Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Perseverance, teamwork, courage, integrity, and trying to do the right thing are ultimately rewarded, although some of Indy's methods are iffy. Standing up to bullying forces (in this case, the Nazi party) is a strong theme.
Positive Role Models
Indy is brave, resourceful, loyal, and smart, and he's dedicated to preserving historical artifacts. But his methods are sometimes violent and paternalistic. Marion is a strong, independent woman who takes matters into her own hands.
People of color are portrayed as barbaric and violent. Although Marion is strong and smart, Indy usually sees her as a damsel in distress.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent peril and lots of hand-to-hand battles (fists, swords, whips) and plenty of guns, including one point-blank shooting. Frightening/gross close-ups of melting faces and vengeful ghosts. A man's head hits a propeller -- blood splatters. Indy and Marion are lowered into a pit of poisonous snakes; there's also a close encounter with some very large spiders. A bar fire leads to a man's hand being badly burned/scarred. When Marion is held captive, she's forced to dress up for her captor so he can admire her (she changes behind a screen as he waits/watches).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and flirting. Implied sex between Indy and Marion; he's shown shirtless and getting out of bed.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language includes one "s--t," plus "goddamn," "hell," "bastard," "damn," and "oh my God."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Nothing in the movie, but there's plenty of Indy merchandise available.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Marion wins a drinking contest by pounding down more alcohol than the men around her. Other scenes also show wine/spirits drinking, including one in which Marion pretends to get drunk.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is a rip-roaring adventure with lots of hand-to-hand battles (fists, swords, whips) and plenty of guns. There's not too much blood and gore (though many young children are likely to be scared by a climactic face-melting scene, as well as one in which a man is killed when his head hits a plane propeller), but it's still way up there in the body count department. Much of the thrill of this beloved movie is in the fright factor, so cadavers, snakes, spiders, and villains (mostly Nazis and Nazi sympathizers) also abound. Characters demonstrate perseverance, teamwork, courage, and integrity, although the film is insensitive toward people of color who are shown as being violent, uneducated, and barbaric. A couple of scenes feature drinking, including one in which a main character knocks back a dangerous amount of alcohol to win a contest. And there's a bit of language, including one "s--t." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Best Action Movies for Kids
Excellent Adventure Movies for Family Fun
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate