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Raiders of the Lost Ark
1981 - PG - 115 Mins.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Frank Marshall
Written By: Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas, Philip Kaufman
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Alfred Molina
Review by: John Ulmer
   
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" is just the kind of movie that serves its purpose: it is entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable with great actors; and most of all, just plain fun.

Harrison Ford plays Dr. "Indiana" Jones, a knowledgeable professor by day, famed archeologist by night (sorta). After he loses the glasses and suit at night (or when his darker, more adventurous side is needed), and equips himself with a whip and a hat, he becomes the most adventurous history-powered character in…well…history.

This time around (well, the first time for the audience), Jones is hired by the American government to find a mysterious, Biblical artifact named “The Ark of the Covenant,” which, anyone who has gone to Bible school should know, is a very powerful weapon that only priests could touch without dying as history tells. Well, guess what? Some Nazis are hoping to find it before Jones and they want to – wait for it - use it as a weapon (dumb Nazis – don’t zey pay any attentzion to zee Biblezee?). This cannot happen. So Indy gears up and ships out to get ‘them thar’ Nazis (I love talking in hick language during plot summaries!) along with an old flare, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) who has in her possession a very important medallion…

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” achieves its goal of being not only a great popcorn flick, but also a great flick in all sense of the word. It delivers the goods in more than one way.

Harrison Ford is completely believable as Indy, a guy who is not as gung-ho as the stereotypical heroes of the average adventure-dramas. We feel that he is at many times stressed with his missions but carries them out with a smug smirk anyway, just because he is Indy, and that’s what he does.

Karen Allen provides just enough umph and sassiness to the film to keep the plot and character progression moving, as well as to add a few gray hairs to Indy’s head.

Steven Spielberg directs this film excellently with help from writer/co-producer George “Star Wars” Lucas and Philip “The Right Stuff” Kaufman. The cinematography is beautiful, and the camerawork brings out the emotions in the characters in both visual and symbolic ways.

Essentially, “Raiders…” has established itself as a film franchise in of itself over the years, spawning two (no, wait, an upcoming three) sequels since its release in 1981. When it came out it was a huge hit, and now it is marked in history books, as well as having been branded in the culture of not only America, but also the whole world.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is without a doubt one of the best adventure movies ever, that set the path for many films we see today. If you have not seen this movie yet, then go out right now and rent it. I mean it. Right now.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic.
  5 out of 5 stars

 
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