* AnticlimaxBoss: One of the rare great examples, if the number of tropes referencing the WeaponTwirling scene is any indication.
** 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.
* MostAnnoyingSound: The winches when the Nazis are removing the Ark from the hold of Kananga's ship.
* RetroactiveRecognition: As mentioned above, ComicBook/DoctorOctopus teams up with Dr. Jones to find the Hovito idol.
* SignatureScene: The iconic [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aADExWV1bsM gold idol and boulder chase]] scene.
** 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]].
* 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.
!![[VideoGame/RaidersOfTheLostArk Video Game]]
* GoddamnedBats: Thieves and tsetse flies.