Raiders of the Lost Ark - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Raiders of the Lost Ark Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 21, 2017
You know, I wanted to see this because I mentioned it in my review for Wither. The context in which I mentioned this in that review was to mention a film that 'heavily borrowed' from another film that, obviously, came out prior. The discussion I was having, with myself, in the review was basically talking about rip-offs. And I know what you're thinking, particularly if Raiders is one of your favorite movies of all time. 'Raiders, a RIP-OFF?!?!?! I will KILL you'. I never said Raiders was a rip-off, but there's a film from the 50s, called Secret of the Incas, that Raiders clearly borrowed from. And if you're trying to deny that fact then you must be a fan boy. Heavily borrowing from something that already existed isn't illegal. If you use it as inspiration and you go forth with your own unique story and stylistic choices, then you can use that as a jumping off point to bigger and better things. And you can certainly make that case for Raiders. It took what already existed and added onto it with great characters, great writing and great action. Another reason I wanted to watch this was simply because of the fact that I don't remember watching this film in ages. Like, seriously. I don't have any recollection of watching this after my teens. And if I did watch it when I was younger, then I retained very little of it. I mean, then again, how could I forget the melting Nazi faces, right??? How could ANYONE forget that, particularly when a lot people watched this when they were very young. But, seriously here, what can I say about Raiders of the Lost Ark that hasn't already, literally, been said in the ensuing 36 years since its release. There's nothing that I can add to this film's legend that will highlight something new that someone who's watched this may not be familiar with. Some people might not know this, but the actor who plays Belloq had a fly land on his lower lip and the slide into his mouth during one of the climactic scenes. This guy, being a pro, completely no-sold this fly and just went about his monologue. That might be something that some people don't know. But I only know that because I just noticed it completely out of nowhere. Then I went back in my own subconscious and realized that I saw it in a YouTube video some time ago. I didn't remember that it was this movie until that precise moment. But I digress. There's nothing I can say about this. Harrison Ford is great as the handsome, charming rogue. The film is impeccably scripted, everything that you see happens for a reason. While I knew that this film was violent, particularly for being rated PG, I was still legitimately surprised at how violent some of the scenes actually were and how they were able to get by with a PG rating. I wish the MPAA was as loose with its ratings as they used to be in the 80s. Karen Allen and Harrison Ford have great chemistry. They achieve a balance between antagonistic while being still madly attracted to each other that's difficult to achieve. As I mentioned, there's some top-notch action here as well. The fist fights themselves are simplistic, but effective. And the giant car chase scene would fit in nicely in a Mad Max movie of this era, perhaps it would have been a little more over-the-top, but I still think it would have fit. I'm not going over the story, because then I would be here forever. But, yea, this film was pretty damn fucking great. There's a reason why this is one of the most enduring action adventure films of all time and why it's a film whose influence is still felt today, especially in video games like Uncharted. I'm not gonna sit here and say that this is the best movie ever made, because it's not. But it is a movie that any self-respecting film geek must watch at least once. Then maybe get the special edition DVD and behold at how this film was put together, which would then gain you a new appreciation for the mastery that is on display here. I can't complain in the slightest, I had an absolute blast watching this and I would highly recommend it. Yes, this review totally sucked, but it's Raiders, the movie speaks for itself and there's nothing new I can really say that hasn't already been said. Two thumbs up for this movie, for sure.
July 10, 2017
This is the gold standard for all action movies. Ever.
½ July 8, 2017
Fun and entertaining is every aspect, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a work of cinematic mastery.
June 27, 2017
An amazing start to an iconic franchise.
½ June 25, 2017
A classic adventure movie with just enough wit, action, and dazzling visual special effects, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most iconic films of all time.
June 21, 2017
One of my too ten films a classic
June 21, 2017
From my point of view, this is the best adventure movie ever created. Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic characters in cinema and his adventures are breathtaking. Harrison Ford's great performance plus the amazing direction of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made this movie one of the most memorable motion pictures ever.
June 18, 2017
It was the epitomy of an adventure movie!It had amazing sets, great action scenes,battle scenes, humor,romance,everything! The direction was on point,how could it not be, having in mind it's Spielberg we're talking about. What I didn't like though,and what dragged the movie for me, and took away of my experience,is that if you remove the action/adventure elements the story that remains is weak. Add to that the fact that I hated the last act and voila there's an entertaining movie but a movie that I found only so-so, nevertheless
June 5, 2017
This is a classic. How can you not like this one. Harrison Ford is great in the role. Action, humor, good story, great movie.
May 31, 2017
A classic film that features rollicking action and irresistible charm.
½ May 31, 2017
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Frank Marshall, written by Lawrence Kasdan and with the story written by Philip Kaufman and George Lucas.

