Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliot, Alfred Molina
Classic. Expert. Fun.
Indiana: Meet me at Omar’s. Be ready for me. I’m going after that truck.
Indiana: I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.
Jaws is considered the first “blockbuster,” but Indiana Jones is the one that I see as the benchmark. Not because Jaws isn’t a great film, but because I see traces of Indiana Jones in just about every major blockbuster since. Starring Harrison Ford as the iconic, titular hero, Indy (an archaeologist, university professor, and globetrotter) is caught up in a race with the Nazis to find the Ark of the Covenant. Helped along the way by an old flame, Marion (Allen), a work colleague, Marcus Brody (Elliot), and a loyal friend, Sallah (Rhys-Davies), Indy works his way through one great action set-piece after another. Like a few other great American classics-Casablanca or Chinatown, for example-Raiders of the Lost Ark isn’t necessarily my favorite film. My taste gravitates towards stranger things; movies like its sequel Temple of Doom, which I adore. Raiders of the Lost Ark, however, is a nearly perfect film. It’s tremendous storytelling by the master of blockbuster filmmaking, Steven Spielberg, and in Harrison Ford, he had a star who was instantly compelling. Consider how much is happening to Indy and around him throughout this movie, then consider if you ever felt the character was overshadowed by the action. That’s a tribute to Ford that he’s never lost in the maelstrom. He’s one of the great movie stars.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-