Film / Raiders of the Lost Ark

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MPW-57400_7134.jpeg

"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."
Indiana Jones

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) is the first film in the Indiana Jones series. After the release of its sequels, it has also been retroactively called Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It takes place a few years before World War II, when Nazi Germany was searching for supernatural artifacts. In this case, they were searching for The Ark of the Covenant, which held the remains of the tablets of the Ten Commandments. After getting word of this, Dr. Indiana Jones is sent to recover it, due to him knowing some people that had clues to where the Ark is held.

This leads him on a wild chase involving fighting bad guys in a burning bar, fighting bad guys on moving trucks, and killer sand ghosts.

And that's not even taking into account what he has to go through in the prologue, which involves the iconic boulder escape scene.

The film itself was a massive hit, but due to the Troubled Productions of Star Wars, and Jaws, studios were reluctant to fund a film by both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, despite those respective films also being massive hits. Paramount eventually agreed to fund the film, although the series belongs to Lucasfilm (and now to Disney). The production, while having some problems (mainly the majority of the crew being ill in Tunisia), it wrapped ahead of time and on-budget (something Spielberg felt was important). Lawrence Kasdan was brought in to write a screenplay based on ideas born during story meetings between Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan. The screenplay was so good that Lucas asked Kasdan to write the final draft of the first Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.


Raiders of the Lost Ark contains examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: Marion when trapped in the Well of Souls with Indy, to use the strips of cloth to light the torches and scare off the snakes.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Belloq telling Indy they're Not So Different in the Arab bar.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Toht and Indy both find humor in the fact that the Ark apparently contains only sand. Although Toht was more amused by Belloq's disappointment.
    • Belloq has this reaction to Marion's escape attempt, though he is a bit drunk by that point.
  • Affably Evil: Rene Belloq, to the point that he and Marion power through a bottle of grappa and he tries to stop the Nazis from tossing her in the pit.
  • After-Action Patch-Up
    "Well, dammit, Indy, where doesn't it hurt?!"
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The novelization reveals that Marion was only fifteen years old when she and Indy (who was in his twenties at the time) began their relationship. This explains her "I was a child! It was wrong and you knew it!" comment.
    • The novelization also reveals that the headpiece to the Staff of Ra is engraved with a warning not to look inside the Ark of the Covenant (it's also in the Bible), which is how Indy knew to close his eyes when the Nazis opened it, and the rivalry between Indy and Belloq goes all the way back to graduate school where Belloq stole Indy's research while Indy was conducting his extracurricular activities with his academic advisor's daughter, which also explains why Marion and Belloq are on a first name basis. Finally, the novel also reveals how Indy managed to stow away on a submarine without drowning (he used his whip to tie himself to the periscope.)
  • All There in the Script:
    • Toht's name is only revealed in the credits and in an old TV ad, and much, much later in LEGO Indiana Jones.
    • According to the script, Abner Ravenwood was killed in an avalanche.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees:
    • Back in the day there was little difference between archaeologists and graverobbers. They were also employed by intelligence services.
    • There was a real Nazi organization that traveled the world looking for ancient artifacts, the Ahnenerbe.
    • While it did not open until May 1937, the majority of construction was finished on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1936.
  • Amusing Injuries: Marion smashing Indy in the face with the two-way mirror. The scream from Indy that follows makes it all the funnier.
  • Animal Espionage: The Nazis and Belloq attempt to have a monkey spy on Indy, but the attempt fails when it eats a poisoned date and dies. This alerts Sallah, who stops Indy eating one.
  • Appropriated Title: The first movie was released as just Raiders of the Lost Ark, while all other media include Jones' name in the title. Later re-releases did change the title to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Archaeological Arms Race: This is alluded to, since both the US Army Intelligence and the Nazis might want to use the Ark as a weapon (although it's more of a powerful spiritual artifact than lost technology).
  • Artistic License – Geography: The Nazis have a vast base complete with soldiers and airplanes in Egypt, which was under British occupation at the time.
    • Ditto for the hidden U-Boat base in the Aegean.
    • During the film, maps appear showing Thailand and Jordan. Thailand was called Siam before 1939, and Jordan was called Transjordan before 1949.
  • Artistic License – Religion: In-universe: Marcus speculates that the Nazis want the Ark because "an army that carried the Ark before it is invincible." In the Bible, every time the army of Israel carried the Ark into battle without God's specific direction to do so, they were soundly trounced and usually lost the Ark as well. For the capturing nation, at best, it would remain inert. At worst... well, let's just say it was usually hastily returned, often with a request to please ask the Lord to stop smiting them now. Although Hitler did say several things in real life indicating that he believed he was specifically directed by God to take over the world. Whether it was a lie he used to motivate his followers or he actually believed it is up for debate.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Averted; the Nazis all speak excellent German. The exception is when Toht's most prominent line in German — "Heil Hitler" — is pronounced incorrectly.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Satipo. The traitorous guide gets killed by the very traps he helped Jones escape.
