Raiders Of The Lost Ark - Film (Movie) Plot and Review





USA, 1981


Director: Steven Spielberg

Production: Lucasfilm Productions; color, 35mm, Panavision; running time: 115 minutes. Released summer 1981 by Paramount Pictures. Filmed 1980 in France, Tunisia, and Hawaii, and in Elstree Studios, England. Cost: about $20 million.

Producer: Frank Marshall; executive producers: George Lucas and Howard Kazanjian; screenplay: Lawrence Kasdan; story: George Lucas and Philip Kaufman; photography: Douglas Slocombe; editor: Michael Kahn; sound effects supervisor: Richard L. Anderson; sound effects editors: Steve H. Flick and Mark Mangini; production designer: Norman Reynolds; art director: Leslie Dilley; music: John Williams; special effects supervisor: Richard Edlund; costume designer: Deborah Nadoolman; stunt co-ordinator: Glenn Randall.

Cast: Harrison Ford ( Indiana Jones ); Karen Allen ( Marion Ravenswood ); Paul Freeman ( Belloq ); John Rhys-Davies ( Sallah ); Wolf Kahler ( Dietrich ); Ronald Lacey ( Toht ); Denholm Elliot ( Marcus Brody ).


Awards: Oscars for Sound, Visual Effects, Art Direction, and Editing, 1981.


Publications


Books:

Taylor, Derek, The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark , New York, 1981.

Crawley, Tony, The Steven Spielberg Story , London, 1983.

Miller, Bob, The Raiders Guide , Sherman, 1983.

Goldau, Antje, and Hans Helmut Prinzler, Spielberg: Filme als Spielzeug , Berlin, 1985.

Honeyford, Paul, Harrison Ford: A Biography , London, 1986.

Mott, Donald R., and Cheryl McAllister Saunders, Steven Spielberg , Boston, 1986.

Smith, Thomas G., Industrial Light and Magic: The Art of Special Effects , London, 1986.

Weiss, Ulli, Das Neue Hollywood: Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese , Munich, 1986.

Clinch, Minty, Harrison Ford: A Biography , London, 1987.

Godard, Jean-Pierre, Spielberg , Paris, 1987.

Sinyard, Neil, The Films of Steven Spielberg , London, 1987.

Von Gunden, Kenneth, Postmodern Auteurs: Coppola, Lucas, De Palma, Spielberg & Scorsese , Jefferson, North Carolina, 1991.

Taylor, Philip M., Steven Spielberg: The Man, His Movies, and Their Meaning , New York, 1992, 1998.

Sanello, Frank, Spielberg: The Man, the Movies, the Mythology , Dallas, 1996.

Brode, Douglas, The Films of Steven Spielberg, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1997.

Yule, Andrew, Steven Spielberg , New York, 1997.

Knight, Bertram, Steven Spielberg: Master of Movie Magic , Parsippany, New Jersey, 1998.

Perry, George, Steven Spielberg-Close Up: The Making of His Movies , New York, 1998.

McBride, Joseph, Steven Spielberg: A Biography , New York, 1999.

Friedman, Lester D., and Brent Notbohm, editors, Steven Spielberg: Interviews , Jackson, Mississippi, 2000.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Articles:

Hollywood Reporter , 5 June 1981.

Variety (New York), 5 June 1981.

New York Times , 12 June 1981.

Newsweek (New York), 15 June 1981.

New Yorker , 15 June 1981.

Time (New York), 15 June 1981.

New Republic (New York), 4–11 July 1981.

Reiss, D., interview with Steven Spielberg, in Filmmakers Monthly (Ward Hill, Massachusetts), July-August 1981.

Combs, Richard, in Monthly Film Bulletin (London), August 1981.

Films (London), August 1981.

Furtak, G., in Films in Review (New York), September-August 1981.

Benayoun, Robert, "Le Retour au plaisir," in Positif (Paris), September 1981.

Mérigeau, P., in Image et Son (Paris), September 1981.

Païni, D., in Cinéma (Paris), September 1981.

Tonnerre, J., in Cinématographe (Paris), September 1981.

Assayas, O., in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), October 1981.

Martini, E., in Cineforum (Bergamo), October 1981.

Shay, D., "The Wrath of God and Other Illusions," in Cinefex (Riverside, California), October 1981.

" Raiders of the Lost Ark Section" of American Cinematographer (Los Angeles), November 1981.

