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Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders
Riffed by RiffTrax
Riffers Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett
Series Indiana Jones Series
Date Released August 14, 2007

Raiders of the Lost Ark (later marketed as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and often referred to simply as Raiders) is a 1981 American fantasy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Frank Marshall and Howard Kazanjian, executive produced by George Lucas, written by Lawrence Kasdan and based on a story of George Lucas and Philip Kaufman and starring Harrison Ford. It was the first installment in the Indiana Jones film franchise to be released, though it is the second in internal chronological order. It pits Indiana Jones (Ford) against a group of Nazis who are searching for the Ark of the Covenant, which Adolf Hitler believes will make his army invincible. The film co-stars Karen Allen as Indiana's former lover, Marion Ravenwood; Paul Freeman as Indiana's nemesis, French archaeologist René Belloq; John Rhys-Davies as Indiana's sidekick, Sallah; Ronald Lacey as Gestapo agent Arnold Toht; and Denholm Elliott as Indiana's colleague, Marcus Brody. RiffTrax released their riff in October 2007.

Synopsis and PreviewEdit

Best of RiffTrax's Raiders of the Lost Ark09:28

Best of RiffTrax's Raiders of the Lost Ark

[Spoilers Begin]

In 1936, archaeologist Indiana Jones braves an ancient booby-trapped temple in Peru and retrieves a golden idol. He is confronted by rival archaeologist René Belloq and the indigenous Hovito people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Jones is forced to surrender the idol to Belloq and escapes aboard a waiting floatplane.

Jones returns to his teaching position at Marshall College, where he is interviewed by two Army Intelligence agents. They inform him that the Nazis, who are obsessed with the occult, are searching for his old mentor Abner Ravenwood. The Nazis know that Ravenwood is the leading expert on the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis, and that he possesses the headpiece of the Staff of Ra. Jones deduces that the Nazis are searching for the location of the Ark of the Covenant; the Nazis believe that if they acquire the Ark their armies will become invincible. The Staff of Ra is the key to finding the Well of Souls, a secret chamber in which the Ark is buried.

The agents authorize Jones to recover the Ark before the Nazis. He travels to Nepal and discovers that Abner has died, and the headpiece is in the possession of Ravenwood's daughter Marion. Jones visits Marion at her tavern, where she reveals her bitter feelings toward him from a previous romantic affair. She rebuffs his offer to buy the headpiece, and Jones leaves. Shortly after, a group of Nazi soldiers arrive with their commander, Arnold Toht. They threaten Marion to get the headpiece, and her bar is set on fire when Jones comes back to intervene. Toht severely burns his hand trying to pick up the red-hot headpiece and runs from the tavern screaming. Jones and Marion escape with the headpiece, and Marion decides to accompany Jones in his search for the Ark so he can repay his debt.

The pair travel to Cairo, where they meet up with Jones's friend Sallah, a skilled excavator. Sallah informs them that Belloq and the Nazis are digging for the Well of Souls with a replica of the headpiece, created from the scar on Toht's hand. They quickly realize the Nazi headpiece is incomplete and that the Nazis are digging in the wrong place. The Nazis kidnap Marion and it appears to Jones that she is killed in an explosion. After a confrontation with Belloq in a local bar, Jones and Sallah infiltrate the Nazi dig site and use their staff to correctly locate the Ark. Jones, Sallah, and a small group of diggers unearth the Well of Souls and Jones is forced to face his fear of snakes to acquire the Ark. Belloq and the Nazis arrive, seize the Ark from Jones, and throw Marion into the Well of Souls with him before sealing it back up. Jones and Marion escape to a local airstrip, where Jones has a brutal fistfight with a Nazi mechanic before blowing up a flying wing. The panicked Nazis remove the Ark in a truck and set off for Berlin, but Jones catches them and retakes it. He makes arrangements to take the Ark to London aboard a tramp steamer.

The next day the Nazis arrive and intercept the boat. Belloq and the Nazis seize the Ark and Marion but cannot locate Jones, who stows away aboard the Nazi U-boat and travels with them to an island in the Aegean Sea. Once there, Belloq plans to test the power of the Ark before presenting it to Hitler. Jones reveals himself and threatens to destroy the Ark with a bazooka, but Belloq calls the bluff and Jones surrenders rather than destroy such an important historical artifact. The Nazis take Jones and Marion to an area where the Ark will be opened and tie them to a post to observe. Belloq performs a ceremonial opening of the Ark, which appears to contain nothing but sand. Suddenly, angelic, ghost-like beings emerge from the Ark and float around the assembly. Jones cautions Marion to keep her eyes tightly closed and not to observe what happens next. Belloq and the others look on in astonishment as the apparitions suddenly transform into demonic creatures. A vortex of flame forms above the opened Ark and energy surges out into the gathered Nazi soldiers, killing them all. As Belloq, Toht and Dietrich all scream in terror, the Ark turns its fury on them: Dietrich's head shrivels up, Toht's face is melted off his skull and Belloq's head explodes. Flames then engulf the remains of the doomed assembly, save for Jones and Marion. The Ark's lid is blasted high into the air before dropping back down onto the Ark and sealing it. Jones and Marion find their ropes burned off and embrace.

In Washington, D.C., the Army Intelligence agents inform Jones and Brody that the Ark is someplace safe and will be studied by top men. The Ark is shown being permanently stored in a giant government warehouse among countless similar crates.

[Spoilers End]

Cast and CrewEdit

  • Harrison Ford stars as Indiana Jones
  • Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood
  • Paul Freeman as Dr. René Belloq
  • Ronald Lacey as Major Arnold Toht
  • John Rhys-Davies as Sallah
  • Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody
  • Wolf Kahler as Colonel Dietrich
  • Alfred Molina, in his film debut, as Satipo
  • Vic Tablian as Barranca and the Monkey Man

QuotesEdit

NotesEdit

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit

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