Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Written by Nick McCann
Both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas famously were on the climb after tremendous success between them in the ’70s. However the failures of “The Star Wars Holiday Special” and “1941” noticeably ruined the hot streak for each. The ’80s came around though and they were looking to get back on top. As “The Empire Strikes Back” was gaining momentum, the pair also started to conjure up another slice of classically inspired adventure.
Much like the “Star Wars” saga, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” totally contains the DNA of old-school film serials. Not to mention other classics ranging from various Westerns to James Bond. In the same way our characters are driven to find the ark itself, the epic scale and fast paced story totally consume your attention. For all its fun spirit, the film also never shies away from showing some actual danger to reinforce how brutal this journey can get. The kind of borderline grown-up content that either scars or hooks generations.
Spearheading all this is Harrison Ford. As Indiana Jones, you can tell just how much fun and commitment he’s giving to this role. He’s tough but not indestructible. Seen quite a lot and never settling for failure. Ford is straight-up iconic here, projecting something more mature but also equally as endearing as everyone’s favorite space smuggler. Karen Allen and John Rhys-Davies each turn in memorably likable sidekicks, the latter of which is a standout in the action pantheon. Paul Freeman is also quite detestable as Belloq, annoyingly ahead of Indy and playing the devil on his shoulder. Nary an unmemorable performance here, right down to the littlest seen extra.
It goes without saying how amazing Spielberg is at crafting action. This is easily one of his finest moments, directing large set pieces to a degree that set incredible new benchmarks. Whether the giant boulder, the truck chase, or the grand finale, there’s always a new hook being introduced to spice up the excitement. The cinematography is incredible all around, capturing every corner of the beautiful locations and lively sets with that trademark Spielberg flow. And of course, John Williams’ music is always on high! So many stellar themes and cues, with some scenes seemingly designed for him to hijack the attention.
Slam dunk, thy name is Indiana Jones. Any action adventure picture worth its salt owes something to this modern classic—a perfect experience.
“Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” Trailer