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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Original theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Frank Marshall
George Lucas
Howard Kazanjian
Written by Story:
George Lucas
Philip Kaufman
Lawrence Kasdan
Starring Harrison Ford
Karen Allen
Paul Freeman
Ronald Lacey
John Rhys-Davies
Denholm Elliott
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Editing by Michael Kahn
Studio Lucasfilm Ltd.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) June 12, 1981 (US)
Running time 115 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million (est.)
Gross revenue $384,140,454[1]
Followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Raiders of the Lost Ark (also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise, and pits Indiana Jones (played by Ford) against the Nazis, who search for the Ark of the Covenant, in an attempt to make their army invincible. The film co-starred Karen Allen as Indiana's former lover Marion Ravenwood; Paul Freeman as Indiana's nemesis, French archaeologist René Belloq; John Rhys-Davies as Indiana's sidekick, Sallah; and Denholm Elliott as Indiana's colleague, Marcus Brody.

The film originated with Lucas' desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Production was based at Elstree Studios, England, and filming also took place in La Rochelle, Tunisia, Hawaii, and California from June to September 1980.

Released on June 12, 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark became the top grossing film of 1981;[2] it remains one of the highest-grossing films ever made.[2] It was nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Picture, and won five (Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, Visual Effects, and Sound Effects Editing). The film's critical and popular success led to three additional films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), a television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-1996), and 15 video games as of 2009.



In 1936, treasure hunter/archaeologist Indiana Jones braves an ancient temple in the Peruvian jungle filled with booby traps to retrieve a Golden Idol. Upon escaping the temple, Indiana is confronted by rival archaeologist René Belloq and the indigenous Hovitos people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Indiana is forced to surrender the idol to Belloq, and flees from a jungle chase aboard a waiting seaplane.

Shortly after returning to the college in the United States where he teaches archeology, Indiana is interviewed by two Army intelligence agents. They inform him that the Nazis, in their quest for occult power, are searching for his old mentor, Abner Ravenwood, who is in possession of the headpiece of an artifact called the Staff of Ra and is the leading expert on the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis. Indiana deduces that the Nazis are searching for the Ark of the Covenant, the biblical chest built by the Israelites to contain the fragments of the Ten Commandments. The Staff of Ra, meanwhile, is the key to finding the Well of Souls, in which the Ark is buried. The agents subsequently authorize Indiana to recover the Ark with the promise of displaying it in a museum. Indiana travels to a tavern in Nepal, only to find that Ravenwood has died and that the headpiece is in the possession of his daughter and Indiana's embittered former lover, Marion. The tavern is suddenly raided by a group of thugs commanded by Nazi agent Major Toht. The tavern is burned down in the ensuing fight, during which Toht burns his hand on the searing hot headpiece as he tries to grab it. Indiana and Marion escape with the headpiece, with Marion declaring she will accompany Indiana in his search for the Ark so he can repay his debt.

They travel to Cairo where they learn from Sallah, Indiana's friend and a skilled digger, that the Nazis are currently digging for the Well of Souls with the aid of Belloq and a replica of the headpiece modeled after the scar on Toht's hand. In a bazaar, Nazi operatives kidnap Marion and fake her death in front of Indiana, strengthening his resolve to find the Ark. While deciphering the markings on the headpiece, Indiana and Sallah realize that the Nazis have miscalculated the location of the Well of Souls. Using this to their advantage, they infiltrate the Nazi dig and use the Staff of Ra to correctly determine the location and uncover the Well of Souls, which is filled with venomous snakes. After Indiana obtains the Ark, Belloq and the Nazis arrive to take it for themselves. They proceed to toss Marion, who is alive, down into the well with Indiana and seal them both in. However, they manage to navigate the underground temple and escape. After a grueling fist fight with a German mechanic, blowing up a flying wing ready to ship the Ark to Germany, and chasing down a convoy of trucks, Indiana manages to take it back before it can be shipped to Berlin.

Indiana and Marion leave Cairo to escort the Ark to England on board a tramp steamer. The next morning, their boat is boarded by the Nazis who once again steal the Ark and kidnap Marion. Indiana stows away on the U-boat and follows them to an isolated island where Belloq plans to test the power of the Ark before presenting it to Adolf Hitler. Indiana reveals himself and threatens to destroy the Ark with a rocket launcher, but Belloq calls his bluff.

Indiana surrenders and is tied to a post with Marion as Belloq performs a ceremonial opening of the Ark, which appears to contain nothing but sand. Suddenly, spirits emerge from the Ark; aware of the supernatural danger of looking at the opened Ark, Indiana warns Marion to close her eyes. The apparitions suddenly morph into demonic creatures. Lightning bolts begin flying out of the ark, killing the Nazis. The fires rise into the sky, then fall back down to Earth and the Ark closes with a crack of thunder.

Back in Washington, D.C., the Army intelligence agents tell a suspicious Indiana that the Ark "is someplace safe" to be studied by "top men". In reality, the Ark is sealed in a wooden crate labeled "top secret" and stored in a giant government warehouse filled with countless similar crates.


  • Harrison Ford stars as Indiana Jones, an archeology professor who often embarks on perilous adventures to obtain rare artifacts. Jones initially claims he has no belief in the supernatural, only to have his skepticism challenged when he discovers the Ark. Spielberg suggested casting Harrison Ford as Jones, but Lucas objected, stating that he did not want Ford to become his "Bobby De Niro" or "that guy I put in all my movies", a reference to Martin Scorsese, who often worked with Robert De Niro.[3] Desiring a lesser known actor, Lucas persuaded Spielberg to help him search for a new talent. Among the actors who auditioned were Tim Matheson, Peter Coyote, John Shea, and Tom Selleck. Selleck was originally offered the role, but he was unavailable for the part because of his commitment to the television series Magnum, P.I.[3] In June 1980, three weeks away from filming,[4] Spielberg persuaded Lucas to cast Ford after producers Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy were impressed by his performance as Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back.[5]
  • Paul Freeman as Dr. René Belloq. Jones' arch nemesis, Belloq is also an archaeologist after the Ark, but he is working for the Nazis. He intends to harness the power of the Ark himself before Hitler could, but he is killed by the supernatural powers of the Ark.
  • Ronald Lacey as Major Arnold Toht. Toht is an interrogator for the Gestapo, who tries to torture Marion Ravenwood for the headpiece of the Staff of Ra. He is killed by the supernatural powers of the Ark when his face melts. Lacey was cast as he reminded Spielberg of Peter Lorre.[3] Klaus Kinski was offered the role, but he hated the script.[7]
  • John Rhys-Davies as Sallah. Sallah is "the best digger in Cairo", and has been hired by the Nazis to help them excavate Tanis. Although he fears disturbing the Ark, he is an old friend of Indiana Jones, and agrees to help him obtain it. Spielberg initially approached Danny DeVito to play Sallah, but he could not play the part due to scheduling conflicts. Spielberg cast Rhys-Davies after seeing his performance in Shogun.[3]
  • Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody. Marcus is a museum curator, and buys whatever artifacts Indiana obtains for display in his museum. The U.S. government agents approach him in regards to recovering the Ark, and he sets up a meeting between them and Indiana Jones. Spielberg hired Elliott as he was a big fan of the actor.[3]
  • Wolf Kahler as Colonel Dietrich. Dietrich is a ruthless Nazi officer leading the operation to secure the Ark. He is killed by the supernatural powers of the Ark when his head implodes.
  • Alfred Molina, in his film debut, as Satipo. Satipo is one of Jones' guides through the South American jungle. He betrays Jones and steals the golden idol, but is killed by one of the traps in the temple.
  • Vic Tablian plays Barranca and the Monkey man. Producer Frank Marshall played a pilot in the airplane fight sequence. The stunt team was ill, so he took the role instead. The result was three days in a hot cockpit, which he joked was over "140 degrees".[3] Pat Roach plays the large mechanic with whom Jones brawls in this sequence, as well as Toht's Sherpa henchman in Marion's bar. He had the rare opportunity to be killed twice in one film.[8] Special-effects supervisor Dennis Muren made a cameo as a Nazi spy on the seaplane Indiana Jones takes to Nepal.[9]



Indiana and Sallah lift the Ark of the Covenant from its resting place in The Well of the Souls. George Lucas and Philip Kaufman both collaborated on working the Ark into the film's plot.

In 1973, George Lucas wrote The Adventures of Indiana Smith.[10] Like Star Wars, which he also wrote, it was an opportunity to create a modern version of the film serials of the 1930s and 1940s.[3] Lucas discussed the concept with Philip Kaufman, who worked with him for several weeks and came up with the Ark of the Covenant as the plot device.[11] Kaufman was told about the Ark by his dentist when he was a child.[12] The project stalled when Clint Eastwood hired Kaufman to direct The Outlaw Josey Wales.[11] Lucas eventually shelved the idea, deciding to concentrate on his outer space adventure which would become Star Wars. In late May 1977, Lucas was in Maui, trying to escape the enormous success of Star Wars. Friend and colleague Steven Spielberg was also there, on vacation from work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. While building a sand castle at Mauna Kea,[13] Spielberg expressed an interest in directing a James Bond film. Lucas convinced his friend Spielberg that he had conceived a character "better than James Bond" and explained the concept of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg loved it, calling it "a James Bond film without the hardware,"[14] although Spielberg told Lucas that the surname Smith was not right for the character, Lucas replied "OK. What about Jones?". Indiana was the name of Lucas' Alaskan Malamute.[3]

Jones attempting to take the Golden Idol in the opening of the film.

The following year, Lucas focused on developing Raiders and the Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back, during which Lawrence Kasdan and Frank Marshall joined the project as screenwriter and producer respectively. Between January 23–January 27, 1978 for nine hours a day, Lucas, Kasdan, and Spielberg discussed the story and visual ideas. Spielberg came up with Jones being chased by a boulder,[3] which was inspired by "The Seven Cities of Cibola," an Uncle Scrooge comic by Carl Barks. Lucas later acknowledged that the idea for the idol mechanism in the opening scene, and deadly traps later in the film were inspired by several Uncle Scrooge comics.[15] Lucas came up with a submarine, a monkey giving the Hitler salute, and Marion punching Jones in Nepal.[14] Kasdan used a 100-page transcript of their conversations for his first script draft,[16] which he worked on for six months.[3] Ultimately some of their ideas were too grand and had to be cut: a mine chase,[17] an escape in Shanghai using a rolling gong as a shield,[18] and a jump from an airplane in a raft, all of which made it into the prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.[3]

Spielberg and Lucas disagreed on the character: although Lucas saw him as a Bondian playboy, Spielberg and Kasdan felt the professor and adventurer elements of the character made him complex enough. Spielberg had a darker vision of Jones, interpreting him as an alcoholic similar to Humphrey Bogart's character Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. This characterization fell away during the later drafts.[14] Spielberg also initially conceived of Toht as having a robotic arm, which Lucas rejected as falling into science-fiction. Comic book artist Jim Steranko was also commissioned to produce original illustrations for pre-production, which heavily influenced Spielberg's decisions in both the look of the film and the character of Indiana Jones himself.[19]

Initially, the film was rejected by every major studio in Hollywood, as most executives thought that the story was too over the top and would be exceedingly expensive to produce. Eventually Paramount agreed to finance the film, with Lucas negotiating a five picture deal. By April 1980, Kasdan's fifth draft was produced, and production was getting ready to shoot at Elstree Studios, with Lucas trying to keep costs down.[5] With four illustrators, Raiders of the Lost Ark was Spielberg's most storyboarded film of his career to date, further helping the film economically. He and Lucas agreed on a tight schedule to keep costs down, and to stylistically follow the "quick and dirty" feel of the old Saturday matinée serials. Special effects were done using puppets, miniature models, animation, and camera trickery.[3] "We didn't do 30 or 40 takes; usually only four. It was like silent film--shoot only what you need, no waste," Spielberg said. "Had I had more time and money, it would have turned out a pretentious movie." Lucas also directed some of the second unit.[20]


Filming began on June 23, 1980 at La Rochelle, France, for scenes involving the Nazi submarine,[5] which was rented from the production of Das Boot. The U-boat pen was a genuine one that had survived from World War II.[3] The crew moved to Elstree Studios[5] for scenes involving the Well of Souls, the interiors of the temple in the opening sequence and Marion Ravenwood's bar.[21] The Well of Souls required 7,000 snakes, though the only poisonous snakes on set were the cobras. However, one crew member was bitten by a python on set.[3] To shoot the scene where Indiana comes face-to-face with the cobra, a glass sheet was put between Ford and the animal, which is partially visible in the film when the light hits it at a certain angle.[3] Unlike the character he portrayed, Ford does not actually have a fear of snakes; Spielberg was not afraid either, but seeing all the snakes on the set writhing around made him "want to puke".[3] The opening sequence featured live tarantulas: Alfred Molina had to have many put on him, but they did not move until a female tarantula was introduced. A fibreglass boulder 22 feet (7 m) in diameter was made for the scene where Indiana escapes the temple; Spielberg was so impressed by production designer Norman Reynolds' realization of his idea that he told Reynolds to increase the length of the boulder run by 50 feet (15 m).[22]