    • Belloq, Toht and Dietrich attempt to tamper with the Ark, with grisly consequences.
  • Avoid The Dreaded G Rating: Inverted. To avoid the film getting an R rating, the filmmakers had to add a wall of fire to slightly obscure Belloq when his head explodes in the Opening of the Ark scene.
  • Axe-Crazy: Toht is a sadistic man who takes psychopathic glee in attempting to torture Marion with a hot fireplace poker and often relishes in other people's misery by giggling.
  • Badass Longcoat: Toht wears a black leather trenchcoat and Nice Hat, even to the broiling Egyptian desert. Man, that Gestapo dress code is strict.
  • Bad Boss: Belloq and even Dietrich have some redeeming qualities, but Toht fits the trope.
    Toht (watching one of his men grapple with Indy): Shoot them. Shoot them both.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: During the fight in Marion's bar.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: Used intentionally to provide "heroic" and "villainous" gunshot motifs. Note that every pistol Indy uses (from his spare 9mm Browning Hi-Power in the bar fight to his trademark revolver) produces the exact same sound, a huge "kaboom" that was actually a recording of a .30-30 rifle.
  • Bar Brawl: Marion's bar is destroyed as the result of one of these, which includes a lot of burning drink and a full-scale shoot-out.
  • Bat Scare: A flock of birds emerges from a statue's mouth, startling one of Indy's jungle porters.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Indy and Marion fight against Toht and his henchmen while surrounded by fire inside the bar.
  • Big Bad: Colonel Dietrich is not the main antagonist, but the one in charge of finding the Ark and gives the orders.
  • Bigger Bad: Dietrich and Belloq are working for the German Government.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Just when Toht is about to torture Marion with a red hot poker, it is ripped from his hand by a bullwhip with Indiana Jones at the other end, ready for battle.
    • A more Played for Laughs example in the bar—Indiana is about to be gunned down when Sallah's children show up to retrieve "Uncle Indy". Belloq finds it amusing enough to hold his fire.
      "Next time, Dr. Jones, it will take more than children to save you!"
    • God himself after destroying Belloq and The Nazis, also burned the rope that tied Indy and Marion up.
  • Big "NO!": While the Nazis are sliding the stone block to seal off the Well of Souls (with Indy and Marion inside), Marion yells "Noooo!" The sound is abruptly cut off when the block slides into place.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The Nazi officer who finds Indiana at the U-boat base says, in German: "Good day. Tired? Why do you sleep? Wash yourself! And straighten your shirt, so that you don't look like a pig at your court martial. Stand up..." *punch*
    • Before opening the Ark, Belloq recites an actual Jewish prayer that is said when opening the Torah ark in synagogue.
  • Binocular Shot: Indy scans the Nazi dig site with a surveyor's transit to find where the Well of Souls is hidden.
  • Blatant Lies: After the Ark's recovery:
    Major Eaton: We have top men working on it right now.
    Indy: Who?
    Eaton: Top... men.
    • The Ark ends up occupying a storage crate where it is never heard from again until it makes a cameo appearance in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the Area 51 warehouse.
  • Blood Knight: The Giant Mook Indy fights by the plane. In fact, it works against the interest of the Germans, as at one point the mook knocks Indy down and the pilot gets ready to shoot Indy... but the Giant Mook blocks his shot when he steps forward to continue the fight with Indy.
  • Bloody Horror: The Wrath of God scene at the end of the movie- Toht's face melts with the skin and blood evaporating off his face.
  • Booby Trap: The temple in the opening scene is full of these. Examples include: a light-sensitive spike trap, walls that shoot darts, a Collapsing Lair, and a giant rolling boulder.
  • The Brute: The shirtless Nazi who fights Indy by the plane.
  • Bullet Sparks: During the bar shootout.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A passing mention from one of his students mentions "all that travel" Indy does. Save the world from Nazis on Sunday, midterm on Monday, sure, why not?
  • Chain Lightning: This depiction of the Ark generates an electrical effect that jumps from person to person and even the Nazis' electronic equipment.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Marion's Establishing Character Moment shows her drinking a large, burly brute under the table. She later uses her hard-drinking ability to get Belloq drunk in an attempt to escape from him, while pretending to be drunk herself. Subverted when it turns out Belloq isn't too shabby at holding his liquor himself, forcing her to go to plan B (grab a knife and try to duck out).
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: One of the girls in Indy's class goes so far to write "Love You" on her eyelids to flirt with him. Indy apparently isn't aware of this, as he actually stumbles over his lecture when he sees that and shows no reaction to the other students staring dreamily at him.
