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It is a hot sunny day in South America. We see a bunch of men, shot
mostly from the back. They are walking deep into the forest. We see a
tall dark figure. He is wearing an old leather jacket, he has the 5
o'clock shadow looking like it's closer to midnight, he wears a fedora
and he carries a bull-whip ( yes a bull-whip ). Finally, two of the men
enter a cave and we hear about some guy named Forstall, who was good,
very, very good, but he never came out of the place alive. But they
enter anyway. They are confronted with tarantulas, spears that are
triggered by blocking out the light, a pit that they must swing over
and then more tiny poisonous darts that come out of the wall. All this
to protect an ancient gold statue. They recover it. One guy dies and
the other barely makes it out of the room before it all falls on him.
Then he has to get out of the cave and a giant boulder chases him.
Finally he makes it out of the cave only to be surrounded by Hovitos
and his arch enemy named Belloq. He takes the gold statue that this guy
worked so hard for and then the guy runs and makes it to the plane
where he is in the passenger seat and there is big snake in the plane.
He hates snakes. This mans name? Indiana Jones!
Whhhoooooo!! I'm left breathless just describing that opening. But is there a better beginning of a movie ever? Absolutely not. Does the beginning have anything to do with the rest of the film. No. It is all decoration for what the movie is going to put you through in the 90 minutes to come.
Indiana Jones is the best character to ever hit the screens. And he better be. He is created by George, Steven and played by Harrison Ford. That may seem normal now that we have lived with him for 20 years, but can you imagine what that must have been like back in 1981. That would be like Tom Hanks or Will Smith joining forces with James Cameron and Steven Spielberg for a completely original idea in today's terms.
Raiders took a simple idea and maybe an idea that the guys had from watching Saturday afternoon movies and made it larger than life. This film never stops for you to take your breath. It is filled with rich characters from Indy himself to Marion to Belloq and even to Marcus Brody. Each has their own personality that shines through in certain scenes. Some of my faves were when we first meet Marion having a shot contest in her bar in Nepal. Then there is her scene with Belloq and they get drunk together and she tries to leave using only a butter knife. And of course who can forget Indy's battle with the swordsman and his unrivaled determination to get the ark. " Indy, there is not time. If you still want the truck it is being loaded on a truck for Cairo. " ( a battered and bloody Indy ) " Truck? What truck?" ( and then later ) "Get some transport back to England, boat, plane, anything. Meet me at Omar's. I'm going after that truck. "
Sola ) " How? " ( Indy ) I don't know I'm making this up as I go."
Raiders has more energy than three action films. And that is what makes it the classic that it is. If you like movies, then Raiders is a movie that will not let you down. It is pure entertainment and that is indisputable. It finds the youngster in all of us and bombards us with this silly, whip-cracking, average, incredibly determined archaeologist and only asks us to have fun. And that we do. And to me, the only reason that Chariots of Fire won best picture that year is because it is a serious film. Raiders was heads and shoulders above Chariots and it should have cleaned up at the Oscars in 81. But more politics with the academy.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is the epitome of entertainment. What more can be said about it. If you haven't seen this movie in a while or if you haven't seen it at all ( gasp ) then do yourself a favour and rent it tonight. It is awesome.
If you've seen this movie and heard the score, then my one line summary
won't read like a mating call for sheep, but rather the absolutely
exhilarating "Raider's March" which stirs my blood and makes me think of an
unforgettable hero, Indiana Jones. If not, see it now.
I love going to movies. I always have. I remember when this film came out. My friends had seen it before I had. They boasted it was great, the best film ever. Some even said it was better than Star Wars (utter blasphemy to a devout 10 year old Jedi-wannabe). I thought no way is this film better than Star Wars, but I was still curious and began the begging of my father to take me.
When I was young, almost all of the films that I had seen, I saw with my Dad. He would take me and my mother would stay at home with my siblings. We saw a number of films that failed to generate a reaction with him as they did with me, but this one was different. This one, my Dad might've enjoyed just as much.
Who can forget the scene where Indy faces bandits in the marketplace, fighting swords with his wits and fists, only to be finally challenged by a dark robed adversary brandishing a heavy, dismembering type of sabre as he swings the impressive blade about his head menacingly?
Indiana looks his opponent up and down briefly and draws his pistol casually and shoots the villain dead as if his patience had been tested a moment longer than he could tolerate.
My father, and the entire audience for that matter, laughed and cheered at this incredible scene. And it was the first time I'd actually been aware of his enjoyment of the film. Usually I'm so transfixed that I wouldn't notice if my legs were on fire. He enjoyed it so much, that he still tends to bring up that scene, even today.
My father and I shared a great moment in movie history, and I will never forget it for as long as I live. I will always be grateful for the time we spent together and the films that I otherwise would have been unable to see without him taking me.
Just a side note about the scene I've described above. It wasn't meant to go that way at all. As Steven Spielberg explained in a television interview, the scene was meant to have an elaborate fight sequence, but Harrison Ford was suffering from diarrhea and couldn't go through with the elaborate set-up required. Someone said, "the only way we can finish this scene today is if he shoots him". Steven said, "Wait a minute, we might have something there."
As for where it ranks with Star Wars, it's hard for me to say, so I won't. Star Wars was the first film I ever saw, and there's a story in that as well. Thanks again, Dad.
Nowadays we keep forgetting how beautiful blockbusters can be. Too much
CGI makes everything possible and therefore very often also arbitrary.
In Raiders you actually seem to feel the physical pain some of the
actors/stuntmen had to go through to provide 2 hours of pure
Of course the story isn't waterproof, the Nazi weren't that present in Egypt in 1936 and how did Indy survive that ride on the submarine again? But lots of good and variable action scenes are accompanied by a story that develops fast and excitingly and is always close to being implausible but luckily never is.
Spielberg, Lucas and most of all Harrison Ford created a hero that is nowadays iconic. With their attempt to make an homage to adventure comics of the 1930's they created their own legend.
It's funny, exiting, thrilling and romantic. What more can you ask for?
I remember seeing this movie when I was young, and it may well have
been in the cinema with my Father, I can't quite remember (if he does,
then please post the answer), anyway I do remember seeing it and being
thoroughly entertained and that feeling of excitement and total fun
staying with me to this very day as that is the feeling that the movie
conjures up whenever I think of it.
I think a part of that is down to the fact it's a complete retake on the old serial movies combined with obvious comic book style, and that is just perfect for kids and appeals to them no end, or rather it did then! So it was with excitement that I opened my presents on my birthday and found the boxset for the Indiana Jones Trilogy, and with even more excitement when I finally watched the first in the trilogy, Raiders of the lost Ark.
It was just as I remembered, fun, excitement, wise cracks, a tiny splattering of romance but with a manliness that kids would allow, and lots of stunts and action. It's a superb movie and captures that style of serials, adventure stories and comic books perfectly, how I know that for sure is only through repeats since I wasn't alive during those times.
The set pieces are fantastic, and although some of the wilder end sequences are slightly dated now, it hasn't lost the excitement factor. It's a perfectly crafted movie as well, moving from location to location without any distraction or superfluous scenes, it just feels like it's all there for a reason and that it belongs there.
Harrison Ford is excellent in the role, and I'm inclined to think he was more Indy than he was Solo, but that's a personal opinion. He has many more facial movements and voice inclinations in this early movie than he does nowadays, now he belongs to the moody, quiet school of acting, then he was dynamic, adventurous, strong and as wisecracking as the best of them.
There are some excellent movie making moments in this with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg showing talent galore just oozing out of every pore (where did all that go for Star Wars I to III Mr Lucas?), and they end up making an excellently entertaining movie.
Some could argue that there could be a bit more depth or seriousness to the story, but come on, it's a ripping adventure yarn, you don't need depth. Saving the Ark from the Nazi's, surely that's enough! An excellent movie and great fun too, without a doubt one of my favourite of all time.
I've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark numerous times on TV, DVD and big
screen. My local theatre had a special showing last night and the
400-seat screen completely sold out (as Indy films always do). Luckily
for me and my pal, we got the last 2 tickets available! I can't think
of many films that still sell-out 25 years after their original
release. There's just something about Indy movies(iconic hero,
affection, epic spectacle) that brings you back again and again.
The only trouble with that is there are zillions of reviews, critiques and dissections of this movie already out there, so what I have to offer will probably not be anything new. I will however not go the way of the cliché and mention 1930's serials, Tom Selleck or the sword/gun fight.
I will, however, ask you one question. Did you know that some of the more iconic, memorable sequences from Raiders owe quite a lot to Duck Tales? What? Surely it's the other way around? Well, no. The globe-trotting adventures of Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Duey, Luey and Donald in Carl Bank's Disney comic-books from the 50s came first. If you can find some of these then you'll surely notice the similarities.
The hunt for the Ark of the Covenant is more than just an excuse for action. So many movies these days seem to come up with action first and string them together with some lame plot. Movies like this are quickly forgotten and one of the reasons Raiders holds up so well is because it works the Covenant story so well into the plot.
