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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 7.92%
Average: 1.49%
Pretty Bad: 1.49%
Total Crap: 3.96%

6 reviews, 166 user ratings

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Raiders of the Lost Ark
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by Matt Seaver

"A classic in every possible way."
5 stars

Very few films get better as they age. It’s a subjective media, and most are made with immediate returns in mind – the audience they’re looking to wow is the audience that will see the film at the time of the theatrical release. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is one of the few things I’ve seen made before I was born that still delivers everything I’m looking for.

I recently had my first opportunity to see Raiders at the Coolidge Corner Theater last week. I “dragged” my girlfriend as well, who isn’t as big a movie dork as I am, but she was more than a little psyched about this one. I mean, it’s Indiana Jones! Who doesn’t love Indiana Jones?

As everyone is aware, the film introduces us to Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford), a quiet college professor by day, “acquirer of rare antiquities” by… other days. His lectures are completely packed and his students smitten, thanks to rumors about his other life. We meet him deep in South America, searching through the jungle for some lost treasure. After narrowly escaping death arrows, a giant friggin’ rolling boulder, and betrayal by his guide (Alfred Molina), Indy emerges from the cave victorious… only to have the business end of a bunch of guns and bows pointed at him. They are commanded by Belloq (Paul Freeman), a rival archaeologist who has a tendency to be a pain in Indy’s backside. Belloq removes the idol from Indy’s possession, and sends him running for home.

Back at his university, Indy is approached by his friend Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot), who makes him the offer of a lifetime – search for the Ark of the Covenant on behalf of the United States. The only snafu? He’s gotta find it before the Nazi’s do, and they already have a significant head start (and they have Belloq). Naturally, Indy takes the challenge, and heads off. Before hitting Egypt, he stops in Nepal to find Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), the daughter of one of the foremost Ark scholars on Earth. Marion tells Indy that her father is dead, but as it turns out, she has what he needs to further his quest. So naturally, she joins him on his trip to Cairo… can we say hostage bait? At this point, I’m sure most of you know what goes on, but if you don’t, I won’t spoil it for you.

What struck me most about the film is that there are so many sequences that are so well known, and yet those sequences refuse to get old or fall into cliché (or maybe it’s just excusable, since as far as I know this movie STARTED the clichés). Those sequences drew applause from the entire crowd – a packed house, ranging from ten-year olds to seniors. That’s such an unusual response for any movie to have, and contrary to the current belief – that the R or PG-13 is going to hit the lowest common denominator. It makes for such a remarkable shared cinematic experience. The boulder, the travel map, the “swordfight,” Marion’s drinking contest… all of it got giggles and cheers at every turn. This isn’t a film that was made for audience interaction, but 25 years after its release, it benefits from it. It lets each audience member know that everyone else is on the same page as you are.

It’s also perfectly pieced together. As good as Schindler’s List or Jaws might be, this is the film that Spielberg needs to hold up as his masterpiece. He hit every note perfectly. He’s got the action/adventure elements down. He’s got the serial elements down. With the end, he’s even got the horror elements down. It’s simply perfect. His visuals are amazing – he’s sure to capture Tunisia so that it doesn’t just look like a desert. His choreography is perfect, because his fights DON’T look like dances… they look like fights.

And Harrison Ford. Star Wars might have launched him, but Raiders of the Lost Ark made him the ultimate badass. He pulls parts from Han Solo as necessary, but there’s much much more to him as well. The rest of the cast doesn’t slack, either – Marion is by far the most entertaining (and attractive) of Indy’s better halves. John Rhys-Davies proved so good in this one that he pops back up in The Last Crusade, and is basically confirmed for the last installment as well. And Ronald Lacy, as the evil Major Toht, is one of the scariest humans I can remember on film. The guy scared the crap out of me when I was a kid – though not as much as the end.

Some people have been naysaying the decision to make Indy 4. I say bring it on. There are so many more stories they can tell through this guy. Each film presents two stories – the main focus of the movie, plus whatever adventure Indy happens to be on when the film begins. The possibilities are endless.

When John Williams’s theme came through the speakers at the Coolidge, I got really, really excited. Odd, since this is something that was released 3 years before I was even born. But that excitement held me all the way through the last shot, and through the closing credits. This is a classic, and if you ever have a chance to see it as it was intended to be seen, do so. And be sure to get in line early for Indy 4. Behind me.

