Raiders of the Lost Ark (later marketed as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) is a 1981 American action adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Lawrence Kasdan from a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by Frank Marshall for Lucasfilm Ltd., with Lucas and Howard Kazanjian as executive producers.
The first installment in the Indiana Jones film franchise, it stars Harrison Ford as archaeologist Indiana Jones, who battles a group of Nazis searching for the Ark of the Covenant. It co-stars Karen Allen as Indiana's former lover, Marion Ravenwood; Paul Freeman as Indiana's rival, French archaeologist René Belloq; John Rhys-Davies as Indiana's sidekick, Sallah; Ronald Lacey as Gestapo agent Arnold Toht; and Denholm Elliott as Indiana's colleague, Marcus Brody.
The film originated from Lucas' desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Production was based at Elstree Studios, England, but filming also took place in La Rochelle, France, Tunisia, Hawaii, and California from June to September 1980.
Raiders of the Lost Ark became 1981's top-grossing film and remains one of the highest-grossing films adjusted for inflation. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Picture, and won for Best Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, and Visual Effects with a fifth Academy Award: a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. It is often considered one of the greatest films ever made. In 1999, it was included in the U.S. Library of Congress' National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film began a franchise including a prequel, two sequels, a television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992–1996), and numerous video games.
|Raiders of the Lost Ark|
Theatrical release poster by Richard Amsel
|Directed by||Steven Spielberg|
|Produced by||Frank Marshall|
|Screenplay by||Lawrence Kasdan|
|Music by||John Williams|
|Edited by||Michael Kahn|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$389.9 million|
In 1936, American archaeologist Indiana Jones braves an ancient booby-trapped temple in Peru and retrieves a golden idol. He is confronted by rival archaeologist René Belloq and the indigenous Hovito people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Jones surrenders the idol to Belloq and escapes aboard a waiting floatplane, where he uncomfortably shares his seat with the pilot's pet snake.
Jones returns to his teaching position at Marshall College in the fictional town of Bedford, Connecticut, where he is interviewed by two Army Intelligence agents. They inform Jones that the Nazis are searching for his old mentor, Abner Ravenwood, under whom Jones studied at the University of Chicago. The Nazis know that Ravenwood is the leading expert on the ancient city of Tanis in Egypt, and that he possesses the headpiece of an ancient Egyptian artifact known as "the Staff of Ra". Jones deduces that the Nazis are searching for the Ark of the Covenant — the Nazis believe that if they acquire the Ark, their armies will become invincible. The Staff of Ra (used to project a beam of sunlight on a building in a diorama of the city) is the key to finding the Well of Souls, a secret chamber in Tanis, Egypt, in which the Ark is buried.
The agents authorize Jones to recover the Ark to prevent the Nazis from obtaining it. He travels to Nepal and discovers that Ravenwood has died, and the headpiece is in the possession of Ravenwood's daughter Marion. Jones visits Marion at her tavern, where she reveals her bitter feelings toward him from a previous romantic affair. She physically rebuffs his offer to buy the headpiece, and Jones leaves. Shortly after, a group of thugs arrive with their Nazi commander Arnold Toht, who had followed Jones on his flight leaving the United States. Toht threatens Marion to get the headpiece but Jones returns to the bar and fights the Nazis to save Marion. During the fight, the bar is set ablaze and the headpiece lands in the flames. Toht severely burns his hand trying to take the hot headpiece and flees the tavern screaming in agony. Jones and Marion escape with the headpiece, and Marion decides to accompany Jones in his search for the Ark so he can repay his debt to her.
The pair travels to Cairo, Egypt, where they meet up with Jones' friend and skilled digger Sallah. Sallah informs them that Belloq and the Nazis are digging for the Well of Souls with a replica of the headpiece (created from the scar on Toht's hand). They quickly realize the Nazi headpiece is incomplete and that the Nazis are digging in the wrong place. The Nazis kidnap Marion and it appears to Jones that she is killed in an exploding truck. After a confrontation with Belloq in a local bar, Jones and Sallah infiltrate the Nazi dig site and use their staff to correctly locate the Ark. Jones discovers Marion is alive when he finds her bound and gagged in a tent. He refuses to release her out of fear of alerting the Nazis. Jones, Sallah, and a small group of diggers unearth the Well of Souls and acquire the Ark. Belloq and Nazi officer Colonel Dietrich arrive and seize the Ark from Jones, throwing Marion into the Well of Souls with him before sealing it back up. Jones and Marion escape to a local airstrip, where Jones has a fistfight with a Nazi mechanic and destroys the flying wing that was to transport the Ark to Berlin, Germany. The panicked Nazis remove the Ark in a truck and set off for Cairo, but Jones catches them and retakes it. He makes arrangements to take the Ark to London aboard tramp steamer Bantu Wild.
The next day, a Nazi U-boat appears and intercepts the ship. Belloq and Dietrich seize the Ark and Marion but cannot locate Jones, who stows away aboard the U-boat and travels with them to an island in the Aegean Sea. Once there, Belloq plans to test the power of the Ark before presenting it to Hitler. Jones reveals himself and threatens to destroy the Ark with an anti-tank rocket, but Belloq calls his bluff and Jones surrenders rather than destroy such an important historical artifact and kill Marion in the process. The Nazis take Jones and Marion to an area where the Ark will be opened and tie them to a post to observe. Belloq, dressed as an Israelite kohen gadol, performs a ceremonial opening of the Ark and finds it full of sand. Spirits emerge from the Ark, destroying the equipment the Nazis are using to film the opening, and Jones tells Marion to close her eyes and not look. Belloq and the others look on in astonishment as the ghosts are suddenly revealed to be angels of death. A vortex of flame forms above the Ark and shoots bolts of fiery energy into the gathered Nazi soldiers, killing them all. Belloq, Toht and Dietrich all scream in terror as the Ark turns its fury on them: Dietrich's head shrivels up, Toht's face is melted off his skull and Belloq's head explodes. Flames then engulf the remains of the doomed assembly, save for Jones and Marion, and the pillar of fire rises into the sky. The Ark's lid is blasted high into the air before dropping back down onto the Ark and sealing it. Jones and Marion find their ropes burned off and embrace.
In Washington, D.C., the Army Intelligence agents inform Jones and Marcus Brody that the Ark is someplace safe and will be studied by "top men". The Ark is then shown being stored in a giant government warehouse (Hangar 51) among countless similar crates.
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". Pat Roach plays the Nazi mechanic with whom Jones brawls in this sequence, as well as a massive sherpa who battles Jones in Marion's bar. He had the rare opportunity to be killed twice in one film. Special-effects supervisor Dennis Muren made a cameo as a Nazi spy on the seaplane Jones takes from San Francisco to Manila.
In 1973, George Lucas wrote The Adventures of Indiana Smith. 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. 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. Kaufman was told about the Ark by his dentist when he was a child. The project stalled when Clint Eastwood hired Kaufman to direct The Outlaw Josey Wales. Lucas shelved the idea, deciding to concentrate on his outer space adventure that would become Star Wars. In late May 1977, Lucas was in Hawaii, 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 the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, 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", although he 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, whose habit of riding in the passenger seat as Lucas drove was also the inspiration for Star Wars' Chewbacca. Spielberg was at first reluctant to sign on, as Lucas had told him that he would want Spielberg for an entire trilogy, and Spielberg did not want to work on two more scripts. Lucas told him, however, that he already had the next two movies written, so Spielberg agreed. But when the time came for the first sequel, it was revealed that Lucas had nothing written for either sequel.
