Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1981. Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm. Story by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman, Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan. Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe. Produced by Frank Marshall. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Norman Reynolds. Costume Design by Deborah Nadoolman. Film Editing by Michael Kahn.
Writer-producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg resurrect the spirit of the exotic cliffhanger serials of the thirties in this tale of adventurous archaeologist Indiana Jones, a thrill seeking relic hunter who will stop at nothing to collect rare valuables for display in museums of the world. After losing a valuable stone to a ruthless French nemesis, Jones (Harrison Ford) is excited to be sent out into the field one more time when he is recruited to track down the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant, the holy strongbox that holds the Ten Commandments. His rival is also on the tail of the item, bankrolled by Hitler’s soldiers who want it for their own evil purposes. Jones teams up with his ex-girlfriend (Karen Allen) to travel around the world in search of the treasure, and you’ll have a great time joining them. The film creaks a little after almost twenty-five years, not quite as ageless as you might have hoped it would be, but it still packs a good punch and is one of the best Hollywood adventures to be made in the eighties. Ford is perfectly comfortable in his element as the Everyman movie star, while Allen steals her every scene whenever she’s given even half a chance to do so. The visual effects are impressive for their time (though try not to notice the cobra’s own reflection in the glass that is protecting our stars from his venom), and the script is packed with colourful supporting characters and plenty of imagination. Followed by three sturdy sequels and a popular television series.
Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects; Best Art Direction; Best Film Editing; Best Sound
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Director (Steven Spielberg); Best Cinematography; Best Original Score
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Director (Steven Spielberg)