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BOT's Top 100 Movies of All Time - Hindsight is 2020 Edition

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"Why so serious?"

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Set within a year after the events of Batman Begins (2005), Batman, Lieutenant James Gordon, and new District Attorney Harvey Dent successfully begin to round up the criminals that plague Gotham City, until a mysterious and sadistic criminal mastermind known only as "The Joker" appears in Gotham, creating a new wave of chaos. Batman's struggle against The Joker becomes deeply personal, forcing him to "confront everything he believes" and improve his technology to stop him. A love triangle develops between Bruce Wayne, Dent, and Rachel Dawes."

 

Its Legacy

 

"In crafting a fitting follow-up to BATMAN BEGINS, Nolan once again looked to classic graphic novels for inspiration– specifically, THE KILLING JOKE and THE LONG HALLOWEEN, which respectively detailed the origin stories of two iconic Batman villains The Joker and Two-Face.  While he didn’t adapt those stories outright, certain aspects of these comics nevertheless served as touchstones for Nolan’s second foray into the wider Batman universe.  Receiving another story assist from David S. Goyer, Nolan set about crafting the screenplay with his writing partner and brother, Jonathan.  The brothers were intent on using this opportunity to depart significantly from established Batman lore and remake the Caped Crusader in their image, to the extent that they dropped the word “Batman” from the title of their screenplay entirely– a first in the property’s cinematic history.  The title they would use instead — THE DARK KNIGHT –simultaneously invoked one of Batman’s alternate mantles while signaling their intention to transcend the confines of the character’s comic book origins.  To make a Batman movie without “Batman” in the title is an admittedly risky move, and the fact that Warner Brothers allowed this to come to pass speaks volumes about the total trust they placed in Nolan as the current steward of their most-prized property.  As we all know now, their faith would be rewarded many times over, with THE DARK KNIGHT becoming a financial and critical juggernaut that not only installed Nolan as one of Hollywood’s preeminent directors, but fundamentally changed the course of American studio filmmaking for the foreseeable future.

 

To prepare, Ledger reportedly locked himself away in an isolated motel room for six weeks, keeping a journal he wrote in character and drawing inspiration from figures like Sid Vicious and Alex DeLarge from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE as he developed and perfected a slithery, serpentine energy all his own.  Topped off by a mop of greasy green hair, smeared face makeup, and a sinister Glasgow Smile, Ledger’s performance immediately silenced the critics the moment he appeared on screen and performed his now-infamous Magic Pencil Trick.  A budding director in his own right, Ledger  went as far as directing the Joker’s hostage videos himself– a rare instance of Nolan ceding total directorial control, and an illustratration of both Ledger’s complete command of the character and Nolan’s unwavering trust in him as a collaborator.  The collective interest in Ledger’s depiction of the Joker was no doubt magnified by his untimely death in January 2008, which fueled something of a morbid fascination considering he was playing such a ghoulish character.  When the final product was unveiled, Ledger’s last complete performance was met with unanimous praise by critics and audiences alike, generating a wave of appreciation that culminated in a posthumous Oscar win for the late actor in the Best Supporting Actor category– a first for the superhero genre.  Since then, Ledger’s depiction of The Joker has gone on to invade our collective consciousness, leaving behind a legacy of anarchic iconography that’s been used in anything and everything: from political protest memes, to Halloween costumes and, most unfortunately, real-world copycat killers.

 

As Jonathan Crane and his villainous alter-ego Scarecrow, Murphy finds his character having fallen on hard times since the failure of his plot in BATMAN BEGINS– his influence reduced to that of a lowly drug dealer hawking his toxic fear compound as a recreational hallucinogen.  A few new faces join the fray, such as Eric Roberts, Nestor Carbonell, Anthony Michael Hall, and William Fichtner.  Roberts plays the smug heir to the Falcone crime empire, Salvatore Marone; his general ineffectiveness symbolizing organized crime’s waning grip on the city.  Carbonell draws influence from real-world bureaucrats like then-Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, in his performance as Gotham City’s mayor, Anthony Garcia — a confident and idealistic politician who is eager to usher in a new age of prosperity for his beloved city.  Hall, better known for his turns in various John Hughes movies as a gangly awkward teenager, appears all grown-up here as a prominent news anchor who finds himself ensnared by The Joker’s masterful manipulation of the media.  Fichtner is the first of Nolan’s many nods to Michael Mann’s HEAT (1995), cast as a feisty bank clerk during the Joker’s robbery sequence that opens the film.  

 

THE DARK KNIGHT represents a major turning point in the development of Nolan’s visual aesthetic, establishing a super-sized approach to cinematic spectacle that’s since become his dominant artistic signature.  The bulk of the picture was shot on 35mm film in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, but in his pursuit of higher image quality over technical gimmickry, Nolan chose to shoot crucial action sequences and other select shots with IMAX cameras.  A longtime tenant in the nature documentary realm, IMAX had never been used to shoot all or even a portion of a conventional Hollywood feature, and for good reason: the cameras were gigantic, bulky, and cumbersome, and the mechanical noise produced by the 70mm film running horizontally through the camera meant that any sound captured on-set was often unusable.  Shooting a simple dialogue scene, let alone an ambitious action sequence, posed enormous logistical problems that would scare away any filmmaker– but Nolan was undeterred; he reasoned that if an IMAX camera could be lugged up into space, then there’s no reason it couldn’t be used for studio filmmaking.  This understandably caused no shortage of skepticism and trepidation on the part of Nolan’s crew — especially the Steadicam operator, who had to physically mount that monster onto his body on a regular basis — but Nolan’s supreme confidence and eagerness to innovate pushed them through their initial wariness to deliver an awe-inspiring cinematic experience the likes of which had never been seen before.   

 

With its ambitions and successful execution as a sprawling urban crime drama, THE DARK KNIGHT owes a profound debt to the influence of Michael Mann’s 1995 masterpiece, HEAT.  A self-styled acolyte of Mann’s, Nolan finds in THE DARK KNIGHT a prime opportunity to make his own HEAT equivalent, albeit one where the bank robbers wear clown masks instead of ski masks.  Indeed, there are many direct connections to Mann’s film that we can draw from THE DARK KNIGHT.  In both its conception and execution, the opening bank heist sequence reads as a comic book twist on HEAT’s centerpiece scene, right down to the tactical minutiae and precision timing the criminals employ to successfully carry out the operation.  It’s not a coincidence that William Fichtner cameos in this scene, his presence serving as a playful nod to his Van Zandt character from HEAT.  While Van Zandt was a fairly meek criminal banker predisposed to hiding out in his office when the going got rough, here he’s empowered with the braggadocious confidence that only a high-powered shotgun can provide.  HEAT’s influence continues to course through THE DARK KNIGHT, whether it’s the latter inheriting the former’s signature cobalt & steel color palette, or Bruce’s spartan penthouse echoing Neil McCauley’s infamously empty beachside condo.  The fateful interrogation sequence between Batman and The Joker riffs on HEAT’s iconic coffee shop scene, with both staging themselves respectively as a battle of wits between two men sitting around a table and psychoanalyzing each other until they realize they have met their ideological inverse and intellectual equal.  Additionally, Gordon is shown heading up Gotham’s Major Crimes Unit, the same department that Al Pacino’s Vincent Hanna commanded in HEAT.  Indeed, Nolan lavishes a substantial amount of attention on the inner workings of the law enforcement complex as it pertains to government and the maintaining of order.  Naturally, they have their work cut out for them in regards to The Joker, and must respond in a far more dramatic fashion than Hanna’s crew in HEAT ever did.  Among its many praises during release, critics marveled how THE DARK KNIGHT had transcended the trappings of the superhero genre to become a truly great urban crime drama– even then, the comparisons to HEAT were admittedly immediate, but the fact remains that, by applying HEAT’s storytelling template to the world of Batman, Nolan showed that a comic book movie could be so much more than its source material, and that the character of Batman was more relevant to our current political climate than ever before."