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 23–27, 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, which was inspired by Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge comic "The Seven Cities of Cibola". 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. Lucas came up with a submarine, a monkey giving the Hitler salute, and Marion Ravenwood punching Jones in Nepal. Kasdan used a 100-page transcript of their conversations for his first script draft, which he worked on for six months. Ultimately, some of their ideas were too grand and had to be cut: a mine chase, an escape in Shanghai using a rolling gong as a shield, and a jump from an airplane in a raft, all of which made it into the prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Spielberg and Lucas disagreed on the character: although Spielberg saw him as a Bondian playboy, Lucas felt the character's academic and adventurer elements 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 (1948). This characterization fell away during the later drafts, though elements survive in Jones's reaction when he believes Marion to be dead. Costume designer Deborah Nadoolman credits Secret of the Incas (1954), starring Charlton Heston, as an influence on the development of the character, noting that the crew watched the film together several times. Nadoolman based the look of Ford's costume on that of Heston's, and observed that Indiana is a "kinder and gentler" Harry Steele.
Initially, the film was rejected by every major studio in Hollywood, mostly due to the $20 million budget and the deal Lucas was offering. 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. 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 follow the "quick and dirty" feel of the old Saturday matinée serials. Special effects were done using puppets, miniature models, animation, and camera trickery. "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."
Principal photography began on June 23, 1980, at La Rochelle, France, with scenes involving the Nazi submarine, which had been rented from the production of Das Boot. The U-boat pen was a real one from World War II. The crew moved to Elstree Studios for the Well of Souls scenes, the opening sequence temple interiors and Marion Ravenwood's bar. The Well of Souls scene required 7,000 snakes. The only venomous snakes were the cobras, but one crew member was bitten on set by a python. The bulk of the snakes' numbers were made up with giant but harmless legless lizards known as Scheltopusiks (Pseudopus apodus) which occur from the Balkan Peninsula of southeastern Europe to Central Asia. Growing to 1.3 m they are the largest legless lizards in the world and are often mistaken for snakes despite some very obvious differences such as the presence of eyelids and external ear openings, which are both absent from all snakes, and a notched rather than forked tongue. In the finished film, during the scene in which Indiana comes face-to-face with the cobra, a reflection in the glass screen that protected Ford from the snake was seen, an issue that was corrected in the 2003 digitally-enhanced re-release. Unlike Indiana, neither Ford nor Spielberg has a fear of snakes, but Spielberg said that seeing all the snakes on the set writhing around made him "want to puke".
All the opening scenes set in the Peruvian jungle were filmed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai (to which Spielberg would return for Jurassic Park). The first shot uses a westerly view of Kalalea Mountain in Anahola, Hawaii. The "temple" location is on the Huleia Stream, part of the privately-owned Kipu Ranch, southwest of Lihue, the island's main town. As a working cattle ranch, Kipu is not generally open to the public. The large spiders encountered by Harrison Ford and Alfred Molina are actually a harmless Mexican species of tarantulas (Brachypelma: a species which are commonly kept as exotic pets). A fiberglass boulder 22 feet (7 m) in diameter was made for the scene where Indiana escapes from the temple; Spielberg was so impressed by production designer Norman Reynolds' realization of his idea that he gave the boulder a more prominent role in the film and told Reynolds to let the boulder roll another 50 feet (15 m). The flying wing shown in the desert fight scene was a fictional model, also designed by Reynolds, and custom built by Vickers.
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 Tozeur. The canyon location had been used for the Tatooine scenes from 1977's Star Wars (many of the location crew members were the same for both films) where R2-D2 was attacked by Jawas. The Tanis scenes were filmed in nearby Sedala, a harsh place due to heat and disease. Several cast and crew members fell ill and Rhys-Davies defecated in his costume during one shot. Spielberg averted disease by eating only canned foods from England, but did not like the area and quickly condensed the scheduled six-week shoot to four-and-a-half weeks. Much was improvised: the scene where Marion puts on her dress and attempts to leave Belloq's tent was improvised as was the entire plane fight. During that scene's shooting, a wheel went over Ford's knee and tore his left leg's cruciate ligament, but he refused local medical help and simply put ice on it.
