Inevitably, Indiana Jones evokes nostalgia. Steven Spielberg wanted to make a globe-trotting adventure, James Bond style, inspired by the black and white Republic serials of the 1930s. His friend George Lucas had just the hero for him, a rough hewn but debonair explorer who would certainly be at home in those cliffhanging pictures. What makes the first and third films in the Indiana Jones trilogy work is their affectionate regard of the past, combined with a modern, emotional undertow and jet-fueled pace.
What follows are my recollections of watching Indiana Jones through the years. The list is intended as a conversation starter: what are your favorite memories from watching Indy the first, second, third -- or 25th -- time?
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Spielberg had risen to the level of unassailable god in my young mind on the basis of Duel, Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but 1941 was an awful mess that crashed and burned at the box office, and I had no enthusiasm for a callback to awful '30s serial pictures. Advance word was minimal, as I recall. Lucas' participation didn't help after he'd left me hanging at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, and I was not terribly impressed with the idea of Harrison Ford as leading man (I would have preferred Tom Selleck). None of my friends were talking about the movie.