In the late 70s Harrison Ford was mainly Han Solo to me. He’d been in other films, but it just seemed as if that’s who’d he be. George Lucas was on a roll with a dark sequel to Star Wars in The Empire Strikes Back. Steven Spielberg seemed to be in a bit of slump after the big-budget 1941. But then the announcement came out about Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Ford with Lucas and Spielberg involved and I was 14 and very excited about it. I hadn’t seen the serials that were the inspiration, but I really wanted to see a fun summer movie. From the very start of Raiders of the Lost Ark I loved it.
Some people are a bit perplexed by the excitement and glee anticipating the new Indiana Jones film, and if you know the context, I think it’s a bit easier to understand. The first film came out before E.T., Ghostbusters, Time Bandits, and in the same summer as the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only with Roger Moore as Bond. Other summer movies from 1981 were Cannonball Run, Superman II, Stripes, Endless Love, Outland, and Escape from New York. Raiders of the Lost Ark managed to balance the excitement, the fun and the attitude that we were watching a film with a more old-fashioned style of filmmaking that relied on a lot of solid stunts and cinematography to tell a story.