Just sayin’ – there is no ‘Indiana Jones and the …’ prefix to MY Raiders of the Lost Ark!
Anyway, this past weekend Raiders of the Lost Ark turned 30 years old. Released on June 12, 1981 the film was an enormous success and an instant classic. It cemented the legacies of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, as well as screenwriter Lawrence Kasden who had just done The Empire Strikes Back.
Here is the backstory of the production according to TheRaider.net:
The swashbuckling archaeologist idea first came to George Lucas. He created the Indiana Jones action hero inspired by the Saturday afternoon serial adventure movies he used to watch in his youth. Lucas worked on the concept together with writer and director Philip Kaufman, who introduced the Ark of the Covenant as the story’s engine. In the end Lucas decided to put the project on the shelf and make Star Wars instead.
It wasn’t until Star Wars was released, and lying with his friend Steven Spielberg on a Hawaiian beach, that George Lucas mentioned his old idea. Spielberg always wanted to make a “James Bond like” film and saw this as the perfect opportunity. They put Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan to work on the screenplay.
Spielberg and his crew shot Raiders of the Lost Ark in 73 days on a budget of $18 million, filming the desert sequences in Tunisia in 130-degree heat. Some 80% of the film was storyboarded beforehand, with 60 percent of that shot as envisioned. The other 40% was “made up as they went along”.
Raiders of the Lost Ark was released on June 12, 1981 and quickly made the record books with a domestic box-office of more than $242 million and a worldwide box-office of approximately $384 million.
I remember seeing Raiders a few times that summer with friends in theaters when it first came out and completely loving the characters, the story and the whole adventure! It is a movie that is every bit as good today as it was back then.
None of the others in the series come close to matching the original – with only ‘Last Crusade’ having some of the charm and elegance of Raiders, Temple of Doom playing like a theme park ride with cheesy characters, and Crystal Skull … well, let’s just not even go there.
We watched Raiders this weekend on DVD after returning exhausted from a long hike through the Ithaca Gorges, and we all agree that it is the best of the series and a timeless classic. It is worth watching again – and definitely worth seeking out if by some chance you have missed it through the years.
Here is the original trailer:
What are your memories of Raiders of the Lost Ark or any of the other Indiana Jones films?