49. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Directly from my childhood, we have another movie hero that all little boys of my generation wanted to grow up to be. Indiana Jones (or Harrison Ford, take your pick) is the quintessential archaeologist-turned-adventurer and a great one, thanks to his creators: Steven Spielberg (who directed) and George Lucas (who co-wrote the screenplay). Jones' style is virtually iconic and it is in this first film where audiences get their first taste of him. In this story, "Indy" has to stop the dreaded Nazis from getting their hands on the Ark of the Covenant. The legendary religious symbol becomes a dangerous and mysterious pawn in the plans of the German enemies. Though the historical timeline is a little blurred for dramatic effect, the fact that it is Spielberg and his dynamic touch makes it more palpable and believable for audiences. The action sequences are thrilling (especially with the brilliant John Williams' score) and the "scary" scenes can excite any audience (who could forget the rolling boulder and, of course, the snakes!). The supporting cast, which includes Denholm Elliott, Karen Allen and John Rhys-Davies, are a good ensemble and the film's heart lies with its hero, Harrison "Indy" Ford. It is a phenomenal film that was followed by two very good sequels and a less-than-average sequel/reboot in 2008. Despite the lackluster 2008 film, the Indiana Jones series is still one of my top 5 favorite film franchises of all-time (more on the others later!).
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