  • Coat Cape: How Toht wears his Badass Longcoat while in Egypt searching for the Ark.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    Marion: I'll tell you anything!
    Toht: *advances with red hot poker* I know you will.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Chachapoyan temple starts collapsing after Indy swaps the golden statue for a bag of sand.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • One of the most famous examples in all of film; Indy, after going through a lengthy fight and chase sequence, is approached by a villainous swordsman who proceeds to show off a few fancy sword moves with his BFS. Indy opts simply to pull out his gun and shoot the swordsman. This wasn't in the original script and was a Throw It In by Harrison Ford who had dysentery at the time of the scene and wasn't up for the scripted fight.
    • In the scene where he fights the Giant Mook mechanic by the plane, Indy practically runs down a checklist of pragmatic/dirty fighting moves. Pulling a Look, a Distraction! and then launching a surprise attack? Check. Biting? Check. (And bonus points for it not being a last resort either.) A fist full of sand to the eyes? Check. Attempting to reach his fallen gun with the intention of shooting a completely unarmed man? Check!
  • Critical Research Failure: An In-Universe example: If the Nazis had read up on the Old Testament, they'd know that the Ark of the Covenant only worked when the Israelites were doing God's will; they couldn't use its powers whenever they wanted, only when God wanted them to. At other times, their armies were defeated and the Ark was taken by their enemies.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: While Marion is drinking wine with Belloq, she grabs a table knife in order to escape. The attempt fails because of the arrival of Major Toht and the Nazi guards.
  • The Day the Music Lied: During his fight with the Giant Mook, there's a bit where Indy sees his fallen gun lying on the ground, and a triumphant version of his theme song starts playing, and he tries to go for the gun with the intent of using it to end his fight... and then he's cut off from reaching it and the theme song peters out almost immediately.
  • Dead All Along: After escaping the temple, Indy finds one of the guides from earlier along with several angry natives who knock down to reveal that the guide's back is riddled with arrows.
  • Dead Foot Leadfoot: The truck driver in Cairo and pilot.
  • Deadly Dust Storm: According to Dr. Marcus Brody, an Egyptian pharaoh took the Ark of the Covenant to the city of Tanis. A year later, Tanis was destroyed by a sand storm that lasted an entire year - "Wiped clean by the wrath of God."
  • Death by Materialism: A running theme in the Indy series. Here it's Indy's scout in the beginning who seizes the statue but gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice offscreen. Indy then finds his Peek-A-Boo Corpse.
  • Death Course: The temple in the opening sequence is a Malevolent Architecture, including a corridor with arrows shooting from the walls, Spikes of Doom and a giant rolling stone ball.
  • Delaying the Rescue: Indie finds Marion Bound and Gagged in the Nazi camp, but leaves her tied up so he can search for the titular ark.
  • Deus ex Machina: A literal (and completely Justified) example, given whose ark Those Wacky Nazis are messing with.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: "I was a child; I was in love! It was wrong and you knew it!" Lucas has admitted that originally, he wrote young Indy and Marion's relationship as taking place when Indy was in his twenties and Marion was fourteen.
  • Disney Villain Death: Gobler and some Nazi pals wind up flying off a cliff in their car.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Marion is usually barefoot from pretty much the instant they leave Nepal.
  • Doomed New Clothes: The dress Marion gets from Belloq.
  • The Dragon: Toht is this to Dietrich.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Double Subverted. The first guard Indy knocks out in the sub pen is too skinny for his shirt to fit. Fortunately, a larger specimen turns up to scold him for being "out of uniform"...
  • Early Installment Weirdness: As the first film, it's only Indiana Jones movie whose title doesn't start with Indiana Jones and... This was changed in some re-releases, however.
  • Ethereal Choir: The Ark theme includes this when the moments get really dramatic.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Belloq isn't pleased with Toht tossing Marion in the Well of Souls.
    • Oberst Herman Dietrich is disgusted by Simon Katanga's implied desire to sell Marion into sexual slavery.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: University professor Indy is being openly lusted over by all his female students, and then one of the males leaves an apple on his desk.
  • Evil Laugh: Belloq, after sending the Hovitos to kill an escaping Indiana.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Averted, as Indy has to fight the crowd when Marion is kidnapped by Nazis.
  • Five-Bad Band: Those Wacky Nazis
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Before leaving America, Indy expresses his disbelief in the supernatural to Marcus despite the fact that he had firsthand experience with the supernatural during the events of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (which takes place a year before Raiders, but was written and filmed after).
    • Perhaps he had decided, based on his adventures in India, that the Hindu faith was provably the One True Religion, and everything else was just made-up mythology. Raiders is the point where he discovers... nope, All Myths Are True.