The fight scenes in the town were filmed in Kairouan, while Ford was suffering from dysentery. Stuntman Terry Richards had practiced for weeks with his sword to create the scripted fight scene, choreographing a fight between the swordsman and Jones' whip. However, after filming the initial shots of the scene, after lunch due to Ford's dysentery, Ford and Spielberg agreed to cut the scene down to a gunshot, with Ford saying to Spielberg "Let's just shoot the sucker". It was later voted in at No.5 on Playboy magazine's list of best all time scenes. Most of the truck chase was shot by second unit director Michael D. Moore following Spielberg's storyboards, including Indiana being dragged by the truck (performed by stuntman Terry Leonard), in tribute to a famous Yakima Canutt stunt. Spielberg then filmed all the shots with Ford himself in and around the truck cab. Lucas directed a few other second unit shots, in particular the monkey giving the Nazi salute.
The interior staircase set in Washington, D.C. was filmed in San Francisco's City Hall. The University of the Pacific's campus in Stockton, California, stood in for the exterior of the college where Jones works, while his classroom and the hall where he meets the American intelligence agents was filmed at the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England, which was again used in The Last Crusade. His home exteriors were filmed in San Rafael, California. Opening sequence exteriors were filmed in Kauai, Hawaii, with Spielberg wrapping in September in 73 days, finishing under schedule in contrast to his previous film, 1941. The Washington, D.C. coda, although it appeared in the script's early drafts, was not included in early edits but was added later when it was realized that there was no resolution to Jones' relationship with Marion. Shots of the Douglas DC-3 Jones flies on to Nepal were taken from Lost Horizon, and a street scene was from a shot in The Hindenburg. Filming of Jones boarding a Boeing 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.
After viewing the film's rough cut, Lucas's then-wife and frequent collaborator Marcia Lucas opined that there was no emotional closure, because Marion did not appear at the ending. Although Marcia is not credited in the film, her suggestion led to Spielberg reshooting the final exterior sequence with Ford and Allen. The final scene, where the Ark is placed in a vast warehouse, was Spielberg's homage to Citizen Kane, where Kane's lost childhood sled, "Rosebud", is similarly treated.
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 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 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 God's wrath 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, 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. When the film was originally submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America, it received an R rating because of the scene in which Belloq's head explodes. The filmmakers were able to receive a PG rating when they added a veil of fire over the exploding head scene. (The PG-13 rating was not created until 1984.) The firestorm that cleanses the canyon at the finish was a miniature canyon filmed upside down. Brian Muir and Keith Short created the Ark prop based on the paintings of James Tissot.
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 concrete were used for the slithering noises. The sliding lid on a toilet cistern provided the sound for the opening of the Ark, and the sound of the boulder in the opening is a car rolling down a gravel driveway in neutral. 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. He employed a synthesizer for the sounds of the Ark, and mixed dolphins' and sea lions' screams for those of the spirits within. Michael Pangrazio created the final shot's matte painting on glass over three months.
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 the scores for the other three films. Williams originally wrote two different candidates for Jones's theme, but Spielberg enjoyed them so much that he insisted that both be used together in what became the "Raiders March". 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 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 of the film's sequences 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 the 1999 game Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, a bonus level brings Jones back to the Peruvian temple of the film's opening scene. In 2008, to coincide with the release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Lego released the Lego Indiana Jones line—which included building sets based on Raiders of the Lost Ark—and LucasArts published a video game based on the toyline, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, which was developed by Traveller's Tales.
Marvel Comics published a comic book adaptation of the film by writer Walt Simonson and artists John Buscema and Klaus Janson. It was published as Marvel Super Special #18 and as a three-issue limited series. This was followed with the comic book series The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones which was published monthly from January 1983 through March 1986.
In 1981, Kenner released a 12-inch (30 cm) doll of Indiana Jones, and the following year they released nine action figures of the film's characters, three playsets, as well as toys of the Nazi truck and Jones' horse. They also released a board game. In 1984, miniature metal versions of the characters were released for a role playing game, The Adventures of Indiana Jones, and in 1995 Micro Machines released die-cast toys of the film's vehicles. Hasbro released action figures based on the film, ranging from 3 to 12 inches (7.6 to 30.5 cm), to coincide with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on May 1, 2008. Later in 2008, and in 2011, two high-end sixth scale (1:6) collectible action figures were released by Sideshow Collectibles, and Hot Toys, Ltd. respectively. A novelization by Ryder Windham was released in April 2008 by Scholastic to tie in with the release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A previous novelization by Scottish author Campbell Armstrong (under the pseudonym Campbell Black) was concurrently released with the film in 1981. A book about the making of the film was also released, written by Derek Taylor.
