Indiana Jones

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark, also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, is a 1981 adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Indiana Jones series. The story introduces us to archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), who is hired by the U.S. government to go on a quest for the mystical lost Ark of the Covenant. Accompanied by his old friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) and ex-flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), he must retrieve the ark before the Nazis and his adversary, French archaeologist Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman) acquire it first.
The original film sparked waves of interest in old 1930s style cliffhanger serials, leading to two more films (one sequel and one prequel), talk of a third, and a television series "chronicle" of the lead character, Indiana Jones, as a young man prior to his feature film adventures.


In 1936, an atypical archeologist, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), and two local guides trek through a South American jungle to an ancient temple which houses a golden idol. After overcoming various traps and betrayal by both of his guides, he escapes with the idol. However, his rival, Frenchman Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), and a small army of natives are waiting. Belloq takes the artifact, but Jones escapes to a waiting seaplane piloted by his friend Jock (Fred Sorenson), barely ahead of the hostile natives. When in the air, Jock reveals that he carries his pet snake, Reggie, on the plane. Specifically, in the place Jones is sitting. Indy reveals that he hates snakes.

Later, at Barnett College, where Jones teaches, two US Army intelligence agents tell Jones and colleague Dr. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) about an intercepted Nazi communiqué. It mentions Professor Ravenwood, Jones's former mentor, and the Staff of Ra. Jones realizes that the Nazis have discovered the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis where the Pharaoh Shishaq placed the Ark of the Covenant after stealing it from Jerusalem. As part of the scene explaining the powers of the Ark as it was used in a biblical account against the Philistines, Jones pulls out a huge tome and shows the Ark being used as a weapon emitting mysterious rays, or "God Stuff". This use as a weapon immediately and obviously captures the two agents. Jones further explains that the Ark was subsequently placed in the Well of Souls, but was lost after a sandstorm buried the city. According to Ravenwood, the Well of Souls can only be found by using the Staff of Ra to focus a beam of sunlight onto a model of Tanis, which is located in a map room. The Nazis are after Ravenwood because he has the headpiece of the staff, a small bronze medallion.
Jones flies to snowy, mountainous Nepal to speak with the professor, only to find out he has died. Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), his daughter and Jones' former love interest, has the headpiece, but is reluctant to part with it. A brutally sadistic Nazi agent named Toht (Ronald Lacey) follows Jones to Marion and tries to take the piece from her by force, but Jones intervenes. The ensuing shootout eventually burns down Marion's tavern. During the fight, Toht's hand is scarred with the face of the medallion when he tries to pick it up, not knowing that it was heated by the flames. Jones ends up with both the headpiece and Marion, who invites herself on his quest.
The two fly to Cairo and meet Jones's friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), a skilled Egyptian digger and archaeologist. They need help in decoding the markings on the headpiece that specify the height of the staff. While touring Cairo's marketplace, Marion and Jones are ambushed by hired swordsmen. Nazi operatives grab Marion and throw her in a truck, but Jones shoots the driver and the vehicle crashes and explodes. Believing Marion dead, Jones heads to a tavern where he encounters his old nemesis Belloq, who now works for the Nazis. Belloq reveals his scheme to find the Ark by exploiting Hitler's desire for it and then to use it as "a radio for speaking to God". The secular Jones dismisses his rival and sarcastically offers to help Belloq "talk to God" by killing him. Jones reaches for his pistol, but several Arab bodyguards, pretending to be customers, draw their guns and surround Jones. Jones is saved by Sallah's children who lead him from the bar. That evening, Sallah takes Jones to an old man, who deciphers the markings. He notes that one side of the headpiece says that the staff must be shortened. The Nazis misread the headpiece since they only have a copy of one side's markings from the image on Toht's hand. Their staff is too long, so they are digging for the Ark in the wrong location.
Infiltrating the dig, Jones enters the map room and discovers the location of the Well of Souls. Jones and Sallah return to the soldiers' camp, and Jones enters a tent to avoid some angry troops. Within, he finds Marion, alive but tied up. He begins to free her but realizes that her absence will prompt an extensive search of the area and that the Germans will inevitably discover his and the Ark's location. He leaves Marion, promising to return for her once the Ark is secured. Indy and Sallah gather a small crew of men and begin to dig at the correct location. After several hours, they break through the roof of the buried Well of Souls. When Jones is lowered to the floor of the temple, he finds it infested with deadly asps and other venomous snakes, including an egyptian cobra, much to Jones' dismay; he has a strong fear of snakes. Sallah joins him and they hoist the Ark out of the temple. Sallah climbs out and Jones prepares to join him when Belloq and the Germans, led by the sadistic Col. Dietrich (Wolf Kahler), surround the entrance and seize the Ark. They throw Marion into the temple and seal the opening, leaving her to die with Jones. As their torches burn out, the duo manage to escape by toppling an enormous statue through a stone wall. They emerge aboveground in time to see a Luftwaffe flying wing being prepared to transport the Ark to Berlin.
Jones attempts to sneak up on the pilot, but a burly mechanic (Pat Roach) spots him first. As Jones and the mechanic fight, Marion knocks out the pilot, who slumps over the controls, setting the plane rotating. She takes control of the plane's machine gun and fends off some infantrymen, while Jones maneuvers his opponent into the propeller. Leaking gasoline from a refuelling truck encircles the plane. Indy and Marion escape just before the plane blows up. With the plane gone, Belloq and Dietrich put the Ark on a truck to Cairo, where it will be shipped to Berlin. Stealing a horse, Jones pursues the convoy escorting the truck, and in an extended chase sequence, seizes control of the vehicle. That evening, Jones and Marion leave Sallah and escort the Ark to England onboard the tramp steamer Bantu Wind.
The next morning, a Nazi U-boat commandeered by Belloq and Dietrich stops the ship. Marion and the Ark are removed. Jones, having hidden himself on the ship, covertly boards the U-boat, and rides it to a secret submarine pen in the Aegean Sea. Jones sneaks into the base, steals a soldier's uniform and a rocket launcher, and follows Belloq and the Ark to an isolated canyon. Threatening to destroy the Ark with a panzerfaust, Jones is forced to surrender when his bluff is called; the archeologist in him is unable to harm the priceless artifact and Belloq knows it. Marion and Jones are tied up and forced to watch a ceremonial opening of the Ark. At first it seems to only contain sand, but a humming sound starts and strange glowing spirits emerge from within. They appear harmless at first, but then they suddenly transform into hideous manifestations of death. Jones realizes that the spirits must not be viewed and warns Marion to close her eyes. The Ark proceeds to kill the entire group of Germans and Belloq in especially gruesome ways. After clearing the area and freeing Jones and Marion of their bonds, the Ark closes itself once more with a crack of thunder. Later, back in Washington D.C., the two Army intelligence men tell a suspicious Jones that "top men" are carefully studying the Ark. However, it is shown that the artifact is sealed in a wooden crate marked top secret and stored in a giant government warehouse, filled with countless other crates.
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