  • Follow the Chaos: After he has seen Indy buried alive in the Well of Souls, Belloq looks around at the burning airfield and destroyed plane.
    Belloq: Jones!
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Played with when Indiana Jones is wrestling for a gun with a mook. When a second mook gets the order to shoot them both, Indy and his adversary work together to fire off several shots at the second mook.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Gobler yells "Ah, Scheisse!" when getting rammed off the road by Indy.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • We don't really see outright supernatural stuff in the film, until the Ark is on the cargo ship, and the box containing it suddenly gets partly burned, blackening out the swastika. Considering what happens later, the swastika got off easy.
    • Also, the wind picks up when Sallah and Indy merely discuss the Ark. Plus lightning crackling across the sky when it is removed from the ground, subtle hints God is less than pleased.
    • The propeller from the plane comes into play twice before it slices the Giant Mook to pieces. First, before taking on the Giant Mook, Indy fights a regular sized mechanic who attacks him with a wrench. The fight ends just after Indy wrestles the wrench into the path of the propeller, which cuts off the head of the wrench. The second time, Indy himself almost runs head-first right into the propeller himself during the middle of their fight.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Major Toht, the Gestapo torturer.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look carefully at the shot where the Germans are disembarking from the submarine you'll notice that Marion's guard has one arm in a sling and is covered in bandages.
  • French Jerk: Belloq, a French archaeologist working for the Nazis. He deserved having his head asplode.
  • Fresh Clue: Provides the page quote. In the Action Prologue Indiana is leading an archaeological expedition in the Peruvian jungle. They find a poison dart and one of the bearers, Satipo, tastes the tip and determines how close the local indigenous tribe is.
  • Fruit Cart: Inevitably destroyed at the chase scene on the Cairo market.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Marion uses one in the marketplace scene.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Indiana inquiring about the lovely dress Belloq gave to Marion:
    Indy: Where did you get this? From him?
    Marion: I was trying to escape.
    Indy: How hard were you trying?
  • Giant Mook: The really big Sherpa in Marion's bar, and the mechanic who gets diced, both played by Pat "Bomber" Roach.
  • Giggling Villain: Toht. Added with his sexually impotent rapist personality who uses torture to vent his frustrations...
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Marion and Belloq having a drinking game while she is held hostage. Despite her obvious intentions of escaping, judging by their laughing, they are having fun in doing so, Belloq even laughing when Marion pulls a knife on him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Ark, or more specifically the One who's powering it.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera cuts away as the Giant Mook gets turned into red paste, only showing the splash of blood on a swastika. This is occasionally edited out of broadcast versions, but it's anyone's guess if they're editing out the blood or the swastika itself. The mook who is run over by Indy's truck gets a Scenery Censor, as well. Averted at the very end of the film, however. During most of the film, though, the writers love creative ways of including gore.
  • Groin Attack: Indy tries it on the Giant Mook during the flying wing fight and fails. He tries it later on a Nazi officer in a U-Boat base and succeeds.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Indy to the Giant Mook during the flying wing fight.
  • Hand Signals:
    • Indy gestures to Satipo to turn around so he can brush a bunch of tarantulas off his back.
    • Belloq uses the throat-slash to tell the Hovitos to kill Indy.
  • The Heavy: Belloq is the main antagonist, but not the Big Bad.
  • Heroes Fight Barehanded: Subverted: After beating the asses of several opponents, Indy is sick of fighting. So when another opponent steps up with swords, Indy just pulls a revolver on him.
  • High-Speed Hijack: Indy hijacks the truck carrying the Ark of the Covenant from horseback, then uses it to bust up the rest of the convoy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Nazis succeed in their goal of smuggling the Ark out of Egypt, but its power turns out to be too great for them to harness. In the climax, all of the villains — Dietrich, Toht, Belloq, and all of their Mooks — are melted alive by the Ark's power as soon as they open it.
  • Hollywood Density: The gold idol at the start of the film, which should weigh far too much to be toted around as easily as it is, let alone weigh about the same as a small bag of sand. When Indy looks at it, he actually removes sand from his bag to approximate its weight. A solid gold object of that size would weigh at least 50 lb / 23 kg. However, it's never explicitly stated that the idol is indeed solid gold.
  • Hollywood Natives: The Hovitos in the Chased by Angry Natives opening, complete with blowguns, spears and a nasty attitude.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: The Ark of the Covenant, as in the original scriptures, is quite deadly to those who treat it irreverently.
  • Hot for Teacher: Indy has to deal with this back at the university, and manages to take the high road.
  • Immune to Drugs:
    • Not drugs, per se, but Marion's ability to drink seasoned heavyweights under the table comes up twice. She doesn't even come across tipsy either time. This is especially impressive the first time, when her opponent passes out and it takes her more than one trip just to move all the shot glasses she used back to the bar.