All of the scenes set in Egypt were filmed in Tunisia, and the canyon where Indiana threatens to blow up the Ark was shot in Sidi Bouhlel, just outside of Tozeur.[23] The location was previously used in the Tatooine scenes from 1977's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, since many people in the location crew were the same for both films.[3] Notably, that canyon was the exact same location where R2-D2 was attacked by Jawas.[3] The Tanis scenes were filmed in nearby Sedala and it was a harsh experience due to the heat and disease. Several members of the cast and crew fell ill; Rhys-Davies in particular defecated in his costume during one shot.[3] Spielberg was never ill, as he only ate tinned foods from England.[3] Spielberg did not like the area and quickly pushed forward a scheduled six-week shoot to four-and-a-half weeks. Much was improvised there: the scene where Marion puts on her dress and attempts to leave Belloq's tent was improvised, as was the entire plane fight. During shooting of that scene, Ford tore his cruciate ligament in his left leg as a wheel went over his knee, but he did not accept local medical help and simply put ice over it.[3] The fight scenes in the town were filmed in Kairouan; by then Ford was suffering from dysentery and did not want to shoot a fight scene between Indiana and a swordsman. He said to Spielberg "Why don't we just shoot the sucker?" Spielberg agreed, scrapped the rest of the fight scene, and filmed the gag of Indiana quickly gunning down the swordsman.[24] The truck chase was shot entirely by the second-unit who mostly followed Spielberg's storyboards, though they decided to add Indiana being dragged by the truck. Spielberg shot all the close-ups with Ford afterwards.[3]

The interior staircase set in Washington, D.C. was filmed inside of San Francisco's City Hall. The University of the Pacific, located in Stockton, California, stands in for the exterior of the college where Jones works, while his classroom and the hall where he meets the American intelligence men was filmed at the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England. His home exteriors were filmed in the city of San Rafael, California.[21] The opening exteriors were filmed in Kauai, Hawaii, with Spielberg wrapping in September, finishing under schedule in 73 days, in contrast to his previous film, 1941.[5][14] The Washington, D.C. coda, although it appeared in early drafts of the script, was not included in early edits and was added later when it was realized that there was no resolution to Jones's relationship with Marion.[25] Shots of the Douglas DC-3 Jones flies on to Nepal were taken from Lost Horizon, while a street scene was cut from a shot in The Hindenburg.[20] The filming of Indy boarding a Boeing China Clipper flying-boat was complicated by the lack of a surviving aircraft. Eventually a post-war British Short Solent flying-boat formerly owned by Howard Hughes was located in California and substituted in its place.[26]

Visual effects and sound design

The special visual effects for Raiders were provided by Industrial Light & Magic and include: a matte shot to establish the Pan Am flying boat in the water[27] and miniature work to show the plane taking off and flying, superimposed over a map; animation effects for the beam in the Tanis map room; and a miniature car and passengers[28] superimposed over a matte painting for a shot of a Nazi car being forced off a cliff. The bulk of effects shots were featured in the climactic sequence wherein the Ark of the Covenant is opened and the wrath of God is unleashed. This sequence featured animation, a woman to portray a beautiful spirit's face, rod puppet spirits moved through water to convey a sense of floating,[29] a matte painting of the island, and cloud tank effects to portray clouds. The melting of Toht's head was done by exposing a gelatine and plaster model of Ronald Lacey's head to a heat lamp with an under cranked camera, while Dietrich's crushed head was a hollow model from which air was withdrawn. The spirits were shot underwater for a ghostly look.[9] The firestorm that cleanses the canyon at the finish was a miniature canyon filmed upside down.[29]

Ben Burtt, the sound effects supervisor, made extensive use of traditional foley work in yet another of the production's throwbacks to days of the Republic serials. He selected a 30-30 Winchester rifle for the sound of Jones' pistol. Sound effects artists struck leather jackets and baseball gloves with a baseball bat to create a variety of punching noises and body blows. For the snakes in the Well of Souls sequence, fingers running through cheese casserole and sponges sliding over cement were used for the slithering noises. The sliding lid on a toilet cistern provided the sound for the opening of the Ark. Burtt also used, as he did in many of his films, the ubiquitous Wilhelm scream when a Nazi falls from a truck. In addition to his use of such time-honored foley work, Burtt also demonstrated the modern expertise honed during his award-winning work on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. He employed a synthesizer for the sounds of the Ark, and mixed dolphins' and sea lions' screams for those of the spirits within.[30]


Problems listening to this file? See media help.

