarating action setpieces I've ever seen (and given an extra boost by John Williams' beautifully rousing score). To this day, even with the recent chase scenes in The Matrix Reloaded and Terminator 3, this sequence has yet to be surpassed.

Other standout sequences include a sarcophagus almost entirely decorated with snakes, imposing statues, and well-preserved mummies, and Jones' mano-a-mano battle with a seemingly impervious Nazi mechanic. The finale takes the film dangerously close to the horror genre, climaxing things with a truly memorable (and quite frightening) light show for the ages. Every Indiana Jones film has a scene that scarred me as a kid and I think every one who's seen Raiders knows what I'm referring to (as well as its sequels)

I've said it before, Harrison Ford is wonderful as Jones, embodying a hero that's cool beyond words, yet still entirely human and believable. The supporting cast isn't as up to par: Paul Freeman makes for a decent but not particularly menacing villain as Belloq and Karen Allen is somewhat annoying as Indy's love interest, but there are an equal share in gems, particularly Denholm Elliot as Marcus Brody and John Rhys-Davies as Sallah (The Last Crusade wisely gave these actors/characters more screen time).

Raiders of the Lost Ark was revolutionary cinema, paving way for summer blockbusters that would attempt for the same winning mix of thrills and humor. Only its sequels matched and/or surpassed it, but some have actually come close (The Mummy). If you haven't seen Raiders yet, put it on the top of your list.
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m4 May 2005
Most people give this movie a 10 out of 10 because they don't consider the movie but rather how happy they were to discover it as a child but now, in 2005, it has become obviously outdated, the script is quite bad and the acting is even worse. Harrisson Ford obviously should have worked his acting better, which he happily did since that movie. I am sorry I cannot just keep on lying about this movie: this is for your kids but in now way should it be put among masterpieces. IMDb is a web site about movies, not about cult and self-proclaimed nerds or geeks. You have to determine how good is a movie according to artistical criteria, neither to your gregarious instinct nor to your "attitude".
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Typical American Mainstream Cinema in the Early 80s
jazzest19 July 2004
This adventure flick, which mixes the Western movie formula and special effects in their infant days, represents the American mainstream cinema in the early 80s in many ways. The protagonist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is a scholar and an action hero; this combination is unique but the uniqueness has nothing to do with the character development and seems to be the result of the filmmakers' thoughtless decision. The portrayal of the heroine Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) is also inconsistent; sometimes she is tough and independent, while frail and dependent on Indiana Jones in the other times. Along with a dragging optimistic story, overly stretched action scenes may be beyond the audience's attention span. The Reaganomix overshadows the plot, where the Americans can do whatever they want in foreign places (South America, Nepal, and Cairo). The sets of Nepal and Cairo look nothing but sets, while John Williams' score, with a catchy melody line by brilliant brass in the Late Romanticism taste, annoyingly accentuates every single action.
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Good movie for its time
hiddenwave9322 May 2012
This film, starring Harrison Ford and Karen Allen is a decent action film for its time. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is an archaeologist and a teacher at a college in the U.S. and besides teaching, he is on the hunt for the staff of Ra to get the lost ark. He isn't alone in trying to get the ark, however, because a group of Nazis are looking to obtain the ark to control God. The special effects are good for the time, however, to anyone watching this movie now would think they are cheesy and fake. The plot is very good and keeps you watching, but I feel that some of the escapes Indiana Jones makes isn't really realistic at all. All in all this movie is good, but you have to keep in mind that it was made many years ago.
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Second-rate comedy
grybop24 October 2008
I've been avoiding Indiana Jones like the plague until tonight when I decided to see what it's all about. And boy was I in for a treat! I was laughing so hard at every action scene! The music was so laughable, Harrison Ford played worse than Paris Hilton sings and every cliché imaginable was there.