- Cameron Beryl, The Director's Series

 

From the Filmmaker

 

 

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"In Christopher Nolan’s deadly serious Caped Crusader reboot, Batman Begins, Batman may ultimately defeat the League of Shadows and their campaign of (chemically-induced) panic waged against a Gotham clawing its way out of corruption – but the film ends with dark mutterings of escalation, and the image of a Joker’s card. In an obvious allegory of the geopolitical problems of the new millennium, Batman has fought fear with fear, only for the politics of terror to inspire more terror. A sequel was inevitable.  Three years later, The Dark Knight opens with a slow crane shot, hovering towards a window in one tall building among many. Two men inside, wearing clown masks, shoot a zip-line to the roof of a smaller building opposite and slide down over the street. Meanwhile, below, another man with a clown mask is picked up by two more in an SUV. As all these men speculate as to the character of their operation’s mastermind, the Joker (Heath Ledger), we witness a carefully planned bank raid – or bust – being carried out on a city block.

 

Even as Nolan shows the good in people unravelling before the Joker’s murderous inversions of Batman’s practices, he is also able, in this imaginative reflection of America, to show the other side of the coin: an idealised, optimised version of humanity. The Joker loves presenting his victims with impossible moral choices. Late on, in one such staged scenario, he sets up a ferryload of civilians and a second ferryload of convicted criminals, each holding the detonator for explosives rigged to the others’ boat (or so they think), and each aware that the longer they delay, the more likely it is that the other group will blow them up instead. It is a variant of the prisoner’s dilemma, intended by the Joker to make a public spectacle of our innate ugliness – except that Nolan conjures, as inspirational proof of essential human goodness even in the most horrific circumstances, an outcome that is as improbable as it is incredible.

 

This is a salutary fiction – but then the film’s final scene is overtly concerned with such a fiction: the calculated lie that transforms a self-sacrificing hero into a villainous scapegoat for the greater good of society. In the gulf between fiction and reality that Nolan is dramatising, The Dark Knight may mirror the ethical dilemmas and duplicities of the War on Terror, but it also offers a different, better way through them, with a seriousness that Bush and his clowns were never able to muster – which makes it the blockbuster of the 2000s."

- Anton Bitel, Little White Lies

 

User Opinion

 

"A flawless, multi-layered, iconic masterpiece of cinema and a phenomenal triumph of storytelling, heralding back to the golden age of motion picture (Godfather, Lawrence of Arabia, etc).

By FAR the most refreshing entry to the CBM industry, pushing the boundaries and giving us true variety to a tired and stale genre that other companies seem too complacent to stick with.

" - @Squaremaster316

 

"That being said, the opening day was so damn fun. I was in line at 10:30 in the morning because my local theatres still did not do advance ticketing at the time (and they didn't do a midnight showing the night before because I guess they don't like money), and there were several people ahead of me in full Joker makeup despite the fact that the temperature had reached triple digits. I went with one of my best friends at noon (the first local show), and again with my dad at a 7:15 show that was almost cancelled because the digital projector (one of just two in the area - man, how times have changed) malfunctioned for the 12:40 show that afternoon (you can bet that the people who were at that screening were pissed, and the theatre had a nightmare on their hands trying to coordinate free tickets for each of them for any of the remaining five showings of the day). And, of course, the audience gobbled it up at both screenings." - @Webslinger

 

"It's perfect, because Nolan." - @MrPink

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Guardian of the night

 

With your cape and motorbike

 

Rise for your city

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 7, 2013 - 3, 2014 - 2, 2016 - 9, 2018 - 2

 

Director Count

 

Steven Spielberg - 6, James Cameron - 4, Alfred Hitchock - 4, Stanley Kubrick - 4, Francis Ford Coppola - 3, Peter Jackson - 3, Richard Linklater - 3, Hayao Miyazaki - 3, Christopher Nolan - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Martin Scorsese - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Brad Bird - 2, Alfonso Cuaron - 2,  David Fincher - 2, Akira Kurosawa - 2, John Lasseter - 2,   David Lean - 2, Sergio Leone - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Andrew Stanton - 2, Quentin Tarantino - 2, Robert Zemeckis - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Michael Curtiz - 1, Frank Darabont - 1, Jonathan Demme - 1, Pete Docter - 1, Stanley Donen - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, Victor Fleming - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, Bong Joon-Ho - 1, Gene Kelly - 1, Spike Lee - 1, David Lynch - 1, George Lucas - 1, Sidney Lumet - 1, Katia Lund - 1, Michael Mann - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, George Miller - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,  Ridley Scott - 1, Guillermo del Toro - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Peter Weir - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Lana and Lilly Wachowski - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 9, Cameron - 4, The Lord of the Rings - 3, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, Nolan - 3, Scorsese - 3, Studio Ghibli - 3, Toy Story - 3, WDAS - 3, Alien - 2, Before Trilogy - 2, The Godfather - 2, Spider-Man - 2, Star Wars - 2, Terminator - 2, Back to the Future - 1, Die Hard - 1, Hannibal - 1, Incredibles - 1, Indiana Jones - 1, Jaws - 1, Jurassic Park - 1, Mad Max - 1, The Matrix - 1, Monty Python - 1, Oz - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1930s - 1, 1940s - 3, 1950s - 7, 1960s - 7, 1970s - 11, 1980s - 12, 1990s - 21, 2000s - 18, 2010s - 16

 

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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Just now, MrPink said:

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"No more dead cops!"

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I will give it this: “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” is the big mood of 2020. 

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6 minutes ago, TMP said:

"No more dead cops!"

NO MORE CANNED POSTS (by aa)

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"Never tell me the odds."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda. Only with the Jedi Master's help will Luke survive when the Dark Side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader."

 

Its Legacy

 

"The Empire Strikes Back, which turns 40 this week, is often cited as the greatest of the Star Wars films. But even beyond that, the Irvin Kershner-directed chapter changed the world’s perception of what a movie sequel could be. It essentially popularized two concepts in mainstream cinema: the movie trilogy arc and the ongoing film franchise as an ever-continuing narrative.  Sequels existed in Hollywood well before Empire of course. Universal built their studio on its monster franchise in the ‘30s and ‘40s, after all. By the time the Empire hit theaters on May 21, 1980, there had already been a whopping 11 James Bond films. But although these earlier films were technically sequels, their idea of what a sequel was supposed to be was totally different than what George Lucas would dream up. Every new 007 movie presented a fresh slate for its protagonist and audience, barely referencing any past episodes, if at all.

 

The idea of continuing the story from where the previous film left off was of course inspired by the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials of Lucas’ youth. But even in their day, those and other adventure serials were viewed as cheap entertainment. The “real” movies didn’t mimic their format, because to be so akin to lowly Saturday matinee entertainment would be seen as beneath them. (Lucas’ Indiana Jones was also heavily influenced by those old serials, but instead it would later adhere to the James Bond formula, interestingly enough.)

 

When blockbusters like The Exorcist and Jaws received their sequels, they were greeted as cheap knockoffs that just attempted to replicate the first movies, but less effectively. Many expected “Star Wars 2” to be the same.  But Empire changed all of this when it was released. Unlike the Bond films, it expected you to walk into the theater having already seen Star Wars, and to be familiar with all the characters and the mythology set up in the first film. There was no playing catch-up here, nor lazy reproduction of its 1977 predecessor. Moreover, Empire‘s cliffhanger ending popularized the idea that the second film was but the middle chapter in a three-part story. Empire was a prestige blockbuster sequel by way of the old serial formula, once considered something too juvenile for “grownup” movies.

