Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

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Swashbucklers were deeply unfashionable at the time when the original Indian Jones story was made and it took the talents of the then new golden boy of Hollywood to breathe new life into the genre.

With a bespectacled alter ego who is a million miles away from his action man persona like an archaeological Clark Kent, Indiana Jones became an iconic action figure who was often knocked on his backside, played fair only when it suited him and was far more interested in his treasure than getting the girl. Sound familiar? Yes without Raiders, Captain Jack Sparrow would probably never have existed. Like Pirates Of The Caribbean, this film takes its cues from the golden age of the Hollywood swashbuckler, to the point where Ronald Lacey’s sinister yet effeminate secret policeman and Paul Freeman’s amoral gentleman rogue could easily have been mistaken for Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet respectively. As always, the action is handled superbly by Spielberg, the truck chase scene being one of the all time great stunt sequences and the wholly unexpected finale that blends religious mythology with Gothic horror is fantastic.

A perfectly judged combination of slam bang set pieces and humour that makes for flawless family entertainment.

10/10

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