Brad's Reviews > Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Illustrated Screenplay

Raiders of the Lost Ark by Lawrence Kasdan
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's review
Aug 12, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: faves, cinema, screenplay, adventure, the-best
Recommended for: Screenwriters, Milos
Read in July, 1998

I have watched Raiders of the Lost Ark over 1,000 thousand times.


I have seen it twelve times in the theatre. It was the first VHS tape I owned, and I wore that tape out in my big clunky old VCR within five years. I worked as a night video store clerk for another five years and played it at least once during every shift. When I can't sleep at night, I watch the movie in my head. I know every line. I know every beat of music. When I am sad or need a pick up, I throw it in my DVD player and let it soothe me. I've used it in Composition classes to illustrate the potential for analyzing even the most unlikely texts.

I am mad for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

So I know I am biased. But my love for Raiders of the Lost Ark is more than just nostalgia.

Lawrence Kasdan's screenplay is a marvelous piece of screenwriting. Every line, every action, every single element is there to further the story. Kasdan makes potentially clunky exposition soar, implies the flaws of Indiana Jones (making him a truly complex hero, at least in this one installment) without beating us over the head, gives us a snazzy champagne villain in the mould of Claude Rains and seamlessly includes all the set pieces that tickled the fancy of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg without compromising quality.

It is a masterwork of screenwriting. And it is THE masterwork of action screenwriting.

My favourite line:

Belloq: 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.

So true, Belloq. So true.

If you are at all interested in giving a screenplay a chance, this is the place to start.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Brad I think you'll love the screenplay, Sherri. The fact that you've watched Raiders many times will help with this, but the screenplay itself really does have an excellent flow. It taught me to love screenwriting.

message 2: by Manny (new)

Manny You used to be able to buy props to remake the opening sequence of Raiders on your table top using Lego Studio, which Spielberg was heavily involved with. I never understood why the system didn't catch on more. It's the best toy we ever bought; we got literally hundreds of hours of fun out of it!

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Raiders is my favourite film! I can remember arguing with everybody that there was more going on than met the eye - that the choice of a Jewish relic and Nazi villains was more than mere convention. No-one believed me until it became widely known that Spielberg's mother was a concentration camp survivor. Then I had an explanation for my conviction.

Brad We've picked up a bunch of the Lego Indy toys that they've been releasing over the past couple years, but I missed out on the Lego Studio. Still, we have great fun with out current crop of Indy Lego. The video game isn't too bad either.

There is so much going on beneath the surface of that movie, Robert, and that's a big one. It's also a perfect movie to introduce mise en scene with. Everything is so rich visually.

message 5: by Anthony (last edited Jul 30, 2013 04:49AM) (new) - added it

Anthony Buckley The film's plot has very ancient roots. Here's an article I wrote about the film. It's called,
Royal Arch, Royal Arch Purple and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Secrecy in Orange and Masonic ritual

One of the principal motifs of the story is found in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Brad Can I use your essay in class the next time I teach Raiders, Anthony?

message 7: by Anthony (new) - added it

Anthony Buckley Brad wrote: "Can I use your essay in class the next time I teach Raiders, Anthony?"

I blush. Of course!

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