Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

USA, 1980
35mm, 70mm [blow-up], filmed in Panavision [anamorphic], Metrocolor, 2.35:1
70mm 6-Track, Dolby 35mm, English

An American fantasy film directed by Steven Spielberg. It was the first in the Indiana Jones franchise.

Plot Summary

Archaeologist Dr Indiana Jones leads a double life – as a lecturer in a 1930s university and as a fearless adventurer hunting the world for religious and occult artefacts. He’s hired by the US Government to track down the legendary Ark of the Covenant, the container which holds the original ten commandments. He teams up with ex-girlfriend Marion to find the Ark before the Nazis, who are also scouring the world for mystical artefacts, get their hands on it.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
© Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) MCMLXXXI [1981]
Paramount Pictures presents a Lucasfilm Ltd. production. A Steven Spielberg film
Executive Producers: George Lucas, Howard Kazanjian
Produced by: Frank Marshall
Associate Producer: Robert Watts
Screenplay by: Lawrence Kasdan
Story by: George Lucas and Philip Kaufman
Director of Photography: Douglas Slocombe
Additional Photography: Paul Beeson
Editor: Michael Kahn
Music: John Williams
Production Sound: Roy Charman
Costume Design: Deborah Nadoolman
Chief Make-up Artist: Tom Smith
Chief Hairdresser: Patricia McDermott
Special Visual Effects Produced at: Industrial Light & Magic
Production Designer: Norman Reynolds

Harrison Ford (Indy [Doctor Indiana Jones])
Karen Allen (Marion [Ravenwood])
Paul Freeman ([René] Belloq)
Ronald Lacey (Toht)
John Rhys-Davies (Sallah)
Alfred Molina (Satipo)
Wolf Kahler (Dietrich)
Anthony Higgins (Gobler)
Denholm Elliott ([Professor Marcus] Brody)
Vic Tablian (Barranca)
Don Fellows (Col. Musgrove)
William Hootkins (Major Eaton)
Bill Reimbold (bureaucrat)
Fred Sorenson (Jock)
Patrick Durkin (Australian climber)
Matthew Scurfield (2nd Nazi)
Malcolm Weaver (ratty Nepalese)
Sonny Caldinez (mean Mongolian)
Anthony Chinn (Mohan)
Pat Roach (giant sherpa/1st mechanic)
Christopher Frederick (Otto)
Tutte Lemkow (Imam)
Ishaq Bux (Omar)
Kiran Shah (Abu)
Souad Messaoudi (Fayah)
Terry Richards (Arab swordsman)
Steve Hanson (German agent)
Frank Marshall (Flying Wing pilot)
Martin Kreidt (young soldier)
George Harris (Captain Katanga)
Eddie Tagoe (messenger pirate)
John Rees (sergeant)
Tony Vogel (tall captain)
Ted Grossman (Peruvian porter)
Dennis Muren [man reading Life magazine on plane] *
Michael Sheard [U-boat captain in conning tower] *
Vic Tablian [monkey man] *
Frank Welker [voice of spider monkey] *

Alternative Titles

Les Aventuriers de l’arche perdue – France
En busca del arca perdida – Spain
Os Caçadores da Arca Perdida – Brazil
Los cazadores del arca perdida – Argentina
Dobyvatelé ztracené archy – Czechoslovakia
Az elveszett frigyláda fosztogatói – Hungary
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – USA (video)
Jäger des verlorenen Schatzes – Germany
Jagten pa den forsvunde skat – Denmark
Jakten pa den försvunna skatten – Sweden
Kadonneen aarteen metsästäjät – Finland
Poszukiwacze zaginionej arki – Poland
I predatori dell’arca perduta – Italy
Os Salteadores da Arca Perdida – Portugal

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

Extracts included in
100 Years at the Movies (1994)
AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies (1998)
AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Thrills: America’s Most Heart-Pounding Movies (2001)
The American Film Institute Salute to Steven Spielberg (1995)
Clapperboard: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies (1995)
Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Precious Images (1986)
Screen Test: 12 October 1982
Twice Upon a Time (1983)
Wow! (1990)



  • Films Illustrated vol.10 no.118 (July 1981) p.378 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.48 no.571 (August 1981) pp.159-160 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Motion Picture Product Digest vol.9 no.2 (24 June 1981) p.7 – credits, review
  • Premiere July 1989 pp.68-69 – illustrated review
  • Screen International no.248 (5-12 July 1980) p.14 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.249 (12-19 July 1980) p.14 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.250 (19-26 July 1980) p.14 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.251 (26 July-2 August 1980) p.10 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.253 (9-16 August 1980) p.16 – illustrated credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.254 (16-23 August 1980) p.10 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.302 (25 July 1981) p.15 – review
  • Starburst no.37 (1981) pp.32-35 – illustrated review
  • TV Times 23 December 1989-5 January 1990 p.48 – credits
  • Variety 10 June 1981 p.18 – credits, review


  • Darkness in the Bliss-out: A Reconsideration of the Films of Steven Spielberg by James Kendrick pp.3, 4, 8, 35, 36, 101-137, 141, 142, 143, 197, 209
  • Encyclopedia of American Spy Films by Larry Langman & David Ebner p.301-302 – credits, note
  • The Encyclopedia of Epic Films by Constantine Santas, James M. Wilson, Maria Colavito, Djoymi Baker pp.576-578
  • Film Review 1982-1983 by F. Maurice Speed (ed.) p.161 – credits, review
  • Heroes, Monsters and Values: Science Fiction Films of the 1970s p.190
  • The International Spy Guide 002 by Richard Rhys Davies p.744 – illustrated credits, note
  • Looking for a New England: Action, Time, Vision: Music, Film and TV 1975-1986 by Simon Matthews pp.52, 184, 192
  • Matinee Melodrama: Playing With Formula in the Sound Serial by Scott Higgins pp.5, 159, 160, 161-174, 179
  • The Pocket Essentials Steven Spielberg by James Clarke pp.45-49
  • Sci-fi Chronicles by Guy Haley (ed.) pp.282, 287
  • Sci-Fi Now’s 80s Sci-fi Almanac: Complete Movie Guide 1980-1989 pp.124-133 – illustrated article
  • Steven Spielberg (2nd ed) by Philip M. Taylor pp.15, 17, 26, 28, 29, 40, 63, 66, 104-108, 127, 130, 132, 133, 143, 148-149
  • Steven Spielberg by Donald R. Mott & Cheryl McAllister Saunders pp.87-100, 180-181
  • Steven Spielberg by George Perry pp.43-46, 112-114
  • Steven Spielberg by Sean Connolly p.33
  • Steven Spielberg: A Biography by Joseph McBride pp.19, 61, 107, 287, 309-322, 324, 327, 353, 354, 355, 381, 504
  • Steven Spielberg, Filmmaker by James Robert Parish pp.2, 62, 64-65, 76
  • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy by David Pringle (general ed.) p.74-75 – illustrated credits, review