Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

raiders of the lost ark IMDb

So I could just write best adventure film ever and the review could be over, but maybe I should go into a bit more detail.

Harrison Ford stars as adventuring archaeologist Indiana Jones. Jones is a university professor in the 1930s who moonlights as a globetrotting treasure hunter. His reputation has come to the attention of the US government, who approach him to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can. Jones accepts the job, on the condition that when he is done, his university gets to keep the ark. Jones begins a journey around the globe to find this religious artifact, with the daughter of his old mentor, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) in tow. Indiana Jones must stay one step ahead of the evil Nazis and a rival archaeologist (Paul Freeman) if he hopes to find the ark before them, what he uncovers is something even he could not foresee.

Wow, this film is fun. One of the most exciting adventures ever put on screen. From the opening scenes that introduce the adventurer Indiana Jones, the film is an exhilarating ride. Steven Spielberg is the master of making fun adventures that the whole family can enjoy and this is his crowning achievement. The Indiana Jones films are so enjoyable, even over 30 years later. There is a timeless quality to them that many films just don’t have. The combination of Spielberg, Ford and George Lucas’s storytelling ability was always going to be a winner, but I don’t think anybody expected them to hit these sorts of heights.

Harrison Ford owns the role of Indiana Jones. This role was somewhat of a risk for him. He was already known as charismatic rogue smuggler, Han Solo in the Star Wars films. Obviously Star Wars was also produced by George Lucas and he was hesitant to cast Ford in a role so similar to Solo, but Spielberg insisted. What ended up happening is one of the most iconic roles in film history. Ford plays Indiana Jones with the same roguish charm he has in many of his films. He is a perfect leading man, and it is never more evident in the Indiana Jones films. The supporting cast is also good. Karen Allen is fun as the feisty love interest, and Paul Freeman and his Nazi cohorts are delightfully evil as the villainous Nazis.

Indiana Jones is the greatest adventure film ever made. The combination of Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have made a timeless film that will be enjoyed for generations.

Rating: A+

My review of Raiders of the Lost Ark will be along the same lines as my review of Back to the Future. There is no possible way I can be objective about this movie. I unabashedly love this film and Harrison Ford. So if you don’t feel the same kindly stop reading now.

I was probably 11 or 12 when I first saw Raiders on television. It had everything a young girl could want– archeology! Historical references! An appreciation for higher education! Oh, and it also had thrilling action, cool male and female leads, and melting Nazi faces. (It really is a film that has everything.) But in all honesty, I did love that Indiana Jones was an archeology professor. I was super into Egyptology at the time, so this movie was right up my alley. It was also a wondrous thing to see a kick ass character who was intelligent, too. I was bullied for liking school and always felt incredibly uncool for enjoying learning. But here was a guy who was undeniably cool, and liked school so much that he went on to teach it. For a few years after I wanted to be an archeologist, just like Indy. I seriously considered changing my college major to anthropology at one point, and becoming an archeologist is a fantasy I still haven’t quite given up on (I recently signed up for a volunteer archeology program here in Sydney. Crossing my fingers that a dig will come up soon!).

Not only was Indiana Jones cool and smart, he was totally handsome as well. My mom would probably tell you that my first celebrity crush was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but in reality it was Harrison Ford. I just kept my love for Indy to myself, because even as preteen I realized that it probably wasn’t acceptable for me to be in love with a man older than my father. It’s weird to think about, but clearly this early infatuation with Ford shaped my future taste in men. I’ve always been drawn to intelligent men, the kind who are smart, quiet, and a little sarcastic, just like Indy. I also get really bummed out whenever Ben shaves. Scruffy face will always be better shaven face.

This is easily the best Indiana Jones movie, though the next two installments are full of fun. Raiders is a film that I enjoy every time I watch it. There’s a timeless quality to the story, characters, and music that make it a classic. It’s still one of my favorite movies all these years later. In fact, the highest compliment I can give to a film is that it makes me feel like I did the first time I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not many movies are able to clear that bar.

(I should also mention that I walked down the aisle to “Marion’s Theme” at my wedding, and the timing worked out perfectly that my dad and I reached the guest chairs just as the music swelled into the opening bars of the Indiana Jones theme. That’s how much I love this movie.)

Rating: A+

3 thoughts on “Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

  1. Pingback: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

  2. Pingback: Jurassic Park (1993) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

  3. Pingback: The Mummy (1999) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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