John Williams composed the score for Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was the only score in the series performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the same orchestra that performed the scores for the Star Wars saga. The score most notably features the well-known "Raiders' March." This piece came to symbolize Indiana Jones and was later used in Williams' scores for the other three films. Williams originally wrote two different candidates for Indy's theme, but Spielberg enjoyed them so much that he insisted that both be used together in what became the "Raiders' March".[31] The alternately eerie and apocalyptic theme for the Ark of the Covenant is also heard frequently in the score, with a more romantic melody representing Marion and, more broadly, her relationship with Jones. The score as a whole received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score, but lost to the score to Chariots of Fire composed by Vangelis.



The $20 million budget film grossed $384 million worldwide throughout its theatrical releases. In North America, it remains one of the top twenty highest-grossing films ever made when adjusted for inflation.[32] The film was subsequently nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1982 and won four (Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley, and Michael D. Ford)). It also received an additional Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. It won numerous other awards, including a Grammy and Best Picture at the People's Choice Awards. Spielberg was also nominated for a Golden Globe.[33]

The film received highly positive reviews from most critics. In his review for The New York Times, Vincent Canby praised the film, calling it, "one of the most deliriously funny, ingenious and stylish American adventure movies ever made."[34] Roger Ebert in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Two things, however, make Raiders of the Lost Ark more than just a technological triumph: its sense of humor and the droll style of its characters [...] We find ourselves laughing in surprise, in relief, in incredulity at the movie's ability to pile one incident upon another in an inexhaustible series of inventions."[35] He later added it to his list of "Great Movies".[36] Rolling Stone said the film was "the ultimate Saturday action matinee–a film so funny and exciting it can be enjoyed any day of the week."[37] Bruce Williamson of Playboy claimed: "There's more excitement in the first ten minutes of Raiders than any movie I have seen all year. By the time the explosive misadventures end, any movie-goer worth his salt ought to be exhausted."[38] Stephen Klain of Variety also praised the film. Yet, making an observation that would revisit the franchise with its next film, he felt that the film was surprisingly violent and bloody for a PG-rated film.[39] New Hollywood champion Pauline Kael, who once contended that she only got "really rough" on large films that were destined to be hits but were nonetheless "atrocious,"[40] found the film to be a "machine-tooled adventure" from a pair of creators who "think just like the marketing division."[41] (Lucas later named a villain, played by Raiders' Nazi strongman Pat Roach, in his 1988 fantasy film Willow after Kael.)[40] Today, the film is considered to be a classic of the action and adventure genres by many contemporary critics, and carries a 94% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[42]


Following the success of Raiders, a prequel, The Temple of Doom, and two sequels, The Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, were produced. A television series, entitled The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, was also spun off from this film, and details the early years of the character. Numerous other books, comics, and video games have also been produced.

In 1998, the American Film Institute placed the film at number 60 on its top 100 films of the first century of cinema. In 2007, AFI updated the list and placed it at number 66. They also named it as the 10th most thrilling movie, and named Indiana Jones as the second most thrilling hero. In 1999, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Indiana Jones has become an icon, being listed as Entertainment Weekly's third favorite action hero, while noting "some of the greatest action scenes ever filmed are strung together like pearls" in this film.[43]

An amateur, near shot-for-shot remake was made by Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb, then children in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It took the boys seven years to finish, from 1982-1989. After production of the film, called Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, it was shelved and forgotten until 2003, where it was discovered by Eli Roth[44][45] and acclaimed by Spielberg himself, who congratulated the boys on their hard work and said he looked forward to seeing their names on the big screen.[46] Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures have purchased the trio's life rights and will be producing a film based on their adventures making their remake.[47][48]

Assessing the film's legacy in 1997, Bernard Weinraub, film critic for The New York Times, which had initially reviewed the film as "deliriously funny, ingenious, and stylish",[40] maintained that "the decline in the traditional family G-rated film, for 'general' audiences, probably began" with the appearance of Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Whether by accident or design," found Weinraub, "the filmmakers made a comic nonstop action film intended mostly for adults but also for children."[40] Eight years later, in 2005, viewers of Channel 4 in the UK rated the film as the twentieth best family film of all time, with Spielberg taking best over-all director honors.[49]


