It’s 1936 and Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford), our intrepid archaeologist and part-time professor is hacking his way through the South American jungle to retrieve a priceless solid gold archaeological relic from a booby-trapped ancient cave. He gets his hands on the idol but only for fleeting moments, until his arch-rival French archaeologist Rene Belloq (by Paul Freeman), steals it from his grasp as he is held at poison arrow-point by a tribe of South American indians. Indi escapes with his life, but without the idol and he curses Belloq’s victory over him this time. We next see the mild-mannered, bespectacled Professor Jones teaching class in downtown USA, when his colleague Marcus Brody (by Denholm Elliott) accompanied by US government officials approach Indi to ask him about the The Ark of the Covenant – a biblical artefact that is said to hold the key to human existence. Indi is engaged to find The Ark, knowing that given the Nazi unrest in Europe at this time, others are equally as keen to find it and harness its power for their own evil ends. Indi must first retrieve a medallion with a clue to the Ark’s whereabouts from his old friend Abner Ravenwood, whose daughter, Marion (by Karen Allen) manages to tag along with Indy. The hunt takes Indy and Marion across Asia, Europe and Africa – crossing paths with Belloq and the Nazi’s time and time again – in an adventurous cat-and-mouse search. Indi must find The Ark, keep hold of it and then to return it for safe-keeping to the US. Easy plan … if only it were that simple …
I really love this movie – it’s one of my all time favourites. It’s just a good old adventure – there’s no swearing, little violence, few special effects – but good ones (for the time) and just a hint of romance. The dialogue is cleverly witty and the whole thing is just an entertaining jaunt into Boys Own escapism.
I’ve been a fan of Indy ever since I heard him say those immortal words “I hate snakes, Chuck!!” … There are two classic scenes in this movie that always stick in my mind (yes, even thirty years later …). The first is a scene relatively early in the movie when a sword-wielding Arab has Indi cornered in a Cairo Bazaar – he’s waving his sabre around with reckless abandon, the razor-sharp blade getting closer and closer to Indy at every swing – then Indy just takes out his revolver and shoots him … The second scene takes place when Indy and his search partner Sallah (by John Rhys-Davies) are peering into a deep tomb and Sallah says ” … Indy, why does the ground move?” …. Indy just mutters to himself… ” Snakes … why did it have to be snakes??? ….” – that makes me laugh every time!.
The score is great and the stirring theme music evokes imagery of adventure, thrill-seeking and heroics too.
“Raiders” won the Academy Award (Oscar) in 1981 for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction and Best Sound Effects Editing.
Made in 1981. Directed by Steven Spielberg