Ahhh, the late 70’s and early 80’s. These were wonderful times if you loved great action-adventure films. With Spielberg and Lucas redefining summer movie going by creating movies that people wanted to see again and again. Raiders of The Lost Ark is perhaps the definitive popcorn flick. It has memorable characters, dramatic set pieces, and lines that are infinitely quotable. There are a handful of movies that could be called precursors to the modern blockbuster and this is one of them. Besides being a huge box office smash and continuing to be beloved by people all over the world, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and won four trophies for technical aspects of the film. So does a great popcorn flick (albeit a hugely successful and much beloved one) deserve to be counted among the best of all time?
Should this film be considered a classic? I don’t think there will be any argument about this one. Indiana Jones is one of the most beloved characters in cinema history and Raiders is the film that created and defined the character. The film is pure joy put on the screen. This film has some of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. From the opening in the booby trapped cave as Indy fearlessly pursues an artifact to the escape in the plane which introduces us to his fear of snakes. How about the scene of the sword wielding baddy who never has a chance because Indy shoots him? Maybe the fist fight on and around the Nazi plane? Or perhaps the scene of Marion and Indy on the transport ship? You see what I mean? Not only is this film a classic, but it also contains many scenes that have become classics in their own right. That is a truly remarkable feat. It’s a memorable film as a whole but is also filled with many individual scenes that stand as cinema icons.
Would I own this film? Without a doubt. The wonderful thing about many of these early blockbusters is their infinite replay value. Many films today lack that replay value but Raiders is one those films that you can watch any time and many times. I can hardly wait for the Blu-Ray releases of these films so that I can watch them in HD goodness. Go watch this one again as soon as you get a chance. It’s just a great movie. Period.