Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark Image
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 569 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: You're in for thrills as Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) confronts snakes, Nazis and one astonishing cliffhanger after another -- all topped off by the discovery and opening of the mystical Ark of the Covenant. [Paramount Pictures]

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Stephen Klain
    100
    Spielberg has deftly veiled proceedings in a sense of mystical wonder that makes it all the more easy for viewers to suspend disbelief and settle back for the fun.
  2. 100
    Raiders of the Lost Ark is, in fact, about as entertaining as a commercial movie can be. What is it? An adventure film that plays like an old-time 12-part serial that you see all at once, instead of Saturday-to-Saturday. It's a modern "Thief of Baghdad." It's the kind of movie that first got you excited about movies when you were a kid.
  3. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Gary Arnold
    Jun 1, 2016
    100
    Raiders of the Lost Ark is sensational. This awesomely entertaining adventure spectacle, directed by Steven Spielberg from an idea hatched by executive producer George Lucas, succeeds in fusing the most playful and exciting elements of Spielberg's "Jaws" and Lucas' "Star Wars" in a fresh format. It is a transcendent blend of heroic exploits, cliffhangers and chases distilled with nostalgia and wit from the pulp thrillers, comic books and Republic serials of the World War II era. [12 June 1981, p.E1]
  4. Ford's performance is an underrated but remarkable achievement; he succeeds in fully embodying a comic-book style hero without ever descending into camp.
  5. 100
    Plays like an anthology of the best parts from all the Saturday matinee serials ever made.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Jun 1, 2016
    100
    Raiders of the Lost Ark has it all—or, anyway, more than enough to transport moviegoers back to the dazzling, thrill-sated matinee idyls of old. It is surely the best two hours of pure entertainment anyone is going to find in the summer of '81.
  7. 30
    Travels fast and straight down a linear plot, and the ceaseless rush quickly becomes monotonous.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 96 out of 101
  2. Negative: 4 out of 101
  1. Aug 28, 2012
    10
    Indiana Jones, the character responsible for making archaeology the most exciting and sought for career ever is at best found in his first andIndiana Jones, the character responsible for making archaeology the most exciting and sought for career ever is at best found in his first and inarguably greatest classic. Raider's of the lost Ark was one of a number of classic brought to the screen in the 1980's, other notable masterpieces were time travel saga the Back to the Future trilogy, the original Terminator and the Empire Strikes Back, and Spielberg's action adventure near enough trumps them all.
    Set in the backdrop of mid 1930's, where the second world war is on the verge, the film begins in a middle eastern jungle, Indy is venturing for a golden idol, he begins with three mercenaries, the whip crashes and five minutes later, he's running from a boulder having just set off the booby trap that would encave the entire temple. Five minutes in and one of the film's, of not one of cinema's most iconic scenes has rolled its way on to the screen, surely it can't get better?
    It does, watch on.
    Steven Spielberg is on top form in this department, providing camera work and action set pieces galore, scripted wonderfully by 80's superman Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back.) But it's Harrison Ford who takes the cake as arguably the greatest (super)hero in cinema history, running from set piece to set piece whilst driving his story with impossibly cool suave and underlying moral dilemma. It's a film that, when first thought about ($20m globe trotting actioner starring Han Solo?) should not be good, bar even watchable, but the dream team of Lucas, Spielberg, Kasdan and Ford make it some of the most exciting, visually arresting adventure pics in creation. A must watch.
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  2. Apr 21, 2013
    10
    Another one of my favorite movies. This movie, in my opinion, has some of the best action scenes in movie history. It has a well-done storyAnother one of my favorite movies. This movie, in my opinion, has some of the best action scenes in movie history. It has a well-done story plot, great acting from Harrison Ford, some cool special effects, and lots and lots of fun. Expand
  3. May 9, 2015
    10
    Despite what the DVD marketeers are currently claiming, the title of this movie was, is, and always shall be Raiders of the Lost Ark, notDespite what the DVD marketeers are currently claiming, the title of this movie was, is, and always shall be Raiders of the Lost Ark, not Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are times when revisionism can be taken too far, and this is one of those instances. I don't need all of my Indiana Jones titles next to each other in my DVD library. I'm perfectly capable of going to the "R" section for Raiders rather than having it alongside the sequels, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

    You have to love a movie that is so devilishly clever as to make the hero's every effort, no matter how Herculean, irrelevant to the conclusion. Had Dr. Jones elected to go on an extended vacation to Mozambique and never have anything to do with the Ark of the Covenant, nothing would have changed. Jones doesn't save the day. In fact, he doesn't come close to rescuing it, unless one considers his having failed as being the key to success. (Although he does get the girl.) Yes, the movie ends with melting faces, but, underneath all of that liquefying flesh and exploding heads, there's an abundance of irony just waiting for the attentive movie-goer to unearth. When was the last time that an action hero has been so utterly, completely inconsequential as Indiana Jones?