Raiders was the first film of a very iconic, well-praised and well-known series with other films consisting of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The film has now been marketed under the title Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it originally didn't have that name and was simply known as Raiders of the Lost Ark and I imagine that was the case because the people behind the film weren't sure how big of a success Raiders would become. BTW I am not going to refer to the film as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, I will only refer to it as Raiders of the Lost Ark or Raiders for short because I am an old school kind of guy.

Harrison Ford begins the iconic franchise with his first film as archaeologist Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr., who is put up against Nazis in a race to find the lost Ark of Covenant, which is believed to still hold the Ten Commandments. Jones' sidekick Marion (Karen Allen) joins him in the mission and many dangerous, thrilling adventure are encountered in their incredible quest. Jones must use his knowledge of archaeology to get himself and Marion out of these dangerous situations and find the lost Ark.

Raiders of the Lost Ark's first ten minutes is full of some of the most iconic moments in Indiana Jones history and, in some cases, cinematic history in general. In the opening scene, Jones is in Peru and must retrieve a golden idol, but this isn't as easy as just picking up something and leaving. The cave throws everything at Jones, including arrows, skeletons, webs, closing doors, gaps in the floor and, most iconic, a giant boulder. After that, he must escape the native people from Peru who are trying to stop Jones from taking the golden idol. This whole beginning holds some of the most iconic movie moments of all time.

After finding the golden idol, Jones is told by his assistant Dr. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot) that he must find the lost Ark of the Covenant so that he can bring it to a museum. This starts a whole series of misadventures for Indy who wears his trademark leather suit, hat and whip as he finds his way out of treacherous situations, also including some little humorous lines amongst all the thrilling yet cartoonish and silly parts in the rest of the film. For example, when Jones and his group had managed to dig and find the Well of Souls, they had enter it to get the Ark, but Indy's fear of snakes catches up with him when he sees snakes and he says "Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?". That alone gets a chuckle, but then Sallah, who Indy thinks is the "the best digger in Egypt" says "Asps. Very dangerous. You go first" to Indy. The film is full of occasional laughs, action sequences, some thrilling moments, but a lot of silly and cartoony ones, too.

Raiders is a good experience just for a bit of fun, but I personally think it's overrated as hell. There are quite a few exciting and adventurous moments in the film you might like, such as the opening scene and some of the other action scenes in the film, but I'll admit, yes I know it's an Indiana Jones film so I expected it to be a bit silly, but there are some moments for me where it got really silly in this film simply by not showing things such as how Jones got on the submarine so easily, what happened after before they got on land, what happened in the process of going to another completely different land I don't know the name of and just how the hell Jones managed to just so happen to have a bazooka.

Another issue I noticed with the film is some of the over-the-top aspects about it. The supporting actors (except for Karen Allen) tend to overact, the set pieces can be a bit too brightly-coloured and cartoony at times (which I've noticed is a bit of a trend with Steven Spielberg) and some things that happen in the film can make me feel like I'm watching the Three Stooges. For example, when Marion is being chased and manages to lure a man inside a building, she smacks him in the face with a frying pan and manages to hide in a barrel afterwards. I know it's Indiana Jones, but Jesus Christ. Also, in terms of acting, I've talked about the supporting actors, now I'm gonna talk about Harrison Ford. I think he's overrated. Sorry, but I do. I'm gonna be honest here and say that he underacts woefully 95% of the time and then he overacts 3% of the time, being just right only 2% of the time. I will give him credit for the fact that he does pick roles where you can get away with it, though, which is why I don't think he's terrible, I just don't think he's very good. Sometimes it can also make you laugh, now sometimes I mean that in a so-bad-it's-good and I rarely mean that in a genuinely good way. In Raiders, though, I will admit, his acting is okay and he did certainly suit the part, I'll give him that, but it's not a Ford performance without at least some classic disinterested Ford moments.

