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Raiders of the Lost Ark
Action, Adventure
IMDB rating:
Steven Spielberg
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Karen Allen as Marion
Paul Freeman as Belloq
Ronald Lacey as Toht
Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody
Alfred Molina as Satipo
Wolf Kahler as Dietrich
Anthony Higgins as Gobler
Vic Tablian as Barranca
Don Fellows as Col. Musgrove
William Hootkins as Major Eaton
Bill Reimbold as Bureaucrat
Storyline: The year is 1936. A professor who studies archeology named Indiana Jones is venturing in the jungles in South America searching for a golden statue. Unfortunately, he sets off a deadly trap doing so, miraculously, he escapes. Then, Jones hears from a museum curator named Marcus Brody about a biblical artifact called The Ark of the Covenant, which can hold the key to humanly existence. Jones has to venture to vast places such as Nepal and Egypt to find this artifact. However, he will have to fight his enemy Renee Belloq and a band of Nazis in order to reach it.
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A Spielberg Classic
Raiders of The Lost Ark is a 1981 film directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, and John Rhys-Davies. It was distributed by Paramount, being labeled as an Action Adventure film. I have seen the film many times before and would gladly give you my opinions and observations to you.

The film is set during the 1930's where professor/archaeologist Indiana Jones (Ford) has almost went away with a valuable golden idol from South America. He then finds out at the Nazis are trying find the biblical "Ark of the Covenant" and unleash it's power to give their regime an extra edge. It is up to Indiana to find it first with the help of Marion Ravenwood (Allen) and stop the Nazis in their tracks.

I liked most of the main characters in Raiders, Harrison definitely steals the spotlight as Indiana in most of the scenes he's in. But the film doesn't make him overpowered or less relatable (which is a good thing). He has to fight off against seemingly impossible odds and strong brutes that give Indie a real challenge. Marion serves as a great companion to him and is more likable than the other two female leads in the next films. I'd even go far as to say the Egyptian Monkey was a good actor.

There's a lot to like about this film and the IJ trilogy in general. The cinematography is great, grand, and in-camera. John William's musical score is still memorable to this day. From my point of view, this film is a lot "ballsier" than most PG-13 films today with people melting and exploding fantastically. My only gripe with Raiders is that Indiana survives death by a pretty big amount, really hindering on my suspension of disbelief.

Raiders has a lot of Christian imagery, the "macguffin" of the film (Ark of The Covenant) is a reference to the Bible. And the attempt to summon it's spirits contains a Jewish ritual. But that's all I can think of in terms of themes and such. The film is just a really great action adventure film.

After learning about the film for years, this film was widely known for decades and was a critical and commercial success. Young kids could be traumatized, but that would prevent them watching a great film, heck I've watched Robocop since I was 8. Adults will really like this, teens will also. I actually don't know anybody who doesn't at least appreciates Indiana Jones. No matter what your opinion on the film is, I will respect it.

Overall, I give Raiders of The Lost Ark a… 9/10
OMG, stone carving!
What a good idea... tasting poison. Just like police tasting for drugs.

He didn't see Harrison throw back the whip? He had an enormous amount of time to shoot.

All Indiana Jones movies MUST have cobweb curtains.

Love the shredded pant leg cuffs.

The dust flying off his jacket as they galavant over the rolling hills is a good touch.

How did they fit everyone in that plane there? More importantly how did he not notice the snake on the way in? How does Jock have no accent? Funny meaningless eye lid stunt. I guess it sets up Dr. Jones as a popular professor? Love the tome with latches.

Caustiouly throwing a pistol into a suitcase.

There's Death reading Life.

I'm sure you could get more than $3k for the prop nowadays.

Who picks up anything in that manner? Why is this guy still fighting after his buddies tried to kill him? It's a date.

Desert pirate! I love when Salla breaks into needless song.

"Bad dates" :) That must have been an unplanned tumble.

No reason for the diggers to hold back other than Indy wanted to take a moment? He shouldn't discard his costume while providing a nice silhouette.

Watch your toes! Heels in the sand. Very practical.

Be a man and drink.

Greatest hanger scene ever... "what shoulder talk about".... super creepy.

Creep-o is a bitter kid who never got laid.

Wrench fighter is terrible. The pilot is oblivious.

Marion is no joke. Progressive for now and very progressive for then (when this was released) let alone the time of the setting.

That fuel trust was bursting with fuel. No fuel container is going to pop like that when he cap comes off.

Great punch sounds.

Iconic sprint.

"I'm so pleased you're not dead" :) Why do angry at the truck? Slack-jawed local on the hood.

Bumped off into a painting... Ahh! Good German boots.

German's hate fruit.

Something very official about the course plotter.

The classic Indy spin.

Of course.

Poor Marion, always dragged around in a white dress.

Do they really need standard bearers? It is an all Nazi island.

Belloq eats a fly.

Another Indy staple... melting wax.

Top men.
Harrison Ford, in the role that suited him best...
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 treasures—like 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 supernatural powers…

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 villains—especially 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…
The mother of countless silly action movies
Since everybody knows what this movie is about, mine will be a review of the strongest and weakest points. At the time of release, this seemed a brand new approach to storytelling. I am not surprised it was a big success: Harrison Ford was smoldering hot and the supporting cast was great, with a special mention to John Rhys-Davies.

With the passing of time and repeated views, I find the following weaknesses, common to many Spielberg (and action) movies:

- the overbearing soundtrack. I know many love it, I cannot stand it anymore. During the truck chase scene, there is nothing but the loud orchestra score booming ceaselessly, while Indy gets beaten but bounces back like a rubber man

- the thin plot. The search for the Ark is just an excuse to create one action scene after the other. They increase in violence and implausibility, until the last one, possibly the silliest of the movie

- the last "action scene". The ritual proposed by Belloq serves no purpose, apart from providing a bombastic ending to Indy's troubles. Anyway, it is unbelievable to imagine that Nazi troops would indulge the request of the French archaeologist

- the "super hero" nature of Indy. Despite the premise that he is a "normal" guy, Indy is shown to suffer only slightly from inhuman beatings

- all the sequels. None managed to reach even half-way the level of "Raiders" and considering this one already had its flaws….

On the plus side:

- there are some moments of humour, unfortunately not enough. The best is the famous scene of Indy shooting the huge, menacing black-clad guy in the market. For one precious scene like this, we have the long and pointless fight with the German guarding the plane, back to conventional narrative…

- an attractive hero with some intellectual pretense. Indy is supposed to be a beauty with a brain, contrary to way too many superheroes who are infesting the silver screen (even more so nowadays)

- the ironic ending

Conclusion: what seemed an innocuous narrative that looked back to the old serial movies of the past, turned into a monster that spawned endless sequels and imitators, creating the action-without-soul blockbusters plaguing more than ever contemporary cinema.
A Timeless Classic and A Personal Favorite
This has been my favorite movie of all time since I saw it as a young kid. It has something in it for everyone (action, romance, violence, wit, history, etc.). This is what cinema should always be: great performances, great story, great setting, and, most importantly, great fun to watch! I enjoy every second and every frame of this movie. All of the original Indiana Jones trilogy is classic for that matter. Harrison Ford went at the role with such character and charisma that he turned Indiana Jones into an absolutely iconic role that I have dreamed of playing for many years. An all time classic and still one of the most impressive movies ever made.
The Best Trilogy Made
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 well).

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).
The definition of an adventure movie...
As a kid I liked very much the adventure movies and all of these staff. I liked movies that had action, adventure and suspense, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" has all of that and that's why I consider this movie as the definition of an adventure movie.

Steven Spielberg creates an another masterpiece with Harrison Ford as starring. The subject of this great movie is the search of the Lost Arc. Harrison Ford plays as Indiana Jones who is an archaeologist and adventurer who is hired by the government of the U.S to find it before of the Nazi.

