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"Tanis development proceeding. Acquire headpiece, Staff of Ra. Abner Ravenwood, U.S."

The above secret German cable is the motivation for this fantasy adventure film (from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman, directed by Steven Spielberg). For if the Germans acquire the headpiece, they will be able to locate the lost Ark of the Covenant with its mysterious powers. (The Ark of the Covenant is a chest that contains the stone tablets in which the Ten Commandments are inscribed.)

It's up to Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) to locate the Ark before the Germans do. Dr. Jones is Professor of Archaeology, expert on the occult, and obtainer of rare antiquities. Jones' trademark when he's in the field is his bullwhip and Fedora (a type of hat).

This movie could very well be the greatest adventure film of all time. The viewer is treated to one cliff hanger after another. As well, the acting and special effects are good. (This is Alfred Molina's acting debut.)

What I especially liked was the blend of humor, adventure, and drama. Also, the music by the great John Williams is unforgettable.

Photography was in France, Tunisia, Hawaii, and studios in England.

The title of this movie was originally "Raiders of the Lost Ark" but was later changed for marketing purposes.

This film originated from George Lucas' desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s.

The budget for this movie was eighteen million dollars. It has grossed almost three-hundred and ninety million worldwide!

Finally, the DVD itself (released in 2008) has six extras. I found most of them interesting.

In conclusion, I would recommend that you have your seat belts on when you view this film. Why? Because you're going to be taken on a non-stop action-adventure!!

(1981; 1 hr, 51 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 31 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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on August 19, 2010
My family and I saw this movie many years ago. I bought the movie because of the happy memories we still share about it. It is a wonderful, action packed, edge of seat movie at the end of which I realized I had been holding my breath much of the time. There is a terrifying scene near the beginning in which helpers get pinned to the tunnel wall by razor sharp spears and "Indie" (the hero) is pursued down the tunnel by a bone crushing .... Well, you gotta see it if you have not already. Just be prepared for a severe test of your bladder control! I saw the movie when I was a lot younger. I saw it again when I bought it just recently. I am happy to report that, despite being much older, my bladder is still in good shape!

The "ark" which Indie seeks is the ancient Ark of the Covenant in which the Hebrew people carried the two stone tablets on which the finger of God had written the Ten Commandments in the presence of Moses. The Ark has great powers and Nazi archaeologists want to seize it to defeat Germany's enemies. Indianna Jones saves the world!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon October 13, 2006
This is the first in a series of fun to watch action packed movies based on what an archeologist should be. Being a first you will not notice the pattern of the film unless you are used to Saturday matinees.

We hit the deck running on this one as we see Indiana Jones making a John Wayne type of entrance. So much that you do not notice the dubious looking character next to him Statipo (Alfred Molina). Until he says "Give me the Idle and I will give you the whip."

Now settled down, after his near miss with the natives, Harrison Ford is a professor (Indiana Jones) teaching the fact that archeology is a search for facts not some thrill ride.

That very afternoon he is confronted by some government agents. It seems that his old professor Abner Ravenwood has disappeared. They picked up some radio transmissions that contained the name of Abner and a city Tannis. Immediately Indiana Jones knows that the Nazis (natural bad buys) are looking for the Ark of the Covenant (which can be used as a weapon of unspeakable power) and somehow he must beat them to it for the sake of the world.

He is helped by an old love interest Marion (Karen Allen) and rivaled by an old nemesis Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman).

Does it really exist?

How can he beat them to it?

Why is he on the outs with Abner?