The only video game based exclusively on the film is Raiders of the Lost Ark, released in 1982 by Atari for their Atari 2600 console. The first third of the video game Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, released in 1994 by JVC for Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System, is based entirely on the film. Several sequences from the film are reproduced (the boulder run and the showdown with the Cairo Swordsman among them); however, several inconsistencies with the film are present in the game, such as Nazi soldiers and bats being present in the Well of Souls sequence, for example. The game was developed by LucasArts and Factor 5. In Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine a bonus level brings Jones back to 'Peru, South America' from this film. He can explore the cave and he discovers another hidden idol. LucasArts released Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures on June 3, 2008 in North America and June 6, 2008 in Europe to coincide with the release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Lego also released several building sets based on the film in early 2008.

In 1981, Kenner released a 12-inch (30-cm) doll of Indiana Jones, and the following year they released nine action figures of the characters in the film, three playsets, as well as toys of the Nazi truck and Jones's horse. They also released a board game. In 1984, miniature metal versions of the characters were released for a role playing game, and in 1995 Micro Machines released die-cast toys of the vehicles in the film.[50] Hasbro released action figures based on the film, ranging from 3 to 12 inches (8 to 30 cm), to coincide with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on May 1, 2008.[51] A novelization by Ryder Windham was released in April 2008 by Scholastic to tie in with the release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Home video

The film was released on VHS in pan and scan only and on laserdisc in both pan and scan and widescreen. It was also released on Betamax. For its 1999 VHS re-issue, the film was remastered in THX and made available in widescreen. The outer package was retitled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to correlate with the film's prequel and sequel. The subsequent DVD release in 2003 features this title as well. The title in the film itself remains unchanged, even in the restored DVD print. In the DVD, the glass partition separating Jones from the cobra in the Well of Souls was digitally removed.[52] The film (along with Temple of Doom and Last Crusade) was re-released on DVD with additional extra features not included on the previous set on May 13, 2008.



  1. ^ "Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b "1981 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w (DVD) Indiana Jones: Making the Trilogy. Paramount Pictures. 2003. 
  4. ^ "Facts and trivia of the Lost Ark". Official website. 2003-10-14. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Hearn, pp. 127-134
  6. ^ Gregory Kirschling, Jeff Labrecque (2008-03-12). "Indiana Jones: 15 Fun Facts". Entertainment Weekly.,,20183746,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  7. ^ Glenn Whipp (2008-05-22). "Keeping up with Jones". Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  8. ^ (DVD) The Stunts of Indiana Jones. Paramount Pictures. 2003. 
  9. ^ a b (DVD) The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones. Paramount Pictures. 2003. 
  10. ^ Marcus Hearn (2005). The Cinema of George Lucas. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc, Publishers. pp. 80. ISBN 0-8109-4968-7. 
  11. ^ a b Hearn, pp.112–115
  12. ^ "Know Your MacGuffins". Empire Online. 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  13. ^ Jim Windolf (2007-12-02). "Q&A: Steven Spielberg". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  14. ^ a b c d McBride, Joseph (1997). "Rehab". Steven Spielberg. New York City: Faber and Faber. pp. 309–322. ISBN 0-571-19177-0. 
  15. ^ E. Summer, Walt Disney's Uncle $crooge McDuck: His Life and Times by Carl Barks, Celestial Arts ed., 1981; T. Andrae, Carl Barks and the Art of the Disney Comic Book, Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2006.
  16. ^ Hearn, p.122–123
  17. ^ Script 3rd Draft, scene 45-47
  18. ^ Script 3rd Draft, scene 148-155
  19. ^ "Raiders Of The Lost Ark: An Oral History". Empire Online. 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  20. ^ a b Richard Schickel (2008-01-19). "Slam! Bang! A Movie Movie". Time.,9171,949205-1,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  21. ^ a b Fromter, Marco (2006-08-18). "Around the World with Indiana Jones". Official Website. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  22. ^ Norman Reynolds (Production Designer). Making the Trilogy. [DVD]. Event occurs at 17:40. ""Steven said 'Why don't we make it another 50ft longer?' Which of course we did"" 
  23. ^ The Making of Raiders of The Lost Ark by Derek Taylor,1981,Ballantine Books.
  24. ^ "The Urban Legends of Indiana Jones". Official website. 2004-01-13. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  25. ^ "Twenty-Five Reasons to Watch Raiders Again". Official website. 2006-06-12. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  26. ^ "Oakland Aviation Museum". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  27. ^ Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects, Smith, Thomas G., p. 140., 1986
  28. ^ Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects, Smith, Thomas G., p. 66., 1986
  29. ^ a b Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects, Smith, Thomas G., p. 62., 1986
  30. ^ (DVD) The Sound of Indiana Jones. Paramount Pictures. 2003. 
  31. ^ John Williams. (2003) (DVD). The Music of Indiana Jones. Paramount Pictures. 
  32. ^ ""Box Office Mojo Alltime Adjusted"". Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  33. ^ Tom O'Neil (2008-05-08). "Will 'Indiana Jones,' Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford come swashbuckling back into the awards fight?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  34. ^ Vincent Canby (June 12, 1981). "Raiders of the Lost Ark". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  35. ^ Roger Ebert (January 1, 1981). "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  36. ^ Roger Ebert (April 30, 2000). "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  37. ^ Rolling Stone, June 25, 1981.
  38. ^ Michael G. Ryan. "Raiders of the Lost Ark 20th Anniversary." Star Wars Insider. July/August 2001.
  39. ^ Stephen Klain (June 5, 1981). "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Variety. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  40. ^ a b c d Lawrence Van Gelder (September 4, 2001). "Pauline Kael, Provocative and Widely Imitated New Yorker Film Critic, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  41. ^ Pauline Kael (June 15, 1981). "Whipped". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  42. ^ "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  43. ^ Marc Bernadin (2007-10-23). "25 Awesome Action Heroes". Entertainment Weekly.,,20041669_20041686_20153598_22,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  44. ^ Harry Knowles (2003-05-31). "Raiders of the Lost Ark shot-for-shot teenage remake review!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  45. ^ Jim Windolf. "Raiders of the Lost Backyard". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  46. ^ Sarah Hepola (2003-05-30). "Lost Ark Resurrected". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  47. ^ Harry Knowles (2004-02-26). "Sometimes, The Good Guys Win!!! Raiders of the Lost Ark shot for shot filmmakers' life to be MOVIE!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  48. ^ Dave McNary. "Rudin's on an 'Ark' lark". Variety. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  49. ^ "ET Crowned 'Greatest Family Film'". BBC. 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  50. ^ "The Adventures of Indiana Jones". Cool Toy Review. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  51. ^ Edward Douglas (2008-02-17). "Hasbro Previews G.I. Joe, Hulk, Iron Man, Indy & Clone Wars". Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  52. ^ Miss Cellania (2008-05-21). "10 Awesome Indiana Jones Facts". Mental floss. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 