    • Unfortunately for Marion, Belloq has the same superpower, at least where his family vineyard's wine is concerned.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: "Adios, Satipo." Forrestal, a rival of Indy's bit it to the same trap years before, leaving his remains as a Peek-A-Boo Corpse. Indy's scout suffers the same fate.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms:
    • Various soldiers and other armed militants are equipped with Walther P38 pistols or MP40 submachine guns, guns that did not exist in 1936. The MP40 was first produced in 1940 and the P38 was first produced in 1938.
    • Indy is at two separate points seen with variations of the Browning Hi-Power; the first time, in the bar shoot-out, is a bit of a stretch but still at least possible (the weapon had entered production the year before, though at the time every one of them was for military contracts, on top of FN reaching an agreement with Colt to not sell the pistol in the United States). The second time on the Bantu Wind is pure Anachronism Stew, however - he's using a Canadian variant, the Inglis Hi-Power (distinguished by a noticeable hump below the rear sight) that didn't enter production until 1944.
    • German soldiers use Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles, introduced in 1935 so it is conceivable they could be out of the country by 1936, but they would more likely carry the Mauser Gewehr 98 at that time.
    • Near the climax of the movie, Jones is seen holding a Soviet RPG-2 rocket launcher, which was not produced until 1949. No military even had handheld or shoulder-fired rocket launchers in 1936; they came about during the war to replace the older anti-tank rifles.
  • Indy Escape: Indy running from the rolling boulder.
  • Indy Ploy : Lampshaded. Indiana Jones is, of course, the Trope Namer.
    Indiana: Meet me at Omar's. Be ready for me. I'm going after that truck.
    Sallah: How?
    Indiana: I don't know, I'm making this up as I go!
  • Island Base: The site of a secret Nazi U-Boat base.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Oberst Hermann Dietrich is in charge of the quest for The Ark of the Covenant, but his advisor, Dr. Rene Belloq, is Indiana Jones' long-time nemesis. Indiana also sees Dietrich as just another Nazi among many, but Belloq as what Indy himself could have become with no moral scruples.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: A kookaburra sound can be heard in the Action Prologue when Indy is looking for treasure in the Amazon.
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • Indy flies out of San Francisco on a Short Solent 3, first flown in 1946, which makes stopovers at Honolulu (Hawaii), Wake Island, Manila (Philippines) and finally arriving at Nepal (possibly Kathmandu). All of these non-stop flight stretches (ranging from 2,300-3,000 miles) are way too long for the Short Solent's maximum range of approximately 1800 miles (the Solent was representing the Martin M-130 China Clipper, which crashed in 1945. Its range was 3,200 miles, for reference). And unless Indy caught a connecting flight in Manila, he couldn't have taken the Solent 3 to Kathmandu; the Solent, like the M-130, was a flying boat — it has no landing gear so it can't land on a conventional runway.
    • Indy and Marion travel from Nepal to Egypt on a Douglas DC-3. The DC-3 first flew on December 17, 1935, and the first ones were delivered in 1936. Most of the 300-400 DC-3s in service were flying for American, Eastern, United, and TWA airlines in 1936, and it would have been highly unlikely to find one flying between Nepal to Egypt then. It also makes stopovers at Karachi (Pakistan - part of India in 1936), Baghdad (Iraq) and finally arriving in Cairo. With the exception of the Baghdad-Cairo stretch (about 800 miles), all of these flight stretches (which range from 1,200-1,500 miles) are way too long for the DC-3's maximum range of approximately 1,000 miles.
  • Karma Houdini: The evil eyepatch-wearing owner of the monkey vanishes from the film unscathed. The monkey isn't as lucky.
  • Kick the Dog: Frustrated after losing the ark to Indy, Colonel Dietrich throws an offered watermelon from a merchant at an off-screen dog.
  • Kill It with Fire: Indy used this to clear out the snakes in the Well Of Souls by pouring gasoline all over them and lighting it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Major Toht threatens Marian with a hot poker, later in the scene he tries to grab the heated medallion and gets his hand burned and his painful death involving fire from God.
    • There is also the guide who abandoned Indy and ran off with the statue...
  • Lecture as Exposition: The Infodump when Jones meets the government men. It has become so iconic that George Lucas refers to it as "the pointer scene"; see also Common Knowledge on the trivia page.
  • Look, a Distraction!: Indy does it to the Giant Mook mechanic he fights near the plane.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When Marion is dumped into the tomb, she manages to hold on to a statue but looses a shoe during the fall which lands amidst a heap of poisonous snakes.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Happens twice in the movie to Indy.
    Belloq: Again, Dr. Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine.
