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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Biting off more than they can chew.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the
Lost Ark on IMDb

Plot Overview

College News

3 at desksMethodology is important“Professor of Archeology, expert on the occult, and … obtainer of rare antiquities” Indiana “Indy” Jones (Harrison Ford) is popular among the co-eds in his lecture hall. He does field trips sponsored by museum curator Dr. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) but habitually has his finds stolen by competition (“Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away,”) notably French archae­ologist Dr. René Belloq (Paul Freeman.) In 1936 he is contacted by Army Intel­ligence agents Colonel Musgrove (Don Fellows) and Major Eaton (William Hootkins) to retrieve Israel's lost ark of the covenant (“this is all completely confidential”) before Hitler gets it. It has military applications (“It's a trans­mitter, a radio for speaking to God.”)

loversHe flies to Nepal to quiz his erstwhile mentor Dr. Abner Raven­wood (“I haven't really spoken to him in ten years. We were friends once, but we had a bit of a falling out”) regarding the head­piece to the Staff of Ra, which is the key to finding the ark's resting place. His friend has passed, so he connects up with the man's daughter (“I need one of the pieces your father collected”) Marion (Karen Allen) who claims to not know its where­abouts. She wears it as a medal­lion under her blouse, unaware of its archaeo­logical signifi­cance. She owns a dive bar having once capitalized on an influx of tourists fleeing American Prohibition and now of unwary locals wagering on competition drinking.

Vive la Francehour glassThe Nazis by force obtain a surface impression of the medal­lion but not the original that contains critical information on the back of it (“Balloq's medallion only had writing on one side.”) They conscript their sympathizer Belloq to over­see a dig for the ark in the ancient buried city of Tanis in Egypt. Indy with loyal help and the genuine article starts his own explor­ation a mile away. When the two groups clash, sparks will fly … on many levels.


spud manspud
spudspudMarion brings up Indy's friend­ship with her late dad, “You know, he loved you like a son … took a hell of a lot for you to alienate him.” Indiana replies, “Not much … just you.” From many allusions it seems they had arrived at the brink of matrimony, but Nepal's minimum age for marriage is 20 (“I was a child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it!”) Both being Americans Indiana had other ideas (“You knew what you were doing.”) There is an exception to that age limit; with parental consent it's 18. But Dr. Raven­wood put the kibosh on it (“He said you were a bum.”) In 1926 the world was optimistic before the Great Depression to come, yet Indiana content with small potatoes leavings of the prizes routinely taken from him, he didn't seem like a safe bet to support the man's daughter.

penguin on skisThe couple had different upbringings. Marion had the chutzpah to keep the prize chained around her neck. It was hard for Indy to break with his mother's influence, “You sound like my mother. I don't believe in magic, a lot of super­stitious hocus pocus.” He was idealistic, more into pure science than commercialism, but Belloq puts him on a slippery slope: “You and I are very much alike. Archaeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the purer faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me, to push you out of the light.” There's a vestige of Christian influence in Indy, but Marion owning a bar, not a stranger to drink, and sporting an idolatrous medallion, is hardly Christian material. Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best, (2Cor. 6:15) “what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” There were bound to be conflicts over values. As Dr. Terence Ball has written:

It does all come down to Money, doesn't it? The cash “nexus,” as Marx uxed to say. He was wrong about so many things. But about that he was dead on. The price of some­thing seems always to be taken—or rather mistaken—for its value. Real value can never be measured, and certainly not in monetary terms—the appalling conceits of economists notwithstanding. (60)

star of DavidGerman Iron CrossIn Paul's epistle he uses such conflicts to bolster his admonition to a congregation not to mix heathen practices into their sacred worship, to (2Cor. 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” This same device is applicable to the movie, that if the couple's conflicting values are such a friend­ship killer, perhaps Nazi values and God's “Ark of the Covenant, the chest that the Hebrews used to carry around the Ten Command­ments,” would not mix well together, either.

The apostle Paul, however, avoids censure by allowing mixed marriages. (1Cor. 7:12-14) “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” It's an occasion to influence the unbeliever for conversion. (1Cor. 7:16) “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” It applies to all stages of court­ship, not just to existing marriages. (1Cor. 3:21-22) “For all things are yours; whether … the world, … or things present, or things to come; all are your's.” Since Paul allows individuals to take their own matrimonial course, no father is going to get upset with him for ruining his wedding plans for his children, (2Cor. 7:2) “Receive us; we have wronged no man, … we have defrauded no man.” We would do well to remember historian J.M. Roberts's assessment, “For all the achievements of Paul and his colleagues, this [spread of Christianity] probably owed less to deliberate evangelization than to contagion and osmosis within the Jewish communities of the empire” (63).

Production Values

” (1981) was directed by Steven Spielberg. Its screenplay was by Lawrence Kasdan building on the ideas of George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It stars Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and Paul Freeman. The actors held up well in the fast-paced action.

colored man on hornMPA rated it PG. It has a suspenseful script, a damsel in distress, a manly hero, boo-worthy villains, and historical settings. The director knocks him­self out. It's old timey but timeless. John Williams's score hits the mark with brass horns in a pre- rock 'n' roll era. Runtime is 1 hour 55 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Impending war supplants the Great Depression that had dashed the hopes of a religiously mixed couple. They are now faced with a worthy opponent in a rising Nazi menace. Great stuff, this. Exceptionally well done action spectacles. Sunday School lessons apply but are explained well enough here on cell­uloid. Best seen on the big screen. A most memorable ending. They don't make 'em like this any more.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed fun. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Ball, Terence. Rousseau's Ghost. © 1998 State University of New York. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999. Print.

Roberts, J.M. A History of Europe. New York: Penguin Press, 1997. Print.