Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★★

When I watch films like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which have been dear favourites of mine since I was very young, I always previous viewings like they were yesterday.

I spent a fair proportion of watching this last night wondering why that was the case. Why is that I can remember so much about previous viewings of my absolute favourites? How come I can remember a pretty mundane Wednesday evening back in the late 80s when this was on BBC1 one night? There was nothing else remarkable about that event to remember or reminisce about, so why DO I remember it?

I think it's because the likes of Raiders Of The Lost Ark are, to me, all enveloping experiences. Even though I've seen it dozens of times, so special a film is it every single time I watch it that it bleeds into its surroundings. I have similar such experiences of viewings of Aliens, Jaws, Dirty Harry, The Sting, The Goonies, Predator, Commando and a few others. Perhaps not so much with Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation as all those viewings, aside from the initial cinema viewing of the latter, have been either in my lounge on the TV or in my bedroom on my laptop.

When you have a special experience, you tend to remember all the other unmemorable events surrounding them. That speaks volumes, to me, of just how special this film is. It's not just a great film, it really is a great experience. As soon as that opening scene starts up, and Harrison Ford drags his two treacherous guide along with him, all the memories started washing over me all over again.

I wasn't even really planning on watching this last night but I also felt like watching The Hours when I was as mentally tired as I was last night would probably have been a schoolboy error on my part (I watched it this afternoon while I was tidying up the girls' clothes instead). I figured it had probably been a couple of years since I last saw it, and that's way too long, so on it went.

I still even remember the places in TV showings where they dubbed some of the 'bad' language over or cut out some of the more violent or horrible scenes. The bit where Karen Allen yells "I'm your goddamn partner!" became just plain old "I'm your partner!" and the bit where the snake slithers out of that skeleton's mouth is cut out completely. These films become so ingrained in your memory that you even remember this kind of detail.

Yet on this viewing, I STILL had new bits which fascinated me. For instance, where the hell did Paul Freeman get that dress he gives to Allen? Has he been carrying it around in his briefcase for weeks just in the off-chance he might run into a bit of totty in the desert? How long did it take to train that monkey to do that Nazi salute? Why was Allen in Nepal of all places?

Still lots of memories. Still questions to ask. Still one of the greatest films I've ever seen.

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