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Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

DVD Cover (Paramount Special Edition)
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Overall Rating 84%
Overall Rating
Ranked #60
...out of 8,671 movies
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Connections: Indiana Jones

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Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
Karen Allen
Karen Allen
Paul Freeman
Paul Freeman
Ronald Lacey
Ronald Lacey
John Rhys-Davies
John Rhys-Davies
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Review by Chad
Added: September 08, 2006
Much like my recent reviews of Alien and Aliens, I think that the movies from the Indiana Jones series require little or no introduction; I mean, honestly, who out there hasn't seen or at least heard about these movies? However, in sticking to my general "review almost everything that gets thrown into the DVD player" method of running this site, I suppose that a review is in order; besides, it's a timeless film that should be seen by everyone, and with it being over twenty years old, some of the younger viewers out there may have missed out on it.

The year is 1936, and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is an ass-kicking archaeologist who has been sent on a mission to retrieve the lost Ark of the Covenant, which is the chest that was used to carry the ten commandments during biblical times. Not only is this item priceless simply because of that fact alone, but it's also rumored that whoever has possession of it will become invincible in battle. There's a small amount of urgency in this mission, due to the fact that the Nazi's have also decided to try and find this valuable item, and if the rumors are true... well, can you imagine Adolf Hitler with a weapon that makes his forces unstoppable? Coming along for the ride is Jones' former and future lover Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) as well as his friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), and together, the trio will make their way through South America, Tibet, Egypt, and they'll also have to work their way through a couple of ancient tombs with some nasty surprises in store. As if all of that traveling wasn't enough, Jones will also have to contend with his French nemesis Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), a sadistic Nazi leader who specializes in torture tactics by way of Major Arnold Toht (Ronald Lacey), and of course, the Nazi's... lots of Nazi's.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is an adventure film in every sense of the word. We follow Indy in his travels around the world as he searches for this ancient relic, and we also watch as he finds himself in increasingly-perilous situations thanks to both the general nature of his work and those who would like nothing more than to stop him from completing his mission. The movie is, quite literally, two hours of exploring dangerous locations, getting out of situations that tend to be even more dangerous, battles with the bad guys, car chases, shoot-outs, and everything else one would expect from an action / adventure film. Also standing in Indy's way are snakes (lots of snakes), venomous spiders, huge boulders, savage tribesmen, ancient traps, and of course, the aforementioned mob of Nazi's. This is normally far from the type of movie that I'd prefer to spend an afternoon with, but thanks to the charisma of Ford, the chemistry between him and leading lady Karen Allen, and the way that every action sequence is just a little better than the last, well... who could watch this and come away without a smile on their face?

I'm not a fan of George Lucas at all - in my opinion, the Star Wars movies are the very definition of overrated - but I have to give him credit for putting together a storyline that anyone can enjoy regardless of their preferred type of movie. When you combine that with the directing skills of Spielberg, how could this film have been anything but spectacular? Featuring an excellent score (who doesn't recognize the infamous "Indy theme"?), perfectly-choreographed action sequences (one of the car chases found within ranks quite high in my personal "best action scenes, ever" list), and a hero that is both believable and seemingly invincible at the same time, Raiders of the Lost Ark is about as close to a flawless film as one could get.

There are very few movies out there that I can pop in on any given day while in any type of mood and walk away with a huge, shit-eating grin on my face. Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of those films, and it deserves every last bit of the "classic" status that it has become well-acquainted with. 10/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 05/30/2010, 10:01 PM
A fucking classic all the way. 10/10
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