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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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

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Top Rated Movies #39 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

The year is 1936. An archeology professor named Indiana Jones is venturing in the jungles of South America searching for a golden statue. Unfortunately, he sets off a deadly trap but miraculously escapes. Then, Jones hears from a museum curator named Marcus Brody about a biblical artifact called The Ark of the Covenant, which can hold the key to humanly existence. Jones has to venture to vast places such as Nepal and Egypt to find this artifact. However, he will have to fight his enemy Rene Belloq and a band of Nazis in order to reach it. Written by John Wiggins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

12 June 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Indiana Jones  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,673,731 (USA) (9 September 2012)

Gross:

$248,159,971 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)| (IMAX version)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Indy is dragged under and then out behind a moving truck, it's a tribute to Yakima Canutt's similar famous stunt in John Ford's Stagecoach (1939). In fact, it was a stunt that Stuntman Terry Leonard had tried to pull off the year before, and failed to do so, in The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981). He was thrilled at the chance of having another shot at it, but only agreed to do it, if his friend and colleague Glenn Randall, Jr. was driving. The truck was specially constructed to be higher above the ground than normal, so as to allow clearance for Indiana Jones to pass underneath safely. The center of the road was also dug out to allow more clearance. In Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), we see, on the camera slate, that the camera was set at twenty frames per second instead of the traditional twenty-four frames per second. In other words, the shots were done in "fast motion", so the truck was not really moving as fast as depicted on-screen. Harrison Ford was actually dragged behind the truck for some of the shots, badly bruising his ribs. When asked if he was worried, Ford quipped: "No. If it really was dangerous, they would have filmed more of the movie first." During the chase, Harrison Ford dispatches all three of his stunt doubles, all of which are playing German soldiers. Terry Leonard plays the driver of the truck, who gets punched out of the cab by Harrison. Vic Armstrong and Martin Grace play soldiers hanging onto the side of the truck, before being knocked off. The truck chase took approximately eight weeks to film. See more »

Goofs

When the German submarine stops the freighter Bantu Wind, the freighter is boarded by a large contingent of German soldiers who have apparently embarked on the submarine in addition to her normal crew. The class of submarine shown (the Type VIIC) held just over 48 crew members in the most cramped of conditions. There is no possible way that a regiment, battalion, or even a single company of German Army soldiers would have been able to come aboard with all of their weapons and equipment. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Satipo: [picking up poison dart] The Hovitos are near.
[tastes the end of the dart, spits it out quickly]
Satipo: The poison is still fresh, three days. They're following us.
Barranca: If they knew we were here, they would have killed us already.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in MythBusters: The Busters of the Lost Myths (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

I am the Monarch of the Sea
(1878) (uncredited)
From "H.M.S. Pinafore"
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Sung a cappella by John Rhys-Davies
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
When you're hungry, everyone believes you

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

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

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

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

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

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


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