Raiders of the Lost Ark

release year: 1981
genre: action/adventure
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/27/19 and 9/26/12 and 3/6/04, plus many more times before

synopsis: It's the late 1930s, and the Nazis are searching for the legendary lost Ark of the Covenant, to increase their power. The U.S. government recruits adventurer/archaeologist Indiana Jones to stop them.

impressions: This one's truly a classic. It has all the elements of a great epic adventure: a charismatic, swashbuckling hero, a competent yet flawed female lead, nasty villains, many fights of all kinds, a great quest, a wide assortment of supporting characters, snakes, explosions, tombs, deadly traps, and even divine intervention. Who could ask for anything more?

things to watch for: cool, easy-to-miss twisty ending

something this movie has that no other movie has: a tomb full of snakes

acting: Like his Han Solo character from the Star Wars trilogy, Harrison Ford invented and perfected a hero in one swoop. Karen Allen is pretty good as his love interest. The bad guys (evil archaeologist, evil Nazi captain, evil Nazi torturer) were all fun to watch too. John Rhys-Davies did a good job as boisterous ally Sallah, ditto for Dr. Jones' boss at the university.

interesting trivia: Pat Roach (who played the big German mechanic in the flying wing fight scene) had lesser roles in the second and third Indiana Jones movies as well as Conan the Destroyer and Red Sonja and Kull the Conqueror and was also General Kael in Willow.

final word: This is pretty much the ultimate adventure movie.

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