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Raiders of the Lost Ark (also known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) is a 1981 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford. It is the first film in the Indiana Jones franchise, and pits Indiana Jones (Ford) against the Nazis, who search for the Ark of the Covenant, in an attempt to make their army invincible. The film co-starred Karen Allen as Indiana's former lover, Marion Ravenwood; Paul Freeman as Indiana's nemesis, French archaeologist René Belloq; John Rhys-Davies as Indiana's sidekick, Sallah; and Denholm Elliott as Indiana's colleague, Marcus Brody.
The film originated with Lucas' desire to create a modern version of the serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Production was based at Elstree Studios, England, and filming also took place in La Rochelle, Tunisia, Hawaii, and California from June to September 1980.
Released on June 12, 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark became the top-grossing film of 1981; it remains one of the highest-grossing films ever made. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards in 1982, including Best Picture, and won four (Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound, Visual Effects) as well as winning a fifth Special Achievement Academy Award in Sound Effects Editing. The film's critical and popular success led to three additional films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and ...