 

Movie trilogies became normalized after the massive success of Empire. In its wake, Back to the Future and even the “rival” Star Trek franchise used this formula. (Though in Star Trek’s case, it was movies II, III, and IV that formed the trilogy arc.) Eventually, the Lord of the Rings became the second most popular film trilogy of all time after Star Wars. This was only fitting, as Tolkein’s structure was a big influence on George Lucas as a storyteller in the first place.  No movie franchise in Hollywood history has headed the lessons of the Empire Strikes Back more than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This should come as no shock, as Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige is a self-proclaimed huge Star Wars fan. Ever since Nick Fury first appeared in the end credits of Iron Man, the MCU has been building each film on top of the last, always creating an Empire-style tease for what’s coming next in each film.

 

Every Marvel movie is in perpetual Empire-mode, and it has worked like gangbusters for them. In a larger, sense Infinity War and Endgame were the most obvious films to take a cue from Lucas’ playbook, but truly all of the Marvel films do this.  Fascinatingly, it seems the Star Wars film franchise is looking to lean away from trilogies, and focusing on standalone films for a while. With The Mandalorian and other upcoming streaming shows, the notion of serialized Star Wars might be best left on the small screen for now. Star Wars has long lived in the shadow of Empire, and it looks like they may finally be getting out from under it. But as for the rest of the major Hollywood franchises? Don’t expect the impact of The Empire Strikes Back to fade away any time soon."

- Eric Diaz, The Nerdist

 

From the Filmmaker

 

 

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"For more than one generation of cinema-goers, the original "Star Wars" trilogy occupies an iconic place as one of those cinematic events of childhood from which one never fully recovers.  But while everyone remembers enjoying the films as children, only one part of the series actually improves with age, and that is "The Empire Strikes Back".  When the Empire attack the rebel forces on the ice planet of Hoth, the Millennium Falcon escapes with Han, Leia, C-3PO, and Chewbacca aboard. They seek refuge in the Cloud City of Bespin. Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 have flown to Dagobah to seek a Jedi master. But when Luke realises that his friends are flying into a trap, he decides he must go to their aid.  No expense has been spared on the special effects, and the action sequences are truly astonishing - the 1997 special edition extras for once add to the experience. And the plot, although slight, is well paced and affecting.

 

But what truly sets "Empire" apart from more recent genre plods like "The Mummy" and "The Phantom Menace" is the sheer strength of the relationships between the characters.  Because "Empire" is the central part of the trilogy it is freed from having to seek an easy resolution, and the whole film benefits as a result. Han Solo's true heroism is not best explored in blaster battles, but in his reactions to carbonite freezing. Luke comes most clearly into focus when his terrible destiny is made clear to him, and in the process Darth Vader is transformed from a caricature villain into a terrifyingly dark, but human creature.  By far the best part of the trilogy, "Empire" is a classic that completely transcends its genre, with a reputation that can only grow and grow."

- Tom Coates, The BBC

 

User Opinion

 

"I am going to keep my review short and sweet.  ESB is by far my movie of all-time. Pure greatness from start to finish." - @Empire

 

"So I just watched this one and have heard a lot of good things about it. People even say it's better than the original one, I can see now why they may say that, the force is strong with them. It has a lot of emotion and character development, yeah it has deeper meaning than the first one. I like the big reveal in the end I wasn't sure about that moment I heard very little about it like 5-7 years ago. So it was kinda of wiped out off my memory, which means I wasn't really expecting it to happen and I think that saved me from ruining the movie for myself. I think I found my favorite fictional couple of all time. They were just great together and from that first meeting in ANH I knew there was something special brewing between them. As for Luke, he is really my least favorite character, but I still like him and you see more to him in this one and he reveals his true potential. Yoda speaks funny and why does he seems like he is on crack all the time? 🙂 The story was perfect and it was pacing perfectly and that 2:00 hours running was short to me. I needed more" - @tawasal

 

"he greatest sequel of all time, The Empire Strikes Back takes what made Star Wars great, and expands on it by focusing on the characters more than the scope. Leia gets the short end of the stick, but Han and Luke are basically co-leads in two parallel plotlines that feel innovative for 1980, and unusual even for today. Two iconic characters are introduced: Yoda, in a much more reserved and sophisticated characterization than I remembered, and my all time favorite Star Wars character, Lando Calrissian. He's so freaking cool. The end fight between Luke and Vader is an all-timer, not just because of the infamous reveal, but because of how brutal the fight feels compared to other lightsaber battles. The use of stop motion in the special effects is really neat, particularly in the opening fights on Hoth. John Williams innovates yet again with another iconic theme, and the script is the best this franchise has ever had, mixing poignancy with Luke and Yoda, humor with C3PO and Chewy, and romance with Han and Leia, all to perfection. I called it the greatest sequel of all time earlier, and I definitely feel comfortable calling The Empire Strikes Back one of the greatest films of all time" - @Blankments

 

"One of my top 5 movies of all time." - @WrathOfHan

 

"I don’t have a review but this is a good A+ movie I’m just putting this here in case Panda sees it and puts it in his user opinion thingy when it inevitably makes the list" - @That One Guy

 

"This movie is not half bad." - @MrPink

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

One hand, one smooch (ew)

 

A fight with meh daddy (eeks)

 

Bye Han Solo (awh)

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 3, 2013 - 1, 2014 - 1, 2016 - 1, 2018 - 3

 

Director Count

 

Steven Spielberg - 6, James Cameron - 4, Alfred Hitchock - 4, Stanley Kubrick - 4, Francis Ford Coppola - 3, Peter Jackson - 3, Richard Linklater - 3, Hayao Miyazaki - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Martin Scorsese - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Brad Bird - 2, Alfonso Cuaron - 2,  David Fincher - 2, Akira Kurosawa - 2, John Lasseter - 2,   David Lean - 2, Sergio Leone - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Christopher Nolan - 2,  Andrew Stanton - 2, Quentin Tarantino - 2, Robert Zemeckis - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Michael Curtiz - 1, Frank Darabont - 1, Jonathan Demme - 1, Pete Docter - 1, Stanley Donen - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, Victor Fleming - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, Bong Joon-Ho - 1, Gene Kelly - 1, Irvin Kershner - 1, Spike Lee - 1, David Lynch - 1, George Lucas - 1, Sidney Lumet - 1, Katia Lund - 1, Michael Mann - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, George Miller - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,  Ridley Scott - 1, Guillermo del Toro - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Peter Weir - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Lana and Lilly Wachowski - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 9, Cameron - 4, The Lord of the Rings - 3, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, Scorsese - 3, Star Wars - 3, Studio Ghibli - 3, Toy Story - 3, WDAS - 3, Alien - 2, Before Trilogy - 2, The Godfather - 2, Nolan - 2, Spider-Man - 2, Terminator - 2, Back to the Future - 1, Die Hard - 1, Hannibal - 1, Incredibles - 1, Indiana Jones - 1, Jaws - 1, Jurassic Park - 1, Mad Max - 1, The Matrix - 1, Monty Python - 1, Oz - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1930s - 1, 1940s - 3, 1950s - 7, 1960s - 7, 1970s - 11, 1980s - 13, 1990s - 21, 2000s - 17, 2010s - 16

 

 

 

 

 

You did it guys *tearing up*, BOT has finally voted the best movie of all time as the best movie of all time.

 

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"I don't know. I'm making this up as I go."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"The year is 1936. An archeology professor named Indiana Jones is venturing in the jungles of South America searching for a golden statue. Unfortunately, he sets off a deadly trap but miraculously escapes. Then, Jones hears from a museum curator named Marcus Brody about a biblical artifact called The Ark of the Covenant, which can hold the key to humanly existence. Jones has to venture to vast places such as Nepal and Egypt to find this artifact. However, he will have to fight his enemy Rene Belloq and a band of Nazis in order to reach it." - IMDb

 

Its Legacy

 

"Have you ever heard of the lost Ark? “Noah’s Ark?” asked Spielberg. “No, no, no, not Noah’s Ark,” said Lucas and he begun to explain, and at the same time describe the story of Raiders of the Lost Ark as he called. The Ark of the Covenant was the chest the Hebrews used to carry around the Ten Commandments that Moses brought from mountain Sinai. The Ark was believed to obtain mystical powers and according to legend an army that carries the Army before it is invincible. The Bible actually mentions that during the siege of Jericho the Hebrews heard the voice of God advising them to march three times around the city with the Ark at the head. With the completion of the third round they blew their horns all together and the walls of the city collapsed giving them the chance to assault. Lucas’ story begins in 1936 when the American Government recruits famous archaeologist Indiana Smith to find the long lost Ark before the Nazis do. Unseen since its disappearance from the Temple of Solomon nearly three thousand year ago, the Ark—as prophesied in the Old Testament—was to be recovered at the time of the coming of the new Messiah. The Fuhrer Adolf Hitler wants to recover the Ark, thus legitimizing himself as the Messiah and his lust for world domination. This would be part of a series of Raiders sagas following the exploits of Indiana Smith, not unlike the Tarzan series not unlike the serials of the 30s and 40s. The difference would be that the leading character would be involved in mortal adventures and also in “otherworldly” events. And all this in a period when adventures could happen, a romantic time without advanced technology, when the cleverness of the individual against the enemy was what mattered.  The two directors started pre-production work while they were involved in other pictures. Lucas was working with Francis Ford Coppola as executive producer in Akira Kurosawa’s The Shadow Warrior while at the same time he was developing The Empire Strikes Back, the much-awaited sequel to Star Wars. On the other hand, Spielberg was directing 1941 a comedy with John Belushi.

 

In January 1978 Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan met at Jane Bay’s house, Lucas’ secretary, in Los Angeles to discuss in detail the film’s story. The film’s main character would be named Indiana Smith after Lucas’ beloved female Alaskan Malamute dog, Indiana, who used to sit with him during writing sessions. Spielberg didn’t like the name Smith, he was afraid it would remind to audience Nevada Smith, a character played by Steve McQueen in a 1966 film. Lucas then suggested the Jones name. Another situation that had to be dealt with was Indiana’s personality. Lucas imagined him as a playboy who uses his expeditions to fund his lifestyle. Actually he had Kasdan write a scene in which Marcus Brody visits Indy at his home and finds a tuxedo wearing Indy while a beautiful Jean Harlow-type blonde is glimpsed sipping champagne in the living room. Spielberg and Kasdan thought that the two sides of Indy, professor and adventurer, were complicated enough. Adding a playboy side would make things even more complicated, something that wasn’t necessary. On the other hand Spielberg had the idea of making Indy an alcoholic, kind like Fred C. Dobbs, Humphrey Bogart’s character from Treasure of Sierra Madre. Lucas disliked the idea because he wanted him to be a role model for children. “He has to be a person we can look up to. We’re doing a role model for little kids, so we have to be careful. We need someone who’s honest and true and trusting.” So, they compromised and Indy became neither playboy, nor alcoholic.

 

After five consecutive 9-hour days the three men had completed the story line. Lucas had divided the story in 60 scenes, each two pages long, and had outlined six cliffhangers. A peril turned up every twenty pages or so. Like in the old serials the hero would get in a deadly situation every ten minutes, only that “this time the audience wouldn’t have to wait a week to find out where the escape hatch is hidden,” as Richard Schickel wrote in Time magazine. The trick was that the danger would be as real as possible and would require the hero’s cleverness to surpass it.  By August 1978 Kasdan had finished his first draft and hand-delivered it to Lucas. When they met Lucas took the script, laid it aside, told Kasdan that he would read it later that night and offered him to go for lunch. During the lunch in the restaurant Lucas offered to Kasdan to write the script for The Empire Strikes Back. Unfortunately, Leigh Brackett, the film’s writer had passed away right after delivering her first draft and Lucas wanted someone to make revisions. “Don’t you think you should read Raiders first?” was Kasdan’s reply. “Well, I just get a feeling about people. Of course if I hate Raiders, I’ll take back this offer,” said Lucas. The next morning Lucas called Kasdan and told him he was ecstatic about the Raiders script and he was very anxious for him to work on Empire.

 

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The film’s budget was defined to $20 million and it was to be shot within a 85-days schedule. Spielberg, after all the negative publicity he had received for overcoming the budget and the schedule for Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and especially 1941, was determined to bring his next film in on time. For this reason he, together with Lucas and Marshall made a secret schedule of 73 days while at the same time they cut off some scenes. For instance, the scene in the Nazi base where Indy finds super-weapons disappeared and an experimental Flying Wing was abated from five engines to two, while the whole Shanghai sequence was deleted. Ron Cobb, one of the film’s production artists, had enjoyed elaborating Toht, giving him a Strangelove-like mechanical arm with a machine gun firing through his forefinger, but this too was ditched.  It was decided that the production would be based, like Star Wars, in England. Elstree studios, outside London, had served Lucas well during the making of his film. Elstree studios with its seven stages and its extent of 27 acres made it ideal for Raiders. As John Baxter rightfully noticed: “These were historic premises.” Many famous men of the cinema had passed through. Men like Alfred Hitchock, David Lean, Michael Powell and Ronald Reagan. Additionally, they knew that there they would find a well-oiled machine of technicians and artists who had been working together since 1976. By working on films like Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Superman they had become accustomed to difficult locations, spectacular sets and eccentric special effects.

 

With Selleck unavailable to take the part, the production had to find another actor for the role while shooting was scheduled to start in a few weeks. An afternoon, as Spielberg was watching a screening of The Empire Strikes Back he realized that Harrison Ford was the man they were looking for and immediately called Lucas. “He’s been right under our noses,” he told Lucas. After thinking for a while Lucas answered, “I know who you’re going to say.” “Who?” asked Spielberg. “Harrison Ford,” was Lucas reply. He agreed and the very next day he approached the actor.  Ford had heard that they were going to make an adventure movie and he thought that they had already found a leading actor. He was very surprised when he was offered the part and he wasn’t offended by being second choice. Ford recognized “a really good part in what could be a really good movie” but before signing anything he wanted to meet Spielberg to talk with him. So, after reading the script he took Melissa Mathison, his then girlfriend, and his son Willard over to Spielberg’s house. There they played pinball and video games and talked about the film. Ford saw Spielberg’s enthusiasm and thought that it would be fun to work with and decided to sign for the part putting a closure to a six-month search.  The only worry Ford seemed to have was the fact that Indy and Han Solo, from Star Wars, was written by the same man, Lawrence Kasdan who in the meantime had scripted The Empire Strikes Back. Spielberg, on the other hand, believed that Han Solo was a boyish hero, while Indy was a grown-up and therefore he shouldn’t be bothered. Even though, he gave Ford the chance to get more involved in the making of the film. During their flight from Los Angeles to London they went through the script line by line, and by the time they stepped out of the airplane, about 10 hours later, they had worked out the entire story. “Harrison is a very original leading man. There’s not been anyone like him for 30 or 40 years, and he does carry the movie wonderfully. Harrison was more than just an actor playing a role, he was a collaborator and really was involved in a lot of decision making about the movie. And this wasn’t by contract, it was because I sensed a very good story mind and a real smart person and called on him time and again,” was Spielberg’s quote.