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originally posted: 08/23/06 05:49:26
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell best one of the series 5 stars
9/08/16 Bobby This is the best movie in the franchise, but later ones were just too commercial. 5 stars
4/27/16 Ken Whoever thinks this movie is stupid, is a fag. A masterpiece. 5 stars
1/03/16 Theresa Miller Love Harrison Ford. Fun movie. 4 stars
12/06/15 johnnyfaye Some people say the greatest adventure film ever made. I just say the greatest film ever. 5 stars
4/04/15 jack ford the greatest shit ever tied with star wars films 1 stars
3/02/15 john lasseter i'm glad in many list lord of the rings beat raiders of the lost ark 3 stars
3/01/15 manalone923 TRASH 1 stars
3/01/15 stanley welles an efficient immaculately constructed rip-roaring masterpiece 5 stars
1/19/15 felipe delano just trash 1 stars
1/05/15 jrjj stupid movie 1 stars
9/03/13 Geraldine Amazing! A classic! 5 stars
7/11/13 Charles Kill This was the best one...besides crusade...and temple, of course. 4 stars
6/03/13 Ron One of my top 3 or 5 films ever. 5 stars
9/16/12 cindy madson good 4 stars
5/12/12 matthew thompson dalldorf One of the best adventure movies of all time! 5 stars
3/01/12 jcar a very good action movie with lots of thrills and cool effects, ford is great action hero 4 stars
1/04/12 Flipsider One of the best American Movies, maybe THE best! 5 stars
6/08/10 Flathead King Raiders could be the best action film ever made 5 stars
3/10/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Just as good everytime you see it 5 stars
4/19/09 Jbond the moving corpse scene as "merely to scare the kids"... indeed it did 5 stars
9/03/08 austin wertman one of the greatest movies of all-time 5 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner Great film!! 5 stars
8/28/08 Charles Tatum Absolutely huge fun, why have I not commented here before? 5 stars
8/25/08 George Barksdale This movie is the reason you stood in line for the other ones, Great! 5 stars
7/17/08 Keithers The only movie that entertain you...30 years later, the greatest adventure of all time... 5 stars
6/10/08 Johnnyfaye the only movie that will actually knock you out of chair then then slap the shit out of you 5 stars
6/02/08 mike pease awesome movie loved it 5 stars
5/25/08 debdahlin excellent movie - love harrison ford in action paction films 5 stars
5/07/08 AJ Muller I take back every bad thing I ever said about Rob G - great review for greatest flick ever. 5 stars
3/24/08 Bnorm If you dont like this movie you're not a fucking American 5 stars
6/15/07 Vincent Ebriega More than just another old-fashioned adventure movie. 5/5. 5 stars
6/13/07 al smith the best adventure film ever.anyone who disagrees is a cock 5 stars
4/27/07 R.W.Welch Top of the Adventure Genre -- probably forever. 5 stars
11/02/06 Patsyc very good movie. Definitely worth watching. 5 stars
10/25/06 Drew G What can I say that hasn't already been said? 5 stars
10/15/06 Ron Newbold Escapism at its best. This became an instant classic 5 stars
8/26/06 michael can't wait for the new 1 to come out one of these years 5 stars
8/25/06 Al Guy A permanent classic! 5 stars
8/24/06 David Pollastrini great action with a few comedy bits 5 stars
8/23/06 Ole Man Bourbon Richard Chamberlain in Alan Quatermain was SO much better. In hell. 5 stars
7/26/06 Sepi53 Best adventure film since Adventures of Robin Hood! 5 stars
6/24/06 JohnnyFaye Ford gives the proformance of a lift time, cloest you can get to the best adventurefilmever 5 stars
5/26/06 Kimberly Dull This is my favorite movie. 5 stars
3/10/06 Dk The last crusade may be more entertaining but this is the best Indiana Jones movie 5 stars
11/18/05 Chris Barrett Lets All Hum The Theme!!!! Whoever Hates This, Hates Movies 5 stars
11/18/05 John Dog Awesome action movie. Anyone who dislikes this film has a lot of problems. 5 stars
9/08/05 Johnny Best action movie. 5 stars
9/02/05 Zack great movie 5 stars
8/28/05 Quigley there are so many classic scenes; this is an unforgettable movie experience. i love it!!!! 5 stars
8/26/05 EZ Ford was great, exciting action, and George Lucas delivered another masterpiece 5 stars
8/12/05 D Buckley Best movie ever made? 5 stars