Further reading

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 film about archeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones, who is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do.

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman.
The return of the great adventure. Taglines


Indiana Jones

  • [When discovering Jock has a pet-snake] I hate snakes, Jock! I HATE 'EM!
  • [handing a torch to Marion] Here. Wave it at anything that slithers.

Rene Belloq

  • [to Indy] You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am a shadowy reflection of you. And it would take only a nudge to make you like me, to push you out of the light.
  • Look at this. [holds up a silver pocket watch] It's worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless! Like the Ark. Men will kill for it; men like you and me.
  • [after trapping Indy in the Well of Souls] You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows, in a thousand years, even you may be worth something!
  • [When Indy commands Belloq to step back and threatens to blow up the ark with a bazooka] Yes, blow it up! Blow it back to God. All your life has been spent in search of archaeological relics. Inside the Ark are treasures beyond your wildest aspirations. You want to see it open as well as I. Indiana, we are simply passing through history. [pointing to the Ark] This...this is history. Do as you will.


Belloq: Jones, do you realize what the Ark is? It's a transmitter, it's a radio for speaking to God, and it's within my reach.
Jones: You wanna to talk to God? Let's go see him together, I've got nothing better to do.

Sallah: Indy. Why does the floor move?
Jones: Gimme your torch. [drops the torch into the Well of Souls and finds it covered with snakes] Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?
Sallah: Asps. Very dangerous. [pause] You go first.

Jones: I'm going after that truck.
Sallah: How?
Jones: I don't know, I'm making this up as I go.

Marion: You're not the man I knew ten years ago.
Jones: It's not the years, honey; it's the mileage.

[Indy has found a large snake in his seaplane]

Jones: There's a big snake in the plane, Jock!
Jock: Oh, that's just my pet snake Reggie!
Jones: I hate snakes, Jock! I HATE 'EM!
Jock: Come on! Show a little backbone, will ya?


  • The return of the great adventure.
  • The creators of JAWS and STAR WARS now bring you the ultimate hero in the ultimate adventure.
  • A film from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
  • Indiana Jones: the new hero from the creators of JAWS and STAR WARS.


See also

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Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Developer(s) Atari
Publisher(s) Atari
Release date Atari 2600:
1982 (NA)
Genre Adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Age rating(s) N/A
Atari 2600
Platform(s) Atari 2600
Input 2 Atari 2600 Joysticks
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Raiders Of The Lost Ark is a game based on the movie of the same name that was released for the Atari 2600.


In the game you control Indiana Jones on his quest to find the Lost Ark of the Covenant. The ark is hidden somewhere in the valley of poison. Your mission begins in the Egyptian city of Cairo; next you must find your way to the Temple of the Ancients where there is a secret map room. In the map room you will find a hieroglyphic indicating an object you must have to unlock the secrets of the map room; when unlocked, you will be able to find where in the Mesa Field the entrance to the Well of Souls is located. If you can find your way safely across the Mesa tops into the Well of Souls, you will locate the ark and win the game! The game uses two joysticks for control; one joystick moves Indy around the screen and uses a selected object, the second joystick allows you to select and/or drop objects from your inventory. On the many different locations of your journey you will come across different objects (some hidden) which can be collected to help you out. You may find weapons (like a whip or gun) for defense, or objects (such as a key or money) which can be used to unlock new areas or receive help. You begin the game with three lives, and the game ends when all lives are lost. There are plenty of enemies to hinder your progress, and of course numerous snakes!

This article is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Stubs are articles that writers have begun work on, but are not yet complete enough to be considered finished articles.

This article uses material from the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Howard Kazanjian, George Lucas, Frank Marshall
Written by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman, Lawrence Kasdan
Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Editing by Michael Kahn, George Lucas (uncredited)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) June 12, 1981
Running time 115
Country United States
Language English / Hebrew / German / French / Spanish / Nepali / Arabic
Budget $20 million
IMDb profile

Raiders of the Lost Ark, also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, is an adventure film that came out in 1981 from Paramount Pictures. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg, and produced by George Lucas. It stars Harrison Ford as the main character, Indiana Jones. It is the first part in the Indiana Jones series.

The movie has three sequels, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg (also from Jaws), and produced by George Lucas (who also made Star Wars and American Graffiti).


  • Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
  • Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood
  • John Rhys-Davies as Sallah
  • Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody
  • Paul Freeman as Rene Belloq
  • Ronald Lacey as Arnold Toht
  • Wolf Kahler as Colonel Dietrich
  • Alfred Molina as Satipo


At the start of the movie, Indiana Jones is trying to find the golden idol in the jungle in Peru. His guide, Sapito, betrays him and tries to take the idol for himself, but is killed in one of the traps. After Jones comes out from the temple, he finds his rival Belloq and a dozen of the native people holding spears. Jones gives up the idol and runs to his airplane.

While teaching at Marshall College, the U.S. Army comes up to him and says that the Nazis are trying to find the Ark of the Covenant. Jones wants to find it first, so he goes to a bar in Nepal. His old teacher, Abner Ravenwood, was trying to find the Ark and has the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, an important piece that is needed to find it. His daughter, Marion, now runs Abner's bar and she punches him in the face because they had a romance and he ran away. She, however, comes along with him after the Nazi person Toht and his friends try to get the piece themselves.

Jones and Ravenwood fly to Cairo and recruit a man named Sallah to help him out. They start digging in the area where they think it is. The Nazis capture Ravenwood and makes Jones thinks that she is dead. Sallah and Jones do some calculations and realize that the Nazis are digging in the wrong area because their staff is too long. Jones finds the right place and starts digging, finding it in a place called the Well of Souls. However, Belloq comes back, raises the Ark, and throws Ravenwood in there. They escape.

After a battle, Jones gets the Ark back. Sallah puts it on a ship, but the Nazis on a U-boat intercept the ship and search it. Jones escapes. He then takes a big weapon called Panzerschreck and threatens to blow up the Ark as it is being loaded onto an island. Belloq calls Jones' bluff, and Jones lowers his weapon. He and Marion are then tied up as Belloq and the Nazis test the power of the Ark by opening it. The spirits inside kill everyone. Jones and Marion close their eyes and escape the spirits' anger.

At the end of the movie, the government puts the Ark inside a warehouse. The Army tells Jones that they are studying it, but Jones does not believe them. Marion tries to comfort him by saying that she will buy him a drink.

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