 

When Indy takes the idol from its shrine the whole place is starting to tremble and fall apart. In his way out Indy finds himself pursued by a giant boulder. His only way to survive is by outrunning the boulder and get to the exit of the temple. Ford believed that it would be more effective if the audience could actually see that it was he who was running from the boulder and wanted to outrun the boulder by himself without the help of a stunt double. Glen Randall felt that Ford could actually made it and suggested Spielberg to let him try. The 12-foot boulder was made of plaster, wood and fiberglass weighted 300 pounds and could have done bodily harm to anyone falling underneath it. The scene was shot from five different angles, each one done separately, each one done twice, so Ford had to race the boulder ten times and made through all of them. When the sequence was completed Spielberg admitted, “He won ten times and beat the odds. He was lucky and I was an idiot for letting him try.”  On July 14th started the filming of the Well of Souls sequence in Elstree’s stage three that lasted two weeks. According to the script, the Well of Souls is a hidden chamber under the sands where the Ark of the Covenant was supposed to be rested. When Indy finds the Well he discovers that the whole place is inhabited by snakes. Spielberg wasn’t pleased with the number of snakes they had on the set (about 2000) and ordered 4500 more from Denmark in order to achieve the horror the script so well described. The set was designed as the interior of a pyramid dominated by three jackal statues over 35 feet tall. Indy would be lowered in the pit from the top of the statues and suddenly would fall down only to come face to face with a cobra. In safety for the actors, they could do nothing without an anti-venom serum. The serum-man, as Frank Marshall called him, couldn’t come through with the serum and he was the only one in the country. They went to a hospital but the serum there was out of date. Finally, the serum arrived from France with a little help from the American Embassy, the Air Force Hospital and the Naval Hospital. During the filming of the scene the doors of the stage were open permanently, and an ambulance was backed inside with its doors open. Standing in either side were two enormous men in white coats, with a syringe in each hand. Every unit member wore protective clothing high rubber boots and strengthen canvas trousers and jackets. Day by day the cast and crew got used to the snakes, the tension had gone and came back with the cobra. The cobra killed a python that’s been trying to bite people.

 

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John Baxter in his book Steven Spielberg An Unauthorized Biography mentions another problem the production team faced when Vivian Kubrick, daughter of famous director Stanley Kubrick, complained because of the way snakes had been treated. She claimed that many snakes had been crashed from the feet of the cast and crew. She even climbed up on the stage and said: “Steven, this is so cruel”. Spielberg from his side felt terribly embarrassed and reassured her that they would be looked after fine, but she wasn’t pleased with that, so she rang the RSPCA to complain. The whole film ground to a halt and it was closed down for a whole day. In order to continue shooting Spielberg ordered measures to be taken. So a row of plastic dustbins as far as the eye could see around the stage, and in the bottom of each one there was a little bit of straw and a leaf of lettuce, and each one had about three garter snakes.  Ford and Allen had to stand in the center of the set with more than 6000 tangles sizzling around. Even though snakes are Indy’s worst nightmare, they didn’t bother Ford, since as a teenager he loved snakes and even collected them to put on display. Poor Allen had to wear only a white evening dress with her arms and legs naked. When things began to turn rough, Wendy Leach, Allen’s stunt double continued her scenes and when things became really nasty, animal handler, Steve Edge, put on Marion’s dress, shaved his legs and finished her shots. The Well of Souls scene was proven one of Allen’s worst experiences because she knew that pythons aren’t poisonous, but they bite and hold on. That scared the hell out of her, and every time a snake got near her bare feet she turned around and walked straight off the set. And there is more. Spielberg, because he thought that she wasn’t screaming for real, put her through numerous “tortures” like tossing tarantulas on her leg or throwing snakes at her head. “Whenever she didn’t see me, she would look up,” said Spielberg later.

 

Ford, continued to do most of his stunts risking the production’s existence and even his own safety more than once. There were times where he was injured in a daily basis. “It’s true, you can do a lot of stuff yourself. And I’m glad to if the stunt is coordinated so that there is an advantage for the film in my doing it myself. I don’t want to do it for glory. But sometimes I begin to feel more like a football player, a battered football player than a movie actor.” Having escaped from the Well of Souls, Indy and Marion watch the Germans’ moves. Indy trying to snick in the airplane, which would travel the Ark to Germany, gets detected by a mechanic who challenges him to a fight. The fight takes place around the whirring propellers of a Flying Wing with Indy trying to avoid the German. Artist Ron Cobb designed a prototype Flying Wing that, with its end wing flaps tilted downward, was closer to the look of a US prototype developed in the 40s. The final, life-size airplane was built by the Vickers Aircraft Company, in England, and painted at Elstree studios. Once completed the aircraft was disassembled and shipped to Tunisia, where it was rebuilt on location.  In one of his efforts Indy is knocked down into the path of the airplane’s wheel and does a backward sauversault to avoid being crushed. The scene was successfully rehearsed a number of times but when the camera started to roll Ford’s right foot shipped in the sand shot sideways. He caught his toe under the tire of the advancing Flying Wing, which proceeded to crawl up his tibia. Luckily, the brakes worked inches before his knee was crushed, but he was pinned to the sand. Thanks to the blistering sun the tires had gone soft, so when the wheel caught Ford’s foot “he suffered nothing worse than a worn set of lungs from the scream he unleashed”, said Spielberg to The New York Times.

 

Filming took 73 days, just as planned. Post-production lasted a couple of months and was spent mostly on special effects and pick up shots.  Filled with virtuoso stunts and exciting escapes, Raiders of the Lost Ark presented very special challenges to the special effects team of George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic in Marin County, California. Far away from today’s CGI effects this enormously exciting action epic was a hard act to follow since they had such a difficult subject as to portray the wrath of God.  During pre-production storyboard artists Ed Verreaux, Dave Negron, Michael Lloyd and Joe Johnston were asked to try to imagine what would happen when the Nazis open the Ark for the first time. The script described the scene by only saying: “They open the Ark and all hell breaks loose.” Though they knew that spirits were involved Lucas and Spielberg weren’t sure how they should appear on the screen. So each of the artists did a preliminary set of storyboard on their own. One had come up with no ghost at all and it was all firestorm. Another artist had all ghosts and no flame while the third one had all these weird light effects. Lucas and Spielberg then asked that all three ideas be combined and Johnston was given the task.

 

They created an inversion layer in the tank using different temperatures and densities of solutions, for example a layer of salt water on the bottom of the tank with a layer of fresh water above it. Various pigments and dyes could float in the plane where the two layers meet thereby generating different types of cloud effects. They used what they called an ‘atomic arm’ (a remote-controlled hand, such as the ones used for moving isotopes in nuclear laboratories) to squirt pigment into the tank at the appropriate level. It is designed so that someone can control the insertion of the pigment from back near the camera, so he can see pretty much what the camera sees as he makes a shot.  The most startling shot in this sequence occurs just before the debacle, when one of the wispy manifestations drifts up toward the camera to reveal a rather angelic-looking female countenance which then suddenly transforms into a ghoulish death’s-head. A woman dressed in a white flowing gown and with white makeup on her was placed on a platform that was hanging from three wires and was filmed in many movements.