Hold on for a thrill a minute and don't eat any bad dates.
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on May 28, 2004
"Either of you guys ever go to Sunday School?" - Indiana Jones brings Eaton & Musgrove's church attendence records into question in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
From the director of "Jaws" and the creator of "Star Wars" comes the adventure film that all others in its genre are held up to, "Raiders of the Lost Ark". After twenty-three years and counting, I can honestly say that the film has yet to be outmatched (sure there have been good action/adventure films since "Raiders", including its own sequels, but I haven't seen a film that has had an indeliable, definitive impact that "Raiders" has left in a long time, possibly since the original "Star Wars")
Hired by the U.S. Government, archeologist/adventurer, Indiana Jones is on a race against evil to retrieve the lost Ark of The Covenent, the chest that contains the original stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. The ones that Moses brought down from Mount Harab and smashed. When was the last time YOU went to Sunday School!? Along the way Indiana meets up with an ex-girlfriend of his, Marion Ravenwood, outraces and dukes it out with legions of Nazis, and has plenty of close calls including a truck chase, The Well of Souls and its snakes (& Indiana's deathly phobia of them), a slugfest with a mechanic and his flying wing, and the opening of the Ark itself (lets just say GOD isn't to happy when mortals decide to open the Ark & sift through its contents).
An absolute modern-day classic. Why? "Raiders"' opening, from the Paramount logo to the natives chasing Dr. Jones, the bar fight, the basket chase, The Well of Souls, the truck chase (that alone gets 5 stars), the opening of The Ark in all its glory, John Williams' Oscar nominated score, I could go on all day long, but, you get the drift. What gives the film its drive (and where the sequels fail) is the urgency & danger of retrieving the Ark and the competitiveness between Indiana Jones and the Frenchman, Renee Belloq (the film imposes, early on, that these two have been competitors since there college days).
I got this on cassette for Xmas 1984 and I burnt the tape out. Thank God for DVD.
Nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Director (Steven Spielberg), Original Score and winning 4 of those awards including Best Sound & Visual Effects. The American Film Institute ranks "Raiders" as one of the top 100 films of all-time and Indiana Jones as one of the top cinematic heroes second only to Atticus Finch from "To Kill A Mockingbird".
The truck chase wasn't directed by Spielberg (he did the close-ups afterwards), but was helned by second unit director, Norman Reynolds. Tom Selleck was originally cast to play Jones but had to back out due to contractual agreements with Universal and CBS for "Magnum P.I." (I think it would have been a different film. I saw a "Raiders" screen test with him and Sean Young and he came off very obnoxious). Danny DeVito was offered the role for Sallah but declined due to scheduling conflicts with "Taxi". The scene where the Nazi officer was supposed to shoot Sallah was filmed but couldn't be used, becuase of black smoke from burning tires in one take, and in another actor John-Rhyes Davies getting sick and filling his jallaba (and he didn't care one bit).
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is one truly great adventure worth taking over & over again. No matter what George Lucas calls it.
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on February 21, 2004
Few classics in the history of motion pictures can be as easily recognizable for their theme music alone as Raiders of the Lost Ark and remain enduring beyond that identifiable element. When the feature was originally released in 1981, it certainly had a lot of potential going for it. Rising director Steven Spielberg showed potential with such hits as Jaws and Close Encounters with the Third Kind but lack-luster features like 1941 and The Sugarland Express hindered him from being a break-out commodity in Hollywood just yet. Added to the mix was the creative talents of another rising film-maker, George Lucas, who had just come off one the biggest motion picture phenomena of all time, Star Wars. Paramount executives must have been biting at the bit to see what these two creative geniuses could cook up but even they had to question their choice of relative unknown actor Harrison Ford as the lead role. But despite relative criticism, both Spielberg and Lucas believed they had the perfect choice after witnessing the former carpenter in American Graffiti and Star Wars. The real judgment would be determined by the movie-going public and whether or not they would endure a two-hour feature about a man with a hat and a whip.
The story centers on the adventures of a head-strong paleontologist as he searches for one of the most spiritual artifacts in the history of the world. There is no paleontologist in the world like Indiana Jones. He's seen it all from booby traps to a gigantic rolling boulder to spear-throwing natives. All in the name of archeology and maybe a little love here and there throughout his exhilarating exploits. But this new venture may be the most challenging of them all. The United States government, in their efforts to battle the Axis-powers during World War II, enlists Mr. Jones to search for the Ark of the Covenant, the sacred holding structure many believed contained the original Ten Commandments that were brought down from the mountain by Moses thousands of years ago, before the Nazis get to it first. Along his journey, he meets up with his ex-girlfriend Marion, who holds an essential piece to the puzzle in finding the Ark, but things become more complicated as the Nazis are in full pursuit. Indiana must get to the Ark before the Nazis do or else Hitler will control an unstoppable army that will eventually conquer the world. The story for Raiders of the Lost Ark doesn't seem all that complicated, or some can make the case not all that original, but looks can be deceiving. From the thrilling opening sequence to the mysterious conclusion, Raiders is one of the most entertaining and enthralling comedy/action adventures ever developed for the silver screen. It is all the little things in this film that make the big picture all the more enduring for viewers.