5/27/05 tony BEST FILM BY HARRISON FORD. EXELLENT EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold Flawless from first scene to last. The best action/adventure of all time. 5 stars
1/04/05 t-1000 marion is ugly 5 stars
10/17/04 Elisheva Rison This movie is an astounding piece of work, it's totally breathtaking and action-packed! 5 stars
10/16/04 Denise awesome 5 stars
8/29/04 Conor Crockford great 5 stars
8/19/04 courtney hrison ford is hott and it makes a great move for action adventurer people 5 stars
7/26/04 keithers a timeless adventure film. Just as fun every time you see it. When adventure moviesweregood 5 stars
7/17/04 Evan great stuff 5 stars
7/08/04 Stevo There hasn't been an action film quite like it since 5 stars
5/15/04 the bride whisky?? Funny as! Fuckin awesome as! 5 stars
5/04/04 dead next door has aged a bit but still great. 4 stars
3/27/04 Littlepurch. Disappointing solution through lack of action but gd build up. 4 stars
2/12/04 Johnny Fay GOLDENCHILD!!!!...ARE YOU INSANE!!..someone shoot CC 5 stars
1/27/04 Katie Malone Hung on to the edge of my chair the whole time! 5 stars
1/24/04 CC Whatch the Golden Child ...better 1 stars
12/07/03 john still great! 5 stars
11/22/03 ross hendrick brilliant 5 stars
11/12/03 alien assassin timeless classic 5 stars
11/02/03 Skilly Skally Yep. it's a good one alright 5 stars
10/27/03 John Bale One of the best action/fun flicks of all times, Harrison is great, and direction etc, super 5 stars
9/29/03 Boris Smtih "I don't know; I'm making this up as I go." 5 stars
9/16/03 Terry One of the best movies ever made, great fun. 5 stars
9/06/03 Dimitri Aubert Fun, action and romance in a shaker and you have a great movie, thank you Steven. 5 stars
8/19/03 Hewdam The definitive action/advebture movie 5 stars
8/08/03 3man "Asps! Very dangerous. You go first Indy." 5 stars
8/07/03 Roger Thornhill Smart action movie. 5 stars
7/12/03 Indrid Cold Flawless all the way to the wrath of God climax: absolutely as good as movies get. 5 stars
5/08/03 Doctor Jay One of the finest movies of the 1980s!!! 5 stars
4/26/03 Mr. Do They should make more movies like this, not those fuckin things they make today 5 stars
4/24/03 GWB great film 5 stars
3/21/03 defranco73 The best of the trilogy. 5 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby A grand adventure. Feverishly paced with lots of great stunts. Plods some, but rocks mostly 4 stars
3/04/03 hi there This is one of the best movies ever made, and if you hated it, you're an idiot! 5 stars
2/20/03 Mark Earley This is one of the best movies ever made in the history of time 5 stars
2/05/03 123 this is the original stuff! harrison ford's best role 5 stars
11/29/02 Jay Best of the Indiana Jones Series 5 stars
11/09/02 YES 2nd best action film ever, behind only Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 5 stars
9/23/02 George Overrated my ass. This movie rocks. 5 stars
7/04/02 gary vidmar A completely great film in all ways. If U haven't seen it yet, do it now! 5 stars
6/27/02 Shams Huque Anyone giving this less than 5/5 is a fool. 5 stars
5/13/02 Dark Baron Can't wait for the DVD Trilogy. 5 stars
4/22/02 Randal Grantham I Absolutely love it 5 stars
4/13/02 Movie Expert The movie is goofy and is the most overrated movie ever made 2 stars
4/03/02 Stephanie Throckmorton On of most overrated pieces of irreverence &hooey ever & "heroine" is a bitch! 2 stars
3/20/02 Rockitman007 Best Action movie ever!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/11/02 Jo Smo It was a horrible movie NOT it was great! 4 stars
2/19/02 I love movies better than Star Wars y'all 5 stars
2/06/02 Nevz Good enough for me 5 stars
1/18/02 David A. Comic-book style action and adventure--extremely well-done! 5 stars
1/01/02 slipperyK it is know as "the" adventure movie, the greatest adventure ever, specially the desertchase 5 stars
12/19/01 dkb You can see its influence in every action film since. 5 stars
12/13/01 Brian White Easily one of the greatest movies ever made, and my favorite of all time. 5 stars
11/24/01 Andrew Carden I Can't Say It Was That Great, but It Is Such A Classic Flick. 5 stars
10/24/01 Chris Wright Still the greatest action movie 5 stars
10/08/01 jawsboy one of the greatest action movies ever made. Very good movie, but the ending was only ok. 4 stars