    But, in discussing the ending, I'm getting ahead of myself. Better, instead, to go back to the beginning. Where that is, is anyone's guess. It could be back in the late '40s, when a young George Lucas was enthralled by the cliffhanger serials that would inspire this film. It could be in 1975, when Steven Spielberg made a little movie about a not-so-little shark and suddenly became a big name in Hollywood. It could be in 1977 when Lucas' Star Wars singlehandedly revived science fiction and solidified the concept of the summer blockbuster. Or it could be later in that same year, when Lucas and Spielberg, while both vacationing in Hawaii, decided that they had to work together on a project. That project would become Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Action movies were a different breed in the pre-1981 years than they are today, and one of the reasons for their transformation had to do with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Before this movie, James Bond ruled the roost and the Bond formula was the accepted path that any self-respecting action movie would follow. The first Indiana Jones outing changed that. The film was constructed as a series of cliffhangers with narrow, death-defying escapes. Not since the era of serials have audiences so often asked the question, "How's he going to get out of this one?" It's unfair to claim that the 007 outings were unexciting, but, compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark, they come across as sedate. Raiders transformed the action movie landscape. In the years that followed, nearly every action movie would try to generate the same sense of suspense and tension. Even the Bond movies would catch on.

    Certainly, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a breathless, white-knuckle experience of a movie. It is also perfectly paced. There's enough time in between the frequent action scenes to provide the minimum of exposition and character development for us to understand what's going on and to appreciate the relationships between the individuals who populate the screen. There's none of the frantic quick-cutting that has since become a staple of action movies (thank you, editor Michael Kahn!), and the production does not seem frenzied and out-of-control. This isn't a case of cardboard figures running around in circles and blowing things up. We care about Indy and Marion in ways that we rarely care about protagonists in this genre. When Marion "dies," it stings.

    For composer John Williams, who has long been favored by both Spielberg and Lucas, the chance to work on Raiders of the Lost Ark offered him an opportunity to collaborate with them both, and to add another memorable theme song to his list of credits. In the five-year period from 1977 to 1982, Williams created five of movie-dom's most popular title tracks: Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T.

    The deserved popularity of Raiders of the Lost Ark resulted in a huge box office bonanza for Paramount Pictures. This is the kind of movie that, even today, audiences immediately fall in love with. It has all the right ingredients: a smart script, a likable hero, a dash of romance, more than a touch of comedy, and a lot of fast-paced action. The two sequels are vastly inferior - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is too ponderous and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is unforgivably fatuous. Yet, because the first entry of the series leaves such an indelible imprint, the existence of lesser chapters to the Indiana Jones saga does nothing to dilute its impact. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a movie to be savored by viewers of all ages and all persuasions.
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  4. May 30, 2016
    9
    Harrison Ford takes on another iconic role led by Speilberg and Lucas. Raiders is another movie that is pure magic. It is a timeless classic.Harrison Ford takes on another iconic role led by Speilberg and Lucas. Raiders is another movie that is pure magic. It is a timeless classic. Indiana Jones has become one of the great icons in pop culture. Expand
  5. Sep 24, 2011
    9
    "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is a adventurous movie that plays out like a TV series, but one with a powerful script, cast, and story. Its like"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is a adventurous movie that plays out like a TV series, but one with a powerful script, cast, and story. Its like watching the best moments of TV in one cool movie. Collapse
  6. Dec 7, 2014
    9
    Every person who i know has seen this movie and has liked it! It is a fantastic movie and my second favorite Indiana Jones movie. This isEvery person who i know has seen this movie and has liked it! It is a fantastic movie and my second favorite Indiana Jones movie. This is definitely better than the 4th movie >, Expand
  7. GordanC.
    Nov 25, 2007
    0
    I have been told that this has been a masterpiece of action/adventure films. But I think my source told me wrong because during the film, I I have been told that this has been a masterpiece of action/adventure films. But I think my source told me wrong because during the film, I was quite bored, the quality kind of sucked. It was cheesy and the last quarter was very dull, I wasn't even engaged, there was no action, but a linear design of perspective. The writing and characters are okay, but overall the movie sucks. I'm not going to watch this again. Expand

See all 101 User Reviews

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