Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★★

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the first and best of Steven Spielberg's four (so far) escapist action fantasies to feature cinema's coolest archaeologist and the original antifa himself, Indiana Jones. This iconic fedora-wearing character represents one of Harrison Ford's three finest roles alongside Han Solo (the Star Wars saga) and Rick Deckard (Blade Runner).

The opening action setpiece is one of the finest and most unabashedly enjoyable movie beginnings ever conceived. It's a self-contained mini-escapade (in the mould of a James Bond pre-credit sequence) featuring an ancient jungle temple, a priceless golden artefact, multiple deadly traps, a string of double crosses and the immortal line: "I hate snakes!" Any lull that occurs after this burst of sheer excitement is short-lived, however, as Jones is called upon for a much grander adventure where the stakes couldn't get any higher.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is one sheer cinematic rollercoaster ride, filled with superbly-orchestrated action setpieces and droll bite-sized moments of humour. The cast is also great, with Harrison Ford making for a charmingly rugged hero, Karen Allen a plucky tomboy love interest, Paul Freeman a suavely slimy rival and Ronald Lacey a skin-crawlingly creepy Nazi villain.

Let's not forget John Williams's rousing score which is as much of a star as any of the aforementioned actors. Da da da-da, da da-da, da da-da-da, da da-da-da-da!

Ahem.

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