Filme (Paris), November-December 1981.

Ecran Fantastique (Paris), nos. 21 and 22, 1981–82.

Neale, Stephen, "Hollywood Corner," in Framework (Norwich), 1982.

Wilson, John, in Magill's Cinema Annual , Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1982.

Orto, N., in Cinema Nuovo (Turin), February 1982.

Auty, Chris, "The Complete Spielberg?," in Sight and Sound (London), Autumn 1982.

Tomasulo, F. P., "Mr. Jones Goes to Washington: Myth and Religion in Raiders of the Lost Ark ," in Quarterly Review of Film Studies (New York), Fall 1982.

Dorminsky, M., in Cinema Novo (Porto), September-October 1982.

Zimmerman, Patricia R., "Soldiers of Fortune: Lucas, Spielberg, Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark ," in Wide Angle (Athens, Ohio), vol. 6, no. 2, 1984.

Rissik, A., "Steven Spielberg: Indiana Jones and the 007 Myth," in Films and Filming (London), November 1984.

Cinéfantastique (Paris), May 1985.

Noel, J., "Steven Spielberg (Suite No. 4)," in Grand Angle (Mariembourg, Belgium), September 1990.

Sheehan, H., "The Panning of Steven Spielberg," in Film Comment (New York), May-June 1992.

Deemer, Charles, "The Rhetoric of Action: Five Classic Action Scenes," in Creative Screenwriting (Washington, D.C.), vol. 2, no. 4, Winter 1995.

Aronstein, S., "'Not Exactly a Knight:' Arthurian Narrative and Recuperative Politics in the 'Indiana Jones' Trilogy," in Cinema Journal (Austin), vol. 34, no. 4, 1995.

Bond, J., in Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles), no. 62, October 1995.

Larson, R.D., in Soundtrack!: The Collector's Quarterly (Mechelen), vol. 15, June 1996.

Score (Lelystad), no. 99, June 1996.


* * *


Raiders of the Lost Ark is historically important because it marks the first collaboration between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, the two most financially successful of American filmmakers. Released in the summer of 1981, the film garnered some of the best critical accolades in either man's career; it also continued their phenomenal success: it is now one of the top ten money-makers of all time.

An homage to old movie serials in much the same way as are George Lucas's Star Wars films, Raiders is also derivative of westerns, horror films, war films and James Bond films. In fact, Lucas reportedly mentioned his Raiders story to Spielberg in 1977 after Spielberg said that he had always wanted to make a James Bond film. Raiders even opens with an initial adventure scene unrelated to the main story of the film, a device used in the James Bond films.

Relying on Spielberg's TV experience and extensive "storyboarding," the elaborate action film was shot in 73 days in France, Tunisia, Hawaii, and the famed Elstree Studios in England, which Lucas also used for his Star Wars films. Special effects for the film were made at Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilms' own facility in northern California. Spielberg used English cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, who worked on his Close Encounters , and editor Michael Kahn, who edited Close Encounters and 1941 . Spielberg also brought screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to Lucas's attention.

The primary distinction of Raiders , in addition to its constant high level of thrills and chills, is the vivid portrayal of its hero, Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford. As Spielberg himself has said, Ford in this film is a combination of Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Don Juan and Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre . A vulnerable but heroic figure, Ford's Indiana Jones also has a shadowy side. Indiana's search for the Ark which contains the original Ten Commandments becomes a dark obsession, a passion that causes him twice to abandon the film's heroine, Marion Ravenswood, played by Karen Allen.

Around this larger than life hero, Lucas and Spielberg weave a tale of intrigue and adventure, full of Nazi villains, a nasty but engaging Frenchman who is Indy's rival and shadowy double, and numerous references to Biblical and Egyptian mythology. There is an atmosphere of evil and mysterious power, and a demonic transformation of many of the film's settings and props. Thus, the ancient city of Tanis in Raiders has become deserted wasteland, an Egyptian temple becomes the prison full of snakes for Indy and Marion, and the mysterious Ark of the Covenant brings fiery destruction to the Nazis.

In the end, the Ark eludes Indy's grasp and is tucked away in an immense warehouse, a scene reminiscent of the last shot in Citizen Kane . Through the course of the film, Indy discovers that he is both free and bound—although he loses the Ark, he does get Marion. In this respect the film seems to be saying, True love or friendship is its own reward.

—Thomas Snyder

Also read article about Raiders of the Lost Ark from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA