Title: Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and Paul Freeman
“ Indiana Jones has become a cult hero and will be remembered for ever thanks to George Lucas’s great writing, Steven Spielberg’s sublime directing and of course Harrison Ford playing the whip cracking archeologist. “
In 1985 Steven Spielberg teamed up with George Lucas and created arguably the best movie franchise of all time. Based around an adventuring archiologist named Indiana Jones Spielberg managed to create the perfect blend between action and family fun, which is what propelled the Jones franchise into super stardom. Raiders is the first of the much loved franchise and sets a precedence for the films to follow.
The film is set in 1936, a time when Hitler and his Nazi regime were about to start their attack on the rest of the world. The Nazi’s have been searching for the lost Ark of the Covenant, which has been lost for nearly 200 years. The Ark, apparently holds the key to human existence and the Nazi’s believe it would bring them immortal power in there quest to take over the World. Harrison Ford plays a professor of archaeology, Indiana Jones who is requested by the American government to recover the Ark before the Nazis get there hands on it. Jones’s quest takes him around the globe, from Nepal to Egypt to find the sacred Ark and along the way has to fend off a the defiant band of Nazis as well as protect an old flame in Marion Ravenwood as she hold the key which could lead Indy to the Ark.
The film bursts into action from the first scene and it is arguably one of the most memorable action sequences ever. As the opening credits role we join Jones deep in the South American jungle in search of an ancient golden statue. Entering a cave Jones navigates his way through a number of booby traps including, poisons darts, tarantulas, an endless pit. Finally Jones comes face to face with the golden statue, the music becomes tense as it seems that removing the statue from its pedestal would trigger an on-slaught of traps. Jones replaces the statue with a bag of sand roughly the same weight and all seems fine, but suddenly the hidden temple starts to collapse around him and he is now in a race against time to get out of the temple alive. Thinking he is nearly home and dry Indy is then met by a massive rolling boulder, this is the iconic sequence that everyone thinks of when Indiana Jones is mentioned and it is filmed fantastically. The intense opening scene ends with Jones running away from a local South American trip armed with poisons darts and just making it on to his get away plane.
A typically Indiana Jones start to the film and this opening sequence really does set the tone for the rest of the film, you are left on the edge of your seat and you know you are in for a full on adventure as soon as the scene is finished and you feel instantly connected with Indiana Jones.
The choice to have Harrison Ford take the lead role has turned out to be nothing short of genius. In fact the role of Indy was under some dispute by Spielberg and Lucas and it took quite some time to decide on Harrison Ford as Indy. The role was almost given to Tom Selleck but due to his commitments to Magnum PI he had to turn down the role. Others who were considered for Indy were Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Tim Matheson, Nick Mancuso, Peter Coyote, and Jack Nicholson. But fortunately the role was given to Harrison Ford. Who could imagine anyone else ever playing Indiana Jones other than Harrison Ford now. Just another interesting fact to go with this is that originally it was going to be Indiana Smith and was only changed to Jones at the last minute.
From sets to costumes the films make up is second to none. Dressed in a leather jacket, a cowboy hat and carrying a bull whip, it is made obvious Jones is not your average archaeologist. The character has become iconic and his whip and hat are now a symbol of the franchise.
What makes Indiana Jones work is the perfect blend of action, comedy and romance which creates the mix for the family adventure. Raiders was the first film to find this niche in the movie industry and it benefited greatly for that. The success of Raiders allowed for three sequels to be made all of which are as exciting and compelling as the last (and yes I am including Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in that statement!).
George Lucas, the brains behind Indiana Jones came up with the idea for an adventurous archaeologist when writing Star Wars. Not a bad side project really. Raiders came out massively over budget when filming was completed, but all that was forgotten when it became the biggest grossing film of the year in 1981.
This truly is a one of the great films and one that all the family will love. Indiana Jones has become a cult hero and will be remembered for ever thanks to George Lucas’s great writing, Steven Spielberg’s sublime directing and of course Harrison Ford playing the whip cracking archeologist.