Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Courtesy of Lucasfilm/Paramount.

Harrison Ford became the face of a new franchise in the iconic Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

Many filmmakers in New Hollywood either collaborated on projects together or would offer their advice to one another.  In this instance, the brains behind both Jaws and Star Wars teamed up to give us an American sort of James Bond.  This film has everything: action, adventure, and yet another reason to root against the Nazis.  It’s a film that would go onto serve as an easter egg in the later Captain America.

When one thinks of Harrison Ford, both Han Solo and Indiana Jones have got to be at the top.  They are among the best action heroes to grace the big screen.  Yes, there’s also Jack Ryan. Unlike that character, these two characters were originated on screen by Ford from the get-go.  The fedora and whip are certainly iconic in their own right.  It’s hard to imagine Jones without those two accessories.

It may be a cliche to use Nazis as villains but given the 1930s time period, you don’t really have many other choices.  Communists, maybe?  They’ll come around in a few more films from now.  But anyway, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) work together to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get to it.

I don’t have to tell you what happens because we know that Indiana Jones will find a way to defeat the Nazis in this film.  That’s the credit to this film.  All we need to do as viewers is sit down and enjoy the ride.

The adventure that screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan offers in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is hard to match.  This is a one-of-a-kind film and its an 80s film through and through.  The magic of this film just can’t be replicated with all of the newer technologies of the present day.  You could try but it just wouldn’t be the same.  The effects of the era are certainly top notch with the options available at the time.  The CGI could certainly smooth out some of the practical effects but it just wouldn’t be the same.  At the same time, the images of the melting face is something we’ll never forget.

This doesn’t even begin to get into John Williams’ score.  This is a composer that never ceases to deliver a masterpiece.  The love theme certainly draws on Han and Leia’s love theme in The Empire Strikes Back, too.  That doesn’t matter in the end because this is a man who knows how to score a film.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark isn’t just one of the greatest films of the 1980s but one of the all-time classics.

DIRECTOR:  Steven Spielberg
SCREENWRITER:  Lawrence Kasdan
CAST:  Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, and Denholm Elliott

Paramount Pictures opened Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in theaters on June 12, 1981. Grade: 5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.