Most actors are lucky to have one iconic role during their career, like Sean Connery’s James Bond or Anne Bancroft’s Mrs Robinson, but Harrison Ford can boast two – Han Solo and, of course, the character he first showcased here, Indiana Jones, that tweed-clad professor of archaeology who scours the globe (when he isn’t teaching drooling girls) for artefacts and antiquities.
A homage to the Saturday matinee serials of the 1930s from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, this is a cracking adventure – Indy is hired by the American government to try and track down the Ark of the Covenant (in which Moses supposedly stored the tablets of the Ten Commandments) before the Nazis get their hands on it – that is a true rollercoaster ride from the much-imitated opening (the bit with the booby-trapped cavern and rolling boulder) to the effects-laden finale.
It’s nail-biting, funny, whip-smart and action-packed, with Ford making a perfect antihero (Indy gets bruised and battered and isn’t that nice to tough-damsel-in-distress Marion, either), a man who treasures ancient artefacts but doesn’t think twice about stealing them, either.
One of the most enjoyable and memorable escapist adventures ever made, Raiders was followed by two cracking sequels (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and the disappointing Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull more than a decade later.
Is Raiders Of The Lost Ark suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There are various scenes of peril throughout the movie, that start at the very beginning when Indy rescues the idol from the temple after dodging various booby traps that have impaled previous adventurers.
There are pits of snakes, nasty Nazis and a stubborn ex-girlfriend to deal with, but the most gruesome moments are when the muscle-bound baddie’s face comes into contact with an airplane propellor, and the climax of the movie when the Ark is opened.
SPOILER! Many of those present have their faces melted off and a ghostly evil appears. This is very scary for younger viewers (under 10s).