Raiders of the Lost Ark at 40: Indiana Jones’s first adventure remains his greatest

Raiders of the Lost Ark at 40: Indiana Jones’s first adventure remains his greatest
Steven Spielberg’s deliriously entertaining throwback remains a pure pleasure, a film drawn from forgotten serials and comics and brought brilliantly to life

It took almost no time – certainly not the 40 years since it was released – for Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark to become the new standard of adventure films, surpassing the crude matinee serials that inspired it and shrewdly building on previous models like The Adventures of Robin Hood and John Huston/Humphrey Bogart team-ups The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen. Its influence on the culture was immediate and widespread, most directly on knock-offs both skilled (Romancing the Stone) and not-so-skilled (Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold), and across every commercial medium that could capitalize on it. (The Atari 2600 game Pitfall! was a personal favorite.)

Related: The Howling at 40: a horror movie that gave us something to chew on

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