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Parents' Guide to

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

By Randy White, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Indy's first raucous adventure has peril, stereotypes.

Movie PG 1981 115 minutes
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 93 parent reviews

age 7+

Good Masculine Role Model for Young Boys

This is a great American movie that provides young boys with a role model who is strong, courageous, intelligent and adventurous. It is hard to find movies and TV shows today where men are valiant and masculine. My two sons loved this movie. It also led to some great historical and geographical discussions; and also ones regarding the Ark of the Covenant and the 10 Commandments. I did have them close their eyes at the end right before the main antagonists had their heads melted / imploded, but they watched everything else and even applauded at the end.
age 7+

High adventure, but some violence and cartoony gore.

Every parent has to make their own judgement call, but I knew my son (6) would love this movie and he did. The only part I was concerned about him seeing was the end sequence, but he wasn't phased at all. I imagine this would be intense for some children of his same age. These is some gore - primarily around the opening scene and the ending (in 2022 this looks pretty silly effects wise). Otherwise, some blood from fist fights. Some gun shooting and quite a fair bit of peril. There is drinking, smoking and a suggested sex scene (the camera cuts away before anything happens). There are some slower parts that might see children's attention wander, but one of the reasons I like to show my son movies from earlier periods is the slower pacing.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (93 ):
Kids say (245 ):

When director Steven Spielberg and writer-producer George Lucas set out to re-create the serial adventure movie of the 1940s, they forged a masterwork. The key to the success of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is Ford's Indiana Jones, the archaeology professor and grand adventurer who seems perfectly at home as both a mild-mannered Clark Kent type -- right down to the glasses -- and a larger-than-life hero. Ford played a similar character in the Star Wars series, but here he's front and center. With Raiders, Ford established himself as one of the greatest action-adventure heroes of all time.

Despite the movie's quality, it's fun to note the small continuity and effects errors. If you go back to the film, you and your kids can make a game of picking out where even the best filmmakers make little mistakes. But it will be important to discuss how, despite its entertainment value, the film has aged poorly in terms of how it depicts people of color, most of whom are shown as violent and barbaric.

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