  • Made of Incendium: Marian's bar catches fire incredibly quickly. Granted, it appears to be mostly wood construction, but unless her patrons make a habit of spilling whole bottles' worth of her very highest-proof spirits (most liquors are not flammable) absolutely everywhere to make the fire spread as quickly as it does, there's no reason the entire structure should have burned down other than Rule of Cool.
    • Then again, there was quite a bit of cloth in the bar; table cloths and curtains. Plus all the bullets flying around shattered bottles, spilling alcohol on a lot of places. As a bonus, the patrons at Marion's bar seemed rowdy and messy, with Indiana and the Nazis arriving and interrupting Marion just as she was about to start cleaning up.
  • Magic Countdown: During the opening scene in the dungeon, when the stone door is about to close down in front of Indy, time seems to stand still until Indy manages to sneak through under the door.
  • Man on Fire: Indy sets one of Toht's men on fire in the bar shoot-out. The guy runs around screaming for several seconds before Indy gives him a Boom, Headshot.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": All the German characters and Belloq after the Ark is opened and the spirits turn on them.
  • Mayincatec: The trap infested Hovitos underground temple is one of the best-remembered trapped lairs of all time.
  • Meaningful Name: Major Toht's name is an Anglicised spelling of the German word for death.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: It works!
  • Men Can't Keep House: Indy's house is better than most but still disorganized and disheveled and when he and Marcus have a drink to celebrate Indy going after the Ark the glasses are mismatched.
  • Mobstacle Course: Indy does this to chase Marion-in-a-basket.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It rates a 7 (arguably a hard one), due to Satipo's (Alfred Molina) corpse being shown, bloodily impaled through the bare forehead and neck by spikes, the Ratty Nepalese's (Malcolm Weaver) blood-spurting headshot, the German Mechanic (Pat Roach) being ground up by an aeroplane propeller (offscreen), with blood splattering all over the side of the aircraft, Colonel Herman Dietrich's (Wolf Kahler) imploding head, Arnold Ernst Toht's (Ronald Lacey) face melting off, and René Emile Belloq's (Paul Freeman) head exploding.
  • The Mole: A monkey is the Mole.
  • Monochrome Apparition: It has a white specter appear near the ending.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Gobler. Also there is a a tough Nazi sergeant who gives Indy some difficulty during the truck chase.
  • Native Guide: Downplayed, but Indy is accompanied by two shady local guides during the opening quest set in the Peruvian jungle.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles:
    • Indy sees Marion getting carried off in a straw basket, and chases her into the square — which is crammed with people carrying identical baskets. He just goes for knocking them all open until he hears her shouting elsewhere.
    • At the end of the movie, the Ark is put in a nondescript wooden crate and hidden in a warehouse full of other identical, nondescript wooden crates.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Especially when the actor with the gun is sick and wants to get the scene over with.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: A Nazi agent played by Dennis Muren, one of the men behind Industrial Light and Magic. This unnamed character is sometimes mistaken for Major Toht.
  • Nice Hat: Indy's hat provides the page illustration for Fedora of Asskicking. Toht (black fedora) and Belloq (who gets to wear both a pith helmet and a panama hat) give villainous examples.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Marion's captivity with Belloq.
  • Not So Different: Belloq tries to make Indy think this.
    Belloq: Where else shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?
    Indy: Try the local sewer.
    • Subverted, however, in that Belloq's probably correct — witness Indy's unholy glee at unearthing the ark himself, despite the danger that everyone's in and his questionable motives for not blowing it up when he encounters the Nazis with it (Was it fear for Marion's safety? Fear that God wouldn't take kindly to His Ark being assaulted? Greed? Not wanting to destroy a valuable archaeological find? Take your pick)
  • One-Liner: "Bad dates."
  • Oh, Crap!: Indy's reaction when he sees the huge Nazi mechanic challenging him to a fight. And then the mechanic himself just before being sliced to pieces by the propeller.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Jock's first line has something resembling an Aussie accent. His second line doesn't.
  • Perpetual Storm: After an Egyptian pharaoh took the Ark of the Covenant to the city of Tanis, the city was destroyed by a sandstorm that lasted an entire year (note that this did not occur in Real Life).
  • Pinball Protagonist: Indy. It's been repeatedly pointed out that, aside from Marion being dead, the film probably would have had exactly the same ending if he hadn't gotten involved, if not better. Belloq would never have had a chance to open the Ark himself on the island, and the Ark would have been flown straight to Berlin on the flying wing like they originally planned. Once there, it would have been opened in the presence of the German leaders, including Hitler. Cue face-melting... Though it depends on how much longer it would have taken to locate Marion without Indy's interference (very possibly years), or whether Marion would have told Toht, under torture, where the actual headpiece to the Staff of Ra was. Without it, or with the incomplete one they actually ended up with, the Nazis would never have found the Ark's proper resting place, period. Indy's involvement may have been necessary to destroy any of the bad guys at all.
