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Films to See Before You Die: #5 Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Synopsis:  In 1936, Archeology Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones (Harrison Ford) narrowly escapes death in a South American temple with a gold idol – by poison dart, fall, and finally a giant boulder that chases him out the front. An old enemy, Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), steals the idol and then orders Hovito Indians after Indy. Indy, however, escapes back to the USA, where Army Intelligence officers are waiting for him at the University where he teaches. They tell him about a flurry of Nazi archaeological activity near Cairo, which Indy determines to be the possible resting place of the Ark of the Covenant – the chest that carried the 10 Commandments. The Ark is believed to carry an incredibly powerful energy that must not fall into Nazi hands. Indiana is immediately sent overseas, stopping in Nepal to pick up an old article from his former mentor but finds his daughter Marion (Karen Allen) who cuts a deal with Indy that she will give him what he wants if he takes her with him. Then Indy arrives in Cairo and meets up with his good friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies). But danger lurks everywhere in the form of Nazi thugs, and poisonous snakes in the Ark’s resting place. After Belloq, hired by the Nazis, makes off again with the Ark, Indy & Marion are determined to get it back, and they overpower the pilot of a German plane. But Indy finds himself confronted with a giant German thug, and after a frightening hand-to-hand fight Indy & Marion blow up the plane. Now the Nazis must drive the Ark to Cairo, but Indy regains control of the Ark after running the convoy off the road, one vehicle at a time. Once again the Nazis recapture the Ark and Marion, heading for a Nazi-controlled island. There, Belloq will open the Ark to demonstrate the horrific power it can unleash upon the world.

Trivia: Tom Selleck was Steven Spielberg’s second choice for the role of Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford was his first, but George Lucas objected, since Ford had been in both American Graffiti and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Selleck was not able to take the role because he was committed to Magnum, P.I.. However, that series did not go into production until Raiders’ filming had already wrapped. Selleck was in fact in Hawaii waiting for the series to start as the final scenes to be filmed (the opening sequence) were being shot in Hawaii. “Magnum” did an episode called “Legend of the Lost Art” that parodied “Raiders”, complete with hat, whip, booby traps, etc.

Why I think you should see this: As I have stated before I just love Spielberg’s work and he has done so many great films but this is my all time favourite of his films. The Temple of Doom and Last Crusade are also really amazing. The most recent installment is the only one which is just not up to par with the original three. Harrison Ford is at his best in this film and Karen Allen makes for his best love interest. The opening scene is about as memorable as they come with my favourite homage having been done by the Simpsons. This is classic Spielberg so watch it again sometime.

About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

7 responses to “Films to See Before You Die: #5 Raiders of the Lost Ark

  1. noa834 ⋅

    Den and I still laugh remembering how upset you got when the little monkey ate the poison plum and died after calmly watching about 100 people die in the opening scenes. You were so upset you walked out on the film.

    • Trevor

      Thats was the dog getting shot in of Mice and Men I cried and yelled and refused to watch the rest. Come Onnnn!!! I still haven’t seen that movie too this day that old dog was too cute to die 😦

      • noa834 ⋅

        You also reacted that way to the monkey dying in Raiders, of course you were only 8 at the time. Hey, it was so sweet. We laughed because it was sweet.

  2. TheBruce

    One of the few near-perfect films ever made. Never gets old.

  3. Harrison Ford is great in this series of movies. His wry and sarcastic jabs are great! I remember people commenting when the movie came out. Karen Allen was the best girlfriend of the trilogy. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Random Awesomeness (part 88) « The Writer's Journey

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