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Raiders of the Lost Ark

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones braves snakes and Nazis to find the Biblical Ark of the Covenant.


Get ready for edge-of-your-seat thrills in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy (Harrison Ford) and his feisty ex-flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) reunite — unwillingly. They dodge booby-traps, fight Nazis and stare down snakes in their worldwide quest for the Ark of the Covenant. Experience one exciting cliffhanger after another when you discover adventure with the one and only Indiana Jones.

Cast of characters

Harrison Ford (The Fugitive, Star Wars) … Indiana Jones.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

Indy to his friends. World-famous archeologist, and teacher at a college. The film begins with a classic example of action sequence, as he’s trying to retrieve an idol from an ancient temple. Only to lose it to Belloq. He has a history and back story that’s only hinted at on screen. He’s a man who doesn’t believe in anything. Including consequences, until he meets again with:

Karen Allen (Starman, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) … Marion.

Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood
Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood

The girl that Indy loved & left 10 years before. Breaking her heart, and her father’s. Who was Indy’s mentor, and friend. It’s safe to say she holds a grudge. She’s now running a seedy bar …. Until Indiana Jones reappears in her life. He’s following up on a clue, and racing against the clock against the Nazis. They both are seeking the end goal of the Ark of the Covenant. But given how Indy’s treated her in the past, she has little reason to help him. Or to trust him.

Paul Freeman (Without a Clue) … Belloq.

Indy’s opposite number. He realizes, although Indy doesn’t, that they’re much more alike. More than either cares to admit. A man whose passion is greed. Archeology is a means to that end. And so, he’s willing to rent his skills to the Nazis. Not that he agrees with their goals, or methods. But merely to increase his own prestige. If they can find the Lost Ark of the Covenant …

Ronald Lacey as the evil Nazi Major Arnold Ernst Toht

Ronald LaceyToht.

A truly great performance of a truly despicable man. Very well done. The Nazi in charge of tracking down the Ark for Hitler. A man without scruples, or conscious.

John Rhys-Davies (Fellowship of the Rings, Waxwork) … Sallah

Indy’s true friend, who’s indispensable in finding the Ark. And, keeping Indy out of trouble. And hidden from the Nazis.

Additional Cast

  • Denholm Elliott (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) … Brody
  • Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) … Satipo
  • Wolf Kahler … Dietrich
  • Pat Roach (Willow) … Giant Sherpa / 1st Mechanic

Editorial review of Raiders of the Lost Ark courtesy of

Indiana Jones getting the idol at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark

It’s said that the original is the greatest, and there can be no more vivid proof than Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first and indisputably best of the initial three Indiana Jones adventures cooked up by the dream team of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Expectations were high for this 1981 collaboration between the two men, who essentially invented the box office blockbuster with ‘70s efforts like Jaws and Star Wars, and Spielberg (who directed) and Lucas (who co-wrote the story and executive produced) didn’t disappoint. This wildly entertaining film has it all: non-stop action, exotic locations, grand spectacle, a hero for the ages, despicable villains, a beautiful love interest, humor, horror… not to mention lots of snakes.

Indiana Jones and Marion reunited in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

And along with all the bits that are so familiar by now–Indy (Harrison Ford) running from the giant boulder in a cave, using his pistol instead of his trusty whip to take out a scimitar-wielding bad guy, facing off with a hissing cobra, and on and on–there’s real resonance in a potent storyline that brings together a profound religious-archaeological icon (the Ark of the Covenant, nothing less than “a radio for speaking to God”) and the 20th century’s most infamous criminals (the Nazis). Now that’s entertainment. –Sam Graham

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