Thrilling exploits of archaeologist Indiana Jones and a race with those nasty Nazis to obtain the Ark of the Covenant. Magnificent!
Easily the best adventure film ever made, a rollicking ride with subtle subtext, namely a roguish materialist learning some humility when faced with the infinite. Too bad the later films didn't develop his character, and Indy devolved into the "shadowy reflection" Belloq perceived him to be. Still great, though, and one of the most perfect endings ever.
So many people love to point out anachronisms with this film, when it's so obvious it is set in some alternate reality, where the Nazis were able to dig in British-controlled Egypt with impunity, and Pan Am bought Shorts Solents instead of Boeing. I almost wonder if Indy crossed paths with a boyish Belgian reporter at some point. . . And has anyone noticed that the German secret U-boat base is probably meant to be Navarone?
Note: Three roles are prominently listed in the credits, but nearly (or wholly) invisible onscreen:
Omar, played by Ishaq Bux. This was Sallah's brother-in-law, who owned the garage where they hide the Ark. He can briefly be seen at the Well of the Souls site, but most of his role must have been cut.
Otto, played by Christopher Frederick. This is the soldier guarding Marion in the tent. He can be seen in the background, but again, his lines must have been cut.
Young Soldier, played by Martin Kreidt. There was a scene filmed where Sallah was supposed to be executed by a young German soldier who loses his nerve. The scene was completely cut (don't show humanity in a bunch of faceless Nazis, of course), but it obviously was an influence on a similar scene in Schindler's List.
Also cut was a scene with archaeology student Susan Ryan (played by Pola Churchill), whom Indy was seducing. I wonder if she is the unknown girl with "Love You" on her eyelids?*
All character names come from canon sources, so no complaining!
*No, Pola is in the corridor.