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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

The return of the great adventure

Rating: 10/10

Running Time: 115 minutes

UK Certificate: PG


Why didn’t anyone think of it sooner? A whip-lashing 1930s university archaeologist running around Egypt fighting Nazis? It’s what movie cameras were invented for! And many would argue it’ll never be topped.

“The return of the great adventure”, boasts the tagline on the poster, and that’s exactly what ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ is. By the time the 115 minutes are up, we’ve seen Harrison Ford – as the now uber-iconic Indiana Jones – leap around moving trucks, board a Nazi-packed submarine, evade countless booby traps (including a giant boulder, strangely reminiscent of a Terry’s chocolate orange), climb through a writhing snake pit, beat-up more Germans than you could care to remember, and get the girl (natch).

From literally the first minute until the very closing scene, ‘Raiders’ is the ride of a lifetime. What perhaps seals its greatness is the fact that, along with the pulsating action sequences, it boasts a tantalising plotline to engage us and suck us right into the adventure (if only the writers of the Tomb Raider franchise could have taken note). The Gerries, you see, have stumbled upon the location of the legendary Ark of the Covenant, and Hitler – complete sod that he is – fancies using its powers to make his armies invincible.

Co-written by George Lucas, Philip Kasdan and Steven Spielberg, and directed by Spielberg, this ranks alongside the greatest flicks of all time and spawned two sequels and a deluge of copycat efforts (of which Romancing the Stone is probably the most memorable). Ford’s played some terrific characters in his time (nobody’s forgetting Han Solo for a while), but for my money Dr Jones is his best. He’s played as sharp, witty clever, and looks every inch the archetypal comic book hero. And just wait a few years until you find out who his dad is!

It's Got: Snakes. Lots of them.

It Needs: A tighter hat to stop it from falling off all the time.

DVD Extras ‘The Adventures of Indiana Jones’ box-set contains a fourth disc where you can find all of the bonus goodies: ‘The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones’ features the special effects used in the trilogy; ‘The Sound of Indiana Jones’ describes the films as “an adventure in sound” (well, not too sure about that one, but we’ll let them off); ‘The Stunts of Indiana Jones’ looks, not entirely surprisingly, at the stunts used; ‘The Music of Indiana Jones’ is about – and you’re probably getting the general idea by now – the music of Indiana Jones! There are also some trailers tucked away in there, plus a good range of DVD-ROM content. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10


The greatest adventure of our time?