Raiders of the Lost Ark (none of this "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" nonsense) is about as perfect a movie as you're ever likely to watch. It's my all-time favourite film. Riding the immediate success of his movie Star Wars, George Lucas handed to his mate Steven Spielberg an idea for a movie that would enter action movie legend, spawn three (inferior) sequels, a TV series and an iconic hero.
Based on the republic adventure serials, "Raiders" opens with a jungle set-piece that feels like the conclusion from some earlier episode. Our hero, archaeologist adventurer Indiana Jones finds a South American temple in 1936, and what follows is a breathtaking and gripping opener that sees him dodge traps, spikes, pits and a giant rolling boulder as he attempts to recover a gold treasure. Following this we get to catch our breath as we are shown his other life, as a professor in the classroom. Government agents warn him that the Nazis are seeking the mythical "Ark of the Covenant" and Jones must team up with old girlfriend Marion Ravenwood, and head first to Nepal and then to Egypt to try and recover the Ark before the Nazis do.
The film never lets up, with one superb set-piece after another, with some comedic moments in Cairo, a thrilling scene when he uses the sun to discover the location of the Ark in a discovered Map Room, the snake-infested Well of Souls, and a lengthy but superb chase scene involving the Ark on board a truck. Fights, skeletons, snakes, Nazis and even a submarine lead to the film's sinister conclusion.
Awesome, in every way, and nary a CGI effect in sight. If only films were still made like this!