    • Word of God disputes this: Lucas and Spielberg maintain that if Indy had not shown up on the island when he did, Belloq would have just handed the Ark over to Hitler, who had enough sense not to open it. Rene was ultimately undone by his need to have complete victory over his rival.
  • Psycho for Hire: Major Toht.
  • Punch Clock Hero/Punch Clock Villain: Although they both have their own agendas, Dr. Jones and Dr. Belloq are officially hired hands for someone in their quest for the Ark (Indy works for the U.S.A and Belloq for Germany).
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The giant German mechanic.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Top. Men." It's used to make it clear that who the top men are won't be revealed.
    • Blatant Lies: There are no "top men" studying the Ark; as the end credits roll, we can clearly see that it has been boxed up and stored in a huge warehouse.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Belloq talking to the Hovitos and the large German guard talking to the flying wing pilot.
  • Reasoning with God: Belloq tells Indy that the Ark is a 'transmitter' and a 'radio for speaking to God'; presumably his intense desire to open it before it reaches Hitler is so he can have his own personal tete-a-tete with the Almighty. He never considered the fact that God might not be so interested in hearing what's on his mind...
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Indy and Belloq, respectively.
  • Revealing Reflection: As Indy is driving the truck carrying the Lost Ark of the Covenant, he looks in his rear-view mirrors and sees German soldiers climbing along the outside of the truck toward the cab so they can attack him.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Happens near the finale where Indy threatens to destroy the Ark with a rocket launcher. When the video centers on Belloq, a fly can be seen crawling across his face. Credit to Paul Freeman for not breaking character.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Belloq reveals himself as throwing in his lot with the Nazis.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The given length of the staff of Ra (about five feet) indicates that Harrison Ford is 3-4 feet tall, seeing how the staff towers over him.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Played for Laughs. As Indy and Marion are on the ship out of Egypt, Indy is looking in one side of a double-sided mirror. Marion, looking in the other side, flips it around, banging Indy hard in the face. Cut to an exterior shot of the ship with Indy's scream of pain audible.
    Marion: What'd you say?
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Of all the Nazis who end up victim of God's vengeance, Toht, the Cold Blooded Torturer screams in a very high pitch and in a very female tone.
    • He did the same when he tried to steal the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra. Poor little sadist, can't stand a little pain himself.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The German plane mechanic knocked out by Indy during the tarmac brawl. After waking up to spilling oil around the plane, the injured technician immediately books it with plenty of time left to avoid the inevitable explosions.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Belloq seals Indy and Marion in the snake-filled Well of Souls.
  • Second Face Smoke: Marion does this to Toht. Bad idea.
  • Secret Government Warehouse: Seen at the end of the movie.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Oh boy does the pilot of the flying wing have it. He fails to notice Indy sneaking around his plane, doesn't hear the first mechanic first challenging Indy or the sounds of the two of them fighting, (a fight which includes the mechanic's wrench hitting the plane, the head of the wrench being cut off by the plane's propeller, and the mechanic being knocked out due in part to getting his head bounced off the plane) but the instant the second mechanic (the Giant Mook) calls out to Indy, the pilot whips around in surprise to see what's going on. See for yourself.
  • Shadow Archetype: Belloq. He even gives Indy a minor Hannibal Lecture in the middle of a crowded bar. Doubles as a Smug Snake.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Indy and the Nazis' fighting over the Ark of the Covenant is rendered moot when the wrath of God completely wipes the latter out once they finally open it, and then the Ark ends up 'buried' once again, this time hidden in a massive warehouse as a victim of indifferent government bureaucracy.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Indy shoots out the lock on the flying wings' cockpit so Marion can escape.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slasher Smile: A rare heroic version of this occurs when Indy uncovers the Well of Souls, though it's intended to prove Belloq's comments about the two men's similarities.
  • Smug Smiler: Toht, even when Dr. Jones threatens to destroy the Ark with a panzerfaust (the German army's bazooka equivalent).
  • Smug Snake: Belloq. The man's first line is the infamous statement, "Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away."
  • Spider Swarm: As Indy and Satipo are exploring the South American temple, Satipo's back becomes covered with tarantulas, which Indy brushes off. Tarantulas are usually solitary.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title: Raiders of the Lost Ark was renamed to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Stab the Salad: Toht and the coat hanger. He brings out what looks like a flail of some kind — several lengths of wood or metal joined by short pieces of chain — and allows the tension to build up before folding it into a coathook for the Nazi general to hang his jacket on.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: A minor case, but that flying wing was definitely not in the arsenal of the Luftwaffe at any point in history.
  • Sundial Waypoint: The purpose of the Map Room scene is to make use of this trope.
