Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark

My Favorite Scene: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) “An Idol Births an Icon”

Raiders of the Lost Ark is, to my mind, the greatest action-adventure movie in film history.  It has so many iconic moments and set pieces, but none more so that its opening,  The journey through the temple to find the idol was pure excitement, but it also established Indiana Jones’s character by 10 minutes into the film.  It’s one of Spielberg’s greatest sequences, and the greatest movie icon to come out of any of his films.  Given where the franchise is headed in the future, I thought we’d revisit what had been before any more news about Indy 5 and beyond came out.

Spielberg gave an interview this week saying that the franchise will continue after 2020’s Indiana Jones 5, but that it would be Harrison Ford’s farewell.  I’m not sure if they plan to reboot or recast, but Spielberg seemed very intent on gender-bending it saying, “Of course we’d have to change the character’s name to Indiana Joan.”  It’s really hard from a print interview to tell if he was kidding, because not only does that make no sense, but there already is a female Indiana Jones and her name is Lara Croft.  He acts like this is a huge franchise, when it should have been left at three films made in 8 years in the 1980s.  It does not HAVE to go on, and-if it does-he should not be doing it any more.  People seem more focused on Harrison Ford’s age than Spielberg’s inability to deliver a film like Raiders any more, but I don’t want him anywhere near this creation.  I’d like to think Disney is smarter than that.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the one-off in the marketplace also; a take on the classic “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” trope.  It actually was scripted as an epic fight, whip vs. gun, that was going to include a huge amount of stunt work from Ford, but on the day of filming, he was siiiiiiiiiick.  He had a fever and food poisoning and could barely stand, so he suggested…..”Why don’t I just shoot him?”  Worked out much better, and Ford went back to his hotel.


23 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) “An Idol Births an Icon””

  1. It is the greatest action adventure film of all time. A total homage to films that had come before, yet it topped them all by a factor of at least ten, and had its own identity. No one is asking for total originality, which has never existed in the history of storytelling. We just want old stories to be retold because they have the potential to be great NEW stories. That is the right reason, and not what is happening today.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s that good? I will! But it’s an anomaly. This year’s Get Out.

        I was thrilled when Peele turned down Akira.

        BTW I watched Portlandia for the first time today, and cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard. I’ve been watching more TV very recently, and I have to say I have been missing out, big time. You were right, you were right, you were right. Cliche time: this is the true golden age of television. It is! They’re actually looking for originality and edginess and actual unique voices on television. There’s plenty of lowest common denominator stupidity too, but the ratio of good stuff to bad is a lot better than on the big screen.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do so love hearing I’m right. Yes. It’s really, really good. Review will go up at midnight. It’s not Get Out, but it should already have a lock on nominations for both sound categories. There’s so much good TV compared to film I often feel like I’m writing about the wrong medium, but five and a half years in I think I’m kind of committed…. I just finished season 3 of The Magicians on SyFy and season 2 of The Good Place on NBC and am just starting season 3 of Mr. Robot on USA.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’m excited by the wealth of material I have to look forward to. I cannot wait to dive into GoT, what I’ve seen has hooked me.

        I want to take the people who are redoing Tolkien, and boink them in the eyes. There was such an opportunity to use GoT as a springboard and create other stuff in the genre no one has seen.


  2. If Spielberg thinks a female Indy is a good idea, or not, he gave nothing away in that statement. Steve is a dancer. Remember when Elia Kazan got an honorary Oscar, and lots of people in the audience did not clap, or stand up? Steve clapped, but did not stand up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazingly, I have not gone to see RP1 yet. But yeah…time for Steve to hang this up. I want to believe that Lucas was the culprit behind Crystal Skull, and with him out of the picture, Steve will end things on a high note. I want to believe that Steve is making Indy 5 for that very reason, that he waited until his friend retired, so he wouldn’t have to hurt his friend’s feelings by telling him to butt out. But Crystal Skull…it was such a misfire that I cannot lay it at the feet of anyone other than the man who was there making it happen from day to day.

    If he really does want a female Indy, I wish he would dream up (or latch onto) and executive produce some other action adventure franchise, something new but with the same kind of broad appeal. He would be doing the film world a huge favor, and going out on a high(er) note. The reboot thing is getting so old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s insulting to the great actresses out there that all Hollywood can think of to do is to turn male icons into a female role and hand it down to them instead of writing them something worthy of their talent. Um we don’t need a female James Bond; we need a great spy movie written for a woman.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just watched Emily Blunt turn in another fantastic performance (how has she never been nominated for an Oscar?) and am so sick of watching women get hand-me-downs in the form of “empowering” them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s because Hollywood has always been the most sexist place on earth, run by men, and until recently any female friendly messaging has been lip service. Now this is changing, maybe, (BIG maybe) but not in the way people think and hope. The men in charge are going to go from being mysoginistic to tying to empower women, but being clumsily, horrifyingly off the mark. And so it goes.


  4. Dave, have you ever seen the shot by shot fan film made by those two random kids back when the film first came out? I had the pleasure of once attending a screening where they spoke and answered questions afterwards (both middle aged men now, bemused by thier fame). I’m assuming these days the film is on the net. The video quality was terrible, but these kids started the film by going back and seeing Raiders in the theater multiple times, without the benefit of a VCR, and I swear it is the greatest fan film ever made, a true work of love.

    One of the two kids played Indy, and was hamming it up, but the other one, who played Belloq, obviously took the role seriously.

    If you have not checked this out, do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘…There’s so much good TV compared to film I often feel like I’m writing about the wrong medium, but five and a half years in I think I’m kind of committed…’ … why can’t you do both? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh … much to my occasional chagrin, I only frequent these hallowed halls here at WP, which, I must confess, gives me a singularly myopic, albeit truly appreciated, view of your prodigious talent. Do forgive me, good Sir, and carry on. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. After five plus years it’s kind of weird when I have to skip a day. Like a sneeze I forgot to have snoze (they need a better past tense verb for sneeze).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried in the beginning and it was just too much. I had to focus on something. The FB page people think I actually have a staff of writers or something; that this isn’t a one dude operation….which is useful for blaming things on other fictional employees when they don’t like a comment…..

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s