Cuff’s review published on Letterboxd:
Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most influential and universally acclaimed adventure movies to have ever been made, and it really is shocking that it has taken me this long to see it.
Steven Spielberg expertly directs this movie. Both Spielberg and George Lucas (who originally conceived the idea) managed to effortlessly create so many iconic sequences, moments and lines of dialogue in Raiders that have remained in the pop culture lexicon since it was released. John Williams, unsurprisingly, produces an outstanding score, and the stunt work is some of the best put to film.
Raiders is more than endlessly exciting action set pieces though, it is also a compelling story about a man who comes to understand that there is more to life than meets the eye, all while struggling to do battle with the massive and evil forces of Nazi Germany. Indy often gets knocked down by his enemies in Raiders, coming out on the losing side on most occasions, and I loved that because it made the character feel more real and relatable.
However, while I was very invested in the story, the characters and the action sequences, I can't shake the feeling that I should have enjoyed it more than I ultimately did - that I'm missing something that everyone else experienced. I feel like Raiders should have provided me with that extra element of stardust that separates it from the other great adventure movies, but the movie never hit that 'best of all-time' level for me.
Raiders of the Lost Ark won't suffer for me not praising it as highly as most, though. Off the back of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg created yet another blockbuster phenomenon that is still talked about, cherished and held in extremely high esteem to this day, and that certainly is an incredible feat.