 

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Once the transformation from angel to demon has been effected, the full fury of the awesome forces within the Ark is unleashed against the Nazis violators. Flames leap forth from the open chest, and in a matter of moments, Dietrich’s face shrinks to a mummy-like visage. Toht’s features melt away from his skull, and Belloq’s head explodes into a pulpy mess. Spielberg had decided that the villains should be disintegrated. The storyboards dictated close-ups of Belloq, Toht and Dietrich with their faces shutter and crumble away but after many efforts and thoughts they realized that they couldn’t do such a thing, so instead of disintegrating them they decided to give to each of them a different kind of death. Life molds of the characters in the screaming positions they would ultimately reach had to be taken. They had them hold their positions while they took castings of their faces and then special make-up artist Chris Walas had to rebuild their faces from the molds. Walas produced a series of three artificial heads. The first, representing Colonel Dietrich, employed inflatable bladders which when pumped up with air, sustained the face’s proper shape. Joe Johnston’s hand was used during shooting in the close-up to impart some added life to the scene. When the air was sucked out, the bladders deflated and the face became instantly mummified. It took eight or nine people to control the effect, manipulating different levers inside the head, all of which had to be done on hand.  Toht’s head was made from a multi-layered gelatin compound and was filmed in time-lapse as it melted down the skull from the heat provided from a dryer. The time-lapse for the melting head was shot at a little less than a frame a second.

 

When Spielberg completed his version of the film he voluntarily turned it over to Lucas. Lucas filled the screening room at Parkhouse the first time he watched Spielberg’s cut, because he didn’t want to see it without an audience. The next morning he called Spielberg and told him, “I’ve got to tell you, you’re really a good director.” Later Lucas, together with Kahn, cut seven minutes out of the first half of the film, making it more tight, slick and fun. Spielberg although he questioned some changes he was pleased and impressed. “I would trust George with any movie I ever direct to edit in anyway he sees fit. He knows the secret of what an editor can do to a movie, how he can enhance the film.”  Lucas had visited the set of Raiders many times, in fact he was on location in Tunisia two of the five weeks of shooting, three of the nine weeks in London, and throughout the shooting at La Rochelle and in Hawaii. Lucas claimed that he visited the sets only to keep company to his friend although many believe that he did it to keep an eye on his friend’s job. Lucas’ presence was catalytic in Spielberg’s work. He was there to drop ideas, while on the other hand he provided the required liberty that any director needs. At the end of shooting Spielberg told to Time magazine, “Lucas was to me what David O. Selznick was to his directors on Gone With The Wind. I respect his comments totally. Raiders proved that two people can make a movie together and remain friends”. Indeed, the relationship between the two worked as best as it could for the film’s interest. When they would have a disagreement they treated it with humor. Lucas would say, “Well it’s your movie. If the audience doesn’t like it, they ‘re going to blame you.” And Spielberg would answer, “okay, but I’m going to tell them that you made me do it”, and after that they would start exchanging ideas to find solution.

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark came out on June 12, 1981 in 1708 theaters across the United States and soon became the most profitable film and the cinematic event of the year.  The film opens with a great 15-minute sequence filled with so much action that the audience could leave the theater in these first minutes totally satisfied. Spielberg’s intention was to keep close to the spirit of the old serials, which always began with a brisk reprise of the previous week’s cliffhanger. “It’s not part of Raiders at all. It belongs to the film that comes before it—Raiders of the Lost Fertility Idol, if you like”, was Spielberg’s aspect. On the other hand Spielberg was fulfilling an old desire. To make a James Bond film. In all the James Bond films their opening sequence had nothing to do with the movie’s real plot. So, in Raiders Spielberg uses this style of storytelling to introduce the character of Indiana Jones.  Raiders of the Lost Ark was a hit not only in the United States but all over the world making Ford begin a tour around Europe to promote it. He attended the London opening in July and several festivals. In Britain in less than two weeks into its initial run Raiders earned nearly $5 million and became the number one slot in bookings outpacing England’s “national” hero James Bond’s For Your Eyes Only. In Paris, 500 people were turned away when Raiders opened to a full house on the Champs Elysees. French spurred by a chorus of rave reviews from critics at the Deauville film festival, Raiders drew fully 21% of all filmgoers in the French capital on its opening day. In Italy a month before the scheduled opening day Raiders distributor ordered a record number of prints to satisfy a demand that is soaring on word-of-mouth alone.  At the Venice film festival, the normally blasé audience at a Raiders screening cheered wildly for the good guys and hissed the bud guys just like kids used to do when they went to the movies years ago."

Sven Mikulec, Cinephilia and Beyond

 

From the Filmmaker

 

 

 

 

Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"Steven Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" plays like an anthology of the best parts from all the Saturday matinee serials ever made. It takes place in Africa, Nepal, Egypt, at sea and in a secret submarine base. It contains trucks, bulldozers, tanks, motorcycles, ships, subs, Pan Am Clippers, and a Nazi flying wing. It has snakes, spiders, booby traps and explosives. The hero is trapped in a snake pit, and the heroine finds herself assaulted by mummies. The weapons range from revolvers and machineguns to machetes and whips. And there is the supernatural, too, as the Ark of the Covenant triggers an eerie heavenly fire that bolts through the bodies of the Nazis.

 

The Saturday serial aspects of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" have been much commented on, and relished. But I haven't seen much discussion of the movie's other driving theme, Spielberg's feelings about the Nazis. "Impersonal," critic Pauline Kael called the film, and indeed it is primarily a technical exercise, with personalities so shallow they're like a dew that has settled on the characters. But Spielberg is not trying here for human insights and emotional complexity; he finds those in other films, but in "Raiders" he wants to do two things: make a great entertainment, and stick it to the Nazis.  We know how deeply he feels about the Holocaust. We have seen "Schindler's List" and we know about his Shoah Project. Those are works of a thoughtful adult. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is the work of Spielberg's recaptured adolescence, I think; it contains the kind of stuff teenage boys like, and it also perhaps contains the daydreams of a young Jewish kid who imagines blowing up Nazis real good. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by Philip Kaufman, George Lucas and an uncredited Spielberg, whose movie is great fun on the surface -- one of the classic entertainments -- and then has a buried level.

 

Throughout the film, there is a parade of anti-Nazi symbolism and sly religious satire, as when a desperate Indy grabs the hood ornament of a Mercedes truck, and it snaps off. And when a Nazi torturer grabs a sacred relic and it burns a stigmata into his hand. When the ark is being transported in the hold of a Nazi ship, inside a stout lumber crate, the swastika and other Nazi markings spontaneously catch fire and are obliterated. A Nazi officer, uneasy about opening the ark, says: "I am uncomfortable with the thought of this Jewish ritual." And of course when the spirit of the ark manifests itself, it's as a writhing column of fire that skewers the Nazis. ("Keep your eyes closed," Indy desperately tells his sidekick, although one assumes the holy fire would know friend from foe.) There is even a quiet in-joke in the character of Belloq (Paul Freeman), the Frenchman who tries to play both sides against the middle, just as Occupied France did.  Nazis were favorite villains of Saturday serials, prized more for their costumes and accents than for their evil beliefs. Spielberg here makes manifest their values, and then destroys them: "Raiders of the Lost Ark" has all the qualities of an exuberant serial, plus a religious and political agenda. That Spielberg places his message in the crevices of the action makes it all the more effective. "Raiders" may have an impersonal superstructure, but its foundations are personal, and passionate.

 

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The movie is just plain fun. The Kasdan screenplay is a construction of one damn thing on top of another. As the movie opens, Indy brushes aside a web taller than a man, is assaulted by giant spiders, narrowly eludes a booby trap and then another, leaps across a bottomless pit, is nearly crushed by a lowering slab, is betrayed by his companion, leaps the pit again, is pursued by a gigantic boulder that rolls behind him, is surrounded by natives with spears and dart guns, leaps into a river, crawls into an airplane and finds a giant snake in the cockpit. "I hate snakes," he says.  The movie hurtles from one crisis to another. After the struggle for control of the flying wing, for example (after, that is, a fist fight, gunshots, gasoline explosions and a villain who is made mincemeat by a propeller), Indy is abruptly told, "The Ark! They're taking it on a truck to Cairo!" Indy replies, "Where is it?" And that's all the exposition necessary to get us from the flying wing scene to the famous truck chase.  Harrison Ford is the embodiment of Indiana Jones -- dry, fearless, and as indestructible as a cartoon coyote. The correct casting was not as obvious in 1980, when the film was being prepared, as it is now. He had starred in "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" as Han Solo, a laconic man of action, but his other credits were a mixed bag. What he proved in the "Star Wars" movies, and went on to prove again and again, is that he can supply the strong, sturdy center for action nonsense. In a scene where everything is happening at once, he knows that nothing unnecessary need be happening on his face, in his voice, or to his character. He is the fulcrum, not the lever.

 

The special effects, astonishing at the time, now look a little cheesy; accustomed to digital perfection, we can see when model planes are being used, when dark clouds are being put in the sky by an optical printer, when the deadly rays of the ark are being superimposed on the action. Lucas of course went back and tidied up the effects in "Star Wars," but I hope Spielberg never touches "Raiders" because the effects, just as they are, help set the tone of the movie. A serial should look a little hasty. It's a Boy's Own Adventure, a whiz-bang slamarama, a Bruised Forearm movie (you squeeze the arm of your date every time something startles you). It's done with a kind of heedless joy. Spielberg was old enough (34) to have the clout to make the film, and young enough to remember why he wanted to. All of the reasons why he wanted to."

- Roger Ebert

 

User Opinion

 

"My favorite film! This is THE film. Such a well made movie, I just love it so much!" - @Impact

 

"It really struck me just how well everything works in the movie. In any other film, the amount of time and dialogue spent in the Ark explanation scene could really drag a film down, but here it's so well paced and the dialogue so well written that it's every bit as gripping as the action sequences. We're blown away by what Indy can do in the opening sequence, but it's the Ark discussion scene that gives us a glimpse into who Indy is and gives us a reason to care about the Ark. Instead of having to be told Marion is a force to be reckoned with, we see her drink a guy under the table and punch Indy for something he did 10 years ago. Damn, but Lawrence Kasdan could write back in the day.  It's also great to see old-school stunts hold up so well. These days you'd be trying to figure out where the wires were or bemoaning the CGI, but back then when Terry Leonard jumps from horse to truck and pulls himself along under the truck, you know it's real and that really adds to the immersion.  Cinematic perfection" - @BiffMan

 

"It has great set pieces, fantastic action, fabulous script and a great score. Harrison Ford was born to play this role. He is simply fantastic as Indiana Jones. Karen Allen is superb. John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliot turn in fanatstic supporting performaces. Spielberg gets the biggest shout for delivering such a masterpiece. Spielberg proved with this movie that there would be never an equal to him and amazingly after 32 years, that is still just as true as it was in 1981.  From the very first scene beginning with the temple entry and outrunning the boulder, the movie gets hold of the audience and never lets go. This movie has umpteen iconic sequences and lines. The action scenes on the truck is stunning and never gets old.  I consider this the best movie ever. The collboration of the two biggest innvoators/trend setters of Hollywood in Lucas and Spielberg not only defied all expecatations but exceeded them by delivering a masterpiece for the ages." - @jb007

 

"One of my favorite movies ever" - @Ethan Hunt

 

"God bless you Ethan, the adults will let you talk" - @DAR

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

The best film ever made

 

I'm sobbing, it's first place!

 

Raiders, perfection.

 

Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 13, 2013 - 6, 2014 - 12, 2016 - 2, 2018 - 4

 

Director Count

 

Steven Spielberg - 7, James Cameron - 4, Alfred Hitchock - 4, Stanley Kubrick - 4, Francis Ford Coppola - 3, Peter Jackson - 3, Richard Linklater - 3, Hayao Miyazaki - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Martin Scorsese - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Brad Bird - 2, Alfonso Cuaron - 2,  David Fincher - 2, Akira Kurosawa - 2, John Lasseter - 2,   David Lean - 2, Sergio Leone - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Christopher Nolan - 2,  Andrew Stanton - 2, Quentin Tarantino - 2, Robert Zemeckis - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Michael Curtiz - 1, Frank Darabont - 1, Jonathan Demme - 1, Pete Docter - 1, Stanley Donen - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, Victor Fleming - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, Bong Joon-Ho - 1, Gene Kelly - 1, Irvin Kershner - 1, Spike Lee - 1, David Lynch - 1, George Lucas - 1, Sidney Lumet - 1, Katia Lund - 1, Michael Mann - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, George Miller - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,  Ridley Scott - 1, Guillermo del Toro - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Peter Weir - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Lana and Lilly Wachowski - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 9, Cameron - 4, The Lord of the Rings - 3, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, Scorsese - 3, Star Wars - 3, Studio Ghibli - 3, Toy Story - 3, WDAS - 3, Alien - 2, Before Trilogy - 2, The Godfather - 2, Indiana Jones - 2, Nolan - 2, Spider-Man - 2, Terminator - 2, Back to the Future - 1, Die Hard - 1, Hannibal - 1, Incredibles - 1,  Jaws - 1, Jurassic Park - 1, Mad Max - 1, The Matrix - 1, Monty Python - 1, Oz - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1930s - 1, 1940s - 3, 1950s - 7, 1960s - 7, 1970s - 11, 1980s - 13, 1990s - 21, 2000s - 17, 2010s - 16

 

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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Well that's the best order these last three films could have been ranked in and I didn't actually expect it to happen, so well done.

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On 7/15/2020 at 9:54 AM, DAR said:

Here’s how you can watch the films listed in the top 100.   I’ll try to update this post as more entries come in.   Also apologies I only have access to the American services


 

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Panda as always tremendous job on these write ups.  
 

Here’s the final list of the top 100 films and how you can watch.   And there’s even a few good(better) films to watch too

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I really couldn't complain with the top five in general, they're all fantastic movies. I'm quite happy to see Raiders on top, though. 

 

Unfortunately I'm all out of likes right now, because I have an ordinary regular account, and I'm not very stingy with my reactions. Still great job @The Panda. The write-ups were outstanding. 

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Excellent work as always.  And fun the performative outrage from the peanut gallery!  Yay!

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time.

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Edited by charlie Jatinder
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13 minutes ago, Plain Old Tele said:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time.

 

All your life has been spent in pursuit of archaeological relics. Inside the Ark are treasures beyond your wildest aspirations. You want to see it opened as well as I. Indiana, we are simply passing through history. This, this *is* history.

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45 minutes ago, Cap said:

Excellent work as always.  And fun the performative outrage from the peanut gallery!  Yay!

 

if only there were someone to hold our nuts

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Raiders being the top film over heavyweights like Empire, Dark Knight, and Fellowship is a surprise for sure, but a very welcome one at that. 

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On 7/14/2020 at 8:03 PM, The Panda said:

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We're over halfway through one hell of a year, there's so many questions and concerns, and one of them is surely, "What really is the definitive best 100 movies ever made?".  Well we're all about to find out! 

 

*Gulp*

 

We received 36 lists from members, lower turnout than in the 2018 edition, but that was also fresh off of Infinity War's release and we currently still in the era of Bloodshot being the reigning Box Office champ, so overall decent turnout given everything else that is going on.  

