On June 12, 1981, one of the greatest heroes in cinema history was officially born: Indiana Jones.

Or we can say Harrison Ford: since then, they have been so inseparable, hat and whip included, that the actor is now filming, a month after celebrating his 99th birthday, The Fifth Adventure.

Currently, they are part of the series “Indiana Jones and the Lost Temple” (1984), “Indiana Jones and the Great Crusade” (1989) and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008), but one is considered Often the best is the first, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (renamed “Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 2000, a nickname no respectable person uses).

A modern take on the adventure series of the 30s and 40s, the archaeologist, adventurer and his former fiery passion Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) escape the traps, confront the Nazis and expel the snakes in their incredible quest for the mysterious Ark of the Covenant for 115 minutes, but the top ten was really enough, Where “Indy” crosses an ancient temple riddled with deadly traps in Peru to retrieve a golden fetish and escapes from a giant boulder, telling for 40 years that “Adventure Has a Name” (ironically, citing a slogan from the second film, “If Adventure Has A Name… then there must be… be Indiana Jones”).

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“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is also the result of several happy “opportunities” found in almost every classic movie, aside from one reportedly famous: that Harrison Ford was Indiana Jones only because his first cast, Tom Selleck, had to refuse Because he was engaged in the series “Magnum PI” (and when it became available again due to a strike, Ford already had the role).

The “adventure” began in 1973, when George Lucas wrote a draft of “The Adventures of Indiana Smith”, which he then discussed with screenwriter and director Philip Kaufman, who contributed to the central idea, the genius “McGuffin” who gave meaning to the whole story: the ark in which it would be kept Tablet of the Ten Commandments and other sacred things.

Four years later, in May 1977, skeptical of the prospects for success of “Star Wars”, Lucas fled on vacation to Hawaii, calling Spielberg, who in a few months would also release “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in theaters. While talking on the beach about the upcoming projects, when his friend revealed that he always wanted to do “007”, Lucas introduced the concept to “The Adventures of Indiana Smith”.

In early 1978, buoyed by the success of their films from the previous year, the two joined forces with Lawrence Kasdan to discuss ideas for five intense days, during which many elements we know will be determined: Spielberg wants that the rock rolls and passes. Champion for Jones. Lucas wanted a submarine and a monkey in Cairo to do the Nazi salute; And Kasdan, who realized that the other two had a lot of footage in mind and needed someone to hook them up, was the one who remembered the nickname “Indy”. Meanwhile, his interlocutors convinced Lucas to abandon the idea that the academic and archaeologist practices martial arts and indulges in the female sex in the form of … James Bond.

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Another happy accident: when they were finally ready to move on, Spielberg’s fortunes radically changed: the director of “Jaws” and “Close Encounters …” had to face the consequences of the major commercial failure of “1941 – Crazy Year in Hollywood” (1979).

His reputation for going beyond deadlines and budgets was so bad in Hollywood that many studios turned down the project because they didn’t want him as a director, especially when Lucas also asked for a budget of 20. million dollars, track rights and footage, and he didn’t. t. Do not accept any creative interference. Spielberg’s involvement was not negotiable.

The director was struggling to survive and portraying “Ok” “The Order” which was Raiders of the Lost Ark also became a matter of professional pride.

As Lucas would later recall, his friend proved to be a “master of creativity, expert of necessity” during 73 days of filming with blazing speed and endless imagination in creative problem-solving, like this one. in which Indiana Jones is challenged by a swordsman in Cairo and points his gun to kill him. … A complicated scene that had been planned was called off due to food poisoning that affected Harrison Ford and other members of the crew (the director and actor would claim ownership of the idea).

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The rest is known: in the summer of 1981, Ford went from Han Solo in “Star Wars” to a big movie star, and Spielberg began building a course, from “ET The Extraterrestrial” to the next two series, ” Indiana Jones “which made him one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. So much so that in the early years of the following decade, he was able to make a very personal black and white Holocaust film called Schindler’s List, which ultimately won him the “respect” of his peers and the Oscars. .

It’s well established that fans have watched “Raiders of the Lost Ark” on several occasions: it’s one of the few “old” movies that often air for decent hours on TV. From the cast (John Rhys Davies as Salah, Denholm Elliot as Marcus, Paul Freeman as rival archaeologist Rene Belloc and Ronald Lacey as sadistic Gestapo agent Arnold Toht) to the John Williams soundtrack, everything seems to be in a state of grace. . And between adventure, passion and overflowing imagination, there is always something new to discover in this love letter to adventure cinema …

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