INDIANA JONES

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

By Mark Nobes, chief editor

The video clip features the original trailer for Raiders of the Lost Ark, an exciting action adventure movie that became a summer blockbuster back in 1981. Set in 1936 in the jungles of South America, Indiana Jones is on a mission (set by the U.S. Government) to find the Ark of the Covenant, before the Nazi's can get their evil mitts on it.

Directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by George Lucas, this was one of the highest-grossing movies ever made, earning $390 million. Released on June 12th 1981, it quickly became the most profitable and most popular film of 1981.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark was the start of a whole series of movies based on Indiana Jones. 1984 saw the release of The Temple Of Doom which was the third most profitable movie of the year, and in 1989 Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade was beaten to the top spot by Batman. However, the original Raiders Of The Lost Ark film is considered to be the best of the series by both critics and fans.

One of the best descriptions of the film came from David Denby in his review for New York Magazine, for the issue published on 22nd June 1981; "Occult and religious mumbo jumbo, buried temples, lots of Nazis running around the desert, and a grand prize - the Ark of the Covenant, in which broken tablets of the Ten Commandments lie, conveying awesome power on whoever possess them. These are the elements in Steven Spielberg's exhilarating new pop spectacle. Spielberg has made a pure-fun extravaganza that is like a thirties serial, only grander, funnier, and blessedly free of interruptions."
Spelberg has made a pure-fun extravaganza that is like a thirties serial, only grander, funnier, and blessedly free of interruptions.
Occult and religious mumbo jumbo, buried temples, lots of Nazis running around the desert, and a grand prize - the Ark of the Covenant, in which broken tablets of the Ten Commandments lie, conveying awesome power on whoever possess them. These are the elements in Steven Spielberg's exhilarating new pop spectacle.

Movie Info

Release Date: June 12, 1981

Rating: PG

Director:Steven Spielberg

Screenplay Writer: Lawrence Kasdan

Story by: George Lucas and Philip Haufman

Producer: Frank Marshall

Music: John Williams

Production Company: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Main Cast

Indiana Jones - Harrison Ford

Marion Ravenwood - Karen Allen

René Belloq - Paul Freeman

Major Arnold Tohy - Ronald Lacey

Sallah - John Rhys-Davies

Marcus Brody - Denholm Elliot

Critical Response:

In Brian Eggert's review of Raiders of the Lost Ark for Deep Focus Review (published May 7 2008), he wrote "From scene to scene the picture surges with nonstop energy and craft".

Video Game

A video game was also released for the Atari 2600 console in 1982, and was the first movie licensed video game. Various reviews of the game rated the game between 50% and 75%, so it was by no means a classic, but it wasn't a write-off like the E.T. video game, either!

This clip will show you how to succeed in the Raiders of the Lost Ark video game on the Atari 2600 - better late than never, I suppose!

Originally released in November 1982 and designed by Howard Scott Warshaw, the game required the use of two controllers. As mentioned, the reviews were very average and it was generally accepted that the game didn't really live up to the hype surrounding it, with Electronic Games magazines describing it as "inferior to Pitfall".

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Atari 2600