Snakes… why did it have to be snakes?

Harrison Ford

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

AFI 100 Years… 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Ranking: #66

Where do I even start? Sexiest archaeologist ever. Best theme song ever. Coolest adventure movie ever!

When I first watched this as a kid, it had some truly terrifying moments… Marion falling into a horde of skeletons… Nazi faces melting… so many snakes! But the overall appeal of Dr. Jones was enough to keep me watching – over and over again 🙂 He’s ruggedly masculine yet intellectual in his pursuits, more interested in the historical value of artifacts than in the wealth they represent. He’s a charmingly laconic everyman who turns into an intrepid, globe-trotting explorer and is incredibly adept at getting himself into, and out of, many a scrape. He’s classy and well-dressed (always manages to keep his hat on!), yet isn’t afraid to get down in the dirt (or you know… dragged under a truck, thrown through a windshield, bashed around by a half-naked bodybuilder underneath a moving fighter plane, that sort of thing). Plus who else do you know that carries a whip?

Harrison Ford

He’s a true adventure hero, made more believable by his vulnerability – his ophidiophobia (word of the day!), or the fact that he can actually be injured, as opposed to a James Bond-type, whom you’ll rarely see licking his wounds or wincing when he takes his shirt off (“It’s not the years honey, it’s the mileage”). So much more human and relatable.

And how can we forget about Marion Ravenwood… she’s hardly the useless, bimbo-in-a-bathing-suit type of female companion that we typically see on screen. She can easily fight, kick, shoot, and drink her way out of any situation (although every once in a while she’ll still need saving). The drinking contest scene was a great way to introduce her character to viewers.

Karen Allen

There are so many memorable scenes in this film that make it worth viewing to this day – the opening scene where he switches out the idol and gets chased by a giant boulder, the marketplace scene where he just shoots the sword-wielding assassin instead of engaging him in combat, the map room scene where the sun streams in and illuminates the right spot to dig… Although the rest of the movie does raise a number of questions for me. How on earth was the scar on Major Toht’s hand legible enough for the Nazis to cast a facsimile of the medallion? How do only two men manage to carry an ark that appears to be made of solid gold? And when Indy snuck on to the U-boat and stole that guy’s jacket, how’d he get it to fit him when it clearly didn’t fit just a few seconds ago? Ahh, movie magic.


Indy’s job was also made considerably easier by some not-so-smart Nazis. During the car chase in particular, Indy manages to take control of the truck carrying the crated ark, and all the other cars then try to run him off the road, and the men in the back of the truck valiantly attempt to make their way to the front by climbing along the sides. Belloq’s car, however, is driving IN FRONT OF INDY THE WHOLE TIME, and never once stops or slows down to aid in defeating Indy. Did these guys not have weapons? Were they opposed to dirty work, preferring instead to let the soldiers fall to their deaths? Or was there some sort of speedometer-related bomb on board their car, a la Keanu Reeves? And later when Indy threatens to blow up the ark unless they release Marion, these numb-nuts drag her off to the side of the road and hold her there. Wouldn’t the wiser move be to drag her in front of the artifact that Indy is aiming at, thereby forcing his hand? Tee hee silly Nazis.

Still, one of my favorite movies. Not to mention Alfred Molina’s screen debut! Thoroughly enjoyable all around. Too bad the sequels got annoying (except for the Sean Connery one). In the words of Marion, “Whaddya got to drink around here?”

Cocktail #1: Maple Rye Sour

There’s some great whiskey drinking going on in this movie. I love it when Indy is being held down by a gunman at the bar while the building burns around them, and breathlessly asks Marion for whiskey. She hands him the whole bottle, which he uses to smash over his adversary’s head. Hopefully you’ll never need to enjoy this cocktail under the same circumstances, but I bet it would taste delicious all the same. From There Will Be Bourbon.

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • 1/4 oz amaro
  • garnish: maraschino cherry

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and add garnish.

Cocktail #2: The Fedora

Part of Indy’s distinctive look, the fedora is versatile and classic. And boy does it suit him well. There are multiple shots where we only see Indy’s fedora-clad silhouette – we can’t see his face but instantly know it’s him. Unforgettable. From Imbibe Magazine.

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (reserve one for garnish)

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and add garnish. Yum… summery and stimulating. Perfect for when you’re digging around in the sand in Cairo.

Karen Allen

“Come on. I’ll buy you a drink. You know… a drink?”