The film was released on VHS, Betamax and VideoDisc in pan and scan only, and on laserdisc in both pan and scan and widescreen. For its 1999 VHS re-issue, the film was remastered in THX and made available in widescreen. The outer package was labeled Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark for consistency with the film's prequel and its 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, two subtle digital revisions were added. First, a connecting rod from the giant boulder to an offscreen guidance track in the opening scene was removed from behind the running Harrison Ford; second, a reflection in the glass partition separating Ford from the cobra in the Well of Souls was removed. Shortly before the theatrical release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Raiders (along with The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade) was re-released on DVD with additional extra features not included on the previous set on May 13, 2008. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc in September 2012. Previously, only Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had been available on Blu-ray.
Raiders of the Lost Ark opened at #1 and grossed $8,305,823 from 1,078 theaters during its opening weekend . The film, made on an $18 million budget, grossed $384 million worldwide throughout its theatrical releases. In North America, it was by some distance the highest-grossing film of 1981.  It also became Paramount Pictures' most successful film at that time, and remains one of the top twenty-five highest-grossing films ever made when adjusted for inflation. Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold more than 70 million tickets in the US in its initial theatrical run. Its IMAX release in 2012 opened at #14 and grossed $1,673,731 from 267 theaters ($6,269 theater average) during its opening weekend. In total, the IMAX release grossed $3,125,613 domestically.
The film was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 95% "Certified Fresh" rating with a 9.2/10 average rating. The sites critical consensus stating: "Featuring bravura set pieces, sly humor, and white-knuckle action, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time.", as well as an 85% rating on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim".
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." 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." He later added it to his list of "Great Movies". 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." 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." 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.
There were some dissenting voices: Sight & Sound described it as an "expensively gift-wrapped Saturday afternoon pot-boiler", and 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", found the film to be a "machine-tooled adventure" from a pair of creators who "think just like the marketing division". (Lucas later named a villain, played by Raiders Nazi strongman Pat Roach, in his 1988 fantasy film Willow after Kael.)
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 a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. It won numerous other awards, including a Grammy Award and Best Picture at the People's Choice Awards. Spielberg was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
|Awards and nominations|
|Academy Awards||Best Picture||Frank Marshall||Nominated|||
|Best Director||Steven Spielberg||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Norman Reynolds, Leslie Dilley, and Michael D. Ford||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Douglas Slocombe||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||Michael Kahn||Won|
|Best Original Score||John Williams||Nominated|
|Best Sound||Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker, and Roy Charman||Won|
|Best Sound Effects Editing||Ben Burtt, and Richard L. Anderson||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Richard Edlund, Kit West, Bruce Nicholson, and Joe Johnston||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Director||Steven Spielberg||Nominated|||
|BAFTA Awards||Best Film||Frank Marshall||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Supporting Role||Denholm Elliott||Nominated|
|Best Film Music||John Williams||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Douglas Slocombe||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Michael Kahn||Nominated|
|Best Sound||Bill Varney, Steve Maslow, Gregg Landaker, and Roy Charman||Nominated|
|Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation||Won|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Film||Won|
|Best Director||Steven Spielberg||Won|
|Best Actor||Harrison Ford||Won|
|Best Actress||Karen Allen||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Paul Freeman||Nominated|
|Best Writing||Lawrence Kasdan||Won|
|Best Music||John Williams||Won|
|Best Costume||Deborah Nadoolman||Nominated|
|Best Special Effects||Richard Edlund||Won|
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, with a third sequel set for release in 2021. A television series, entitled The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, was also spun off from this film, and details the character's early years. 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 film, and named Indiana Jones as the second greatest hero. In 1999, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the U.S. 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.
