Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark parents guide

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Parent Guide

Overall C+

The Nazi forces are searching for the ancient Hebrew Ark of the Covenant, believing it will ensure their army's supremacy. Under the commission of the US government, Professor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) trades chalkboard and classroom for fedora and bullwhip in a race to try and find the artifact first.

Release date June 11, 1981

Violence C-
Sexual Content B
Profanity C+
Substance Use C-

Why is Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark rated PG? The MPAA rated Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark PG

Run Time: 115 minutes

Parent Movie Review

I can still distinctly recall the night I went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark at a theater in downtown Vancouver, Canada. Meeting up with a group of friends, who had brought other friends, I was shuffled to a seat beside a good-looking young stranger, whose name and face completely escape me now. All I know for sure is, he was really afraid of snakes—a phobia that became increasingly more obvious as the movie progressed. Looking back with nostalgic good humor on that long past evening, I decided to share with my family what has since become a classic in the action/adventure genre.

I must have been crazy. Even taking my old age into account, how could I have possibly forgotten how much violence this film contained?

In all honesty, I did remember the plot was pretty intense, so I choose to sit beside my nine-year-old in case she became frightened. She managed to stay composed through the dark and scary jungle scenes (underscored by sinister music), bats, tarantulas, dialogue referring to dangerous tribal people who use poisonous darts, a mutinous plot foiled when a gunman is disarmed by a whip, and even the suspense of entering a cobwebby cave no one has been known to return from. But after the impaled, part skeletal - part rotting-flesh (with dangling eyeballs) bodily remains of an unwitting, previous visitor jumped out of the screen at her, she started to express serious reservations about our entertainment choice. Too bad we were only ten minutes into story.

To keep the peace with her older siblings, my daughter endured to the point where a tough-talking, though vulnerable woman (played by Karen Allen), is threatened by a Nazi Gestapo agent intent on acquiring an ancient artifact she has in her possession. Interrupted from his evil designs by Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford, of course), a bar brawl breaks out between the heroes, the diabolical Germans, and some expendable locals. About then I heard a whisper, “Mommy, I don’t think I want to see any more people killed tonight.”

Who can argue with the innocent, yet profound observations of a child? While she wandered off to amuse herself with more benign pastimes, I watched the rest of the movie with a greater parental sensitivity.

No one can dispute the icon status this George Lucas/Steven Spielberg production has achieved. Spawning two sequels, mimicked by many following filmmakers, and turning its leading man into a household name, Raiders of the Lost Ark features an exhilarating mix of edge-of-your-seat adventure, funny moments, Biblical themes, and science fiction fantasy.

However, it also includes profanities, main characters smoking and getting drunk, a supporting actress in skimpy attire (and primitive natives wearing even less), an implied sexual relationship, as well as lots of violent action. Besides the aforementioned snakes and things that go bump in the jungle, the high body count accumulates thanks to death by guns, arrows, swords, motor vehicles, airplane propellers, and supernatural powers. Blood spattering, decaying corpses, and melting faces accompany some of these depictions.

Given a PG rating by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), in the days before the Association introduced the PG-13 category, parents suffering memory lapses like myself may get a bit more bang for their DVD buck than they bargained for. Even my older children claimed to be traumatized, although I suspect part of their motivation was my offer of the master bedroom floor to anyone afraid of nightmares. (Any excuse for a family sleep-out will do!)

So why did I enjoy this movie so much twenty years ago? It couldn’t have been the characters’ redeeming qualities, because these rogues steal from tombs for profit. Nor was it the good versus evil theme, because the opposing sides in this flick are really just different shades of gray. So it must have been the spectacular stunts strung together to form the plot, which moves from one cliffhanger to the next as triumphantly as the theme music. By the time the closing credits roll, this captivating raider has robbed all reason, and you’re apt only to remember the fun, frolicking, theme-park-ride feeling the film creates.

If you find yourself tempted to peek at the contents of this lost ark (as did many of the characters in the story) just for its entertainment value…. don’t say we didn’t warn you and your family.

Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release June 11, 1981. Updated

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Parents' Guide

The premise for this movie centers on the Ark of the Covenant, built by Moses and the Children of Israel after they left Egypt. Because you can’t believe everything you read in a script, be sure to look up the account found in the Bible. It includes a description of the gold-covered chest, what it carried, and some of the extraordinary incidents it was involved in.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie is October 21, 2003. Here are some details…

Blu-ray Notes: Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Release Date: 17 December 2013

Paramount Pictures has announced a Blu-ray release of each of the four movies in the Indian Jones Franchise. Sold individually, these tiles include:

Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Bluu-ray Notes: Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures

Release Date: September 18, 2012

Paramount is releasing all four of the movies in the franchise about the great cinematic archeologist and packaging them into one 5- disc Blu-ray set called Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures.

Available in a 4-disc set, The Adventures of Indiana Jones includes all three movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark / The Temple of Doom / The Last Crusade), digitally restored and remastered—so you wont miss any of the gory details. Other bonus materials provided are; a making-of documentary, featurettes about the stunts, sound, music and “lights and magic” of the trilogy, as well as original theatrical trailers. You can also go online with an exclusive weblink for more behind the scenes pictures and promotions. The audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1) Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), with English, Spanish and French subtitles.

May 13, 2008: In anticipation of the 2008 release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Paramount Home Entertainment is re-releasing to DVD the Indiana Jones series (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade)

Related home video titles:

The creative talents of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have been behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, such as Star Wars and E. T. The Extra Terrestrial. For an adventure tale with less violent action (that pays homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark), check out National Treasure.

Check out our other reviews of the Indian Jones franchise, which includes: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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