Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The first film in the legendary Indiana Jones trilogy, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) is the perfect example of a 1980s blockbuster. Alone, Raiders grossed over $786.6 million worldwide (unadjusted for ticket price inflation) making it the most successful film of the franchise. By the end of the 80s, Indy and his pals' adventures had earned over $1.6 billion worldwide. Without a doubt, the studios could see how successful blockbusters like these could be both domestically and internationally. The success from Raiders saw the rise of the blockbuster film throughout American cinema that can still be seen today with films like the Transformers, Twilight, and Hunger Games series (despite their quality, or lack thereof).
Fun Fact: In one of the most popular gags of the Indiana Jones trilogy, Indy is engaged in a chase scene in which he comes upon a villian who is dramatically wielding a scimitar. In the script, Indy was supposed to defeat this man in an action-packed sword fight. However, because Harrison Ford and much of the crew were suffering from dysentery, he could not engage in the lengthy, sword/whip choreography that had been planned. So, Ford suggested that he "just shoot the f**er", and Steven Spielberg agreed. See clip below: