* AnticlimaxBoss: One of the rare great examples, if the number of tropes referencing the WeaponTwirling scene is any indication.
** Belloq and the Nazis may also count given that Indy is tied up, surrounded by goons, his arch rival has the artifact they were competing for (again)... and he essentially 'wins' simply by closing his eyes as the Ark wipes everyone else out.
** A pretty minor one, considering it lost to a good movie like ''Film/ChariotsOfFire'', and was up against a major epic like ''Reds'' and well-received dramas ''Film/OnGoldenPond'' and ''Film/AtlanticCity''. But of those films, ''Raiders'' had made a more lasting impact (on summer blockbusters, adventure films as a respectable money-making genre, Creator/HarrisonFord's bankability outside of Franchise/StarWars, etc.)
** Spielberg losing Best Director to actor Warren Beatty (for ''Reds'') is an arguable case. Those who support Spielberg note that, while Beatty is a respectable director with a decent career, Spielberg was at the height of his powers directing incredibly well-made action movies. However, this is refuted by some who find ''Reds'' to be a directorial achievement above all else (not to mention a labor of love that took Beatty years to get off the ground), and many cite his win (the only Oscar he ever earned in his long career) as one that was justified both in context and by merit. It would get worse when Spielberg lost the following year over ''ET'' (after which is when he started making serious Drama movies).
* CrossesTheLineTwice: Spielberg likes to mention regarding this film that Nazis make ideal movie villains, as you can do any horrifically violent thing you want to them and no one will get upset.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: Arguably the finest work of John Williams' career, which is filled with CrowningMusicOfAwesome.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: [[Creator/JohnRhysDavies Sallah]].
* FirstInstallmentWins: ''Raiders'' is an undisputed classic. [[ContestedSequel The sequels are more varied]], though ''[[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade Last Crusade]]'' is the least contested, largely because of its similarity to ''Raiders''.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: As Indy speaks with Marcus while packing for his trip, Indy says "You sound just like my mother" as he dismissively speaks of the Ark's powers (which turn out to be very real). In ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'', we learn that Indy's mother passed away during his childhood, and his relationship with his father fell apart afterwards. And he grew to hate his father for being so obsessed with the Holy Grail, rather than focusing upon Indy.
** [[Film/SnakesOnAPlane "There's a big snake in the plane, Jock!"]]
** In his film debut, Creator/AlfredMolina has spiders crawling all over him. Years later, he stars as Doc Ock, ComicBook/SpiderMan's nemesis in ''Film/SpiderMan2''.
** Marion referring to the [[spoiler: spy]] monkey as Indy and her baby. Then Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull comes around and we have [[spoiler: Indy's and]] Marion's son, Mutt Williams swinging on vines with Monkeys.
* IconicCharacterForgottenTitle: Upon its original run, the movie did not follow the "Indiana Jones and the X" naming scheme that sequels did, simply titled ''Raiders of the Lost Ark''. However in later home media releases it was retrofitted, ie: ''Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark''.
* MagnificentBastard: Belloq is quite audacious, until he opens the Ark himself.
** For awhile, it was popular to juxtapose the scene where Indy is running away from the boulder with the Apollo 440 song "Stop the Rock".
** "Top... Men" gets invoked on internet messageboards as a deliberately vague and humorous answer.
** Toht's face melting makes for an effective "Do Not Want" reaction gif.
* MostAnnoyingSound: The winches when the Nazis are removing the Ark from the hold of Kananga's ship.
** While the opening of the ark is a pretty terrifying scene, however Dietrich's expression when the ghosts attack is pretty [[https://i.ytimg.com/vi/4ifrG5gzkAI/maxresdefault.jpg over the top.]]
** "THE TORCH IS GOING OOOUUUT!"
* RetroactiveRecognition: As mentioned above, ComicBook/DoctorOctopus teams up with Dr. Jones to find the Hovito idol.
** The iconic [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aADExWV1bsM gold idol and boulder chase]] scene.
** The [[CombatPragmatist "shoot the swordsman"]] scene.
** Toht's face melting.
** When Indy shoots the truck driver from the Cairo market, leading to the truck tipping over, the mechanism being used to tip it is visible.
** When Indy and Marion escape the Well of Souls, watch the shadow of the rock he pushes out. It bounces off the ground, thanks to being made of rubber.
** In a scene with otherwise impressive effects for the time, the brief shot of the Ark's [[spoiler:fire rushing over the bodies of the Nazis is a pretty obvious-looking miniature]].
** The transparent partition that separates Harrison Ford from the cobra ''used'' to be this but, hallelujah, Uncle George finally found a constructive use for his [[GeorgeLucasAlteredVersion digital editing powers]].
* VisualEffectsOfAwesome: The melting head. It may not look as impressive nowadays but back when Raiders came out in 1981, that scene was the most talked about out of everything else.
* While some say Indy was inconsequential to the plot (even on ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''), without him, Marion (and the Headpiece) would have remained in Nepal, and the Nazis would have never found the Ark at Tanis.
** Additionally, Indy is the only reason why [[spoiler:the Ark was successfully brought to the United States.]] Even if Belloq and Dietrich had still [[spoiler:opened it on the island and gotten killed]] without his interference, without Indy the Ark would've eventually been brought to Hitler by the next group of Nazis to come to the submarine base.
** Indy also ends up bringing about his own survival when he decides, [[spoiler:out of respect for the Ark, not to blow it up.]] Had he chosen to do so, neither he or Marion would've returned home alive, all the bad guys would've lived, and he would've failed in his mission of getting the Ark to the United States.
!![[VideoGame/RaidersOfTheLostArk Video Game]]
* GoddamnedBats: Thieves and tsetse flies.