This movie harmoniously combines adventure and action with love and comedy, it's a movie that you will want to see it again and again.
Glaring Story Problem
Like Amy said in The Big Bang Theory, Indiana Jones had no affect on the outcome of the movie whatsoever. If he wasn't in the movie, the Nazis would've have found the arc, opened it, and died just like they did. Other than that, still one of my favorite movies of all. But Dr. Jones could've saved himself a lot of pain if he would've stayed home!
Action Adventure poem...
Lots of Bogart and Gable in this version of the Saturday matinée adventure serial. The action is ratcheted up and for sheer speed of thrills leaves in the dust such worthy contenders as THE PROFESSIONALS with the likes of Burt Lancaster and Woody Strode, and rivals for plot twists and turns such classics as Hitchcock's THE THIRTYNINE STEPS and THE LADY VANISHES. A humorously virile tale that takes its hero through a roller coaster maze of traps and escapes recalling Clyde Beatty and Harry Houdini.

There is Harrison Ford giving his Indiana Jones character a professorial panache when he's not outrunning the Hovitos cradling a Golden Idol in his arms. There is Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood channeling a little Patricia Neal and out drinking her barroom patrons before greeting the love of her life with a sock as a way of saying 'Hello'. There is Paul Freeman always on hand to take whatever Indy finds during his archaeological forays as his arch rival Rene' Belloq. Ronald Lacey gives his grinning Nazi Major Arnold Toht enough Peter Lorre to be darkly satisfying in his gruesomeness. John Rhys-Davies as the hearty Arab excavator Sallah helps Jones dig in the right place and rounds out a rich and diverse cast of characters.

The pace is as breakneck as the Indianapolis 500 and leaves next to no time to grieve Marion when she's given up for dead in one of a series of teeth chattering death defying explosions. Every time the action clears the air for a little philosophical reflection we are off and running again after something Jones has lost to Nazi enemies or is on the verge of retrieving. Here we see the Fighting Male of the West as a sweaty beleaguered Academic scrambling for relics and artifacts worshiped by primitive cultures in both the East and the fascist West. Lucas provides more mythological motifs than you can shake a Joseph Campbell at, but it's all done with such zest that you barely mind being hit over the head with references to Moses and Odysseus before your breath is taken away.

The sweep brings to mind TOO HOT TO HANDLE with Clark Gable and Myrna Loy, but the bump and the grind and the smashing glass and hiss and blood spatter is purely Spielbergian. It is a homage to old Hollywood and a move in the direction to a new Hollywood before you can blink an eye. This is THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE on steroids in a way; a faster paced epic about greed and how things can come to be valued over companionship and human life, but such considerations fly past faster than an arrow or a bullet or a poisoned dart. When it comes to plot pyrotechnics, this film sets the standard for action and adventure to all of the next generation to come.

There is some reference to RAIDERS in most of the summer action blockbusters that now appear on the screen. Perhaps only the great Bruce Lee has been more influential with regard to the choreography of the hero adventure tale as you see his moves in everything from the AVENGERS to SHERLOCK HOLMES to THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM to THE MATRIX. But for sheer plot mechanics and acceleration of the narrative many die hard fans will make theirs Spielberg every time.
All The Right Moves
A globe-trotting American archaeologist travels to Egypt in search of the ancient Ark of the Covenant, in this adventure epic from director Steven Spielberg. It's a big-budget popcorn flick aimed mostly at kids. There's lots of heavy-duty action as our hero, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), makes all the right moves to escape dreaded Nazis, a bed of snakes, knife-wielding Egyptians, fiery explosions, poison food, human skeletons, bullets, airplane propeller blades, and assorted other dangers. Since there's nothing subtle about the story or the characters, and since the action plot zips along at the speed of light, viewers need not engage in any thinking.

With Jones as a surrogate for American virtuousness, "foreigners" in this film seem inept and villainous for the most part, a politically correct view for the era in which the film was made. American stereotypes aside, non-Americans are portrayed in the film mostly as clutter, film props for our hero to knock over.

It's all a bit much, a bit over-the-top. Not only is the story not believable, the story's theme is rather condescending. I despised the background music, annoyingly loud and manipulative. Acting is largely irrelevant, not surprising, given the film's genre.

In its defense, there are some good visual images. For example, I liked the scene of Jones, wearing his trademark hat, in silhouette, on a hill, back-lit by an orange sun. The film's color cinematography probably is its best element.

Otherwise, "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" is just one more in a long series of "action" movies for kids to drool over, a two hour cinematic ... cartoon. The script concept is silly; the characters are poorly defined; the plot is ridiculous; the score is annoying; and the American hero theme is very irritating.
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