Whoever said Harrison Ford may have been wrong for the role of Indiana Jones may have had some merit in their comment back in 1981, but now adays that comment would be shot down so fast it wouldn't be funny. Though at the time the young actor had relatively light acting experience, Ford proves that he can measure up to any other in the role of high risk-taking adventurer. It is Ford's hilarious reactions to situations, most notably a particular moment during the chase through the marketplace, combined with his amazing ability to transition himself into key fight sequences that make him an essential casting decision in this feature. This may be a difference in time periods but for some audience members, Karen Allen's performance as Marion may be a little too Tom-boyish to be considered sexy. It might possibly have been more risqué back then but it isn't so much now. Not entirely her fault but the change of the times.
Overall, Raiders successfully brings to the screen one of the most charismatic and enduring action adventure heroes in cinematic history and does so in triumphant style. The wonderful thing about the film is that the filmmakers are able to blend humor into well-needed areas of the overall action oriented flick, though at times it seems they try too hard to get laughs across. The special effects were magnificent during the film's initial release and are still quite interesting today, though to a lesser degree. Unlike the special effects of later films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the special effects of Raiders of the Lost Ark don't have the enduring effect they once had but that doesn't make the film cheesy or seem aged. The bottom-line analysis of this film has to be based on the Indiana Jones series as a whole in that this feature is a wonderful first entry and deserves to be ranked highly but stands behind the last entry in the series on overall entertainment value. This doesn't, however, make the film less of an enduring classic or less of good time.
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on November 25, 2003
I remember watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark" for the first time as a child and wanting to go out and buy a whip and a hat. All of the Indian Jones movies have stood the test of modern time, surviving countless viewings and rentals. While I am personally a bigger fan of the second two films in the series, this movie is important for launching an extremely successful trilogy. I enjoy "Raiders" for its somewhat sloppy nature; the acting and dialogue is not as smooth as it is in the later films, Harrison Ford is not as sure of his character in this film, and the pacing of the movie is a bit rushed. This movie is all action with very little time to rest in-between. Despite these immaturities, the film is highly enjoyable and well suited for a popcorn-eating-good-time.
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is refreshing to watch amid the slough of action films that are being produced these days. Indiana is not a perfect action hero; one of my favorite scenes is when Indiana swings on the vine to escape the villagers. Just when you think he'll successfully swing out to his awaiting plane, he falls in the water. The movie is constantly throwing in humor and antics to lighten up the pace. Additionally, despite some of the more grotesque scenes, most of the action is downplayed in this film, as Indiana is quicker to throw a punch than shoot someone. Indiana, like James Bond, always gets his girl-but he has to work at it. He is definitely not a ladies man, which is a refreshing take on the whole Bond/Bond Girl motif. In short, get this movie. You'll have a good time watching a classic battle of good against evil...and whips and archaeologists.
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on November 8, 2003
Oh, for the days when movies where about the good old battles between good and evil, before the days of moral relativism and political correctness.
In this fantastic 1981 blockbuster, action hero and archaeologist, Indiana Jones, battles against evil Nazis and other villains (such as bloodthirsty Arabs who bear a strong resemblance to Hamas terrorists), to prevent the Nazis and their minions from getting hold the Lost Ark of the Covenant, of ancient Israel, as part of Hitler's plan for world domination.
There is never a dull moment in this movie from battles with tribesmen, who have been recruited by the chief villain in the rainforests and ancient pyramids of the Amazon, to Tibet, to Egypt.
The leading lady, who accompanies Indiana Jones, and his love interest, is played by Karen Allen. She is quite tomboyish, and defiant, which only makes her all the more appealing when she is vulnerable and needing help!
And Indiana Jones will be called on to help the girl in distress, several times.
There are some really memorable parts, such as when an Arab swordsman challenges Indy, with some dramatic swordplay, and instead of the drawn out duel we expect, Indy quickly cuts him down with his pistol (I found that hilarious.)
Of course the most memorable and mind-blowing scene was when the Nazis finally found the arc. As they open it, they die a gruesome death, as their faces just melt away. G-D's vengeance on those who try to steal the property of his people, Israel.
This movie is absolutely classic, with a real heroic get-back-to-basic fell about it.
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on September 23, 2003