The action comes in a succession of set-pieces. I do enjoy films that have to increasingly better themselves in every scene. Raiders introduced this as a standard that the sequels had to live up to. My fave scene has to be the massive truck chase through Egypt, which is made up of many of its own smaller sequences. One little idiosyncrasy I like about Indy is that even though he's a College Professor and Doctor, he has no beef killing people. So very far from the ubiquitous PC heroes of todays movies.
You might think that it's rather geeky to hype up the editing and sound design, but they do stand out from recent action movies. The gunfire and punching seem to have a sort of 'Indy' signature sound to them, that I've not heard in any other films. And obviously, John William's classic score is one of those themes that just everybody in the world knows (though I prefer his score to Temple of Doom), truly one of the best movie themes ever. Better than Star Wars!
I'm not sure if Spielberg planned on Raiders starting the Indy franchise but there's already enough in here to establish a whole universe of potential stories and character arcs. There's talk of a fourth movie at the moment, but I personally don't think it will happen and I don't want it to. It's perfect existing as a trilogy and a sequel that comes traipsing in 18 years after the last is just not going to feel right. Even if you are hungry for more Indy then there are loads of books and video games out there and then there's the Young Indiana Jones TV show (where are the DVDs?), which are official Indy canon and even starred Ford once (they bounced around in time).
I am giving Raiders 9/10 because I just have a soft spot for Temple of Doom (which is obviously a 10/10 movie). Even 25 years after it first came out it still has the power to captivate the audience and provoke sheer excitement every time. And in 25 years it will still be far superior to almost everything.
Now there's something you cannot say about The Fast and the Furious! Sigh, where did all the special movies go?
There are few movies I can watch over and over again, but this is one of them. This movie has it all: action, romance, comedy, and suspense. Harrison Ford is at his best as Dr. Jones, one of the most exciting archeologist ever. From the start to the end you are hooked to this movie. I love the opening when he as to dodge traps as he tries to get this treasure, I love it when he is running through the streets trying to save the girl, I just love every bit of it. Spielburg said he wanted a b-type movie like he remembered from his youth, but this far surpasses any b movie and any a movie as far as I am concerned.
There are only so many films in history that I can watch again and
again, gaining new appreciation for, one of them is this film. I went
from the movies to VHS, and finally to DVD. The availability and
quality of this film keep raising the bar of what I can get from it.
I read someone posted that this is the king of B movies or something of that sort, while I honestly think in some scenes like when Indy is running from the Hovitos and he rises over the hill, the film had a really strange documentary feeling, like if a comic actually came to life and like in the Twilight Zone, you were stuck in it. It is great to see this film, now that I edit and produce small independent films, and have worked in post production in Los Angeles. I honestly think almost every scene in this film is better than what's coming out today in sci-fi/adventure. I might pull back that comment in regards to some nice visuals in Riddick, and maybe the new Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but I'm not certain.
The amount of time and effort put into the comedy, adventure, and depth of each character dazzles me because I really can't tell it was filmed the same year Fame was. It really has a unique look to it. The key lighting in the piece is amazing, almost everything looks like it was perfectly worked out.
My only complaint is the attempt to visualize the opening of the Ark, as most of the other scenes don't deal with the supernatural except maybe a burning crate with a nazi symbol on it. George should redo that last scene in my opinion, and tighten it up, because I really think it wasn't coming together, however when I was a child it was so amazing and scary realistic. It's all perspective, but my point it that now in this modern filming era, the acting and film production is holding tight to this day.
I forward you to just enjoy this film and look for things like formulas on chalkboards, skeletons in classrooms, proper patches on Nazi gear, gun accuracy. Research the film's era and background, and it only gets better. That's the ability that Spielberg and Lucas have, attention to detail and clever twists on most of their bodies of work.
Watch this film again, it's worth it, I promise you.
The Indiana Jones series was the best series ever made, in my opinion.
It was extremely fun and enjoyable to watch and it can be watched
repeatedly, with no lesser joy. Harrison Ford as Indy is extremely
charismatic, like Han Solo, but the character of Indiana for me has an
essence that creates a more likable character (modesty, I think) and by
doing that, it creates a better trilogy for me, indeed surpassing the
Original Star Wars Tilogy (don't get me wrong I love Star Wars as
Raiders is such a great film, containing some great action scenes (the Truck scene) and creating Indiana Jones, which is the best adventure hero ever made, partly I think due to Harrison Ford (I don't think these movies would have been as good with Tom Selleck).