The plot is virtually non-existent during the first half of the movie and when the real action finally kicks in, you see Dr. Jones escaping from difficult situations with unbelievable ease, the ridiculous music score serving as another way of applauding his actions. Those were the best bits. Because then you have the totally random ending that turns your laughter into a WTF expression.

The characters are paper-thin - not to mention Spielberg's obsession with the Germans (or anyone non-American or non-Jewish) who have to be depicted as either superevil or superstupid.

Unintentionally funny, totally predictable and a waste of money and film. How anyone with an average IQ can enjoy this is beyond me.
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I didn't like this film.
Gubby-Allen14 January 2002
I'm not going to spend much time on this as I am obviously in a massive minority by not liking it. It's taken me 20 years to finally see this film through to the end.

It just bores me completely. It's a part James Bond film, which I've never had any time for. It doesn't seem any better than the 'Mummy' or 'Tomb Raider' type films (ZZZZZZ) where the dialogue is largely incidental & which you can watch with the volume turned down and still follow. They generally concern some pre-historic torch, urn, key, lump of dog turd, that has special powers, that the hero needs to get his hands on & that just doesn't make for an interesting film.

I just cannot get into films like this & never have any interests whether they achieve what they're after. In this there were a lot of scenes which seemed to be filling in time. First the Nazi's had the initiative, then Jones, then back to the Nazi's again and this went on & on & on, to the point that it wasn't dis-similar from a Steven Seagal or Van Damme film. Apart from the obvious superior quality of acting in this, the fighting scenes were sometimes laughable.

Karen Allen threw in some incredibly wooden acting in her cliched lines she was given. The "I'm your partner" was almost cringe making.

There seems an unwritten rule that you are not allowed to comment on Raiders of the Lost Ark without mentioning Star Wars for some reason. So I love Harrison Ford films, I like George Lucas & certainly don't dislike Spielberg. Thus, I have Star Wars as one of only a dozen films in my list at 10/10, it's almost perfect. I myself, wouldn't mention this in the same breath as Star Wars. You immediately feel a part of Star Wars & it's wonderful characters, neither of which apply here.

This film has never taken off in England to the extent it has done in the US. I know plenty of adults who've never seen it & many who are not mad over it.

But I'll admit I've never found anyone who genuinely dislikes it. Apart from me!

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A hero for the New Agers
s_daad25 October 2010
I watched this film on the opening night, and I was extremely perplexed walking out. The first thing that puzzled me was how on earth the film got away with a PG rating. I figured it this way. It was trying to be a kids adventure film, but was so poor that it needed to compensate through over the top violence and horror. So my puzzlement was how on earth Lucas and Spielberg managed to bend the arms of the censors to get their PG rating, which allowed them to keep on marketing the film as children’s fare. And the other thing that puzzled me was that the movie was over before it had even started. I hadn’t noticed a story starting anywhere, so I was wondering how the movie could have finished. In other words, there was no film, just a blaze of action, and then suddenly the lights coming on. I heard someone comment on the way out, “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” I don’t know if she meant it in the same way as I did, but it was exactly my sentiment. I had never seen anything like that before! A film that’s not a film at all! Just an excuse to put one action sequence after another. In fact, the censors should have banned the film on account of its having no story. How could Lucas and Spielberg get away with this?! The overall impression I got was that there’s something very rotten going on in the film world now.

The above response was instantaneous, and it was before all the legend around this film had grown up. I didn’t think the film was going to be a hit. In fact, I thought it was going to fall flat on its face. But the film went on to break box-office records everywhere, and after the legend had cemented, I started to have different feelings. I reasoned that I may have missed something the first time, and after reading the umpteenth glowing review the film began to look better in my memory. However a recent viewing helped to dispel all these false notions. It must be stated out and out. This film is bad!!! There’s nothing more to be said about it, but there’s a lot to be said about the audience. I think it’s high time that we said a few things about the “movie brats” and the popular appeal that they court. The thing started proper with Star Wars in 1977, and this is where the Raiders phenomenon begins really. Star Wars is an equally bad movie, but it had a few things going for it. It was presented as a myth, or fairy tale, for the modern age, and it worked too. Three reasons for this. One, the groundbreaking special effects gave it an epic quality, exactly in keeping with the space mythology being presented. Two, the Hollywood narrative was totally disbanded, giving way for an episodic structure. This helped the myth-making, because without a narrative drive people could read whatever they liked into the movie. And three, the notion of an omnipotent “force”, with both a good and dark side, captured the imagination of a world moving towards “new ageism”. So, Star Wars started it all, and the “new age” of the Hollywood blockbuster had begun. These films don’t rely on the traditional virtues of film anymore. Their aim is no wow audiences with something else, more specifically, the expensive, special effects laden set piece. They cater to the New Age mindset of “me me me”. People don’t go to the watch the stories of other people anymore. They go to participate in the megalomania of the filmmakers who were making inflated films with inflated budgets and inflated subjects. It was the “me me me” for the filmmakers, and the vicarious “me me me” for the viewers. In short, the pornography of self worth. And Raiders is only another early landmark in this trend.

Lucas and Spielberg claim to be reviving the B movie adventure serials of the thirties, but there is something horribly ingenuous here. B movies are cheaply done, purely escapist, and never meant to draw attention to themselves. A film like Raiders does nothing but draw attention to itself. It’s only an excuse to use the episodic structure, so that one set-piece can be followed by another without worrying about character or plot. But all this doesn’t explain why Raiders became so popular. I guess the secret lies in the hero – Indiana Jones. When Star Wars kicked off the whole thing, there was an epic but no hero. Luke Skywalker is in no sense a hero. Only Hans Solo has a semblance of heroic about him, but was much too roguish. I guess the original idea was to get Harrison Ford a new vehicle so that he could be a braver and less cynical Hans Solo. So that’s my theory. Raiders is only a continuation of Star Wars, supplying the hero which the first film sorely lacked. So Indiana Jones comes along, and the definitive American hero for the “new age” is born. He is up to his neck in Hollywood excess and that’s all that matters.

So don’t be fooled by all these reviews here that praise this film to the skies, calling it escapist fun. There may have been some thrills for the audience back in 1981, but most of the excitement was from the audacity of breaking with tradition, ignoring story and engagement with the characters, concentrating on spectacle and excess, and participating in an experience of concerted megalomania. After Star Wars, this film really cemented the ground for Hollywood excess. Most of the people here are not judging the film itself. When people say that Star Wars is good, I think they are in their New Age pious mood. The same sort of thing when they say that Raiders is good.
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Typical stupid American film
Régis Décamps15 September 2004
The "raiders of the ark" is probably a genre by itself.

It is not an action film. You should not expect more than a couple of gunfires and some whisp tricks. Is it realistic? Not at all, except if you consider that a man can move a pyramid's hone to escape from the pyramid.

It is not humoristic, either (is there a single play on words?). Actually, it is rather completely stupid. A typical scene is the guy who sees a skeleton and howls like a fool for five seconds.

The scenario is very boring. There is not a single second of suspense.

Ironically, what makes the film watchable is the soundtrack. No, actually, it is not sufficient, I stopped watching near the end.

Really, I don't understand how many people can consider this crap deserves to be watched. How can it be in the top 250 ?
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still a lot of fun, but...
HelloTexas1114 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I understand that I may be forgiven for not thinking 'Citizen Kane' is so great, but the following is cinematic heresy- I've decided I'm not that crazy about the Indiana Jones series. They're fun films, no doubt, and there are certainly worse ways to spend a couple of hours. I watched 'The Last Crusade' again not long ago, and last night I watched the first one. At the risk of stating the obvious, what 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' really has going for it is Harrison Ford and a couple of slam-bang action/special effects sequences. Well, you say, for cryin' out loud, isn't that enough? And yeah, I suppose it is. I've just found I'm not nearly as enamored of the series as I once thought I was, and each of the films has flaws that perhaps only become apparent on repeated viewings. The aspect of 'Raiders' that grates particularly each time I see it is Karen Allen's performance. I'm sorry, I don't find her funny or attractive or even interesting. I understand that the idea is for her to be a feisty tomboy, someone who speaks her mind and is "more than a match" (as they say) for Ford's Indy. But does that mean Allen's Marion has to be so utterly unattractive, in every sense? At times, she seems more like a gangly, socially-challenged thirteen-year-old who hasn't learned basic table manners yet and who snorts when she laughs. I don't know what's more annoying, her behavior or the fact that every male in the film seems to think she's gorgeous. Granted, she doesn't have any competition... that must be it. So there's that. The film of course was a trendsetter in many ways, resurrecting almost single-handedly the grand old adventure flick. The durable plot elements and (other) characters were made to seem fresh again, from the resourceful adventurer venturing to exotic lands to those most reliably evil of slimy villains, the Nazis. And there is a toughness to the first Indiana Jones movie that seems somewhat lacking in the other two. Both Sallah and Marcus Brody are real characters here, alternately serious and amusing. By the time we get to 'Last Crusade,' the two men are strictly comic relief, and Marcus in particular becomes a scatterbrained buffoon. The climax of 'Raiders,' when it finally comes, was something of a revelation (so to speak) at the time. This was the big payoff, and it didn't disappoint, though it's actually pretty brief. The face-melting and vaporous spirits (to be used to a much greater extent later in Spielberg's 'Poltergeist') had audiences wide-eyed with amazement. And then a clever little epilogue left cinema-goers feeling satisfied, that they'd really gotten their money's worth. I shared all those feelings when I first saw 'Raiders of the Lost Ark;' as I said, it's only been the last two or three times I've watched it that I haven't been as blown away.
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Classic bit of schoolboy action
bob the moo14 January 2002
In the run up to WW2 Professor Jones is approached by US Intelligence to recover the lost Ark of the Covenant in order to stop it falling into the hands of the Nazi's. With bar owner Marion in tow, Indiana takes on Nazi's across the globe to recover the ark.

The story is pure Saturday morning hokum, but it‘s all shined up with a great deal of professionalism and you don't notice. The main strength is the tremendous sense of fun in the film - not only is it funny but the huge action scenes are all edge of the seat stuff that are hugely enjoyable to watch. Be it the opening set piece, the truck chase, the fight around a burning airplane, the chase for a basket or the gory finish - it's all great fun to watch.

The performances are pretty cardboard and stereotype - evil Nazi's et al. but it barely matters. Ford is great - this is the type of undemanding hero type that he thrives on. The rest of the cast are good - Freeman and Kahler stand out with their characters. If it has any weaknesses then the lack of characterisation and plotting are the main suspects but I really think the flaws are greatly outweighed by strengths.

Overall a good action film for older families. With an old fashioned feel, a great sense of fun, plenty of laughs and fantastic action scenes this deserves all the good reviews it gets.
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A Link to the Past, a Revival of Style
MRavenwood11 November 2005
There are so many ways in which this film is perfect, most notably is the brilliant re-packaging of old-school action and war films; away from the James-Bond style of the late 60s; away from the Cold-War suspense and intrigue. One of the most endearing features of the picture is that the movie opens with the main character,Indiana Jones' at the close of his current adventure. The technique generates an immediate sense of personal history and intimacy with the main character, and in effect, serves the audience dessert twice.The atmosphere of equal parts impending danger and chronic screw ups is set right from the start, with a lit-fuse pace throughout the movie. Every scene is tight. The sound, the lighting, the dialog,the music, the performances. Every character actor is well-chosen. So many ingredients to enjoy: adventure, humor, mysterious locations, romance, explosions. Only a Nazi could not enjoy this film!
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cartoon for grownups?
xenophil9 June 1999
Everyone else seems to love this movie, so I guess I have to be the one to 'dis' it. I really don't understand why it is so popular. I really enjoy a good adventure, but I like it to be more than a quarter inch deep.