 

A few factoids about the movies that made the list:

 

- No more than 10 funny book films made the list (potentially less).

 

- No more than 15 cartoons made the list (potentially less).

 

- Some fan favorite directors made the list, and some did not at all.

 

- Not all of the movies that made the list are in the English language.

 

- The list was highly competitive, every list caused quite a bit of changes to the ordering and what made it through.

 

- I'll reveal numbers 250-101 as well over the course of the list, that way we'll be able to show IMDb what's really the top 250 movies.  Hahahaha... *help*

 

- There are some newcomers to the list, some returners, some movies that made past lists and didn't even crack the top 250 here.  

 

- While most movies did need at least 10 or more votes to make it onto the list (and even more the higher up you go), there were a few movies that managed to make it through from a smaller but very passionate base.  One movie made the list with only 4 votes!

 

Here are the first 25 movies that did not make the list for you to chew on while I prepare the first write up!

 

1.   Raiders of the Lost Ark
2.    The Empire Strikes Back
3.    The Dark Knight
4.    Schindler’s List
5.    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
6.   The Godfather
7.   Back to the Future
8.    Titanic
9.    Goodfellas
10.    Mad Max: Fury Road
11.    Jaws
12.   Star Wars
13.    T2: Judgement Day
14.    12 Angry Men
15.   Do the Right Thing
16.   Spirited Away
17.    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
18.    Jurassic Park
19.   Casablanca
20.    The Godfather Part II
21.    The Matrix
22.    Lawrence of Arabia
23.   Inside Out
24.   E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
25.   The Shawshank Redemption

26.   The Silence of the Lambs
27.    Parasite
28.    Pulp Fiction
29.    Inception
30.    Alien
31.    The Wizard of Oz
32.   Aliens
33.    Taxi Driver
34.    The Incredibles
35.   Heat
36.    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
37.   Apocalypse Now
38.   Princess Mononoke
39.    The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
40.    Singin’ in the Rain
41.    Saving Private Ryan
42.    Toy Story
43.    Forrest Gump
44.    Pan’s Labyrinth
45.    The Social Network
46.    The Truman Show
47.    Seven Samurai
48.    Rear Window
49.   Psycho
50.   The Shining

51.    Once Upon a Time in the West
52.    Vertigo
53.    Wall-E
54.    Beauty and the Beast (1991)
55.    2001: A Space Odyssey
56.    City of God
57.    Toy Story 2
58.    Memento
59.    Citizen Kane
60.    The Lion King (1994)
61.    Ratatouille
62.   Finding Nemo
63.   A Clockwork Orange
64.    The Thing
65.    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
66.    Rocky
67.    Inglourious Basterds
68.    Mulholland Drive
69.    Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
70.    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
71.    It’s a Wonderful Life
72.    Before Sunrise
73.   Spider-Man 2
74.    North by Northwest
75.    Joker Avengers: Endgame
76.    Aladdin (1992)
77.   Captain America: The Winter Soldier
78.   The Apartment
79.   The Terminator
80.   Die Hard
81.    Unforgiven
82.    Whiplash
83.    Gravity
84.    Toy Story 3
85.   Boyhood
86.    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
87.    The Wolf of Wall Street
88.   Fight Club
89.    Children of Men
90.    Predator
91.    The Bridge on the River Kwai
92.    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
93.   Avengers: Infinity War
94.    Coco
95.    In the Mood For Love
96.    My Neighbor Totoro
97.   Blazing Saddles
98.    Ran
99.   Star Wars: The Last Jedi
100.   Before Sunset

101.    Groundhog Day
102.    The Departed
103.    L.A. Confidential
104.    The Princess Bride
105.    There Will Be Blood
106.    The Big Short
107.    Chinatown
108.    Fargo
109.    Gladiator
110.    Network
111.    Duck Soup
112.    The Sixth Sense
113.    Your Name
114.    Blade Runner
115.    The Big Lebowski

116.    The Usual Suspects
117.    Rashomon
118.    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
119.    Pinocchio
120.    Silence
121.    Grave of the Fireflies
122.    Raging Bull
123.    Bambi
124.    Star Wars: The Force Awakens
125.    Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
126.    Amadeus
127.    All About Eve
128.    Se7en
129.    Get Out
130.    Arrival
131.    Interstellar
132.    Halloween (1978)
133.    Guardians of the Galaxy
134.    Bicycle Thieves
135.   The Grapes of Wrath
136.    Sunset Boulevard
137.    District 9
138.    Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
139.    The Great Escape
140.   La La Land

141.    Some Like it Hot
142.    Eyes Wide Shut
143.    Mary Poppins
144.    Ghostbusters
145.   Apollo 13

146.    The Deer Hunter
147.    Life of Pi
148.    Nashville
149.    Oldboy (2003)
150.   The Handmaiden

151.    Call Me By Your Name
152.    The Bourne Ultimatum
153.    Come and See
154.    Days of Heaven
155.    The Sound of Music
156.    Batman Begins
157.    Lady Bird
158.    Return of the Jedi
159.    The Avengers (2012)
160.    The Searchers
161.    Reservoir Dogs
162.    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
163.    Office Space
164.    Akira
165.    The Intouchables
166.    Django Unchained
167.    The Jungle Book (1967)
168.    Good Will Hunting
169.    A Separation
170.    The Iron Giant
171.    The Best Years of Our Lives
172.    Cinema Paradiso
173.    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
174.    Creed
175.    Life of Brian

176.    The Third Man
177.    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
178.    Ben-Hur (1950)
179.    Shrek 2
180.    Young Frankenstein
181.    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
182.    Black Panther
183.    Arsenic and the Old Lace
184.    The Elephant Man
185.    The Raid (2011)
186.    The LEGO Movie
187.    Hot Fuzz
188.    American Beauty
189.    Modern Times
190.    RoboCop (1980)
191.    Gone With the Wind
192.    Zootopia
193.    Captain America: Civil War
194.    Up (2009)
195.    City Lights
196.    Zodiac
197.    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
198.    All the President’s Men
199.    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
200.    No Country for Old Men

201.    Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
 

202.    Notorious (TIE)

Magnolia

JFK


203.    Margaret
204.    When Harry Met Sally
205.    Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
206.    Ocean’s Eleven
207.    Frozen (2011)
208.    To Kill a Mockingbird
209.    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
210.    1917
211.    8 ½
212.    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
213.    Police Story
214.    Black Swan
215.    Fantasia
216.    A Night at the Opera
217.    Paths of Glory
218.    X-Men: Days of Future Past
219.    Planes, Trains and Automobiles
220.    West Side Story
221.    The Conjuring
222.    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
223.    Malcolm X
224.    Minority Report
225.    Sicario

226.    Casino Royale
227.    Thor: Ragnarok
228.    Back to the Future Part 2
229.    The Young Girls of Rochefort
230.    The Music Man
231.    American Honey
232.    Barry Lyndon
233.    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
234.    The Maltese Falcon
235.    Andaz Apna Apna
236.    Fiddler on the Roof
237.    (500) Days of Summer
238.    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
239.    Roma
240.    The 400 Blows
241.    Tropic Thunder
242.    Ida
243.    Iron Man
244.    The Quiet Man
245.    Dangal
246.    The Sting
247.    The Battle of Algiers
248.    Dunkirk
249.    Before Midnight
250.    Once Upon a Time in America

 

Here's the final list.

 

If you're not on the telegram, tune in sometime tomorrow and I'll post what the list looks like with just our telegram community (which is open for anyone to join), in some ways it looks dramatically different (I am also going to be revealing it to the telegram users in the telegram chat but just want to post it here as well for archival purposes).

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