Ford stars as Indiana Jones, an archaeologist adventurer, who spends
his time traveling all over the world through jungles, deserts, oceans,
and caverns in search for hidden treasureslike the priceless long-lost
Ark of the Covenant (the Hebrew sacred artifact that held the supposed
Ten Commandments). Unfortunately, a group of treasure-hungry Nazis
wants it too, having heard that any army who wins it would receive
With his trademark hat, whip, leather jacket, and pistol for backup, our stubborn, intelligent, determined and loyal hero escapes innumerable dangers, evades multiple obstacles including fearsome thugs in a busy Cairo bazaar, and hangs underneath a fast-moving truck in an exciting chase through a road These are only some of the film's incredible set pieces Steven Spielberg likable hero is not invincible, though, facing impossible odds, capable of getting beaten, struck violently, heart broken, and falling asleep after the first kiss
The villainsespecially Indy's suave and cultured French rival wearing a Panama hat and white suits, Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman)are not really that much different from him, except in their motivation The shrill heroine, Marion (Karen Allen)is not the girl always in discomfort either, but a resourceful, dynamic and formidable woman who doesn't require the hero at all
"Raiders of the Lost Arc" is a perfect package of unforgettable scenes, countless action, humor, astonishing technical effects, thrilling sequences, and terrific performances It was followed by three fun sequels
Rating: **** out of ****
There is no doubt in my mind that Indiana Jones is the best movie series in the history of cinema. And the one start it all was Raiders of the Lost Ark, a fast-paced adventure packed with one death-defying cliff-hanger situation after another. To this day, Raiders remains one of the best action movies, holding up better than most of today's rapid-cut, MTV-style "thrill rides." Raiders relied on no CGI, no flashy editing, just pure, exhilarating film-making and storytelling, a combo of its kind that has only been surpassed by its second sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Harrison Ford stars as Jones, an archaeologist who dresses in a brown coat and fedora, armed with a revolver and lion-taming whip. A delightful opening involving elaborate booby traps informs us he's used to these adventures (especially his even closer brushes with death in Temple of Doom, which was a prequel). When he returns to the states from his latest "excavation," he's informed by the military that the Nazis are after the ark of the covenant, an artifact that could possess the power to make the Nazis an invincible army. So Jones sets out to retrieve the ark first, in what will prove to be one of his greatest adventures.
There's probably little doubt that Raiders is the fan/critical favorite of the trilogy, but there are a few things that I actually have to gripe about, blasphemous as it may be. For one, even though the story is excellent, it's not without its holes. Most perplexing is in the film's opening scenes, when we wonder why Jones bothered to bring along potentially traitorous porters when it's such a short distance from the river to the cave temple. Also (spoilers), one needs only to see the film once to realize that if Indy had never tried to intercept the Ark, the Nazis would a) have never found it or b) still would have suffered the same horrible fate regardless.
The action sequences are superb, though an early bar shootout isn't quite as adrenaline-pumping as it could be and looks quite bland compared to the film's other action scenes. Thankfully, the following street chase is playful and exciting and keeps the joyous momentum flowing. Overall, I'd still argue that both Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade boast more inventive action but there's no questioning that the action scenes in Raiders are fantastic and likely superior to any film you may have seen the last few years.
As bitchy as I may sound, I'm not trying to harp on Raiders, at least not too much. The movie does feature the famous (and deservedly so) truck chase, one of the most unbelievably thrilling and exhilarating action setpieces I've ever seen (and given an extra boost by John Williams' beautifully rousing score). To this day, even with the recent chase scenes in The Matrix Reloaded and Terminator 3, this sequence has yet to be surpassed.
Other standout sequences include a sarcophagus almost entirely decorated with snakes, imposing statues, and well-preserved mummies, and Jones' mano-a-mano battle with a seemingly impervious Nazi mechanic. The finale takes the film dangerously close to the horror genre, climaxing things with a truly memorable (and quite frightening) light show for the ages. Every Indiana Jones film has a scene that scarred me as a kid and I think every one who's seen Raiders knows what I'm referring to (as well as its sequels)
I've said it before, Harrison Ford is wonderful as Jones, embodying a hero that's cool beyond words, yet still entirely human and believable. The supporting cast isn't as up to par: Paul Freeman makes for a decent but not particularly menacing villain as Belloq and Karen Allen is somewhat annoying as Indy's love interest, but there are an equal share in gems, particularly Denholm Elliot as Marcus Brody and John Rhys-Davies as Sallah (The Last Crusade wisely gave these actors/characters more screen time).
Raiders of the Lost Ark was revolutionary cinema, paving way for summer blockbusters that would attempt for the same winning mix of thrills and humor. Only its sequels matched and/or surpassed it, but some have actually come close (The Mummy). If you haven't seen Raiders yet, put it on the top of your list.
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