Mr. Movie

Mailbag: Raiders the best?

Austin from Kennewick writes:

You might remember me from the BFC screening of La Vie En Rose. I corrected you in the audience, but I was wrong. 'Meet me in the parking lot', you said. After the screening, I showed you my copy of Barry Lyndon. Anyway, I just wanted to ask you why you think Raider's of the Lost Ark is the 'best action film of all time'. Perfect it is, I'll give you that. But the best action pic ever? I don't think so. I just happen to think that, as far as swashbuckling action is concerned, Seven Samurai, Gunga Din and The Adventures of Robin Hood (the one with Errol Flynn) are just as good as - if not better than Raider's of the Lost Ark. Especially Seven Samurai. It certainly was deeper than Raiders, and certainly covered more emotional ground. Take for instance the themes of defending the helpless, love and the nature of killing (which, in studying the way the action was staged was not at all romanticized, but no less thrilling). These themes are nowhere near as strong or affecting in Raider's of the Lost Ark. Also note in Seven Samurai the use of symbolism, such as when Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) dies, you see seven horses without riders gallop through the village, obviously symbolizing the four samurai and three villagers who died in the conflict. You just don't get stuff that good in Raider's of the Lost Ark, although while we're on themes and morals, Raider's did have strong moral messages about greed and power (and was a blast to watch). I might not have swayed you, but if Raider's of the Lost Ark is the best actioner of all time, then please state why. Austin

Mr. Movie writes:

Sorry it took so long to reply. I've been traveling during the Memorial Day weekend and just arrived home.

"Raiders" is the best action film of all-time because you don't have to spend all that time digging for hidden meanings or metaphor. It's just a thrill ride from opening scene to the close. No messages. Just pure fun.

And when it comes to doing movies that are pure fun, Spielberg is one of the best. "Jurassic Park" is like "Raiders," fun from top-to-bottom.

It's good to hear from you. I'm still laughing about the correction.