Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 ★★★★★

You know what the best part of Raiders Of The Lost Ark is? It's the bit where he gets in Jock's plane and craps himself at discovering that a snake is sharing his place.

I'm not saying it's my favourite part. I don't have a favourite part, really, and I don't even concern myself with trying to think of one. But that one little scene, with a little help from Indy's dalliance with some darts fired from the walls, the giant rock, the pit, and the door that nearly loses him his hat, establishes straight away that this isn't going to be your usual action adventure.

This hero's a little bit different. He's not infallible. In fact, he might not be a hero at all. He's an archaeologist with a whip and a gun who is quite opportunistic. He's also very afraid of snakes and quite possibly rather clumsy and very certainly slightly awkward and bookish. As soon as you see his fright at meeting Reggie, you know right away this is going to be a bit different.

It is, of course, a wonderful film that was fortunate enough to be followed up by two very impressive sequels that, while not as good, prove to be perfect companion pieces. But I do feel slightly sad thinking back to this and its sequels. Why? Because I want this Steven Spielberg back.

I want the Spielberg back that made films that dominated my childhood viewing because they were so good that I watched them time after time after time. I don't want the Spielberg that makes war dramas and films about horses. I want Spielberg to make films like more like the Indiana Jones films again.

Hang on....


  • Nicely put. I also rate Temple as a five-star film - with the exception of the little beauty we're talking about, it's the best boys' own action adventure ever.
    It's interesting that the original troika's so lean and that bloat is the significant problem with Crystal Skull. It could be massively improved with simple subtraction: remove Gophers, The Beef, CGI in general and any trace of Lucas and you'd have a halfway decent film. Anyone fancy doing a Phantom Edit...?

  • I do love Temple Of Doom and its quality is all the more remarkable considering the film before it. I absolute love the whole nightclub scene especially.

  • I think The Last Crusade is better than Temple of Doom. But yeah, Raiders is the best of the lot. In fact, thinking about this, I just had to go out and rank them. :)

  • I think that would be my order as well. Before the fourth one was crapped out, I think the first three had a pretty good shot at being the best film trilogy of all time.

  • To think they originally had Tom Selleck fitted for the role. Now I like Selleck, but he will always be Magnum, not Indiana Jones.

    Great review as always, Steve!

  • Yes, I like Tom Selleck, too. Even without Indy, he should have had a much better film career for me, although he's got two or three really underrated films behind him anyway.

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