It was so continuously noisy that I had to turn the volume down. The music was bombastic and grating. People die like flies. The protagonists gaily wreak havoc with no apologies. There is no psychology or character. The hero is brave - a cheap virtue since he's obviously invulnerable. The cultural icons dragged in to lend an exotic tone were given the most superficial treatment - everything was a throwaway, but none of it was stylish, witty or funny. We are talking about a cartoon - except lots of cartoons are more sophisticated and better developed.

I can see that the idea is to evoke a golden age of imperialism where we are excused from the duty to care about history, culture and religion, or to feel bad about archaeological piracy, mass murder, ethnic stereotypes, shoddy scholarship, etc. etc. and can just have some good clean fun. But with all this freedom, what is the fun? Knocking over piles of blocks like a three-year-old and punching the bad guy in the nose.

The movie is a pastiche - almost every scene is borrowed. The cultural vein of nostalgia that is being mined is old -obsolete - adventure fiction. If we could see most of this fiction now we would probably find it childish and dated - we know more about the world now. The trick is to make us forget that so we can enjoy our nostalgia.

Do people really need permission to regress this badly?
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Finally A Hero Without Super-Powers
Dalbert Pringle30 October 2016
*Favourite "Indiana Jones" quote* - "I hate snakes!"

For having just a PG-13 rating - I was completely taken by surprise by all of the violence, gore and bloodshed that prevailed in this top-notch Action/Adventure film from 1981.

Featuring a first-rate, adrenaline-rush, opening sequence - "Raiders of the Lost Ark" certainly delivered plenty of awesome, over-the-top stunts, as well as some good touches of cynical humour (thrown in for good measure) that kept all of the action moving along at near break-neck speed, throughout.

My 2 favourite characters in this fast-paced action picture were - (1) Dr. Rene Belloq, the utterly ruthless villain, and Nazi-collaborator, played so wickedly nasty by actor Paul Freeman - And, of course - (2) Indiana Jones, our archaeologist-hero (sans super-powers), played very tongue-in-cheek by Harrison Ford.

My biggest complaint here has to do with the unwelcome introduction of the Marion Ravenwood character into the story. To me, her presence in the action only served to interfere and undermine Indiana Jones's heroic quest to uncover the legendary "Ark of the Covenant" before the evil Nazis did.
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Indiana Jones Paves The Way For Lara Croft And Countless Others.
BigHardcoreRed1 February 2005
Here it is, February of 2005 and I had yet to see Raiders Of The Lost Ark (or the other 2 in the trilogy for that matter). For some reason, it did not appeal to me. I did not get into movies until the early '90s and never got around to seeing it. However, upon urging of my friend I decided to rent it. I have to give credit where credit is due. Indiana Jones paves the way for the Tomb Raiders and other various movies of the same type.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is a doctor in archeology who teaches at a college and in his spare time, finds rare artifacts and saves the world from Nazis. In this case, he is trying to find the Ark Of The Covenant, which at one time held the original Ten Commandments that Moses chiseled into the stone tablets. The Nazis, along with help from Jones' arch rival Rene Belloq, are trying to find the Ark for their own purposes. Along the way, Indiana meets up with a woman named Marion (Karen Allen), who he jilted in the past, which is not really explained in this movie but they end up helping each other in the search for the Ark.

The special effects and the action in Raiders Of The Lost Ark are exceptional, considering this was made in 1981. It set the bar reasonably high for action/adventure movies, even to this day as many movies are still compared to the Indiana Jones trilogy. It holds up well, considering most of the movies from the early 80's are very dated and hard to watch anymore. 8.5/10
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