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 to 1989. After production of the film, called Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, it was shelved and forgotten until 2003, when it was discovered by Eli Roth 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. Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures purchased the trio's life rights with the goal of producing a film based on their adventures making their remake.
In 2014, film director Steven Soderbergh published an experimental black-and-white version of the film, with the original soundtrack and dialogue replaced by an electronic soundtrack. Soderbergh said his intention was to encourage viewers to focus on Spielberg's extraordinary staging and editing: "This filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day."
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", 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." Eight years later, in 2005, viewers of Channel 4 rated the film as the 20th-best family film of all time, with Spielberg taking best over-all director honors.
On Empire magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, Raiders ranked second, beaten only by The Godfather. The film was ranked at number 11 in a list of the 25 best action and war films of all time by The Guardian.
In conjunction with the Blu-ray release, a limited one-week release in IMAX theaters was announced for September 7, 2012. Steven Spielberg and sound designer Ben Burtt supervised the format conversion. No special effects or other visual elements were altered, but the audio was enhanced for surround sound.
In The Big Bang Theory episode "The 21-Second Exitation", the protagonists are extremely slightly late to see a 21-seconds-expanded version of Raiders of the Lost Ark (which, as Leonard suggests, could include the cut sequence in which Jones entered the U-boat), and an enraged Sheldon steals the film reels, followed by dozens of fans trying to stop him and comments about the similarity of the situation to the beginning of the film, when Jones runs away from the Hovitos to the hydroplane.
In December 2012, the University of Chicago's admissions department received a package in the mail addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones' full name. The address on the stamped package was listed for a hall that was the former home of the university's geology and geography department. Inside the manila envelope was a detailed replica journal similar to the one Jones used in the movie, as well as postcards and pictures of Marion Ravenwood. The admissions department posted pictures of the contents on its Internet blog, looking for any information about the package. It was discovered that the package was part of a set to be shipped from Guam to Italy that had been sold on eBay. The package with the journal had fallen out in transit and a postal worker had sent it to the university, as it had a complete address and postage, which turned out to be fake. All contents were from a Guam "prop replicator" who sells them all over the world. The university will display its replica in the main lobby of the Oriental Institute.
Steven said 'Why don't we make it another 50ft longer?' Which of course we did
Director Steven Spielberg paid homage to the famous ending of Citizen Kane with the epilogue to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). ... buried in a vast warehouse, much like the fate of "Rosebud" ...
The 54th Academy Awards were presented March 29, 1982, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. The ceremonies were presided over by Johnny Carson.
Chariots of Fire was the surprise winner (with a leading 12 nominations, Reds had been expected to win) of the Best Picture Oscar. It was the first time in 13 years that a British film won the Academy's top honor. The next year's winner, Gandhi, was also a British production.
Henry Fonda won his only competitive Oscar this year, as Best Actor for On Golden Pond. At 76 years of age, Fonda became the oldest winner in the Best Actor category in Academy history. The only other nomination he received in his career was Best Actor for his performance in The Grapes of Wrath 41 years earlier – a record gap between acting nominations. His co-star, Katharine Hepburn, won her fourth Best Actress award, extending her own record for the most Best Actress wins by any actress.
This year's nominations also marked the second time (after 1967) that three different films were nominated for the "Big Five" Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay. The three films were On Golden Pond, Atlantic City and Reds. However, none of them won the Best Picture prize, losing to Chariots of Fire. This also marked the first year that the award for Best Makeup was presented; the winner was Rick Baker for his work on An American Werewolf in London.
This was the last year until the 2005 Oscars where all five Best Picture nominations were also nominated for Best Director. Reds was the last film to gain nominations in all four acting categories until Silver Linings Playbook matched that feat at the 85th Academy Awards ceremony in 2013. Facilitated in part by their advanced ages at the time (77, 76, 74 and a "young" 56), this is also the most recent ceremony (as of the 2017 presentation of the 89th Academy Awards) for which the four acting award winners are all now deceased – though two of the four did live into their late 90s.
Chariots of Fire became the last film to win Best Picture and not win for directing
until Driving Miss Daisy in 1990.
Similar to 1976 and 1977, these Oscars were scheduled directly opposite the NCAA basketball championship game, which this year was broadcast on CBS. Beginning in 1983, NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Game would take place on the Monday following the Academy Awards.9th Saturn Awards
The 9th Saturn Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy and horror film in 1981, were held on July 27, 1982.Bruce Nicholson
Bruce Nicholson is a special effects artist who received the Special Achievement Academy Award in 1980 for the visual effects of the film The Empire Strikes Back, which he shared with Brian Johnson, Richard Edlund and Dennis Muren.
He won his first Oscar for Raiders of the Lost Ark at the 1981 in the category of Best Visual Effects. Which he shared his award with Richard Edlund, Kit West and Joe Johnston.
He got one more Oscar nomination, at the 1982 for the film Poltergeist, which lost to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.He has worked on nearly 50 films since 1977.Golden Idol
The Fertility Idol, more commonly referred to as the Golden Idol, is a fictitious artifact that appears in the opening sequence of the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first entry in the Indiana Jones adventure film franchise directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first relic that the audience sees the protagonist Jones acquire, establishing him as a treasure hunter. The idol's likeness has become iconic in popular culture.Howard Scott Warshaw
Howard Scott Warshaw (born July 30, 1957), also known as HSW, is an American psychotherapist and former game designer who is best known for his work at Atari in the early 1980s. There, he designed and programmed the games Yars' Revenge, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, all for the Atari 2600 video game console. He has also written two books as well as produced and directed three documentaries.Indiana Jones
Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr. is the title character and protagonist of the Indiana Jones franchise. George Lucas created the character in homage to the action heroes of 1930s film serials. The character first appeared in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, to be followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles from 1992 to 1996, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. The character is also featured in novels, comics, video games, and other media. Jones is also featured in several Disney theme parks, including the Indiana Jones Adventure, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril, and Epic Stunt Spectacular! attractions.
Jones is most famously portrayed by Harrison Ford and has also been portrayed by River Phoenix (as the young Jones in The Last Crusade) and in the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles by Corey Carrier, Sean Patrick Flanery, and George Hall. Doug Lee has supplied the voice of Jones for two LucasArts video games, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, David Esch supplied his voice for Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, and John Armstrong for Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings.Jones is characterized by his iconic accoutrements (bullwhip, fedora, satchel, and leather jacket), wry sense of humor, deep knowledge of ancient civilizations and languages, and fear of snakes.
Since his first appearance in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones has become one of cinema's most famous characters. In 2003, the American Film Institute ranked him the second greatest film hero of all time. He was also named the 1st Greatest Movie Character by Empire magazine. Entertainment Weekly ranked Indy 2nd on their list of The All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture. Premiere magazine also placed Indy at number 7 on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.Indiana Jones (franchise)
Indiana Jones is an American media franchise based on the adventures of Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr., a fictional professor of archaeology. It began in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. A prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, followed in 1984, and a sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was released in 1989. A fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released in 2008, and was the last in the series to be distributed by Paramount Pictures. A fifth film is scheduled to be released in mid-2021. The series was created by George Lucas, and its films are directed by Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford as the title character. The Walt Disney Company has owned the Indiana Jones intellectual property since its acquisition of Lucasfilm, the series' production company, in 2012. Paramount retains the distribution rights to the first four films and television series.
The franchise expanded to television in 1992 with the release of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, a series featuring adventures the character had as a child as he traveled around the world with his father. Marvel Comics began publishing The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones in 1983, and Dark Horse Comics earned the comic book rights to the character in 1991. Novelizations of the films have been published, as well as many novels with original adventures, including a series of German novels by Wolfgang Hohlbein, twelve novels set before the films published by Bantam Books, and a series set during the character's childhood inspired by the television show. Numerous Indiana Jones video games have been released since 1982.Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, featuring Harrison Ford reprising his role as the title character. After arriving in North India, Indiana Jones is asked by desperate villagers to find a mystical stone and rescue their children from a Thuggee cult practicing child slavery, black magic and ritual human sacrifice in honor of the goddess Kali.
