Rip & Roaring (50 All-Time Greatest Films)

50 Days 50 Films…One a Day for 50 Straight Days: My All-Time 50 Favorite Films

(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)

(#13) Raiders of the Lost Ark


Adventure     •     dir. Steven Spielberg     •     1981     •     USA

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Have you ever seen one of those cross-section illustrations depicting the world beneath our feet in busy modern cities? You know, that show the vast subterranean infrastructures we rely upon but, for the most part, never get to see – great, inter-connected networks of pipes, sewers, wires, cables, tunnels, transportation hubs, and much else besides. Stop to think about it all for a second, and you’ll spend the rest of the day stumbling around in a stupefied daze. The world beneath our feet is miraculous, but we spend at least 99.9% of our lives taking it for granted.

The same holds true, I’d venture, for the film career of Steven Spielberg: particularly if you include his Producer credits, it takes a whole lot of scrolling to get to the bottom of his imdb page. He could hardly loom any larger over modern cinema, and yet for several decades there’s never been a cause to imagine life without him. So we don’t. Indulge me though, a minute, and try to. Imagine the films of Spielberg were all still in front of us. Picture the buzz his exciting, low budget debut feature Duel would get. Then steel yourself for the giant, successive pleasures of Jaws, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones franchise, and Jurassic Park. With each new dazzling set piece, iconic image, and unforgettable thrill (Raiders of the Lost Ark alone has at least three of each), wouldn’t you just keep on running back for more? If the Beatles are the ultimate example of the biggest thing in pop culture also being the best, Spielberg really isn’t too far behind. (His mid-period and later ‘serious’ films aren’t too shabby, either.)


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About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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7 Responses to Rip & Roaring (50 All-Time Greatest Films)

  1. Robert E Main says:

    It’s the purist (and a brave) choice, some would suggest the last crusade was better however. Although high on my list I would of gone for another Spielberg film instead

    • Good call, sir – I’m a big fan of Last Crusade… and it’s way better than Temple of Doom (apart from the whole roller-coaster mine sequence). But what *is* your favorite Spielberg film?

  2. Courtney Antonioi says:

    I was going to make a last crusade comment myself, so glad that someone else did first. There is something about it that I enjoy entirely, not sure I can pinpoint it without deep reflection, but something about Raiders. It gets me every time. The opening sequence for certain, but I also think it gives Indy one of the better arcs as a character than the other films.

    • Agreed – Raiders gets it right on every level… locations, tone, casting, humor, romance, action, everything!

      LOVE Last Crusade too, though. Sean Connery, River Phoenix, Hitler… plenty to be getting on with in that film.

  3. Robert e main says:

    Schindlers list, one of an elite over 3 hour films that kept me interested and would happily watch again for its sheer brilliance

  4. Pingback: All Things Said & Done (50 All-Time Greatest Films) | The New Jonny Transit Blog

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