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Quick Review - Paramount's Raiders of the Lost Ark

The return of the great adventure.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Lawrence Kasdan, produced by Lucasfilm Ltd., and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It stars Harrison Ford and Karen Allen. It was nominated for and won Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects while also being nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. This is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise. It was followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In 1999, it was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically" significant.

"Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?" - Indiana Jones


Dr. Indiana Jones is an adventurer and explorer. When the United States government discovers that the Nazis are looking for the ancient Ark of the Covenant, they approach Indy and ask him to find it before Hitler does, leading to an adventure unlike any other.

My Favorite Aspect of Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, and, while I won't go there, I do think it's a really, really good movie. Adventure films are scarce these days. We don't get enough of them, and the ones that we do get are usually not so good. This film is a true, fast-paced, entertaining adventure from start to finish. From the absolutely incredible opening scene to the mysterious ending in the warehouse, Raiders is a thrill ride. It feels like a roller coaster in the best way possible. Part of that is the magic of Spielberg and Lucas. And the other part of that is the titular character himself, who is obviously a cultural icon. I had so much fun with this movie.

My Least Favorite Aspect of Raiders of the Lost Ark

I've only seen Raiders twice, and the first time, I didn't understand it. The second time, I understood it some more, but I think this movie gets really confusing at times. The story and actual adventure itself can sometimes be drowned out by action. Characters sometimes come to conclusions that didn't feel set up. I was tracking with it for a lot of the runtime, but once you get on to the ships and it seems like the Nazis are defeated, it starts getting really confusing. So, while I have tons of fun with this movie and I really dig these characters, I can never fully say I love this movie, because I have a lot of problems with the story.

Why Raiders of the Lost Ark is Really Good

While the story frustrates me, I just enjoy watching Indiana Jones embark on an adventure. I'm a casual fan of this franchise, but even a casual fan will be entertained by this movie. There's some great action, great direction, and great acting. The villains are fun and memorable. Marion Ravenwood and Sallah are great side characters. The production design and set pieces are astounding. I only wish I was more invested in the story, because I really, really like basically everything else in this movie.

Final Thoughts and Score

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a highly entertaining, fast-paced, classic adventure film that introduced the world to one of its most iconic characters. I never connect with the story as much as I would like to, but I still think this movie is great.

I will go Savory here. Age range is 8+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)

"Raiders of the Lost Ark"

Fun Factor: 8.5/10

Acting: 8/10

Story: 6.5/10

Characters: 9/10

Quality: 8/10

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Rated PG for moderate violence and action, frightening themes and images, language, suggestive material, thematic elements

Released on June 12, 1981

1 hour and 55 minutes

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood

Paul Freeman as René Belloq

John Rhys-Davies as Sallah

Ronald Lacey as Major Arnold Toht

Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody

Wolf Kahler as Colonel Dietrich

Alfred Molina as Satipo


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