  • Surprise Creepy: The film had several suspenseful scenes, and a few bloody deaths, but the ark ghosts that appeared and the massacre of Nazis took that up to eleven with its dark and gory imagery.
  • Swallowed a Fly: In the last few minutes of the film, Belloq is clearly seen to have a fly crawling across his face and into his mouth.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: One villain attempts to poison Indy with some substance poured on dates.
  • Tap on the Head: Marion does it three times, including using airplane wheel chocks, a frying pan and some generic metal tins, and Indy does it twice.
  • Tempting Fate: Shortly after recovering the Ark from the Wells of Souls, Colonel Dietrich is seen drinking and offers Belloq a drink, toasting to "Our success in the desert", not knowing that at that very moment Indy is in the middle of trying to spoil their success by hijacking the plane to be used to fly the Ark out. Belloq, for his part, refuses to tempt fate and says that he'll only drink to success "When we are very far from here."
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Usually plays when Indy does something awesome, such as the part where he swings to safety from the angry natives or where he successfully knocks down the statue in the Well of Souls.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Indy has this reaction when he turns and sees the Giant Mook who's challenging him to a fight.
  • Timmy in a Well: A German agent in Cairo who wears an eye patch and has a pet monkey. The monkey sees an escaping Marion trying to hide in a basket, jumps on the basket and screeches, calling the German agents to capture her. Also, at one point it gives a Nazi salute.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Satipo (Alfred Molina), Indy's South American traitorous guide at the beginning. He just forgot about the trap Indy discovered moments earlier.
    • The Nazis make sure not to touch the Ark and even wear the appropriate ceremonial outfit, but apparently missed that the same passages these precautions come from explicitly say that if you look into it you will die. Then they forget the passages that say not to touch the Ark when they touch the Ark by removing the lid to open it.
  • Toplessness from the Back: What the audience sees in Belloq's mirror in Marion's changing in the tent sequence.
  • Tribal Face Paint: The Hovitos Indians at the beginning of the movie.
  • Underside Ride: During the truck chase, Indy gets thrown out of the windshield of his truck. He manages to grab onto the grille, but the driver attempts to crush him using the car ahead. To avoid this, Indy hangs on to the bottom of the truck, lets himself down to the back, and climbs back on.
  • Vapor Trail: Happens by accident during the scene with the flying wing due to a series of minor "oops"es. Marion unchocks the wheel of the flying wing to use the chocks as a weapon against a Mook, and the plane starts to turn in place and its wingtip punctures a fuel truck. Next, Marion uses the plane's machine gun turret to keep Nazi reinforcements at bay and stuff catches fire. The fuel pouring out of the truck eventually reaches the blaze, Indy rescues Marion and they run for cover, and then the whole airstrip explodes.
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: Marion steps behind a screen to change into the dress provided by Belloq but he (and he audience) just happens to have a mirror that reveals her behind it.
  • Weapon Twirling: The infamous scene where a swordsman shows off and Indy just shoots him.
  • We Have Reserves: During the Nepal bar brawl, Indy is struggling against one of Toht's burly mooks. Toht, however, tells one of his other mooks to "Shoot them. Shoot them both.". This has the hilarious effect of making both Indy and the big mook stop to shoot the other mook.
  • Weight and Switch: The Trope Maker, and it notably fails.
  • Wham Shot: While the Ark sits inside a Nazi crate during transport a lingering shot of the crate's exterior shows the swastika gracing it slowly burn off. This is the first unambiguously supernatural occurrence in the film, and doubles as foreshadowing for what the Nazis have in store when they decide to open the Ark.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the German agent with the eye patch poisons the dates he completely disappears. He isn't even shown mourning his monkey, who was accidentally killed by eating the dates.
    • One has to assume the whole crew of the U-boat and the entire staff of the base were present for the Ark's opening, as unlikely as that seems. Otherwise, this trope complicates Indy and Marion's escape from the island with the Ark.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Trope Namer.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Indy's famous Combat Pragmatist scene. Ford was among the people on set suffering from dysentery, and wasn't feeling up to doing a big fight.
  • Wicked Cultured: Belloq is a brilliant archaeologist, fluent in many languages, and enjoys fine wine and food.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Twice. First by the Nazi who falls out of the back of the truck and puts his head through Gobler's windshield, and again by a different Nazi when falling off the side of the speeding truck.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Indiana Jones has nothing to do with the defeat of the Nazis at the end of the movie. He and Marion just shut their eyes and the Nazis are destroyed by the sight of the power of God when they open the Ark. It is one of the most literal examples of Deus ex Machina since the middle ages, and a completely justified one.
  • The X of Y: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Your Head A-Splode: Belloq, at the end of the film.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/RaidersoftheLostArk