No story summary is needed for this film since everyone has seen it (if you haven't, go watch it RIGHT NOW!). I saw this in the theater as a kid and it made my mind explode. This viewing was at a pandemic drive-in showing at the fairgrounds with my kids, so it was not the most optimal of setting to watch the film. The sound was broadcast over the radio, which was terrible and we ended up not using, and listening to it over the fairground speakers was only slightly better. The picture quality was so dark you could barely make out what was happening on screen anytime a scene was remotely dark or shadowy, which is fair portion of the film. So although I was highly annoyed this poor presentation poisoned my kids' interest watching further Indiana Jones films, I do still dearly love this film. The script by Lawrence Kasdan ("Empire Strikes Back" "The Big Chill" "Body Heat" "Silverado" "The Accidental Tourist" "The Bodyguard") from a story by George Lucas ("Star Wars") and Phillip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff"), the film is pure H. Rider Haggard with an updated Allan Quatermain in the form of globe trotting archeologist adventure-seeker Indiana Jones searching for treasure, punching Nazis, and saving the world from hidden supernatural forces. As corny as all that sounds, what make "Raiders of the Lost Ark" such a classic is the perfect casting of Harrison Ford, exhilarating direction from Steven Spielberg, and an iconic film score from John Williams. Taking first the casting of Harrison Ford, my favorite measure of a great performance is if you cannot picture any other actor in a role and Ford as Indiana Jones is about the most perfect example of this. Ford pulls off so many great moments, from his expression after the shoot-the-swordsman scene to a later moment in the film where he grudgingly accepts help from Marion (another great bit of casting with Karen Allen) and tells her where it hurts, Ford strikes a unique balance of a character who is both a superman and an everyman. Indiana Jones really is a unique hero for 80s action films, which were primarily populated by invincible Rambos, Conans, or Dirty Harrys. Simply stated, Ford IS Indiana Jones and no one else could have filled that role (but fun fact, Tom Selleck was the original first choice for the role, which wouldn't have been all that bad). As for Spielberg's direction, he captures a pitch perfect tone for the film, balancing its mix of cliffhanger serial films, but treating it like a serious action thriller, nicely updating an old style story with big budget production values, modern stunt work, and contemporary filmmaking techniques and special effects. Whether audiences appreciate throwback touches such as the Peter Lorre analogue Toth or Paul Freeman's Belloq as a stand in for a Claud Raines/James Mason type of suave charming villain, Spielberg litters the film with wonderful small nods to classic Hollywood. He's masterfully crafted a film that's equal parts nostalgic throwback and also something wholly original that had never been done before (treating pulp as serious material). And there are so many great small touches, such as making Indy a little human with an irrational fear of snakes or allowing Indy to be vulnerable allowing Marion to patch his wounds, which is also a testament to Ford's acting skills. A personal favorite little touch is having Indy wear leather gloves when he has his epic fist fight with a musclebound Nazi, which is a badass aesthetic that really needs to come back into fashion in more action flicks. Simply speaking, Spielberg knows film language down to small details in a way few filmmakers can replicate. As for John Williams score, the trumpets for "Indy's Theme" are just as iconic as his themes for "Jaws," "Star Wars," "Superman," "Harry Potter" or innumerable other films he's indelibly left his mark. It's impossible to imaging another composer scoring an Indiana Jones film. Those are the main reasons this is such a great film, but I'd be remiss not to mention the terrific supporting cast that includes Karen Allen as Marion, Paul Freeman as Belloq, Ronald Lacey as Toht, John Rhys-Davies as Sallah, as well as Denholm Elliott and Alfred Molina in a memorable small part at the start of the film before he was famous. Overall, I will admit I have an unhealthy amount of childhood nostalgia for this film, but adolescent bias aside, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is arguably one of the greatest action films of all time.