Raiders of the Lost Ark: First Viewing

A year ago I wrote about the first time I did not see Star Wars. Since a new Indiana Jones movie was released this weekend, I thought it was time to write about the first time I did see Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The summer Raiders came out I was in rural Wisconsin working at a camp. Parents or guardians dropped off their kiddies Sunday afternoon and picked them up again the following Saturday morning. The camp's summer employees only had time off one evening a week and Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning. The rest of the time we were surrounded by bright-eyed, excited kids full of life and having a good time at camp. Our days were filled with horseback rides, swimming in the lake, making crafts, nature hikes, runny noses, and the likes. TVs were rare, radios were scarce, and movies didn't exist. I knew there was a popular movie out called Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Hans Solo, but I didn't know anything about the movie.

When the summer camp season ended, I returned to my home in the Chicago-suburbs. I had a tradition with two of my friends that the week before school started we went out for an evening of fun. That year, they insisted that we go see Raiders. They had both already seen the movie and thought it was great. Their recommendations were good enough for me…or so I thought. Let me tell you about BA and KE so you better understand my preconceived notions. BA was a missionary kid that had lived almost all of her life in Africa. She had only moved to the Chicago suburbs after her father died unexpectedly. She discovered that she loved movies and spent a lot of time at my house watching classics on our Beta video player. She'd never seen Gone with the Wind or Wizard of Oz and had a lot of catching up to do! KE had lived in the U.S. her entire life, wasn't a huge movie fan but enjoyed them. She was very, very shy and her mother has on several occasions said how glad she was that KE and I became friends because I helped her out of her shell some.

So, after a secluded summer with lots of children, and with the high recommendation of two peaceful friends, I was off to the movies. I don't remember what I expected the movie to be, but I know the movie wasn't what I expected. We left the theater and I can still remember the excited voices and expressions of BA and KH. "Wasn't that great! Didn't you love it?" And all I could say was, "Uh." The violence in the movie was a complete shock to my system! "Why didn't you warn me!" Then "uh?" was their response. Hello! A guy, albeit an Nazi, but still a person, gets chewed up by an airplane propeller! Hello! The gruesome deaths after the baddie and the Nazis defile the Ark of the Covenant? Hello! Violence!

I was in shock! My friends were in shock at my shock. We did marvelous guppy impersonations for several minutes outside the movie theater. We can now all laugh about it. I think the my initial shock at the violence has always tainted my overall view of the movie. There are parts I really like and parts I can't stand.

I hope to see the new Indy movie in a the next few weeks, but will avoid the opening rush. If you want Indy on your computer, check out the screen icons here and the wallpaper here. And for a little Indy fun at home, check out the new line of Indian Jones products from Legos.

3 comments to Raiders of the Lost Ark: First Viewing

  • Funny!
    Do you know, I have never actually *seen* the violence at the end? I always shut my eyes. That’s the main part I had trouble with.

  • Well! I wish I hadn’t seen it! LOL!!!

  • I saw it when it came out when I was in like first class or something at primary school. A friend’s mother took a group of us kids to see it. I remember the dude melting at the end being pretty gruesome for a 6/7 year old!
    Not that that affected me nearly so much as seeing Friday the 13th as an 11-year old…

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