Sometimes in the Indiana Jones franchise, though, there can be some scarring and creepy moments, too. Raiders is no exception to this. BTW, here, I will be revealing the end so if you wan't to see the film and don't want it spoiled for you, I'll give you 10 seconds to click off the video to avoid the spoiler.

The Nazis die at the end. Indy and Marion are tied up by the Nazis and the Nazis wish to open the box and see the Ark and what's inside. Indy tells Marion not to look at the Ark, as it will melt them if they do. The Nazis, however, don't know this and look at the ark while opening it, causing them to melt and die. While it can be looked at as silly and cartoony, definitely, it's also quite a graphic moment that will definitely scar younger audiences.

Another thing, though, that I do like about Raiders is the way that it is made in other areas. As it is a film released 36 years ago in 1981, you wouldn't expect it to have shaky camera and quick cuts all the time like movies nowadays do, and it doesn't, which is what I like about it. It only has quick cuts when needed and only has a couple of shaky camera shots, and they are also when needed as well. Also, I admire the fact that, again because it's a film from 1981, it has very little computer-generated imagery (CGI) and all of the scenes use practical effects in favour unless CGI is ever needed, but it's rarely used in this movie.

Sometimes, though, it can be confusing which audience the Indiana Jones franchise is aiming for. Raiders is mostly a light-hearted action-adventure film that can be silly, cartoony yet thrilling, but it can also have its scarring, creepy moments as previously mentioned. This is kind of a model for the whole saga, not just Raiders. Indiana Jones typically is a light-hearted saga, but it can have its dark moments like the Nazi death scene in Raiders, all of Temple of Doom, the "He Chose Poorly" scene from Last Crusade and nothing from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The only thing that scars me and creeps me out about that movie was how anyone was stupid enough to allow it to be made.

There are definitely more good moments in the film than the opening, but I feel like that was the best part of the whole film because it was most full of the iconic, exciting scenes Indiana Jones would become famous for, but the rest of the movie isn't quite as good, I'll admit. It was fun to watch some of the action scenes, but the film definitely had its issues.

I did laugh at some of the lines, though, and some of the moments in the film.

All in all, I give Raiders of the Lost Ark 2.5 stars out of 5. I think it is a fun and adventurous, generally well-made, iconic film to watch, but it can get silly and cartoony, isn't fantastically acted and directed and it can be even a little creepy at times.
May 30, 2017
A classic. This is George Lucas and Harrison Ford at their best (besides Star Wars)
May 19, 2017
Movies do not get any better than this. Raiders has it all... an extremely fun adventure, chasing an intriguing piece of religious lore, with great characters and a lot of humor. Seriously, if you don't like this flick, go back to your reality TV.
May 13, 2017
What can I say that hasn't already been said?
May 10, 2017
The special effects are brilliant, the action scenes and the John Williams score are extremely epic, and the main character is one of the absolute greatest role models in the history of cinema, especially since he teaches audiences everywhere that it's ALWAYS a good thing to punch Nazis no matter what other people have to say.
April 26, 2017
A cinema classic, with wonderful scenery and visuals, featuring a terrific performance from Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark has been and always will be one of the best movies ever made.
April 23, 2017
170423: Years and years later, this is still a good film. Other than some weaker special effects when the Ark is opened, I really enjoyed seeing Raiders again.
April 21, 2017
best film i've ever watched, huge respect to the stunt men aswell as the actors, directors, john williams, screenplay. Love the practical explosions and the movie producers hard work to shoot and make the awesome scenes. The balls the directors and stuntment had to do a 50mph truck chase where the stuntmen & ford are being dragged along the floor and threw off the truck is incredible. ALL the acting is all fantastic and memorable. Will always remember this film. 10/10
April 15, 2017
This film stands as the most memorable movie-going experience of the my adolescence. It was the first movie I ever went to by myself, and boy, there could not have been a more perfect movie for me to have 'all to myself' at that time, in that place, of my life. I became completely absorbed in this old-style adventure yarn from the opening titles, invested quickly thereafter in the character of Indiana Jones, and my eyes remained wide open until the closing credits. From an emotional standpoint, what George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, John Williams, and company presented on the screen really was like a 1940s-style movie serial, complete with globetrotting action-packed intrigue and cliffhangers galore. Great memories. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think it's time for me to watch this again.
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