Executive producer and co-writer George Lucas made the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the villains again. After three rejected plot devices, Lucas wrote a film treatment that resembled the film's final storyline. Lawrence Kasdan, Lucas's collaborator on Raiders of the Lost Ark, turned down the offer to write the script, and Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz were hired as his replacements, with the screenplay partly based upon the 1939 film Gunga Din.The film was released to financial success but initial reviews were mixed, criticizing its violence. However, critical opinion has improved since 1984, citing the film's intensity and imagination. In response to some of the more violent sequences in the film, and with similar complaints about Gremlins, Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alter its rating system, which it did within two months of the film's release, creating a new PG-13 rating.Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (soundtrack)
The soundtrack to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a score release of the film's music, first released on CD & LP in 1984 and reissued on CD in 2008.
Numerous cues from the film were missing from the soundtrack's initial LP issue due to the inherent length limitations of a single LP (approximately forty minutes). After the release of an extended Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack album in 1995, there was some hope of a more complete release of the Temple of Doom score. This was eventually realized in November 2008 by the Concord Music Group as part of a five-CD boxed set that also included the soundtracks for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.Kit West
Kit West (6 February 1936 – 17 April 2016) was a British special effects artist who was most known for his work in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi.Lego Indiana Jones
Lego Indiana Jones (stylized as LEGO Indiana Jones) is a Lego theme based on the Indiana Jones film franchise, licensed from Lucasfilm. The exclusive franchise (for the 'Construction Category Rights') was first announced in June 2007, and followed the successful Lego Star Wars franchise, also with Lucasfilm. The first set of products were launched in 2008, based upon two of the three earlier films (Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade). Sets featuring scenes from the fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, were released alongside the film, later in 2008. The Temple of Doom film was not featured until 2009, in a large set which re-created the mine-cart chase using new narrow-gauge Lego train track.
The theme also features in a video game series. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures was released on June 3, 2008, based on the original trilogy. A sequel, called Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, was released in November 2009, including scenes from the new Kingdom of the Crystal Skull film, along with a level editor feature.
A computer-animated short film, Lego Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Brick, directed by Peder Pedersen, was also released on the official Lego site. It combines details from all four Indiana Jones films in one adventure.Marion Ravenwood
Marion Ravenwood is a fictional character who first appeared in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Played by Karen Allen, she enters the story when Indiana Jones visits her in Nepal, needing her help to locate the Ark of the Covenant with a possession originally obtained by her father, Dr. Abner Ravenwood. After 27 years of absence (21 years in the films' internal chronology), the character returned in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and was once again played by Allen, who was portrayed as marrying Jones.Raiders of the Lost Ark (soundtrack)
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the film score to the 1981 Steven Spielberg film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The music was composed and conducted by John Williams, and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Orchestrations were done by Herbert W. Spencer with additional orchestrations done by Al Woodbury. The score was released by Columbia Records in June 1981. The soundtrack received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, but lost out to Vangelis' score for Chariots of Fire.Raiders of the Lost Ark (video game)
Raiders of the Lost Ark is an action-adventure game created for the Atari 2600 based on the movie of the same name (the first installment of the Indiana Jones series). The game was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw.Sallah
Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir, better known simply as Sallah (Arabic: صلاح), is a fictional character played by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies in two of the four Indiana Jones films; Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He also appears in various comics and novels, and is featured in the Disney theme park attractions, the Indiana Jones Adventure and The Great Movie Ride.Secret of the Incas
Secret of the Incas is a 1954 adventure film starring Charlton Heston as adventurer Harry Steele, on the trail of an ancient Incan artifact. Shot on location at Machu Picchu in Peru, the film is often credited as the inspiration for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The supporting cast features Robert Young, Nicole Maurey and Thomas Mitchell, as well as a rare film appearance by Peruvian singer Yma Sumac.