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(1981), PG [Hard 13-PG*] (1hr 52min)
With Comparative to Crystal Skull

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
May 24, 2008
May 30, 2008

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(1981), PG [Hard 13-PG*] ... has some bad apples in its PG barrel ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Lucasfilm, Paramount Pictures
Distribution (US): Paramount Home Video
Director(s): Steven Spielberg
Producer(s): Howard G. Kazanjian, George Lucas, Frank Marshall, Robert Watts
Written by: George Lucas, Philip Kaufman
Screenplay: Lawrence Kasdan
Cinematography/Camera: Douglas Slocombe
Music: John Williams
Film Editing: George Lucas, Michael Kahn
Casting: Jane Feinberg, Mike Fenton, Mary Selway
Production Design: Norman Reynolds
Art Direction: Leslie Dilley
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

The cinematic adventure masterpiece, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) provides a great opportunity to delve a little into the scoring structure of the CAP analysis model to help bring out the glitter of how useful and revealing the CAP analysis model is for parents, grandparents, pastors, youth leaders and more.

Raiders was released long before the CAP analysis model was engineered (1995). No matter. The model works like a champ on any film (indeed, any communication medium) of any age and I'd like to go into that a little. So, please be patient with and, to be politically correct I'll use "tolerant of", a little technical stuff. We'll get to the film discussion soon.

Raiders of 1981 has some bad apples in its PG barrel. It earned a final score of 55 making it equivalent to "the hardest of the hardcore" PG-13 films in the CAP comparative baseline database. The final score of 55 for this PG film is due mainly to excessive violence and drinking, drunkenness, smoking and guzzling contests.

The final score of 55 earned by the PG-rated Raiders places it:

  • at the very bottom of the CAP scoring range earned by PG-13 films (67 to 55 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database, making it a "hardcore" 13-PG*
  • one point above the top of the scoring range earned by R-rated films (54 and below out of 100), one point above the very rare R-PG*

    The discussion that follows centers around the scoring ranges earned by movies in the CAP analysis model's comparative baseline database of 39 randomly selected films. Films bearing the shown MPAA rating earned the indicated CAP scoring ranges consistently:

  • G-rated films earned final scores of 100 to 87
  • PG-rated films earned final scores of 86 to 68
  • PG-13 films earned final scores of 67 to 55
  • R-rated films earned final scores of 54 and below

    See CAP Methodology for more information. With this information in mind let us go to the issue.

    If, for example, all the drinking, smoking, drunkenness and guzzling contests in Raiders were left out the film would have earned a final score of 68, placing it at the very bottom of the scoring range earned by PG films (86 to 68 out of 100), a "hardcore" PG but PG nonetheless. The alcohol/tobacco-free final score of 68 would have made Raiders one point better than the final score of 67 for the 2008 PG-13 Crystal Skull. The final score of 67 for Crystal Skull placed it at the very top of the scoring range earned by PG-13 films (67 to 55 out of 100), making it equivalent to an "ultra-lite" PG-13. The final score of 67 for Crystal Skull also placed it at one point under the PG-equivalence range (86 to 68 out of 100). If all the alcohol/tobacco content was not in Raiders it would have been, for all practical purposes, equal to Crystal Skull. But unfortunately, with a final score of 55 Raiders falls at the very lowest PG-13-equivalent score possible, one point above the R-equivalent scoring range (54 and below out of 100). The PG Raiders is overall more invasive than the PG-13 Crystal Skull. Below is a scoring data comparative of the two films.

    Now to put a finer point on the issue. Compare the Drugs/Alcohol (D) investigation area score of Raiders with that of Crystal Skull. Raiders earned a 23 out of 100 while Crystal Skull earned an 81 out of 100 (the higher the score the less the drugs/alcohol content). The Drugs/Alcohol score of Raiders is equivalent to most R-rated films (54 and below out of 100) while the Crystal Skull Drugs/Alcohol score is one point out of 100 under the scores earned by most PG films (68 to 86 out of 100).

    Now that I have flooded you with all this technical mumbo jumbo I'll put it in plain talk: the alcohol/tobacco content is the biggest reason the content of the 1981 PG Raiders scored worse than the 2008 PG-13 Crystal Skull. But at least with all the technical stuff it might now be less likely that you will shrug off the CAP analyses or throw at me the "Gimmie a break! Raiders a hardcore 13-PG?" And you've gotten a CAP-101 understanding of the CAP analysis model. This is not some fly-by-night, nothing-else-better-to-do effort folks. Mathematics, statistical operations and His Word really do mix well. We take His Word seriously. We all will -- on the other side of our last breath. Whether we like it or not. Whether we believe it or not.

    I guess the 1981 MPAA did not consider the alcohol/tobacco content of Raiders to be a risk. Well? It was not until 2002, twenty-one years after Raiders that a study by the American College of Physicians found that drinking and smoking in and as entertainment emboldens adolescents to abuse these substances. How could the MPAA have known? Maybe by reading the Word? Maybe by using their brains? Maybe this CAP Ministry finding is reason enough for everyone to stop relying on the MPAA and rely on the CAP ministry services?

    My, how content tolerance of moral and ethical assaults changes over the years! Except, of course, with the CAP analysis model which is built by and on God's Word. Our investigation standards do not change and will not change unless God changes His Word. And I suspect a sub-freezing crystalline orb of dihydrogen monoxide has better chances of surviving a trip through the subterranean location of exceeding electromagnetic radiation in the thermal band than God changing His Word. But if and when He does change His Word we will change the CAP Ministry accordingly.

    I have not conducted analysis of Temple of Doom or Last Crusade yet but I am working on them to prepare a comparative of the four Indiana Jones films to see how, if at all, the above content aberration is present in the other two episodes.

    On to the story ...

    Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones (Harrison Ford), a.k.a "Indy", is a university professor of archaeology educated and trained by Dr. Abner Ravenwood (not seen). But Indy is also a puddle-jumper who locates and fetches rare antiquities from all over the world for the university museum. And he is good at it.

    Indy is first seen in 1936 trying to fetch a tiny golden statue from a dark cave in South America. While spiked steel bars, a collapsing floor, poison darts and other traps and dangers do not stop Indy the Hovitos, led by Frenchman Dr. Rene "Thee is nothing you can possess I cannot take away" Belloq (Paul freeman), do.

    Escaping the pursuit of a horde of bare posterior Hovitos, Indy returns to the university in America with a few trinkets of artifacts. Dr. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott), Dean of the university has news for Indy: that some U. S. Army Intelligence men want to see him. Indy's reputation has spread even to the government. The G-men want Jones to recover the long lost Ark of the Covenant that holds the pieces of the Ten Commandment tablets.

    Since the Ark has power to make invincible the army that carries it before them, Hitler has been snooping around for it. The Army G-men want Jones to locate and retrieve it before the Nazis. Well, now! Isn't that right up Indy's alley. Soon, Jones is on his way to the city of Tanis right around the corner from Cairo, Egypt but first stopping off in Nepal to visit Dr. Ravenwood.

    Dr. Ravenwood, Indy's teacher and trainer has been figuring prominently in secret German communiques. Why? Because Ravenwood had the head piece to the Staff of Ra: a tool that will reveal the location of the burial place of the Ark. When sunlight shines through the headpiece just right and at the right time of day its centerpiece jewel reveals the location of the Ark by casting a beam on the burial tomb in the map room.

    Arriving in Nepal Indy is told by Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), Dr. [Abner] Ravenwood's daughter, that "Abner is dead." With a little Jones charm Indy finds that Marion has the headpiece to the Staff of Ra but that she won't give it to him unless ...

    There is little use of going into any further detail about the Raiders of the Lost Ark story since just about everyone has already seen it. The main purpose of conducting CAP analysis of the Indiana Jones films before Crystal Skull is to build a comparative of the four films. However, the full weight of the CAP analysis model has been applied to Raiders so I will at least provide the findings. The findings are, as usual, briefly discussed in individual investigation area discussions below and fully in the Findings/Scoring section.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
    Enough violence content was found to drain all of the 100 starting points in this investigation area, just as with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And largely for the same reasons: decayed corpses; man killed by spike through head; action violence of varying intensities; gunfights with deaths; abductions; gunfire to kill; human incineration; more. [Prov. 16:29]

    Impudence/Hate (I)
    Raiders presented half as many uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary as Crystal Skull: only six. But by His Word that is six too many. Also as with Crystal Skull the most foul of the foul words was not noted, not even mouthed. [Prov. 22:11]

    Sexual Immorality (S)
    Raiders presented a full tribe of Hovitos running after Indy with their bare bottoms flopping in the breeze. Whether such nudity in endemic to a culture does not excuse it. "Nakedness" (display of nudity) is spoken of as dark, restricted, undesirable, shameful, etc. 47 times in the KJV from Genesis to Revelation.