With George Lucas in full gear producing and co-writing his beloved "Star Wars" series, Steven Spielberg was hot off the box office trail after "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Since the two had already been friends before their respective careers started to take flight, it was natural that the two would come together and create a film that would stand the test of time. The two, along with veteran writer Philip Kaufman, created Indiana Jones. Lucas was inspired by the old Saturday matinee serials of his childhood (remember those "Manhunt in the African Jungle" short films?).
What a film! I can't think of a reason why ANYONE should dislike it. Even if you do dislike it (and for whatever reason, you're wrong), it's something you have to see just to see! Harrison Ford is in fine form as the archaeologist Indiana "Indy" Jones, and we have Karen Allen as a feisty love interest and John Rhys-Davies excellent in the role of Sallah. John Williams' score should've won the Oscar in my book (it lost to Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire") as well, with its haunting themes and the infamous "Raiders March."
The action hardly ever lets up and there's the occasional humor in-between the scenes and sequences. Who can forget the boulder that Indy runs from near the beginning of the film? How about the swordsman who shows off and Indy ends up shooting him without a fight? How about the final scene in which the Nazis are practically decimated and destroyed by God when they open up the Ark of the Covenant? All of these and more have become part of pop culture that we'll never forget.
Tom Selleck had turned down the role of Indy because he was committed to Magnum, P.I., and while he is a great actor, can you NOT imagine Harrison Ford in the role? He defined the hero with his portrayal of the globe-trotting archaeologist. In fact, I think this film's perfect in every aspect; the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan (co-writer of Episodes 2 and 3 of "Star Wars," and he also co-wrote and directed "Dreamcatcher"), Steven Spielberg's old fashioned directorial style, and George Lucas's grand vision (along with a great cast and John Williams's spectacular score) helped propel this movie to be one of the top films ever made.
I guess not much more can be said. GREAT film, an american classic. You must see this film, whatever your opinions are. You know you have to!
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on June 23, 2003
I grew up watching Indiana Jones, so I'm really partial on my comments.
Indiana Jones is everybody's hero because everybody wants to be like Indiana Jones. He has a cool profession, he has cool friends, women fall for him, he lives a life of constant and intriguing adventures. Spielberg and Lucas did an amazing job in creating such a likeable character. Even his name is fantastic, a name no one will ever forget. That's the secret of Indiana Jones: to be able to relate to all kinds of people, from young kids to old ladies.
"Raiders of the lost ark" is one of the best movie-scripts I've ever seen. Every scene is memorable, the dialogue is quick, intelligent, and even funny, sometimes. Even if the main plot is not that original (Nazi Germany trying to dominate the world by means of an extermely powerful artifact), the accurately filmed action sequences, well-done by a master of the genre (Spielberg), will leave the viewer always in the edge of the seat. Spielberg and his production team did a great job in re-creating the perfect atmosphere of Middle-east in the years before World War II (1936), when the world seems a little bit antique (at least for us born after 1975) and yet already well-developed when we talk about scientific, weaponry and political stuff.
One other thing worth mentioning about "Raiders" is that it toys with the notion of the powerful, ancient artifacts of the monotheist religions - in this case, the Ark of the Covenant (in fact, in "Last crusade" we go back to this same notion, but with the Holy Grail), something that always gets the attention of the viewers.
Tom Selleck turned down the role of Indiana Jones because of his "Magnum" series. Thank God! It seems that Harrison Ford was born to be Indiana Jones. Combining Han Solo's wit and constant-feigned bad temper with James Bond's nerves of steel, Ford was able to create the perfect scholastic-adventurer. Of course, in this movie Indy represents the Good with a capital G, while almost everybody else that's not with him are Evil. That's OK. From the beginning, we already know who to cheer for.
My last comment is about John Williams' sound score. Just one word: unforgattable.
"Raiders of the lost ark" deservedly became an overnight classic, bringing back the genre of movie appropriate to all ages and to everybody who likes a good adventure story.
Grade 9.8/10
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on March 5, 2003
I'm going to watching this movie right now... (13:50/5-3-2003)At the end of the Movie I'll rate it. But every movie I saw of 'Steven Spielberg' were rated very good (3-5 stars). 'Harrison Ford' stars as 'Dr. Indiana Jones', 'nd I love 'Harrison'! He was 'Han Solo' in 'Star Wars Episode IV: a New Hope', 'Star Wars Episode V: the Empire Strikes Back' and 'Star Wars Episode VI: the Return of the jedi'! The last 3 Star Wars were the best Movies ever... I wouldn't get it if this will be a bad movie!!! Now I'm going to watch 'Indiana jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark'...
I aspected more from this movie... I can't give it a 5 star rating, like most of you critics do! I think there was something missing in this movie that other movie (like 'Star Wars') do have! Also when 'Indy' fights.., I think it's so fake!! But, I like it!! A lot... I enjoyed the movie, really I did!! I just thought it would be a beautifull movie, instead of a good movie! Tonight I'm going to see 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom', I hope it's better. I think it's going to be better...
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