Raiders of the Lost Ark

Growing up in the 80’s there was no shortage of amazing movies and TV shows. On this site, I’ve already talked about a number of my favorite films from my early childhood. Most of these discussions have centered on Star Wars and Superman. But there’s another series of films that captured my attention in an altogether different way; the Indiana Jones movies. Having been a Star Wars fan for as long as I could remember, I recall flipping through the channels one afternoon and coming across Raiders of the Lost Ark on HBO. Seeing Harrison Ford on the screen made me pause. In my child-mind, I had only known him as Han Solo. Yet, here he was wielding a whip and navigating through an ancient South American temple. There were spiders, snakes, and traps at every turn. He was visiting exotic locations and searching for amazing treasures. I was hooked! This was something new and arguably more real than what I had seen in Star Wars. By the time the movie was over, I was convinced that I was going to grow up to be a swashbuckling archeologist just like Indiana Jones.

It’s probably no coincidence that, like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark was also created by George Lucas. Growing up, Lucas was a fan of action/adventure serials and he made it his goal to bring the feel of those old classics to a new audience. To do so, he combined the fast-paced action of classic serial films with a number of real-world elements and plot points. And he did it with the pazazz that only George Lucas knew how to do; amazing sets, a heart-pounding score by John Williams, and unforgettable characters.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the story of Indiana Jones, an archeologist who goes in search of the Ark of the Covenant (an ancient biblical artifact). The movie takes place in 1936, a few years before the start of War World II. In the movie, Nazi Germany is scouring the globe for ancient artifacts that are rumored to house mysterious power. As reports leak that they are closing in on the resting place of the Ark, the US government enlists Indiana Jones to find it before the Nazis can. His adventure takes him across the globe, from the US, to Nepal, and all the way to Egypt.

Despite being filled with fantastic elements, I think a big part of the draw of this movie is the fact that we get to see a handful of exotic (but real) places. As a kid, I had certainly heard of ancient Egypt. But this movie may have been the first time I ever got to see it on the screen. Not only that, but the film is filled with what I like to call “historical mythology”. By the 1980’s the events of WWII were a thing of the past. I had no real point of reference to that place in time except for what I learned from my grandparents and other relatives. For me, this movie was my first visual taste of some of the things I had heard about. I was able to see the world as it was forty years ago. Yes, there were cars and airplanes, but they were older and different. For me at the time, it was both familiar and exotic.

All that aside, Raiders of the Lost Ark is just a fantastic film. The storyline is unique and gripping. The action is fast-paced and expertly choreographed. It’s just a near-perfect movie experience. Without a doubt it’s Harrison Ford at his absolute best. If you’ve never seen this movie and you’re looking for something that’s going to capture your imagination, this is a film you can’t afford to pass up. Get some popcorn and a blanket and dim the lights… trust me on this one.

Being a part of the Lucasfilm family, Raiders of the Lost Ark is now owned by Disney. These days, most people fire up Disney+ if they want to watch this film. That’s fine. The 4K version of the film is available on Disney+ without any changes or modifications. It looks amazing in streaming. But as always, as a collector, I often recommend physical media. When it comes to physical copies there are a few options out there. By far, the best physical version of the movie is the 4K UHD disc-version. As best as I can tell, this is the same 4K version that streams on Disney+. This 4K release of the film is absolutely gorgeous and looks amazing on modern screens. Of course, if you don’t have a 4K television, there’s also a Blu-ray release that looks pretty good. But if you can, I highly recommend the 4K transfer for the best color and detail.

Old Game Hermit


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