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RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)

The first of what will become three action-packed classics, "Ark" features a renown Dr. Indiana Jones who is hired by the U.S. Government to retrieve the covetous Ark of the Covenant, believed to still contain the original 10 Commandments issued by Jesus to Moses in the biblical days.  Along the way, however, Hitler and his Nazi regime are also after the Ark, and are willing ot go to deadly lengths to obtain it. Meanwhile, Indy's ex-flame, Marion, joins in on the action as she and Indy travel to Nepal and Cairo in hopes of gathering a glimpse of the priceless treasure.

The cast includes Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Denholm Elliott, John Rhys-Davies, Ronald Lacey, and Paul Freeman.

The heroes of Saturday-matinee serials past are back!

#60 on the AFI Top 100.

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was nominated for the Best Picture award.

Director Steven Spielberg's RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, is a delightful action adventure comedy. Spielberg received a nomination for best directing.

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raiders

"As exhilarating as a rollercoaster ride...and twice as much fun!"

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One of the best Action/Adventure movies of all-time, from George Lucas and Steven Speilburg... "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is a riveting adventure story that follows a globe trotting archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), who uses his raw courage, his wits and his fists, in searching for the mystical, powerful Ark of the Covenant. He finds himself and his friends encountering Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman) and the Nazis, romance, and snakes along the way, while through it all, never loosing his hat!

This masterpiece of a exciting and clever screenplay is by the talented George Lukas, Philip Kaufman and Lawrence Kasdan, offering a very entertaining tale with never a dull moment.

The film is a future classic because of the excellent cast, fun story, memorable music, quick pacing and eye-popping special effects. The editing, special effects, art direction-set decoration, and sound effects editing all won Oscars. The film's pacing is great. It starts fast and never lets up. Unlike many movies, which have hot openings and closings, but die in the middle, "Raiders" is composed ALMOST ENTIRELY of high points.

The movie opens on a exciting sequence where Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) ventures into a booby-trapped temple in the middle of a South American jungle, in quest of a golden idol "for the museum." After a harrowing escape from the temple, his old nemesis and archeologist competitor, Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), using the local Indians as back -up, takes the idol from him by force, right after he rolls out of the temple. Indiana quickly uses an opportune moment to barely escape, one step ahead of the poison darts blown at him. Whew!

Back at his day job, a professor of archeology at a university, Dr. Jones is approached by the federal intelligence agents, to travel to Egypt, and compete with the Nazis in the search for the biblical Ark of the Covenant, to get it and keep it out of the Nazis' hands. So Indiana, followed by Nazi bad guys, catches a plane to Nepal, to go and see his old flame, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), the daughter of the archeologist Professor Ravenwood, who had found the headpiece of Roth, which is needed as a tool to find the digging spot, in the newly uncovered map room by the Nazis at Tanis, in Egypt.

The Ark of the Covenant changes hands several times between Indiana Jones and the bad guys, in between harrowing struggles and trials, but who gets control of the Ark is decided by the power behind the Ark, convincingly portrayed by awesome special effects, that put the fear of God into the film's characters, and some in the audience as well.

In addition to Ford, who's fantastic as adventuring archaeologist Indiana Jones, Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, excels as not only his romantic interest, but also as a tough partner, and his co-adventurer. She can fire a gun, drink the hard stuff, and keep her cool in a crisis, a tough gal to counterbalance Ford's tough guy. After an action-filled fight between the Nazi bad guys and Dr. Jones & Marion, that ultimately burns down her tavern in Nepal, she quips, "Well, Jones, at least you haven't forgotten how to show a lady a good time!"

Paul Freemand, who plays Rene Belloq, does a great job portraying an unscrupulous archeologist, who strongly believes that the ends justify the means, if it benefits him. Being very self-centered & lacking scruples or principles, he doesn't care how he gets a hold of archeological treasures. "Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away," Belloq taunts Indiana.

Furthermore, Belloq doesn't mind working with the Nazis if it means that he gets to examine the Ark of the Covenant, before letting the Nazis have it. Belloq explains to Dr. Jones, "Inside the Ark are treasures beyond your wildest aspirations. You want to see it opened as well as I. Indiana, we are simply passing through history."

The late Ronald Lacey, who was a talented character actor, does a marvelous job, playing the menacing Nazi, Toht, with perfect timing, pacing and delivery. Toht is willing to use a variety of methods to get what he wants, as Marion Ravenwood found out and nearly suffered in the tavern scene. This character himself inadvertently finds a rather painful way personally to bring almost all the information needed by the Nazis at Tanis to reconstruct the staff of Roth.

A favorite scene with Toht is when he arrives at Belloq's tent at Tanis, where Marion was taken. He slowly walks into the tent. A scary-looking wooden object with a hook is handed to him, but when he methodically puts it together, it is only the coat hanger for his jacket. He sweetly says as he stares at Belloq and Marion,"Well, what shall we talk about?"

Besides the ones mentioned above, there are many favorite action scenes, that include their adventures surrounding the actual getting in the Ark of the Covenant hiding place, The Well of Souls, being locked in and getting out to fight to get it back. Check out the airplane fist fight sequence and the wild truck chase.

The Planned Action Scene that wasn't: A favorite scene of many people takes place between Ford and a gigantic bad guy wielding a huge sword, when Marion Ravenwood was kidnapped by the bad guys in the middle of the Egyptian town's outside market. This huge bad guy moves in Indiana's way, showing him a big deadly sword, & puts on a display of swordsmanship, showing off. Indiana, tired from fighting, watches him, thinks about it for a brief moment, then quickly pulls out his gun and shoots the guy, solving the problem. (Ford, according to the storyboard, was supposed to have a big, involved fight with him, but was feeling pretty sick. So on the spur of the moment, the script was changed).

Director Spielberg, Producer Lucas, and company, traveled the globe to make this picture. The results really show on the screen delivering visuals and locations that just couldn't be faked on the back lot, or in front of a "blue screen."

The musical score in lively, energetic, and inspiring. It was done by John Williams, and is one of his best movie scores ever, that really works to enhance the excitement and mood of the film.

This film is highly recommended for those 9 years old and up to 90, if they don't have a heart condition!

If you enjoyed RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, you may like INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, THE MUMMY, THE MUMMY RETURNS, and/or JUMANJI.

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