    Implication of sexual violation of Marion "as a child" by Jones was noted. A transport ship captain suggested using Marion as flesh for sale "to reduce our losses." Marion strips to skin form the waist up to don a gown provided by a man though no gender-specific nudity is seen. She is also seen one morning obviously nude under a sheet after a night with Indy on a boat. [Eph 5:5]

    Drugs/Alcohol (D)
    This is where Crystal Skull shined brightly over Raiders. Raiders presented enough drinking, smoking, drunkenness and guzzling to lose 77 of the starting 100 points in this investigation area. Let me now offer to you more on the 2002 American College of Physicians (ACP) study referenced above.

    The study revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in and as entertainment leads to undeniable abuse of alcohol among kids. The study entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies.

    The researchers selected R-rated movies because they believed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. With Raiders (and other alcohol/smoking-intense movies classed less severe than R) this assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of "R-13" and "13-PG" proven by this ministry (see R-13 for more information) and four years after us by Harvard University scientists (see Harvard Agrees With Us). Irrespective of the MPAA classification, the focus of the study is the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification.

    Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2. Even the University of Connecticut corroborates our finding and that of the ACP. [Eph. 5:18]

    Offense to God (O)
    Occasionally, Jones and others would try to cast God's Word and faith in God into the fantasy realm such as "If you believe in that sort of thing." Like Raiders using the three/four letter word vocabulary half as many times as in Crystal Skull, Raiders used half as many uses of God's name in vain -- two times -- BUT one of the them with the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11]

    Toward the end when Belloq opens the Ark, spirits led by a female spirit come out and killed all the Germans. The Ark is a holy vessel. I doubt evil-looking spirits would come from it. Since there are no female angles in the Bible these entities were treated as counterfeits. Now is suspect a lot of kids will think the Ark to have evil spirits in it and that some angels are female. [1Cor. 8:9]

    Murder/Suicide (M)
    Most of the deaths in Raiders were defensive killings but one was murdered by the Hovitos with poisonous darts. No one committed suicide.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence, no matter how "small" it might seem, and its effect on an observer. "A violent man" can be a man, woman OR the men/women/characters demonstrating the violent behavior/action on the screen. Knowing of Prov. 16:29 you now know why violence, especially in and as entertainment, can embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV. And see 1 Cor. 15:33 below.]
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. ["Unclean" is akathartos: in a moral sense, unclean in thought and life which includes sexually immoral behaviors. God's Word about sexually immoral behaviors might be summed up as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is "unclean." That society sees it differently does not change His Word. And note that it is His Word, not mine. I just repeat Him. So, don't "shoot" the messenger.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.]
  • 1Cor. 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. [This verse speaks directly to the influence of sinful example causing others to sin, just like the entertainment industry does with their demonstrations of sin in and as entertainment.]
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [any session or assembly or people deliberating or adjudicating]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • attempted murder by gunfire, frequent, including by machine guns
  • decayed corpse impaled through the head with a spike
  • man killed by spike through head (impalement seen)
  • control by threat with bows and arrows
  • order to kill
  • attempted murder by poison dart
  • pursuit to kill
  • hit to the face
  • abduction, twice
  • threat to kill with hot poker
  • gunfight with deaths
  • sword killing
  • attack by many
  • knife threat
  • defensive killings by gunfire, repeatedly
  • unlawful restraint
  • scary images, repeatedly, such as snake crawling out of the mouth of a decayed body
  • attempted murder of two by entombment
  • decayed human remains, multiple
  • fighting, repeatedly
  • action violence of varying intensities, repeatedly
  • death by plane propeller (unseen)
  • gunfire to intimidate
  • deaths by fall
  • death by being run over by a personnel transport carrier
  • slapstick violence
  • the use of firearms to control
  • human incineration
  • human flesh melting

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 6 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • deceit
  • irresponsible handling of a firearm
  • lie to protect

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • multiple rear male nudity
  • implication of immoral sex
  • peddling flesh (to reduce losses)
  • rear upper female nudity (gender-specifics unseen) as the result of stripping to change clothing
  • attention to crotch - male
  • nude woman under sheet after spending the night with a man aboard ship

    Drugs/Alcohol (D)
  • booze, three times
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • guzzling in contest, twice
  • drunkenness to unconsciousness
  • bar
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking to drunkenness to drown sorrows
  • attempted murder by poison
  • drinking contest to drunkenness
  • offer of booze

    Offense to God (O)
  • cavalier attitude about God's Word, as if it is fantasy
  • evil spirits from the Ark, a holy vessel
  • many deaths by evil spirits
  • "Fools!" [Matt. 5:22]

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • man killed by poisonous darts

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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