10/02/01 Phoenix The best adventure picture ever made. 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk The greatest adventure movie of all time. The end is a trip... 5 stars
7/12/01 the scarecrow a classic 5 stars
6/23/01 erik the movieman Should have been AFI's #1 Most Thrilling Film of All Time. It was mine! 5 stars
6/02/01 G-MAN I Love this movie 5 stars
5/14/01 fifu the best adventure movie ever made 5 stars
5/02/01 sharkey All I wanted as a kid was a bullwhip. And the hat. 5 stars
4/02/01 Jesse L Set a new direction for action thrillers 5 stars
2/13/01 Richard Wright My favourite is the third one, but this is still a classic. Will they make a fourth? 4 stars
2/11/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi I will love this movie till the day I die. See it, or else!! 5 stars
1/09/01 fifu the ideal adventure movie/it's 20 years old and still leaves you breathless at the end 5 stars
12/31/00 Msitrab I still love this movie 5 stars
12/24/00 Destruction Worker "I hate snakes" 5 stars
12/09/00 fifu my favorite movie ever 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla a roller coaster ride, one of the greatest films!!!! 5 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin Great, but the weakest of the three 4 stars
10/28/00 Evil Cartman Hella rocks! Too bad about the hella awful sequels... 5 stars
9/22/00 White Rabbit My second favorite Spielberg movie 5 stars
6/30/00 Deckard The best Action/Advanture movie ever made. Period. 5 stars
6/05/00 David Gaukroger brilliant 4 stars
5/31/00 danilo a thrill ride from beginning to end, LITERALLY 5 stars
5/03/00 matt Most exciting, thrill ride in motion picture history. Speilberg is the MANNN 5 stars
4/17/00 punkass Saw it again and wished I hadn't - don't ruin your childhood favourites 2 stars
4/04/00 Bruce A wild ride, this is the role Harrison Ford was born to play 5 stars
3/24/00 stellisima Sweet Harrison... 5 stars
3/21/00 The Saint this movie was pretty damn good 4 stars
3/20/00 Richard Wright I prefer Last Crusade,but this film is certainly a milestone in its genre.Ford-what a star! 4 stars
3/15/00 Matthew Bartley The bit where he shoots the swordsman. That's all you need to know. 5 stars
1/25/00 Eric With The Last Crusade, Raiders of the Lost ark is the best action/adventure film ever made 5 stars
1/24/00 Casey Jarzabek OVERRATED 1 stars
1/20/00 Jedi15 Definitely one of Spielberg's best. A must-see! 5 stars
1/11/00 noelle camargo it's the best actio/adventure movie 5 stars
1/06/00 bk Marion Ravenwood is annoying as hell 3 stars
11/18/99 Vick Di Brecci Truck chase scene is the greatest chase in all of movies. 5 stars
10/27/99 Ralf Behet Hard to beat 5 stars
10/18/99 Ginny Brilliant...set the standard and raised the bar for ALL action/adventure flicks to follow 5 stars
10/14/99 Jay Jourden very good 5 stars
10/10/99 SJKelley Simply redefined the adventure film. We all want to be Indiana Jones. 5 stars
9/17/99 garthow it rocks 5 stars
8/10/99 Ted Wetzel One of the best action/adventure movies ever made. 5 stars
7/05/99 Ben Leostein Rating: **** (out of ****) Category: "Excellent" 5 stars
6/03/99 Matthew Bartley Shooting the swordsman is sill one of the greatest scenes ever 5 stars
4/28/99 Michael Grimm The Bomb!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/19/99 Derek My favorite movie ever. I'm serious. If you don't like this, you're beyond help. 5 stars
2/01/99 Vick Di Brecci Great character, great adven story (for most part), great truck chase scene 5 stars
11/29/98 Mike F pretty good. 3 stars
11/27/98 Mr.Pink An entertaining yarn. 4 stars
11/24/98 bizzy mmmmmmmm...Indiana Jones..... 5 stars
11/02/98 Baba booey !!!!!! 5 stars
10/30/98 Silent Rob Pure Movie Magic. 5 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo Man, this film ruled all butt. Ford will never be better. In fact, now he sucks. 5 stars
10/14/98 Chi-Fan Hu The best Indy film 5 stars
9/18/98 Couch Potato Critic The classic action Saturday afternoon matinee. 1 of the 6 Spielberg greats. 5 stars
9/05/98 Badass One of the best action films ever made! 5 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} Can't be negative about a classic. 4 stars
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  12-Jun-1981 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2008

  30-Jul-1981 (PG)

  14-Aug-1981 (M)

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